"...but try the spirits whether they are of God..." (1 Jno. 4:1)
Mr. Hadley and respected readers:
I am pleased to be back with you again in my third defense of this proposition to respond to the things that Tedd has brought up and also to advance further affirmative material. I, again, compliment Tedd on his gentlemanly attitude and strive to match it. I haven't had very many debates that are as amicable as this one is. I am thoroughly enjoying this one. I hope that it stays on this level all the way through.
Tedd tells us that there are evolutionists who are religious and/or Christians. They believe that God set into place the laws of physics and that those laws were specifically designed to result in life from inanimate matter. There is no doubt that these people think this way, I do, however, disagree with them. I am wondering, however, if Tedd is beginning to see the light and come to the conclusion that there is a God. He states in on page "Therefore, although I cannot disprove God's existence, I can show that his active interference is not needed to account for life as we observe it today." I am glad to know that he now sees that he is unable to disprove that God does exist.
Tedd's statement about God reaching down and interfering with the natural workings of the laws of physics in order to cause life to form, or to result in the formation of new phyla or to cause transition from one primitive lifeform to the next being unnecessary shows that Tedd is certainly headed in the direction of theistic evolution. Now I will deal with theistic evolution briefly, but this was never the purpose of my argument concerning evolution. I produced my arguments to show that there is a God, and Tedd seems to agree with me that God does exist, or at least he thinks it is at least possible.
Concerning the theory of evolution, you have the same problems with theistic evolution that you have with atheistic evolution. You still don't have enough time for evolution to work whether you are a theist or an atheist. Taking the respiratory system once again, evolution (whether theistic or atheistic) teaches that all life started out with just a simple one celled amoebae. The problem that exists is, where did the one celled amoebae come from? If there was no life then how did life spring from lifelessness? The only way you could have it (with theistic evolution) is for God to take a personal hand in the matter and make the one celled amoebae; which is nothing more than special creation (at least of the one celled amoebae). This amoebae had to have some sort of respiratory system, which had to have been created fully operational. Then you have to take into consideration all of the changes that took place from this one celled amoebae, whose respiratory system is also changing. It divides into two amoebas, both with the same respiratory system. When they both divide they, then, produce 2 more amoebas and all four have the same respiratory system.
There are only two ways, (for the doctrine of theistic evolution) that I can see for the respiratory system to change is either through mutation (the most of which are harmful) or God miraculously intervenes (again) and makes the necessary changes for this respiratory system to survive throughout the eons. If God has to intervene these many times to make sure that the species survives then what makes this position superior to mine? At least my position teaches that God is all powerful in that he did it all by himself in 6 literal 24 hour days? The theistic evolutionist teaches that God is not quite that powerful. He had to rely on natural processes to create all things, and then had to intervene whenever it was necessary to keep the species alive in order to carry out his will.
There are many ideas about how God works in the world today. Some teach that he does absolutely nothing, that he just allows things to happen by chance. I don't agree with that at all. Some teach that he miraculously intervenes in man's actions today, and I don't agree with that either. I believe that in the beginning God miraculously created the universe and all that was in it in six literal 24 hour days as Genesis chapter 1 affirms. He made the world, he made the animals, he made the sun, the moon, the stars, and man. After that the laws that he had set in motion took over. Eve gave birth to Cain and Abel by the natural processes that God had set in motion at creation. This was the extent of his miraculous intervention into man's beginnings on this earth with the exception that God gives each person a soul at conception. How, then, does God work in the world today? Through time, through man, through medicine -- in other words, his providential power. This is how he has assured that his word still indures. He providentially watches over man and uses man to carry out his will. Tedd's arguments may disprove some ideas that many who call themselves Christians hold to, but they will never destroy the fact that God is, that he works his will through mankind and that he (ultimately) is in control of all things. They will never destroy the Bible, or true Christian fundamentalism. Tedd needs to realize that just because someone promotes a doctrine which they call Christian fundamentalism, doesn't make it Christian fundamentalism. If it is not true to the Bible, it is not Christian fundamentalism.
In dealing with my argument concerning the conscience he tells us that it is possible for humans to have strong and weak consciences and even tells us about the Bible talking about a person having his conscience seared over with a hot iron (1 Tim. 4:2). He makes the premise that there are degrees of consciences, then draws the conclusion that it is possible not to have a conscience. His premise is wrong, because one does not have a weak or strong conscience. A conscience is not a thing that can be spoken of in terms of weakness or strength, such as one would talk about having a weak or a strong heart. It is not something that can be experienced empirically. Therefore one cannot have a weak conscience that doesn't function very well or one that is strong that functions better than others. One can ignore his conscience and even get to the point that he no longer cares what his conscience tells him is right or wrong. However, this is not caused by having a faulty conscience. This is caused because one decides that he wants to do what he wants to do regardless of what his conscience tells him. A pill is not going to make him any better. Therapy will not cure him. The only thing that will cure him is the word of God, but one who has gone so far as to completely ignore his conscience, even the word of God won't have much luck in causing him to do right.
What "higher animals" have something very much like a conscience? And what is that if it is not a conscience? What examples can you bring up to prove your point here?
How can mutation (most of which are harmful) explain the birth of a new characteristic like a conscience?
He says that he has misunderstood the main thrust of my argument. I am glad that he now sees what I am talking about. He says that "it is possible for some prior ancestor evolved into Homo Sapiens and the mechanism I invoke is mutation." "Evolutionist Michael Denton wrote concerning Darwin: 'His general theory that all life on earth had originated and evolved by a gradual successive accumulation of fortuitous mutations, is still, as it was in Darwin's time, a highly speculative hypothesis entirely without direct factual support and very far from that self-evident axiom some of its more aggressive advocates would have us believe' (1985, p.77)" (Creation Compromises, pp. 31,32). Most mutations are harmful aren't they? And if this is true, then how could mutation be the mechanism that was used in evolution to bring man from his earliest form to what we have today?
Then he says: "One final note on this point. In response to my mention of ancestors of man, Jerry writes: He is bordering on the idea that if one does not recognize erectus and habilis as forerunners of man, then that person is not a rational person, or a reliable source to be quoted.
I want to remind Jerry that point (3) of his argument specifically grants that evolution occurred in order to derive a contradiction or logical difficulty with that conclusion:
(3) If human beings owe their ultimate origin to evolution then this evolution must have happened on one of two ways ...
Therefore, the origin of humans from ape-like ancestors should also be granted at least long enough to examine the problem that allegedly ensues."
My point Tedd, was not to disallow anything that evolutionists say, but rather to head off the mindset that if you are not an evolutionist that your opinion isn't worth reading. You said: "Both of these species are also recognized as ancestral to modern man...". I was informing you that you were bordering on the idea that if one does not recognize them as forerunners of man, then that person is not a rational person. I can be a rational person and still not recognize erectus or habilis as being ancestral to modern man, can't I?
Tedd says that I clarified my reasons for giving point number two. I don't see that I clarified it at all. My reason for putting them there was clear as a bell to me. I was just restating my reasons for you Tedd. Then you said: "The complexity of a system is not itself an argument that rules out natural processes. For example, the intricate processes that result in weather systems across the planet are so complicated that man may never be able to model or predict them accurately, yet it is clear that they result entirely from natural causes."
The complexity of respiratory system, which relies solely on design, is far different than the complexity of weather systems which are caused by a number of things such as land mass, wind currents, etc.,. There is no specific design in the weather systems. The weather will react different tomorrow than it did today. It is the result of different things and it will be different each day. The respiratory system, however, is a system that relies on the way it is designed. It must operate the same today as it did yesterday and as it will tomorrow otherwise the body is going to break down. You are comparing apples with oranges. The two are not even comparable. That is like Farrell Till bringing up the evolution of a language in an attempt to prove macro-evolution. The two are not the same.
He tells us that the first lung "probably resulted from a mutation that produced an outpouching from the alimentary (food tube) wall in some kind of fish." Probably resulted from this? Is there any proof for it? You try to make it to where the pouch is small, but would still offer some degree of oxygen-to-blood transfer when air was gulped inside. All of this is based on mutation, I assume, which (as I have previously pointed out) is no help to evolution. Would you please show us how mutation could be responsible for this lung? Was this lung just an accident that might very well have been some sort of fin that would not have helped this fish at all? What happened before this lung came into existence? How did the oxygen-to-blood transfer work before the lung? When did it become fully operational?
I asked him if the respiratory system that we have today is the result of this lung in this fish and he says that it is. He says that "(i)f increased dependency on air-breathing was advantageous, it is expected that primitive lungs would increase in efficiency." Why? You are trying to put thought in evolution which cannot be, because evolution is simply pure chance: "Purely by chance, some varieties prove to be ill adapted to their current environment and thus disappear, whereas others prove to be adaptive, and their numbers increase" (Evolution by Peter Volpe, Grolier Electronic Publishers, 1992). This is why I say that God couldn't have used evolution to bring all that we have into existence. Evolution is pure chance; no thought, no purpose and no design. You are wanting to give those three characteristics to that to which they cannot be given. If you are going to say that primitive lungs increased because it was advantageous you are going to have to show that there was some thought behind it. Otherwise there would have been no way for the correction to have been made. When you put thought behind it, you affirm God, and if you affirm God you must logically affirm special creation thereby denying evolution.
Your thoughts about mutations producing folds and wrinkles for use in the respiratory system is false. Most mutations are harmful. If most are harmful then how did the species survive until the, few, advantageous mutations (which were necessary for the survival of the species) came along?
Next he goes back into a refutation of my argument on the Bible being of divine origin. He admits that I have adequately refuted the point of Paul not really knowing for sure when I showed that his usage of the word gnoridzo dictated that this was something that Paul knew for sure, that it was not something that he merely thought or believed without evidence. However, he says that this isn't precisely his objection. He says that he admits that the men who wrote the Bible were "very certain" that they were telling the truth. Good...there should be no more discussion on the matter.
However, after saying that he uses a statement from one of the "Heaven's Gate" members: "The main reason is that I KNOW who Ti & Do are. They are members of the Kingdom of Heaven, and I KNOW IT" and tells us that it is possible for one to be very sure of something yet still be suffering from delusion.
Tedd should know, if he doesn't already, that the English word "know" can be used in a variety of ways and that one of the synonyms of the English word know is "think" (Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, p.633). This dictionary says of the words "KNOW, BELIEVE, THINK shared meaning element: to hold something in one's mind as true or as being what it purports to be. These words are often used interchangeably with little thought of their basic signification..." (Ibid). The dictionary goes on to show that they can be used separately, but it states that they can be used interchangeably. This is not the case with the meaning of the word gnoridzo. It only has one meaning and that is of understanding or of knowledge. In English a word can mean many things, but very few words in the Greek have more than one meaning. There are different words for "know" in the Greek and some even mean "to think," but Paul did not use those words, he used a word which would show that he was telling the truth; there could be no doubt. So Paul's statement and the Heaven's Gate member's statement are not parallel.
In dealing with my argument on the authority of the Bible he says that he's not really sure what the title of the argument means. I thought the argument would explain the title. It is the authority by which man should live, seeing as it will be man's judge. Actually both of his questions can be answered in the affirmative. It is the authority by which man should live and it states that it is the authority by which man should live.
He then states that the argument requires that an argument be made that the Bible is true before the argument on the authority of the Bible can be argued. Right, and that is why I made an argument on the Bible being of divine authorship before I made this argument. That was its purpose. If it is of divine authorship, it will be true. I do have an argument for the inerrancy of the Bible, but I have not made it as of yet. I will get around to it when I deem it necessary.
Element Number Three: "The Bible Is All Sufficient."
Major Premise: "If the Bible gives us all things that will help us to live this life and be Godly, then the Bible is all-sufficient."
Minor Premise: "The Bible does give us all things that will help us to live this life and be Godly."
Conclusion: Therefore the Bible is all-sufficient.
(1) The general statements in 2 Timothy 3:16,17: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works" as well as in 2 Peter 1:3 "According as his divine power hath given us all things pertaining unto life and godliness" affirm that the Bible is all that is needed in order to live Godly in this world.
A. Had Hitler followed God's word, he would have never tortured six million Jews. Whenever men stray from the Word of God, moral atrocities are bound to happen. This is clearly seen when one looks at the holocaust that is taking place in this country which we know as abortion. Is God's word followed? Certainly not!
B. When men do things that are wrong, the Bible teaches them how to take care of those wrongs. Apart from the Bible, man has no knowledge about what to do with those feelings of guilt. The psychiatrist may instruct the patient to forget the feelings, but all that does is to cover the problem up for a while. Sooner or later the problems will resurface. The Bible tells man how to come to the blood of Christ, which washes those sins away. Then and only then can they leave their guilt behind.
C. When we do things that are wrong, the Bible condemns us for those wrongs. This is part of the work of God's Word: "And when the comforter is come, he will reprove the world of sin..." (Jno. 16:8). At one time the Holy Spirit operated through the spoken word of God, today he operates through the written word of God (which is nothing more than the spoken word of God written down).
The Nazis were condemned by this word in the Nuremberg Trails. During the trials their defense was (a) their society had its own needs and desires; (b) their society made its own laws based upon those needs and desires; (c) their society commanded that the Jews be exterminated; (d) it would have been wrong for them not to have obeyed the demands of their society. At the trials they claimed that they were being condemned by the law of an alien society--a society which had nothing to do with the Nazis. However, the prosecution appealed "to a higher law which rises above the provincial and the transient" (R.H. Jackson, closing speech in the trial). What law were they judged by? The word of God.
D. Alien sinners are taught how to become Christians:a. They are taught that they are in sin (Isa. 59:1,2; Rom. 3:23).
b. They are taught that they must hear the word (or in some other way find out what it has to say) (Rom. 10:17; Col. 4:16).
c. They are taught that they must believe in Jesus Christ (Jno. 20:30,31).
d. They are taught that they must repent of their sins (Lk. 13:3).
e. They are taught that they must confess Jesus as the Son of God (Acts 8:37).
f. They are taught that they must be baptized into Christ (in water) for the remission of their sins (Acts 2:38; 8:37-39; 22:16).
g. They are taught that they must rise to walk a new life (Rom. 6:3-5).
h. They are taught that they must obey these things from the heart (Rom. 6:17).
E. Christians are taught how to live the Christian life:a. We are taught to live in purity (1 Cor. 6:12-20).
b. We are taught to live in love (Jno. 13:34,35).
c. We are taught how to live sacrificially (Phil. 2:5-8; 1 Pet. 2:21; Mk. 8:34; Lk. 14:26).
d. We are taught how to live in submission to God's word (Lk. 14:26-33; Acts 21:13).
e. We are taught that we must recognize the authority of God by submitting to his will (Deut. 4:2).
The Bible teaches all these things, and has no need of any other book to explain it, complement it or endorse it. It is all sufficient to teach men all the things that they will need to know how to live this life and be Godly.
We will stop here and I ask you to turn your full attention to Tedd's next response
In Christ's Service,
Jerry D. McDonald
CHALLENGE is published quarterly by Challenge Publications.
Jerry D. McDonald, Editor; Michael P. Hughes, Associate Editor.