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Hi Robin,

Thanks for the mail and reply. So is the bible your authority in all matters?


>>No the Bible is not my authority in all matters, as the Authority of the Bible is essentially the Roman Catholic Church, which under Bishop Eusebius determined which books to include and exclude as I am sure you are aware. Also we are advised by the Apostle Paul to ‘rightly divide’ the word of God, and ultimately it requires a close relationship with the Holy Spirit to show us which verses are applicable to us here and now and also how to interpret them. When Jesus was confronted by the woman caught in adultery, her accusers had the weight of ‘Gods Word’ to stone her. There is no argument. It said it in black and white. Yet Jesus chose to over-ride the Authority of the Law, with grace and mercy. As we are led by the Spirit, we are not under the Law as Paul tells us. The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life!! It is the Holy Spirit I try to listen to. The Bible however is an excellent guide and reference book.<<

Yes the bible is not your
authority and you don't take it literally either. So why even read it? You have lost the authority of the Holy Spirit, Paul, Jesus and the OT Law. You are not listening to the Holy Spirit, for the Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. Having discredited the bible, it's pointless quoting it.

Having a '
guide and reference book' is pointless if it lacks believability and not taken literally. By rejecting the bible's 'authority in all matters', you reject God's 'authority in all matters' which will give you an unbelieving heart and confusion about the bible.

>>I don’t buy into evolution at all. As a scientist, I look at the evidence before me and try to draw the most likely conclusion. Evolution is a non-starter. There is no evidence of transmutation. Punctuated equilibrium on the other hand would suggest a series of creations at various stages of the Earth’s history. I also see a wealth of evidence of a planet and universe which is much older than 6,000 years.<<

But you have swallowed evolution. Its first demand is 'millions of years'; the second - reinterpreting the bible to fit. Embracing the '
punctuated equilibrium' concept is nothing more than an evolutionary endeavor to resolve the dilemma of no transmutations. 'PE' is not accepted because it has a compelling theoretical basis. It's an ad hoc explanation more than a theory, and rests on shaky ground. And this is the truth about evolution – whether it has occurred at all, as it's proven by a totally separate set of arguments without evidence.

I see
a wealth of evidence of a much younger planet. (1) The continents are eroding too quickly. (2) Not enough helium in the atmosphere. (3) Many fossils indicate that they must have formed quickly, (4) Many processes, which we have been told take millions of years, don't need such time-spans. (5) Galaxies wind themselves up too fast. (6) Comets disintegrate too quickly. (7) Not enough mud on the sea floor. (8) Not enough sodium in the sea. (9) The earth's magnetic field is decaying too fast. (10) Many strata are too tightly bent. (11) Injected sandstone shortens geologic ages. (12) Fossil radioactivity shortens geologic ages to a few years. (13) Helium in the wrong places. (14) Not enough stone-age skeletons. (15) Agriculture is too recent. (16) History is too short.

>>Not if you take the view this is symbolic. Do you really believe all snakes are descendents of Lucifer? Did Noah take these descendents of Lucifer on the Ark? Was it a boa constrictor or python, or how about a rattler that deceived Eve? Which species of serpent was it that Gen 3 refers to?<<

Not only do you reject the authority of the bible but you don't know the difference between allegorical or literal. Can the story of the serpent’s deceiving Eve be accepted as factual? The Apostle Paul thought so (2 Cor. 11:3). And the Apostle John (Rev. 12:9; 20:2). And it's not only instance of a talking animal in Scripture. God gave a voice to Balaam’s donkey to restrain the madness of the prophet (Num. 22). And the Apostle Peter accepted this as literal (2 Pet. 2:16). These three apostles were inspired by the Holy Spirit to write as they did. So when you reject the account that Satan possessed the body of a snake you reject the inspiration of Holy Scripture. There are allegories in the Bible, but this is not one of them. The next step is to deny that sin exists.

>>At the Last Supper, Jesus used symbolism of wine and bread, and had previously offended some followers by telling them unless they eat his flesh and blood they cannot enter Gods realm. Literalists got themselves into all sorts of bother with Jesus teachings. Did he really mean we ought to literally cut off our hands or puck our eyes out if these cause us to sin. I don’t believe so. Instead He was explaining how we ought to have a savage attitude toward sin in our lives. BTW, I am happy to accept God created the first man (Adam) a few thousand years ago.<<

I don't have a problem with the teaching of Jesus. Most Christians know the difference between a symbol and what's intended to be literal. You are trying to over exacerbate your point. Literalists are not the ones who get '
into all sorts of bother'. I have never once become confused as to whether I should cut off my hand or pluck out my eyes. Rather, historically it's liberals who fall into the absurd by their symbolic, allegoric, and spiritualizing interpretations. Ask any church historian - out go the miracles and supernatural until the bible has nothing to say.

The best method of interpretation is by far the historical – grammatical because it accepts grammatical rules and historical usage. This reads the bible as we read any other book and allows for type, allegory and symbol but doesn't make them the basis for interpretation, as you wrongly imagine.

>>On the contrary, I once held the view like you do, that the Bible is infallible, as that was part and parcel of the dogma I was preached. However as I investigated the evidence for such dogma, I found there were major flaws to such a position. <<

Yes the 'millions of years' myth has caused many to reject the bible, the faith, the Saviour, and eternal life. They turn their backs and have ruined lives instead. The acceptance of long ages is the reason many give up Christianity.

I vividly remember the evening I attended an illustrated lecture on the famous sequence of fossil forests in Yellowstone National Park and then stayed up most of the night … agonizing over, then accepting, the disturbing likelihood that the earth was at least thirty thousand years old. Having thus decided to follow science rather than Scripture on the subject of origins, I quickly, though not painlessly, slid down the proverbial slippery slope toward unbelief.” (p. xvi. The Creationists: The Evolution of Scientific Creationism, re. R.L. Numbers. Univ of California Press, 1992)

The great evangelist Charles Templeton wrote, “Farewell to God – my reasons for rejecting the Christian faith”. He doubted the history of Genesis which seemed to contradict science, “It’s simply not possible any longer to believe, for instance, the biblical account of creation. The world wasn’t created over a period of days a few thousand years ago; it has evolved over millions of years. It’s not a matter of speculation; its demonstrable fact”. (p.7 Farwell to God. McClelland & Stewart Inc. NY 1991). Many long-age ex-Christians run anti-Christian websites mocking the bible and creationists particularly.

>>The early chapters of Genesis are classic case and point. My view changed, because I was prepared to have an open mind. On the other hand, I find young-Earthers are closed minded to anything that contradicts the Bible. The theory of evolution is fatally flawed, we both agreed. However David Catchpole was not prepared to see some of his own ideology flawed, when the evidence is clear. He did admit that AiG have a lot of work to do to prove a young universe, as they have no real scientific evidence yet to support such a position, but only Biblical dogma.<<

Your '
open mind' is closed against the bible. The early chapters of Genesis are vital to know man's origins, his Fall, punishment and to explain life as it is today. Otherwise, the gospel is lost, and man's sinful condition, death and decay are considered normal.

Most evolutionists toss out anything that contradicts their belief in long-ages. As for Catchpole, tell a mathematician 1x1=5. Then give him 100 reasons why 1x1=5. He will tolerate it only so long, then become closed mined. So it works both ways. Truth is by definition very narrow.

The fact is, many scientifically qualified creationists were once long-age evolutionists. AiG stock some of their books. Get a copy of The Answers Book. Their address 215 Bleakhouse Rd Howick AKL. (ph 09 537 4818). If '
young earthers' are so consistent believing the bible, why should you say they have their 'own ideology'?

>>The Taupo Ash soil is essentially silicon dioxide. It is 100 metres deep in places, has no carbon worth speaking of deeper down in soil profiles which are consistent once you get below the A and B horizons, so we do know what we are starting with. That’s the beauty of our volcanic ash soils which have been rapidly laid down. There is no argument, just good science to work from. The reasons young-Earthers don’t accept it is because it contradicts their dogma.<<

But the build up of carbon doesn't prove that the claimed eruptions were 20,000-50,000 years ago. There are all kinds of assumptions involved with any calculation. Rain fall, climate, location, soil content all can effect how fast
organic matter builds up. Science that put men on the moon is different than trying to calculate the age of a rock or soil sample. There is no totally fool proof method for dating the past. Rock samples don't come with 'name tags' on them with their age.

"All the above methods for dating the age of the earth, its various strata, and its fossils are questionable, because the rates are likely to have fluctuated widely over earth history.... It is obvious that radiometric techniques may not be the absolute dating methods that they are claimed to be. Age estimates on a given geological stratum by different radiometric methods are often quite different (sometimes by hundreds of millions of years). "There is no absolutely reliable long term radiological ‘clock’. The uncertainties inherent in radiometric dating are disturbing to geologists and evolutionists..." (W.D. Stansfield, Ph.D. (Instructor of Biology, Calif. Polytechnic State Univ.) in The Science of Evolution , Macmillan, N.Y. 1977, p. 82, 84)

Another expert -

" The early authorities began the charade by stressing that they were ‘not aware of a single significant disagreement’ on any sample that had been dated at different labs. Such enthusiasts continue to claim, incredible though it may seem, that ‘no gross discrepancies are apparent’. Surely 15,000 years of difference on a single block of soil is indeed a ‘gross’ discrepancy! And how could the excessive disagreement between the labs be called insignificant, when it has been the basis for the reappraisal of the standard error associated with each and every date in existence?

"Why do geologists and archaeologists still spend their scarce money on costly radiocarbon determinations? They do so because occasional dates ‘appear’ to be useful. While the method cannot be counted on to give good, unequivocal results, the numbers do impress people, and save them the trouble of thinking excessively. Expressed in what ‘look’ like precise calendar years, figures ‘seem’ somehow better—both to layman and professional not versed in statistics—than complex stratigraphic or cultural correlations, and are more easily retained in one’s memory. ‘Absolute’ dates determined by a laboratory carry a lot of weight, and are extremely helpful in bolstering weak arguments...." (R.E. Lee, Radiocarbon: ages in error. Anthropological Journal of Canada vol.19 (3), 1981, p.9-29)

That's why I said, your beliefs are based on assumptions which are always changing.

>>Not so. Darwin himself agonised over what he observed. You and I both agree Darwin got some of his major assumptions wrong. Science has proven that (eg punctuations). Science improves and changes over time as new observations and data become available. The last 50 years have seen huge shifts in scientific thought as new evidence comes to hand. I agree that Darwin’s theory was hi-jacked by unbelievers such as Thomas Huxley to make a case against God, or lets say the Biblical account of Genesis, and given rise to much godlessness over the past 150 years. However the Intelligent Design Theory is a movement I believe will seriously challenge this ideology. As an IDT proponent, one does not need to subscribe to AiG Biblical literalism.<<

What do you mean by '
science has proven… punctuations? You're not making sense.

We always hear about "recent studies", "current estimates", "newer data", as if they are well-established, universal fact. Then people like you from your arbitrary judgment treat them as if they are irrefutable fact. And then assume 'science' and scripture are equal in authority.

But Darwin's theory was always a naturalistic endeavor to remove God from creation explaining everything in naturalistic terms. The big-bang is another naturalistic unproven theory (rejected by many scientists) which again tries to explain everything without God.

Yes the ID Movement has done some good. Showing how science rejects evolution, so surely there's no need for millions years. But they don't say who God is. Anyone can be a '
proponent' of Intelligent Design – Muslim, Jew, Mormon, Jehovah's Witness, Christian, non-Christian, etc. With only half the story they remain silent on the rest. And Noah's Flood?

>>Science acknowledges catastrophic changes and events.<<

For years and years they denied any
catastrophic changes. 'The present is the key to the past' was their motto. The evidence for Noah's Flood is so obvious they have HAD to change their dogma and accept catastrophic events. Today, we know there has been a world wide flood. The earth has plenty of evidence of a catastrophic event - millions of dead things in rocks. Huge fossil grave yards, bones twisted and mixed up, sea shells miles in land. And the Polystrate tree trunks, bent, missing columns, coal, oil deposits, rock formations, ancient records of a flood and Mt St Helens all tell the same story. All these support flood geology and deny 'millions of years'.

Scientific tests have shown the layers in the rocks are best explained by water deposits, rather than one layer per year. The millions of years disappear when you realize Noah's Flood, better explains the evidence.

But many (like you) refuse to believe. "For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished" (1 Pe.3:6).

>>One need to swallow the total Bible as being infallible and inerrant to be a Christian. It was probably written by over 40 authors over some 1500 years. You may accept in faith that it (the Bible) is infallible. I see much evidence to the contrary.<<

A person becomes a Christian by hearing the good news of the gospel and accepting Jesus as their Saviour. How did you become a Christian?

The fact is the bible is the genuine article. It's been closely, carefully and critically examined for thousands years and survived with greater dependability. Its accuracy is not still waiting to be verified. In fact, geological research is a slow and devious method when testing the Bible. Science changes, man’s knowledge is limited and men misread facts, yet the Bible has proven true prophetically, geographically and historically. The historical accuracy of the Bible is far superior to the written records of Egypt, Assyria, and other early nations.

It's usually those who reject the Bible are the ones who have never studied it. And usually those who don't know much about it don't know much about God. Yet it solves the question of truth, meaning to life and the problem of man. It reveals information, not provided by any other natural source of human investigation and does not conflict with real science.

Who should I trust, God's declaration of the beginning, or man's theories which change? You replied,


>>Here you have taken the great presumption that Genesis is all about God’s revelation. Dangerous stuff. Muslims do the same with the Koran, and Mormons with the Book of Mormon, JW’s with their WatchTower overseers in New York etc<<

But Genesis is apart of God's revelation. If you are not a child of God the bible is not the Word of God to you. I reject your poor reasons for not believing the bible. Because you think believing the bible as God's revelation is
dangerous stuff you will find more friends among the cults.

As I said, the early chapters of Genesis are vital to know man's origins, his Fall, punishment and to explain life as it is today. Otherwise, the gospel is considered foolishness, and man's sinful condition, death and decay are considered normal. The Greeks considered the gospel foolish because they didn't know Genesis 1-2 (1 Cor.1:23-24). But the Jews required a sign.

God has given us His Word, and speaks through it. If you don't walk in agreement with Him and He doesn't speak to you, I have every right to question any claim to faith you make.

>>If we look at Genesis chapters 1 and 2, there are some contradictions. For instance in chapter 2 we find God formed man before plants had germinated from the soil due to lack of rain, which incidentally in chapter 1 we find God made mature plants which produced seeds.<<

There is no contradiction. When Gen.2:4,5 says, before any plant verse 4 just gives a summary of days one and two, before the vegetation of day 3. Have you shot yourself in the foot? In order for a 'contradiction' you must take it literally at least twice. There is no doctrine, belief, practice or reality in the Christian life if you don't take the bible literally.


>> Also the Chapter 2 account of creation has the Jehovah God (a post Moses term), whereas in chapter 1, God is the Elohim (singular plurality), hence the ‘Let US make man in OUR image’ concept of God, which as a theology student you would know. This would suggest that there are two different authors to chapter 1 account and chapter 2 account of creation, with chapter 1 being a much older account due to the more ancient Elohim word for God, and that chapter 2 was written either by Moses himself or someone after Moses for whom the Jehovah God was relevant.<<

You fail to see the obvious. In Gen.2:4–6 the name Lord God (Jehovah [Yahweh] Elohim) appears for the first time, but only after the creation of man (1:27). As Elohim, God is the Creator. As Jehovah, He is in covenant relation with man. Failing to see this is the reason some Bible critics have wrongly concluded that these different names for God can only be explained by a change in authorship.

>>Jehovah is a singularity view of God and depicted as a single individual who was capable of walking in the garden, and maybe had limited knowledge as he did not know where Adam and needed to glean from Adam and Eve information on what had taken place.<<

It's not God with '
limited knowledge' but you. Once you reject scripture God becomes a mystery and unknown. In the end, you have no biblical authority for belief about God and no way of knowing what's ultimately right or wrong.

God sees all things, nothing is hidden. He knows all things and never makes mistakes. He has all power and nothings too hard. When He said, Adam where are you? The question proved — that man was now lost and that God had come to seek. It proved man’s sin and God’s grace. God takes the initiative in salvation, demonstrating the very thing Satan got Eve to doubt—His love. The question was God’s way of bringing man to explain why he was hiding, rather than expressing ignorance about man’s location. Shame, remorse, confusion, guilt, and fear all led to their clandestine behavior. There was no place to hide; there never is. (Ps.139:1-12).


>>To me its not the fine details of Genesis 1 and 2 that matters, but the principle that God made the Earth and the universe out of nothing, and spoke it into being.<<

Isn't it enough that the words "God said" are repeated about 7-8 times in Genesis 1? He revealed the details because men today would foolishly insist everything developed by itself over millions of years.


>>That we have been created in His image would mean that God is humanoid, if taken literally. However, I interpret the creating in His image as being in a spiritual, not natural likeness, which has been corrupted through selfishness (sin).<<

When I take the words In His likeness literally, it means that man was placed on earth as God’s representative over creation, and man resembles God in certain ways. It defines man’s unique relation to God. Man is a living being capable of embodying God’s communicable attributes.

Why do you keep humanizing God after your likeness, thinking He has
'limited knowledge' and His Word full of errors?

>>The concepts of Original Sin etc that have evolved in Christendom over the past 2,000 years I question, like the foreknowledge of God. Had God created mankind knowing that the die was already cast. Was mankind’s fall from Grace already programmed into the scheme of things?? If that be the case, then God is responsible for sin. The fact is that all of nature has a selfish tendency, a selfish gene? Its called survival. Did God program this into our DNA ? Absolutely.<<

What like a '
selfish gene' rather than a sinful nature? So God made us evil? Interpreting the bible with evolutionary philosophy wreaks the bible. In the end, you will blame God for man's sin. You're hostile to Him, with a heart like an unbeliever.

I suspect your problem is a spiritual one - never been born again. You might 'believe' in God, but reject His Word and have never met Him.

With the 'millions of years' idea, comes the idea that death, bloodshed, disease, thorns and suffering existed before Adams sin. The Bible is clear that death, bloodshed, disease, thorns and suffering are a consequence of sin. God requires the shedding of blood for the remission of sins (Heb.9:22). For this reason Christ came (Jn.1:29). So it's obvious Genesis is important to understand how sin and death entered the world, or you will never see the need for the Saviour.

>>This is a reasonable assumption when one looks at genetics and finds that humans share 98.7% of our genes with chimpanzees. Can you really blame them for drawing such conclusions? You and I don’t accept it and we must make a rational argument to dismiss this, and not say we don’t accept it because the Bible says otherwise.<<

Similarities between human and ape DNA are often exaggerated. This figure was not derived from a direct comparison of the sequences. Rather, the original paper (C.G. Sibley and J.E. Ahlquist, “DNA hybridization evidence of hominoid phylogeny: results from an expanded data set,” Journal of Molecular Evolution 26:99–121, 1987) inferred 97 percent similarity between human and chimp DNA from a rather crude technique called DNA hybridization. When proper statistics are applied to the data, they show that humans and chimps have only about 96 percent similarity. But we frequently hear larger figures bandied about — the alleged similarity grows in the telling!

Often overlooked is the vast differences between different kinds of creatures. Every creature has a encyclopedic information content, so even a small percentage difference means that a lot of information would be required to turn one kind into another. Since humans have an amount of information equivalent to a thousand 500-page books, a 4 percent difference amounts to 40 large books.

>>I have a very strong scientific argument against us humans being evolved from apes which has got nothing to do with ‘the Bible says’. To argue this way is somewhat naïve with genuine scientists.<<

What are they? You have given no strong arguments. I would not go to you to demolish evolution but only for criticism of those who believe the bible.

>>Lets examine this death theology. I know its one of AiG’s lynch-pins to try and make Christians embrace their warped theology. Was Christ destined to die before God created the Earth? Was the die already cast?<<

Looking at your theology, I'd rather identify with AiG. There is a big difference between the plan in God's mind to send His Son to die for sinners, than having every creature today living in expectation of death. Storms, earthquakes, disease, suffering, death and the massive decay we see today were not apart of the original creation. They tell us God cursed the ground. Or do you think a weak limited God made a poor broken down world?

>>I beg to differ. I believe you have embraced old age assumptions – the Genesis account of creation. I am not asking you to dismiss the whole Bible, just rightly divide it.<<

6,000 years is old, but that figure is bible based, not an '
assumption'. Better that, than following an atheist insisting an age according to assumptions.

You are not asking that I '
rightly divide', but that I 'rightly' reject it. Eg., contradictions and errors, etc. I am asking you to be open-minded and really believe the bible.

>>In Psalm 19, the Psalmist believed the sun went into a tent at night that God had made for it….a reasonable assumption 3,000 years ago, afterall it disappeared off the western horizon at night and had to go somewhere before it rose again in the East the next morning. As you are interested in Biblical facts, where can I find this tent? It also claims that the stars pour forth speech. Tell me how inanimate gaseous clusters of helium and hydrogen speak?<<

You must learn the difference between poetical (Psalms) and historical and literal (Genesis). The very thing you criticize others for doing. Then you wouldn't ask silly questions and be so confused. But don't assume Christians are so foolish, they know how to understand the bible.

>>To embrace the whole Bible requires you to embrace some ‘fiction’. I invite you to separate the fiction out and yet still embrace the general theme of our Creators invitation to love and know Him through acceptance of His son Jesus Christ.<<

After all your reasons not to take the bible literally, now you urge me put it into practice. We don't even know what 'love' is, if we don't take the bible literally (or seriously). And we can't
know Him or the gospel either. But why would I want to, if the bible is full of mistakes as you claim?

If the bible is not the revealed, inspired, infallible and authoritative Word of God, you cannot be sure that you even know who God is. You might have a religion, and call yourself what you like, but it is not authentic Christianity. And that’s why the bible has no real meaning, use, or authority to you.

Kind Regards
Mark


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