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All underlined Bible references on this page will cause a pop-up box with the verse to appear when you hover your mouse cursor over it. You can select your preferred version with the Bible Options below by pressing ‘save’. A tick against ‘Libronix’ will put a letter ‘L’ against the references, which, when clicked on, will open in the Bible.logos.com web site. The different versions available are:

Son of God

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Son of God Book

Test of Faith

By Les Sherlock

NOTES

All scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


*This review was written in September 2016, after buying the DVD and study guide produced by the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion to investigate the ‘Test of Faith’ course, advertised as running locally in October. The Test of Faith web site is here.













* As, for example, Jehovah’s Witnesses do to such verses as John 1:1 in order to distort the Bible into supporting their denial of the divinity of Jesus.



* Paul Taylor had just 70 seconds in total, in two sessions of 25 seconds and one of 20 seconds; and there was no YEC on view in the other two sessions at all! I have no problem with people producing a presentation of the views in which they sincerely believe. They have the perfect right to do so; but if they were going to invite someone to involve in their documentary, with a different viewpoint from the one they were promoting, then they should at least have had the decency to allow him time to make a proper case and have the opportunity to reply to their objections to it.

Introduction

Anyone who knows me will be unsurprised that I was decidedly unimpressed by this thinly-disguised, theistic-evolution (TE) propaganda masquerading as a balanced discussion on the topic of origins.* In my view it is dishonest and deceptive to imply in the introduction to the study guide that a fair representation will be given to the different Christian approaches. According to their on-line introduction to the course:

We have worked within a theological framework that is based on a high view of Scripture and in line with the major creeds of the Christian church. Where issues are secondary we have made that clear and laid out a range of views that Christians hold.

I find it appalling that Christians would seek to deceive the unwary by hiding the fact that this is a full-on promotion of TE and pretending it is a balanced presentation of the different beliefs regarding origins - I found absolutely nothing anywhere on their web site that explains it is TE that is being promoted.

I don’t know how you would define ‘a high view of scripture’, but in my book an interpretation that distorts clear Bible passages out of all recognition is certainly not a ‘high view’! A view that is based on “When the Bible says x it doesn’t mean x but y,” is not high! If you click here a ‘lightbox’ will show you what I believe is a good description of a high view. St Augustine (see later) is regarded as the most significant writer in the Christian Church after St Paul, and his comment on rationalism, referred to in his Reply to Faustus the Manichæan, Book XXXII:19 , says:

Your design, clearly, is to deprive Scripture of all authority, and to make every man’s mind the judge of what passage of Scripture he is to approve of, and what to disapprove of. This is not to be subject to Scripture in matter of faith, but to make Scripture subject to you. Instead of making the high authority of Scripture the reason of approval, every man makes his approval the reason for thinking a passage correct.

The truth is that the effect of an atheist denying the truth of a Bible verse is little or no different to the effect of a Christian changing the truth of a Bible verse to something other than it’s clear meaning in order to make it line up with their own reasoning: * both result in a contradiction of what God has said.

In the study guide we are told:

“…in the course material we have often laid out several different views that Christians take…”,

Yet the Young Earth Creationists’ (YEC) response to TE (for example) has barely a mention at all, thus producing one big straw-man argument against them. In fact I find it appalling that just one YEC was given a microscopic amount of time in session two * of the video to give the briefest of introductions to his position, which was immediately denounced with no opportunity for him to defend it.

The excuse in the note on page 20 of the study guide that other views are only briefly mentioned because they have been well covered elsewhere does not ‘stack up’ in a paragraph that ends,

“the documentary examines very closely the implications of ‘Theistic Evolution’.”

How can the implications of Theistic Evolution be examined ‘very closely’ when the opposing arguments of the main alternative Christian position, believed within the Church for its entire history, are almost completely ignored?

Having just attended a lecture by the eminent YEC scientist, Jonathan Sarfati,* who commented that…

“We address the best arguments of evolutionists, while evolutionists avoid the best arguments of creationists.”

…I could immediately see ‘Test of Faith’ is a clear example of this.

* Ph. D. in physical chemistry, and honours level in condensed matter physics and nuclear physics.

Anyone who has studied the topic of origins would immediately know the source of this material; but from the general tone of the writing of the study guide it is clearly intended for people who have little or no background knowledge of the subject; in which case it is underhand to say the least, that they do not make clear that it is a course produced by theistic evolutionists in order to promote their viewpoint. I can see how anyone who has not met the YEC arguments would be fooled by this presentation into thinking that TE is sound science and good theology, when in reality the reverse is the case. Indeed, it is little more than the regurgitated theories of people who dreamed up their ideas in order to explain a universe that does not require the presence of a Creator, with the Bible text manipulated in order to accommodate it.

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The Big Bang

So we are told the Big Bang theory is proven science, and this is repeated over and over again, either directly or in reference to events that are presumed to have taken place over 13.7 billion years. It is not proven science, though.* Indeed, there are many evolutionists who are now saying that scientific observation proves the Big Bang to be a fallacy. In The New Scientist, May 22, 2004, was published a ‘Cosmology Statement’ complaining that virtually all financial and experimental resources in cosmology are devoted to big bang studies, when the theory only survives through a number of ‘fudge factors’. It then appeared on the Internet and was signed by a large number of scientists across the world. The original page has now disappeared, but at the time of writing this page, the statement can be seen here, and begins:

The big bang today relies on a growing number of hypothetical entities, things that we have never observed-- inflation, dark matter and dark energy are the most prominent examples. Without them, there would be a fatal contradiction between the observations made by astronomers and the predictions of the big bang theory. In no other field of physics would this continual recourse to new hypothetical objects be accepted as a way of bridging the gap between theory and observation. It would, at the least, raise serious questions about the validity of the underlying theory.

In a lecture I attended in November 2016, given by Valerie Calderbank FRAS, she began, after telling us that the Big Bang Theory was the best explanation of the universe’s origin there is, by saying with reference to what she was about to tell us,

"If we get a better theory, then all this will be thrown away,"

…which proves that at best it is an unproven hypothesis, based on the belief that no kind of Intelligent Designer exists and therefore there can only be a naturalistic explanation for origins. So it’s foundation is not scientific observation, but the religious belief that God does not exist.

On 30 June 2012, the cover article by New Scientist consultant Amanda Gefter, “What Kind of Bang was the Big Bang?” described some serious problems with the present theories of the origin of the universe on page 35:

“We thought that inflation predicted a smooth, flat universe,” says Paul Steinhardt of Princetown University, a pioneer of inflation who has become a vocal detractor. “Instead it predicts every possibility an infinite number of times. We’re back to square one.” Tegmark * agrees: “Inflation has destroyed itself. It logically self-destructed.”



* Actually, the Bible does teach the Big Bang!

2 Pet 3:10, 12–13 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up… looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

It’s at the end of this universe, not the beginning!










* Max Tegmark, cosmologist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In ‘Test of Faith’, we are warned about the danger of ‘the God of the gaps’ idea, because at some future time these gaps could be filled by further research. However, the theistic evolutionists are making precisely the same kind of error: they are twisting the Bible to fit the ideas of fallible scientists, when on the past record these theories are very likely to change in the future – in this case when they find another way to explain the origin of the universe when they finally realise the big bang does not stand up to scrutiny.*

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* If everything exists because God created it, and it does and He did, then no naturalistic explanation will ever be able to stand up to long-term examination.

Irreducible Complexity

The topic of irreducible complexity receives a mention, with a few seconds describing the flagellum, a microscopic propulsion system used within living cells; but predictably the problem is written off as easily explained, with no serious attempt either to describe the extent of the complexity in the flagellum, or to explain how it could appear as a result of natural selection preserving mutation. It is also passed over as though the flagellum is one of a small number of irreducibly complex systems: in reality there is a vast number of different such systems in every living thing. This is a massive problem for evolution, which requires every feature of every living thing to have formed gradually, step by step, when the reality is that not one of them would have any function at all until it was fully formed, and the possibility of a system like the flagellum suddenly appearing, with about 42 structural protein parts essential to be in place before it could serve any useful purpose, is cloud cuckoo land!


However, the problem with the flagellum does not stop with its number of parts: * there is an equal difficulty with the way it is constructed within the cell. Not only has no evolutionist ever been able to give any sequence of transitional steps that would have enabled the flagellum to evolve, but they are just as stumped to explain how the construction method could have evolved gradually. If just one of the many different stages was out of the correct sequence, the flagellum would not work.

* In The Edge of Evolution, Michael Behe exposes the complete inadequacy of evolutionists to respond to his earlier book, Darwin’s Black Box, in which he mentions the flagellum as an example of irreducible complexity.

In order to try to disprove the irreducible complexity of the flagellum, evolutionists have offered the  ‘type III secretion system’ called a ‘needle-nosed cellular pump’, which has about 10 protein parts and is claimed to be a part-way stage that could be a viable mechanism. However, this is like saying that a man who cannot swim reached an island surrounded by water too deep to wade through, 42 metres from land, by jumping there; and when it is pointed out that he couldn’t jump so far saying there is an underwater projection of rock 10 metres from land acting as a stepping stone so he didn’t have to jump 42 metres! Unless something like 42 stepping stones equally spaced can be found, it is obvious that he couldn’t have got there that way. Equally, the fact that no-one can find any other transitional stage proves there is a better explanation for the secretion system, and there is. God created it at the same time as He created the flagellum! But even evolutionists accept there is a better alternative:


Where Do Type III Secretion Systems Come From? It seems plausible that the original type III secretion system for virulence factors evolved from those for flagellar assembly...” *

In other words, it wasn’t the flagellum that evolved from the secretion system through mutation increasing specified complexity * (which is never seen), but the secretion system that ‘devolved’ from the flagellum through mutation decreasing specified complexity (which is frequently seen). So there is absolutely no explanation how the irreducible complexity of the flagellum could have arisen through step-by-step evolution. **

Three more examples of irreducible complexity:

See here for an animation showing how proteins are made; here showing how they are delivered to where they are needed; and here showing how energy in the body is produced. These are put into their context in this article, which describes in layman’s terms a part of the incredible function of some of the ‘machinery’ inside every cell of your body - it will blow your mind! All of this had to be in place and fully functional before even the simplest living organism known to man could exist. * This is an impossibility both for step-by-step evolution and for life arising from non-living matter in the first place, by naturalistic means.

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*  See here for the comprehensive technical report.

* See later.


** See here for a brief description of a germ that utilises a complex of seven motors for much faster movement.



* Here is an explanation of the four-dimensional complexity of DNA that scientists are struggling to comprehend; and explains the impossibility of an evolutionary origin for it, as shown here.

The Common Ancestor

Francis Collins tells us that humans and chimps divided from their common ancestor four to five million years ago. I have gone into some detail on this topic in my challenge, but the impossibility of this claim can be seen quite clearly when you consider what it requires. Briefly and simply, we have over three billion base pairs in our DNA. Chimps have over 10% more DNA than humans. So there is a minimum difference of 300,000,000 base pairs that had to mutate in 5,000,000 years. If you take the impossibly short period of ten years per generation and assume the same amount of change in both lines leading to chimps/humans, then on average 30 base pairs had to mutate in every generation.*

But this is contrary to the theory of natural selection, which needs every change to have several generations in order for the advantage to select for the mutation. Ten generations would be nowhere near long enough for this to happen, but even this would require 300 mutations to take place at every mutation. Observation shows that on average there is a mutation of about 100 base pairs that each generation passes on to the next; far too small for what is required. And this does not look at the impossibility of having a mutation of this size that could produce 300 base pairs of the right type in the right place.** And this takes no account of the fact that the largest observed mutation selected for by natural selection is of just two base pairs, from Lenski’s experiments with E. Coli; which was such a rare event it only happened once in one of twelve populations, each of which was larger than could ever have existed in the supposed line from a common ancestor to man/chimps, and this was after 30,000 generations! ***





* As there are four different base pairs, the odds of 30 base pairs mutating to any specific sequence are approximately one chance in 4,600,000,000,000,000,000. Even if every time there were one billion valid sequences, this merely reduces the odds to one chance in 4,600,000,000! Impossible to happen even once, let alone 500,000 consecutive times.


** The odds of this happening are one chance in 165 followed by 180 zeros!

*** See here for more on Lenski’s experiment.

* In the past evolutionists have sidestepped the problem by claiming 95% of our DNA is junk, and therefore is irrelevant. But after 40 years of promoting this lie, the results of the ENCODE project, published in 2012, finally exposed it for the deception is has always been (as creationists have said all along!). Even just taking account of 5% produced an impossible situation for the evolutionists: the ENCODE project has completely blown the theory out of the water by proving it is not junk!



* Circular because: [A] Evolution is true because early humans were less intelligent, hence the use of simple parable. [B] Early humans were less intelligent than us because we have evolved to a higher level since then. Thus: they were less intelligent because we have evolved; we have evolved because they were less intelligent!

This difficulty is known as Haldane’s dilemma,* but evolutionists, like ‘Test of Faith’, pretend it is not a problem and ignore it. Of course most evolutionists are atheists/agnostics, so they have a greater difficulty than theistic evolutionists, who could claim that God stepped in and produced these mutations: it is blatantly obvious that random mutation could never beat such impossible odds. But apart from the fact of the vast number of transitional forms that would be required, none of which have ever been found, one has to ask, if God did it that way, why did He lie about it? Why didn’t He say it the way He did it? In any case, the theory has been dreamed up by people wanting to show how life could appear without a Creator, and TE are simply accepting their theory without question; so claiming God would step in to act differently from a naturalistic explanation is hardly consistent. To do this would be to invoke a ‘God of the Gaps’ argument (God did the bits scientists cannot explain), which Test of Faith says should never be used.

The notion (not mentioned in Test of Faith) that the people living at the time Genesis was written did not have the intellect to understand anything other than a kind of fable is circular reasoning.* It assumes evolution is true and that we are constantly improving and amongst other thing getting more intelligent with the passage of time. This is contrary to observation, though. As previously mentioned, humans pass on about 100 mutations in every generation, and some years ago doctors told us there are over 1,000 human ailments that are due to this mutation. So observation shows that we are deteriorating, not improving, which is exactly what is to be expected by a YEC and the opposite of the requirements of evolution. So if anything, early man would be more intelligent than us, not less!

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The Teaching of the Bible

There is little point in me discussing how theistic evolution contradicts the teaching of the Bible, because I have done so in my responses to Rescuing Darwin, coauthored by Denis Alexander who features in ‘Test of Faith’, and to the debate involving Alister McGrath (also featured in ‘Test of Faith’) with Richard Dawkins.* I would like to mention one very obvious contradiction, though, which of course was ignored in this video.



* There is also more detail in Six Days. Another person featuring frequently in the video, John Polkinghorne, lost my respect some years ago in a debate I attended, when he claimed that the Behemoth was a mythical creature. But where it is mentioned, God says He made it. How can God make a mythical creature? This claim is self-contradictory: either Behemoth was mythical, in which case God did not make it; or God made it, in which case it was not mythical! And how could Job look at a mythical creature? If it was mythical it did not exist, so he could not see it! If a theologian cannot understand this logic, then his views are not worth considering.

Job 40:15  "Look now at the behemoth, which I made along with you; He eats grass like an ox.






* Calling the present day ‘the end’.

The first words of Genesis chapter one are:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

So God did two things in Gen 1:1: He created the heavens in the beginning and He created the earth in the beginning. According to TE He created the heavens in the beginning, and created the earth around 10 billions of years after the beginning. So TE contradicts the Bible from the very first sentence!

Perhaps at this point it is worth mentioning that Jesus said:

Mark 10:6–7 But from the beginning of the creation, God 'made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife…

On page 34 of the Test of Faith study guide is a diagram describing the history of the earth in a time-scale of one year. So the formation of the earth is on January 1st. The earliest homo sapiens is shown as appearing at 11.42 p.m. on December 31st. But the earth is supposed to have formed around 10 billion years after the beginning of creation, so if the history of the universe was shown in the same way, the earliest homo sapiens would have appeared probably about one second before midnight on the last day of the year (if not later!). Jesus said they were created male and female from the beginning of creation: theistic evolution says they were created very close to the end of it! *

So we now have the choice whether to believe a man-made theory dreamed up to mesh with the atheistic notion of having a universe without a God, or to believe Jesus. Indeed, it has been said by at least one theistic evolutionist that the New Testament writers (who were taught by Jesus, of course *) got it wrong! Well I’m sorry - Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, and anyone contradicting Him is none of those things. So there’s no contest for me - I choose Jesus! And thankfully, in choosing Him I choose a description of origins that is consistent with scientific observation (as opposed to the religious beliefs of evolutionary atheistic scientists, who on the strength of their faith that God does not exist have produced a science fiction that has the universe creating itself; and theistic evolutionists, who have been hoodwinked by the former into compromising the clear teaching of scripture to fit the theory).

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* Including Paul, who was taught by Jesus (Galatians 1:12) as one born ‘out of due time’ (1 Corinthians 15:8) and validated by the other apostles (Galatians 2:2,9; 2 Peter 3:15) and whose teaching was the word of God (1 Thess 2:13)

The Multiverse

Mention is made of the multiverse theory: if ever there was evidence for the impossibility of evolutionary claims,* it is here, since it is effectively the ‘Big Bangers’ admitting that creationists have been right all along! For decades YEC have been saying that the probability of a universe with planet Earth bearing life is so low, it could never have happened at all through naturalistic causes, because of the large number of fine-tuning requirements. And of course, evolutionists have been scoffing at this. However, now the evidence for ‘fine-tuning’ is so clear they cannot avoid it, they have decided that there is an infinite number of universes, which therefore means there is an infinite number of different ways they could exist, ours being one of them. So they now agree that the chances of a single universe such as ours being ‘just right for life’ is completely implausible.


* I am well aware that the study of the origin and development of the universe is different to the study of the origin and development of life; but evolutionists automatically subscribe to naturalistic origins for the universe and frequently refer to its evolution. Therefore it is all a part of the same package. The processes in the evolution of the universe and the evolution of life may be very different, but both are evolution since both require progressive development from simple and chaotic to complex and orderly!

This is just one way in which evolutionary theory has changed tack in order to maintain its religious belief that God does not exist, when later evidence emerges to show that previously held ideas of origins - always promoted as proven science at the time, notice - are untrue. Yet theistic evolutionists compromise the plain teaching of the Bible in order to line up with these views!

As an aside, the multiverse theory, which is completely without any kind of scientific evidence,* is a misunderstanding of the laws of chance. As an example, when tossing a coin the chance of it falling ‘heads’ is two to one since there are two different ways it can land. So if you toss ‘heads’ the first time, then the next time you try it will fall ‘tails’ won’t it? Not necessarily! Every time you toss the coin the chance of it falling ‘heads’ will be two to one: so even if you have had a run of five heads, the next time you toss, it will still be a two to one chance of it being the same again, because the coin does not ‘know’ what went before!

* As even ‘Test of Faith’ admits on page 73 of the study guide.

This means that in a multiverse, every one of the infinite number of universes, if they contain suns and planets, will be subject to the laws of physics.* In every one the chances of everything falling into the right order such that life can form on a planet will be equally so enormous it could never happen by random processes. So having an infinite number of universes does not mean every imaginable eventuality is bound to occur - it means the impossible requirements for a fine-tuned universe without an ‘intelligent designer’ will equally be unlikely in every single one of them! ** This is one more example of the saying, “When people stop believing the Bible they don’t just believe nothing - they believe anything!”

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* So, for example, you could never have a universe where time runs backwards, or gravity repels rather than attracts, or a sun’s rays make things colder.

** Just as with an infinite number of coin tosses, the odds of ‘heads’ will be two to one in every toss.

 








* Augustine, De Civitate Dei (The City of God) available here.







* So even if it were the case that every time Augustine mentioned Genesis One he said it was purely allegorical (but it wasn’t!), it would still be invalid to quote him in support of TE because the age he placed on the earth makes any kind of microbe-to-man evolution absolutely impossible. And it certainly falsifies the claim that a 6,000 year-old creation has only been promoted as orthodox Christian belief for about 100 years.

(This comment added 12.1.17) Since November 2016 I have spent many hours reading Augustine’s works (although it would take years rather than months to read through the massive body of work he produced) and I am becoming rather fond of this man, whose passion for scripture shines like a beacon from all his writing. Two points:

[1] He says the proof of the validity of all the books of the New Testament is undeniable (in his reply to Faustus the Manichæan, book XXXII:21) and since he lived over 1600 years closer to their writing than us, with documentation available to him that has long since vanished, he was in a far better position to know this than those living in the 21st century.

[2] Some of his ideas are clearly wrong: e.g. frogs being formed from rain and lice from perspiration; but in this he was simply echoing the belief of the day, which is a clear lesson on the danger of elevating current scientific truth above the Bible. (It was no different to all the evolutionists, during most of my lifetime, saying 95% of human DNA was junk, until this was proved to be error.) However, I have been considerably encouraged to see both in his writing and that of other early ‘Church fathers’, the literal understanding of both Old and New Testaments I have reached was taught by them all those years ago.












* Emphasis mine. Almost as though he knew that in the 21st century it would be claimed that “the first chapter of Genesis is not meant to be read literally,” he specifically refutes this charge, which no doubt was unfairly pointed at him then as it is now!

6,000 year old Creation: a theory 100 years old?

David Wilkinson claims in Part Two of this video that the idea of a literal Genesis and young Earth is a recent innovation of only around 100 years. Quote:

For me, that way of reading Genesis One as a creation of only 6,000 years old is probably only a century old in terms of being stated as orthodox Christian belief. If you look back at the early Church fathers, in Augustine for example, Augustine was very clear about how the first chapter of Genesis is not meant to be read literally, it’s meant to be read in terms of pictures and images. And Augustine was very clear that the message of Genesis was an introduction to the Creator God, and excitement was just how great He is.

Here are some quotes from Augustine’s most famous work, City of God.*

Book X.

Chapter 7.-Of the Nature of the First Days,  Which are Said to Have Had Morning and Evening, Before There Was a Sun.

…the first three days of all passed without sun, since it is reported to have been made on the fourth day. And first of all, indeed, light was made by the word of God.

Book XII.

Chapter 10  Of the Falseness of the History Which Allots Many Thousand Years to the World’s Past. *

 Let us, then, omit the conjectures of men who know not what they say, when they speak of the nature and origin of the human race… They are deceived, too, by those highly mendacious documents which profess to give the history of many thousand years, though, reckoning by the sacred writings, we find that not 6,000 years have yet passed.

Chapter 12.–How These Persons are to be Answered, Who Find Fault with the Creation of Man on the Score of Its Recent Date.

As to those who are always asking why man was not created during these countless ages of the infinitely extended past, and came into being so lately that, according to Scriptures, less than 6000 years have elapsed since he began to be….

 Chapter 21.–That There Was Created at First But One Individual, and that the Human Race was Created in Him.

And therefore God created only one single man… And indeed He did not even create the woman that was to be given to him as his wife, as he created the man, but created her out of the man, that the whole human race might derive from one man.

Chapter 23.–Of the Nature of the Human Soul Created in the Image of God

God, then, made man in His own image… And when he had formed the man out of the dust of the earth… He made also a wife for him… and her He formed of a bone taken out of man’s side…

Book XIII. Argument–In this book it is taught that death is penal, and had its origin in Adam’s sin.

Chapter 1.–Of the Fall of the First Man, Through Which Mortality Has Been Contracted.

He had so made them, that if they discharged the obligations of obedience, an angelic immortality and a blessed eternity might ensue, without the intervention of death; but if they disobeyed, death should be visited on them with just sentence…

Chapter 12.–What Death God Intended, When He Threatened Our First Parents with Death If They Should Disobey His Commandment.

When, therefore, it is asked what death it was which God threatened our first parents… whether it was the death of soul, or of body, or of the whole man… we must answer, It is all.

Chapter 21.-Of Paradise, that It Can Be Understood in a Spiritual Sense Without Sacrificing the Historical Truth of the Narrative Regarding The Real Place.

On this account some allegorise all that concerns Paradise itself, where the first men, the parents of the human race, are, according to the truth of holy Scripture, recorded to have been; and they understand all its trees and fruit-bearing plants as virtues and habits of life, as if they had no existence in the external world, but were only spoken of or related for the sake of spiritual meanings. As if there could not be a real terrestrial Paradise! [He then lists a number of other historical events in the Old Testament that can be allegorised] …These and similar allegorical interpretations may be suitably put upon Paradise without giving offence to any one, while yet we believe the strict truth of the history, * confirmed by its circumstantial narrative of facts.

Reply to Faustus the Manchinaean, Book XII:8 Faustus denies that the prophets predicted Christ. Augustine proves such prediction from the New Testament, and expounds at length the principle types of Christ in the Old Testament.

In the creation God finished His work in six days, and rested on the seventh.

It can be seen from the above that however Augustine viewed the first chapter of Genesis, he taught an orthodox understanding of the Bible in that the Earth is less than 6,000 years old; the sun was created on the fourth day and God used an alternative form of light for the three days before this; Adam was formed from the dust and Eve from Adam’s side; death is the result of sin and they would never have died had they not sinned; and his allegorical interpretation of Genesis was in no way intended to imply it is not a true account of historical events. I have used so many quotes (although by no means all that could have been used) to demonstrate that his teaching very clearly and strongly contradicts the claim made against him by Test of Faith. All of this contradicts TE and shows that if he were alive today, Augustine would not be in the TE camp.

The reason Test of Faith quote Augustine (in the mistaken belief that his teaching supports their position) is in order to state that it was an accurate representation of the early Church’s belief and therefore we should accept it today.* The truth is that his teaching contradicts TE and supports YEC; therefore it would be most inconsistent for them not to take their own advice and accept what he said!

There is an excellent overview of Augustine’s teachings here, which explains (although does not excuse) the reason TE tries to use them in support of their theory. It is clear that his thinking developed over time and was heavily influenced by the wrong beliefs of his day about science,* an inaccurate translation of Genesis (the Vetus Latina, the Old Latin text of the Bible), and the need to address theological issues prevalent at the time but not applicable today. In his final work he made clear his belief that the world is less than 6,000 years old, as can also be seen in the above quotes from City of God. The fact that a passage may be understood allegorically does not therefore mean that it is not literally true, which his treatment of Genesis One in his various writings clearly shows. Examples can be seen in Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac (a literal event that is allegory of God’s sacrifice of Jesus) and the literal Exodus of Israel from Egypt (allegorical of the Christian’s exodus from a life of sin to becoming a child of God).

The ‘Gap Theory’ * was virtually unknown until Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847) started promoting it. The ‘Day-Age Theory’ ** was unheard of until Anglican theologian George Stanley Faber (1773-1854) produced it. In contrast, Theophilus, 7th Bishop of Antioch, wrote in c180 AD: ***

“All the years from the creation of the world amount to a total of 5698 years, and the odd months and days.”

Origen (182-251), who was one of the first to try to work out the doctrine of the Trinity from the Bible, wrote: *

…the Mosaic account of the creation, which teaches that the world is not yet ten thousand years old…

The eminent early theologian, Basil ‘the Great’ (AD 329-379), writes, regarding the Hebrew in Gen 1:5 where it says ‘there was evening and there was morning, one day’:*

“It is as though it said: 24 hours measure the space of a day, or that, in reality a day is the time that the heavens starting from one point take to return there.”

Leading theologian Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) wrote: *

Thus we find it said at first that “He called the light Day”: for the reason that later on a period of 24 hours is also called day, where it is said that “there was evening and morning, one day.”

Martin Luther (1483-1546), in the first chapter of Luther's Works, Volume 1: Genesis Chapters 1-5 (Luther's Works (Concordia)), says: *

We know from Moses that the world was not in existence before 6,000 years ago… Moreover, Augustine resorts to extraordinary trifling in his treatment of the six days, which he makes out to be mystical days of knowledge among the angels, not natural ones… Therefore so far as this opinion of Augustine is concerned, we assert that Moses spoke in the literal sense, not allegorically or figuratively, i.e. that the world with all its creatures, was created within six days, as the words read… the Decalog (Ex. 20:11) and the entire Scripture bear witness that in six days God made heaven and earth and everything in them.

Leading French reformer John Calvin (1509-1564) wrote in relation to light before the sun was created: *

Therefore the Lord, by the very order of the creation, bears witness that he holds in his hands the light, which he is able to impart to us without the sun and the moon.

And in his Complete Bible Commentary: *

The first day. Here the error of those is manifestly refuted, who maintain that the world was made in a moment. For it is too violent a cavil to contend that Moses distributes the work which God perfected at once into six days, for the mere purpose of conveying instruction. * Let us rather conclude that God himself took the space of six days, for the purpose of accommodating his works to the capacity of men.

James Ussher (1581–1656) was Archbishop of Armagh, and in his most famous work, The Annals of the World, begins: *

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Ge 1:1) The beginning of time, according to our chronology, happened at the start of the evening preceding the 23rd day of October (on the Julian calendar), 4004 BC or 710 JP.

Matthew Henry (1662-1714), author of a famous commentary, wrote: *

This was not only the first day of the world, but the first day of the week. I observe it to the honour of that day, because the new world began on the first day of the week likewise, in the resurrection of Christ, as the light of the world, early in the morning. In him the day-spring from on high has visited the world, and happy are we, for ever happy, if that day-star arise in our hearts. The Creation. B.C. 4004

John Wesley (1701-1791), founder of Methodism, wrote: *

The evening and the morning were the sixth day - So that in six days God made the world. We are not to think but that God could have made the world in an instant: but he did it in six days, that he might shew himself a free agent, doing his own work, both in his own way. And in his own time…

Monday, October 3rd, 2016 was the first day of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, and by their calendar began the year 5777. The first day of the year, Tishri 1, is dated from the day that man and woman were created, on the sixth day of creation.* So not only has an age of around 6,000 years been orthodox Christian belief ever since the founding of the Church, but is also orthodox Jewish belief. Of course, it was the Jewish people through whom God gave His word, the Bible, to the world; so their view of the dating of the Torah must be of value.


* Why quote it otherwise?



* Which highlights the hazard of trying to make God’s Word fit into changeable man-made theories.




* Gap theory = long period of time between the first two verses of Genesis.
** Day-Age theory = the days in Genesis One were not 24 hours but long periods of time.
*** Theophilus, To Autolycus (Quoted in the Genesis Account by Jonathan Sarfati, page 130)


* Origen, Contra Celsum (Quoted in the Genesis Account by Jonathan Sarfati, page 131)



* Basil, Hexaëmeron (Quoted in the Genesis Account by Jonathan Sarfati, page 123)



* Summa Theologiae (Quoted in the Genesis Account by Jonathan Sarfati, page 118)



* Available here.






* Calvin, Genesis  (Quoted in the Genesis Account by Jonathan Sarfati, page 186)



* Available here.



* So according to Calvin, God would never talk about six creation days, if He did it in a different time period, just to ‘convey instruction’.

* Available here




* Matthew Henry, The Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible, available here.




* Wesley, The Complete Commentary on the Bible, available here.




* Midrash Vayikrah Rabbah 29:3

The year 4004 for the formation of the universe has been quoted and accepted ever since Ussher calculated it,* appearing in the margins of many Bibles during this time. The oldest Bible in my possession is our family Bible, which was printed in 1855, as can be seen from the date (MDCCCLV) at the bottom of the first page.









Ussher’s work is included in the margin right from Genesis One. See below:

.

From all this it can be seen that the founding fathers of the Church accepted a literal understanding of Genesis One; that the reformation resulted from the work of people who continued to believe this; an age of the earth of around 6,000 years (dating from the present) has been included in Bibles at least since the middle of the nineteenth century (but probably much earlier than this); and therefore this understanding of Genesis has been a basic belief of the Christian Church for its entire history. Yet Test of Faith, who deliberately included David Wilkinson’s claim in the documentary, are promoting his statement:

“…that way of reading Genesis One as a creation of only 6,000 years old is probably only a century old…”

I believe I have given here evidence that this is incorrect. It is for the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion to say why they are relying on this wrong claim; but its inclusion seriously undermines the credibility of the Test of Faith course.

.
* If not exactly that year, then one in the same ‘ball park’. Notice an age of the earth in the region of 6,000 years was accepted by some eminent scientists:

Johannes Kepler (1571–1630), who formulated the laws of planetary motion, calculated a creation date of 3992 BC. Also, Sir Isaac Newton (1643–1727) is widely regarded as the greatest scientist of all time, but he wrote more on biblical history, and vigorously defended a creation about 4,000 BC.

See here for the source of the above quote.











The relevant part of the page expanded:


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Young Earth Creationists throw away all physics *

A ludicrous claim is made by Simon Conway Morris:

If you want to be a Young Earth Creationist you have to throw away all physics, most obviously the radioactive decay of the elements… If you won’t accept that sort of physics, then why are you accepting the sort of physics that allows an aeroplane to fly… these are the same sort of physics.


* YEC do not reject science: they reject the assumptions by which evolutionists interpret science in order to prove an ‘old’ universe that created itself.

Utter nonsense! There’s the world of difference between unprovable science that conjectures on untestable events of the past based on what can be observed in the present (historical science), and provable science that is entirely based on experimentation in the present (operational science).* I think Stuart Burgess would take a dim view of this statement: he is a scientist who is a YEC and who not only has been responsible for design in vital elements in satellites launched into space, but recently hit the headlines as one of those responsible for the design of the cycles used by the highly successful UK Gold medallists in the 2016 Olympic Games! And what about Dr. Raymond Damadian, the YEC who invented the MRI scanner, which has saved a huge number of lives? The reality is that modern science is founded on the work of YEC of the past, like Keppler and Newton for example, who believed that the God of the Bible would create a universe that is predictable and capable of investigation (Keppler wrote: The chief aim of all investigations of the external world should be to discover the rational order and harmony which has been imposed on it by God and which he has revealed to us in the language of mathematics - De fundamentis astrologiae certioribus, Thesis 20, 1601).** I don’t care how eminent Morris is, such an illogical and unscientific argument discounts him as irrelevant in my view!

At one point in the video we are told that TE is accepted by the majority of believing biologists today. One wonders how they calculated this; but even if it is the case, it is hardly an argument on which to determine truth. After all, most scientists in the world believe in atheistic/agnostic evolution; so if one determines truth by majority opinion, there is no room either for TE or YEC! Indeed, very often in scientific endeavours it has been the minority opinion that has turned out to be the correct one. However, since ‘Test of Faith’ places such store on the number of scientists believing their theory, perhaps they should read the book In Six Days, which is free on-line from the link, or can be bought as a paperback. It is written by 50 YEC scientists, each with a chapter on their own speciality and covers all the disciplines involved in the creation/evolution debate. We can all play at the numbers game! *

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* This an example of the bait-and-switch arguments on which evolutionists rely: using observations of one thing to prove something completely different. And of course radiometric dating is dependent on three assumptions, which are: we know the starting position; the rate of change has never altered; and nothing has happened to add to or subtract from the samples under consideration. Since evolutionists bring their uniformitarian and Old Earth assumptions to all dating methods, it is hardly surprising they get the results they want!

** Sir Isaac Newton said:

“We account the Scriptures of God to be the most sublime philosophy. I find more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history whatever.”



* See here and here for a very long list of YEC scientists, past and present.



* The same type of argument applies to the flagellum and the secretion system: evidence for a loss of complexity is used to prove an increase.

Dogs and Cats

The typical ‘Bait-and-Switch’ * tactic, so frequently used by evolutionists, is on show here too. On page 33, under the heading, ‘What is Evolution?’, We are told:

There is a huge amount of variation in nature - you only need to think of dogs or cats to realise this.

The variation seen in dogs and cats has absolutely nothing to do with evolution - it is natural selection,* which is a completely different process. Natural selection is the process where existing information in DNA is either shuffled, damaged or lost and where this confers advantage it is preserved in succeeding generations. In order for evolution to occur, new, additional information must arise to code for features not previously seen in the species. The only possible means this can happen is by mutation, but since mutation is a mistake in the copying process of DNA, it is always a reduction in the specified complexity ** of the coding and never an increase. No-one can offer a single example of specified complexity increasing as a result of random change; yet for evolution to have created all living things it must have happened billions of times over.*** This is one more observation of how things function that flies in the face of evolutionary theory, yet ‘Test of Faith’ never even mentions specified complexity!

.
* Albeit artificially produced: in the wild, natural forces are the cause; where in domestic animals it is deliberate selection by humans.


** DNA is specified because it all has to be in a specific sequence in order to function; and it is complex because there is a lot of it!
*** Observation shows that random events always produce disorder out of order; evolution requires the opposite.




* Defining ‘evolution’ with the same meaning as Darwin in the title of his book.

** To quote Dr Geoff Barnard, molecular biologist, formerly of Cambridge University and now working in Israel.

*** The word ‘kind’ is used deliberately here: God made all livings things after their own ‘kind’. So while quite large variation can take place within a ‘kind’, one ‘kind’ can never change into a different ‘kind’ and where different ‘species’ have a common ancestor, this proves they are of the same ‘kind’.


**** This is like showing a tsunami destroying a coastal village and using it as evidence that it can sometimes build one.

The conclusion under the heading of ‘What is Evolution?’ is:

Eventually these… become so different that they will form a new species that cannot breed with any animals outside their own group.

This is still not evolution! * Some cats may vary such that they cannot breed with other cats; but they are still cats! It is impossible for them to become dogs or rabbits or any other kind of creature, because this would require dog, rabbit or other creature information to enter their DNA, and there is no mechanism ** to enable this to take place. If you want to believe this happens, then you must believe it by faith, because there is no example anywhere of any creature at a part-way stage in developing wings, eyes, or any feature that would change them from one kind *** of creature to a different kind. The comparatively minuscule number of transitional species evolutionists claim to have observed (compared to the billions and billions that would have had to exist) are better explained as examples of damage through accident, mutation or disease that has gone in the opposite direction to that required by their theory. Two such examples are fish that have lost their eyes, living in water in caves without any light; and insects on a windy island that have lost their wings. Eyes unable to see in a dark cave can become damaged and cause disease and death; insects with wings can be blown out to sea where those without can survive. Both are advantaged by the mutation, but it is a decrease of specified complexity and not an increase, so is the opposite process to that required by evolution. Yet via bait-and-switch, evolutionists use these examples to prove evolution! ****

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Science Proves an Old Universe?

The claim is made in the video that all scientific observations agree on an old age for the universe and the earth.* This is untrue! The carbon within diamonds has been carbon dated to be tens or hundreds of thousands of years old at the most - when they have been buried in rocks dated many millions of years old.** Rocks known to have formed recently have similarly been dated orders of magnitude older than their actual age.*** There is something very obviously wrong with dating methods when they contradict in this way.


* My summary

** See here and here

*** See here and here

Even more telling, though, is the soft tissue and DNA found in dinosaur remains.* This is such a serious problem that when it was first discovered, evolutionists universally dismissed the claims as mistaken. However there has been so much evidence since the initial discovery that they can no longer put it down to some kind of error. The remains are definitely dinosaur, and it is certainly dinosaur soft tissue and DNA that has been found. The problem is that we know the rate that DNA and soft tissue deteriorates: and after a few thousand years - tens of thousands at the very most - there would be nothing left of either. But dinosaurs died out 55 million years ago according to evolutionary theory!

* See here and here

The response has been predictable. If evolutionary scientists did what they claim and followed the scientific evidence, they would now be reevaluating the time when dinosaurs became extinct. But if they did this the entire evolutionary theory would collapse like a house of cards, because for such a recent extinction, the assumptions on which their dating methods are based would be shown to be incorrect, and there would not be time for all the evolution that is supposed to have followed that extinction. So they are simply shrugging their shoulders and saying that somehow the soft tissue and DNA must have survived for 55 million years.


This is untenable. All observation of DNA has shown the rate at which it deteriorates, and it is orders of magnitude faster than the 55 million years required. For many years evolutionists have been mocking YEC for maintaining their belief in a few thousand years for the age of the earth when dating methods show something very different; but now they themselves are maintaining their belief in 55 million years contrary to scientific observation. This is clear evidence that evolutionary theory is based, not on science, but on the religious belief that God does not exist; and that the assumptions that produce millions and billions of years from the various radiometric dating methods are incorrect.


Stephen Hawking said,

“…you can disprove a theory by finding even a single observation that disagrees with the predictions of the theory” *


* ‘A Brief History of Time’, page 11.

Dinosaur DNA and soft tissue is the observation that disproves their extinction 55 million years ago; and TE base their interpretation of the Bible on such faulty reasoning. It is very obvious that this interpretation would never arise from the Bible alone, because it takes some considerable mental gymnastics to turn six days into 13.7 billion years, or to align with evolutionary theory the clear statements in the New Testament showing that Jesus and His followers accepted Genesis as the work of Moses under Divine guidance and the literal history of the universe including a world-wide flood that could never have taken place if evolution is correct.* It is only by subjecting the Bible to the outside influences of man-made reasoning (which, as I have shown, proves to be faulty on a regular basis), that one could distort it into agreeing with evolutionary theory.




*If a world-wide flood happened, then the fossil record and sedimentary layers around the world are the evidence. If these layers are the result of millions of years of evolution, then there is no evidence of a world-wide flood. The notion that Noah’s flood was purely local is ludicrous - why on Earth would he spend many decades building an ark when only local animals and people would drown? It would be far more reasonable for him to have evacuated everything that went onto the ark to a place of safety in far less time than his ship-building took! And it makes nonsense of God’s statement that He would never again flood the Earth, because there have been thousands of local floods since that time!


* It has certainly tested mine!


AFTERTHOUGHT

My wife said this morning (Sept 20), “If everything is supposed to have evolved, did angels evolve as well?” Good question! While it can be dangerous to argue from silence, there is no hint anywhere that angels have babies and without procreation there can be no evolution, so they must have been created fully formed. If God created spirit beings in this way, why would He create physical beings any differently? However, evolution requires survival of the fittest, which means suffering and death for the weakest. Since God’s intention for eternity future is for no pain and death, Rev 21:4, it is most unlikely He allowed it in eternity past either. So why would He use an enemy, 1 Cor 15:26, (and call it very good, Gen 1:31), to create all physical living things when He didn’t do so to create spiritual living things?






* Although I have continued to tinker with it since, making minor changes here and there, and adding the post script.

Around a century or so ago, evolutionists claimed on the basis of evolutionary theory that humans had over 100 vestigial organs: this claim has proved to be false. For 40 years they claimed that Piltdown Man was ‘the missing link’: this proved to be a fraud. For 40 years they claimed that 95% of our DNA is junk: this too was wrong. So why should the unreliable theories of people who do not want to believe in the existence of God be considered the ultimate means of interpreting the unchangeable and inerrant word of God?

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Conclusion

There is much more I could mention in ‘Test of Faith’, which perhaps would be better named ‘Test of Patience’; * but I think I have said enough. If I appear to have come across rather strongly in my response, then I apologise: the reason is that I am appalled that Christians would so deceptively present their point of view as though it were a balanced consideration giving a complete picture of the topic. If TE wish to hold and promote their view, then it is their right to do so. I have no problem with that; but the deceptive way Test of Faith is not openly shown to be a promotion of theistic evolution, the distortions by the unfair treatment of someone of a different point of view (as with Paul Taylor), the inaccurate quoting of Augustine and claim that a ‘young earth’ was only taught from about 100 years ago, the use of bait-and-switch, and ignoring basic arguments contrary to TE; all of this is unacceptable in a Christian presentation!

Proverbs 18:17 He who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him. (RSV)

I am most concerned that the unwary could easily be fooled into thinking TE is the only valid theological and scientific approach to origins for the Christian. At the heart of Christianity is faith; and TE, by undermining trust in the inerrant word of God, seriously undermines faith. I strongly suggest that anyone attending this course takes a good long look at such web sites as Answers in Genesis or Creation Ministries, to see the other side of the story, and then come to a reasoned conclusion based on seeing both sides of the argument. You will certainly not have a balanced viewpoint as a result of seeing ‘Test of Faith’ alone! I quote the apostle Peter to conclude:

2 Peter 3:15–16 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

Late addition! Although this was written by Dr. David A. DeWitt (an associate professor of biology at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, who received a BS in biochemistry from Michigan State University and a PhD in neuroscience from Case Western Reserve University) two years before I produced this page, I am glad I only saw it (12.11.2016) after I had finished,* as it confirms some key points I made. If you are tending toward theistic evolution, please read it!

Even later addition!

I bought three scientific magazines between February and March 2017. The February issue of Scientific American, in its cover story “What’s wrong with Cosmic Inflation?” Stated,

“For the first time in more than 30 years, the simplest inflationary models, including those described in standard textbooks, are strongly disfavoured by observations. Of course, theorists rapidly rushed to patch the inflationary picture but at the cost of making arcane models of inflationary energy and revealing yet further problems.”

Their brief summary says,

“The data suggest cosmologists should reassess this favoured paradigm and consider new ideas about how the universe began.”

The cover story of New Scientist, 4th March, “What if the Speed of Light were Infinite?” Says,

“…a larger light speed would solve one of the biggest problems in cosmology: that the universe’s temperature is more or less the same everywhere, even though there hasn’t been enough time since the Big Bang for this thermal equalisation to have taken place.”

(The way ‘Big Bangers’ have got around this problem is by invoking the theoretical idea of ‘inflation’, but as shown above, it does not stand up to observation.) They say,

“The idea that the speed of light could be variable was radical when first proposed, but with a numerical prediction it becomes something physicists can actually test… If true it would mean that the laws of nature were not always the same as they are today.”

For decades, evolutionists have been casting howls of derision at any creationist who dared to suggest the speed of light may have been faster in the beginning of time, enabling light from distant stars to reach us in a ‘young universe’, on the basis that a different speed of light is contrary to all the laws of physics and absolutely impossible under any circumstances; but now, in order to rescue the Big Bang theory, which is in more trouble today than it has ever been, they are considering precisely the same thing.

Make no mistake about it: whatever your belief on origins it is based on faith. You either believe that the universe began with a Big Bang billions of years ago, contrary to scientific observation and the known laws of physics, with nothing to make it happen, in the religious faith that God does not exist; or you believe that the universe began due to scientific process unseen today, but initiated by an intelligent Designer of infinite power and knowledge, in the religious faith that God does exist. The greatest leap of faith is that of the Big Banger, trusting in the impossible to happen with absolutely nothing to bring it about!

The third magazine? New Scientist, 4th February, in the article “Our Planet Makes Water from Scratch,” points out that

“Earth may have an inbuilt water factory. Deep inside the hot mantle, the conditions are right for chemical reactions to turn hydrogen and rock into water.”

The conclusion is,

“The study highlights how the minerals that make up the Earth’s mantle can incorporate large amounts of water and how Earth is probably ‘wet’ in some sense all the way down to its core.”

This observation confirms what creationists have been saying for decades, that the ‘fountains of the deep’ mentioned in Genesis as one of the prime causes of Noah’s world-wide flood, were these large amounts of water forced up to the surface as a result of the Earth’s mantle breaking up in many places (either as a result of large bodies from space striking it or divine intervention). This then gives us evidence for the flood that resulted in most of the fossil and rock formations claimed by evolutionists as being evidence for millions, or even billions, of years of evolution.

There is still a vast amount scientists do not know, both about origins and the way things work; but the Christian can be confident that genuine scientific observation will always confirm the truth of the Bible, which is our Creator’s handbook in which He tells us how He did it, and what He wants of us.

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Post Script

On 27th December, 2016, I copied the following to the Test of Faith people in the ‘Contact Us’ box on their web site.

A few months ago a church local to me held a three-week Test of Faith course; so, as this is a topic I have studied for a number of decades, I bought the DVD and study guide from you. One thing I am grateful for is that this triggered me into studying the post-Acts, early-Church history, which I had not particularly considered before, since it largely confirms my own conclusions and shows little has changed in 2,000 years regarding attacks on faith and God's word. I also downloaded the entire works of St Augustine to my Kindle, and have been working my way through this huge body of writing ever since.


The result of all this is that I now know, without a shadow of doubt, that the claims you make in support of theistic evolution that [a] Augustine said the early chapters of Genesis are allegorical, not literal and [b] belief in an earth of less than 10,000 years old has only been around for about 100 years, are not the case.


In Augustine's 'City of God', book XII, Chapter 10, 'Of the Falseness of the History Which Allots Many Thousand Years to the World's Past', I read: "Let us, then, omit the conjectures of men who know not what they say, when they speak of the nature and origin of the human race… They are deceived, too, by those highly mendacious documents which profess to give the history of many thousand years, though, reckoning by the sacred writings, we find that not 6,000 years have yet passed."


In book XIII, Chapter 21 'Of Paradise, that It Can Be Understood in a Spiritual Sense Without Sacrificing the Historical Truth of the Narrative Regarding The Real Place', I read: "On this account some allegorise all that concerns Paradise itself, where the first men, the parents of the human race, are, according to the truth of holy Scripture, recorded to have been; and they understand all its trees and fruit-bearing plants as virtues and habits of life, as if they had no existence in the external world, but were only spoken of or related for the sake of spiritual meanings. As if there could not be a real terrestrial Paradise!" [He then lists a number of other historical events in the Old Testament that can be allegorised] "…These and similar allegorical interpretations may be suitably put upon Paradise without giving offence to any one, while yet we believe the strict truth of the history, confirmed by its circumstantial narrative of facts."


From this, and a number of other quotes I could have included, is it very clear that a 'young earth' has been accepted throughout Church history and Augustine definitely believed in the literal understanding of the early chapters of Genesis. I hope, therefore, you will check that what I have quoted is accurate (it is simple to install a Kindle reader onto a computer and download Augustine's works), remove the segment from your DVD that makes these false claims before selling any more copies, and put a correction on your web site for the sake of those who have already bought them. To do nothing would be to turn an error into a deliberate lie, and I am sure as Christians you would not want to do that.


Since the relevant segment in Part Two of your DVD has David Wilkerson saying nothing other than these two points and he is one of the theistic evolutionists making a major contribution in your presentation, it is obvious that he is speaking on behalf of Test of Faith and promoting your belief - otherwise you would not have included it. You have presented Augustine as an authority in this matter, so it would be highly inconsistent for you now to say he was wrong! Therefore, to be consistent, I would expect you to accept his teaching and abandon your promotion of an 'old earth' and the theory that the early chapters of Genesis are not to be taken literally.


However, it is not merely the work of Augustine that falsifies your theory: it is theologically, logically and scientifically unsound, as you will see if you care to read this page,* which I have produced because an adequate response to Test of Faith would be impossible in an email. So I hope you will read it and realise this is not merely my writing, but I have simply put together the beliefs of many Christian and scientific writers I have come across in my studies. Above all, it is God's Word, the Bible that is the final authority; and although you say you have a high view of scripture, by promoting theistic evolution you demonstrate your view is lower than the ideas of those who have rejected its truth and who have produced a hypothesis that only considers naturalistic explanations as valid. So I pray that you will raise your view a little higher to that of the early Church fathers, whose authority you clearly accept, instead of subjugating the Bible to man-made theories by, for example, allegorising passages that are clearly intended to be taken literally.

I pray God's richest blessing on you all in the New Year,

Les


* Unfortunately, the Test of Faith web site stripped out all paragraph and emphasis markings, and also removed this hyperlink to my site.


I received an email in reply on 5th January 2017, making the following points:

Augustine did have different views to David Wilkerson and believed Adam and Eve were real people and the world was created in an instant; but Wilkerson’s point was that Augustine is an example of church tradition that Genesis’ creation narrative should not be taken at face value by someone living in a different culture to the one in which it was written. There was then a quote from Augustine:

"In matters that are so obscure and far beyond our vision, we find in Holy Scripture passages which can be interpreted in very different ways * without prejudice to the faith we have received. In such cases, we should not rush in headlong and so firmly take our stand on one side that, if further progress in the search for truth justly undermines this position, we too fall with it." (On the literal meaning of Genesis, book 1, chapter 18).

It concluded with recommendations for further reading.






* Since November I have read a huge amount of Augustine’s writing (although still only scratched the surface of the enormous body of work he produced), and he frequently referred to the Old Testament, interpreting it to apply to the Christian life and Church. But from the quotes I have given earlier on this page it can be seen these interpretations did not mean he therefore believed the events did not literally take place. If his allegorical interpretations of all these passages meant they were not literally true, then almost the entire Old Testament would become myth and no more relevant to our lives than the story of Atlas holding the sky on his back.

On the other hand, his warning we should “not take our stand on one side” is one Test of Faith should take to heart, since the scientific theories of origins has changed radically over the years, and by swallowing whole ‘the Big Bang’ and;’the Multi-verse’, they have set themselves up to “fall with it” when future observations render these theories untenable.


My reply on 10th January 2017 was as follows:

Hello …,

Thank you for your reply and I do appreciate you taking so much trouble in your response. I see your web site removed all the paragraph spacing and emphasis marks that were in my original document when I pasted it to you, so this would not have made it easy for you to read.

However, I am rather mystified by your reply. If David Wilkinson's point was that Augustine is an example of the church's tradition that the Genesis creation narrative "…should be interpreted and not taken at face value…," then the quotes I sent to you contradict this. Apart from the two facts that [1] there is no example anywhere in the New Testament of Genesis not being taken at face value and [2] the importance of accepting the truth of the scriptures was stressed in the writings of the early church fathers, Augustine also refers to the allegorical interpretation of Sarah, Hagar, Abraham and his two sons, and the water flowing from the rock that Moses struck; so should these not be interpreted literally too? Regarding "…not taken at face value by a reader who is embedded in a very different culture to the one in which the text was written," his reply to Faustus the Manichæan, Book XXXII:19 seems to be appropriate, which says: "Your design, clearly, is to deprive Scripture of all authority, and to make every man's mind the judge of what passage of Scripture he is to approve of, and what to disapprove of."

It doesn't matter how many quotes are given from Augustine, because when specifically clarifying if his allegorical interpretation of Genesis meant it should not be taken literally, he categorically stated that it is historical truth! He made it very clear that when he took an allegorical view of Genesis this must not be taken to mean he believed it was not factual. He said, "…we believe the strict truth of the history..." It is not valid for anyone to pretend he did not say this, which was in 'City of God' and written after 'On the literal meaning of Genesis': so it must therefore be considered his final thought on the issue.


In the introduction to Taylor's translation of 'On the literal meaning of Genesis', after explaining Augustine's literal interpretation, Taylor says: "…This is the literal sense. But further on, without rejecting the literal meaning, he suggests an allegorical meaning also," (emphasis mine). So Augustine is not an example of 'church tradition not taking Genesis literally'; and using quotes from him without taking into account the ones to which I referred is quoting him out of context and creating a straw-man argument. His 'literal interpretation' may be different to mine, probably due to the influence of contemporary thought, but this is of secondary importance to the key point that he did not say Genesis must only be interpreted allegorically. Augustine's 'On Christian Doctrine', chapter 28, is headed: "It is safer to explain a doubtful passage by other passages of scripture than by reason." Since the many references throughout the Bible to the early chapters of Genesis always take them literally - particularly Exodus 20:11; 31:17, and I don't think anyone would seriously claim the Ten Commandments are allegorical - we should follow his advice. Sola scripture (i.e. a high view of scripture) has been a fundamental principle of the Protestant Church ever since the Reformation and it is the only safe course.


You did not mention in your reply the important point I made about David Wilkerson's claim that a 'young earth' is a comparatively recent innovation; but you accept that Augustine believed in a 'young earth', so I fail to see how his claim can be justified. I see your website stripped out the hyperlink to my web page on the subject that I included. It is http://inthebeginning.org.uk/testoffaith.html, and if you read it you will see quotes from key church leaders throughout church history demonstrating the tradition of accepting Genesis as literal truth and an earth younger than 10,000 years old for the whole of its existence, and therefore falsifying the Test of Faith claim.


You recommend I read a book by Denis Alexander. I have already read one of his books (Rescuing Darwin) and my response to it can be found on my web site. I am unlikely to spend time on any more of his writing unless it is to produce another page in response. Speaking of which I have now pasted the correspondence I have had with you at the bottom of the page I have written about Test of Faith (link above), and I will be very happy to include anything of reasonable length you wish to write to me in response to this email. (Of course, as it's my web site I reserve the right to the last word!)


Finally, I am completely at a loss to understand why committed Christians would want to distort the clear teaching of the Bible in order to accommodate the opinions of people who either do not believe in the existence of God and have tried to produce a scenario in which the universe could create itself, or think He was unable to use any processes during the one-off event of creation other than those that can be observed today. (The miracles seen throughout both Old and New Testaments demonstrate God is not restricted in this way - unless it is claimed none of these must be taken literally either; in which case the Bible is rendered meaningless and open to being interpreted in endless different ways to suit every theory under the sun). This reinterpretation of the Bible is unnecessary because evolutionary theory falls at every key hurdle:


  • The problems for the Big Bang theory do not go away; and the likelihood of a universe like ours appearing through naturalistic causes is now realised to be so remote, the multi-verse theory (which even Test of Faith admits has no scientific basis) has been invented to rescue it.
  • No-one can even begin to explain how abiogenesis could have occurred via naturalistic processes.
  • There is not a single example of the increase of specified complexity through an unintelligent process anywhere in the world, so a 'simple' genome cannot evolve into a more complex one.
  • There is not a single example of an irreducibly complex system arising through random mutation anywhere in the world: molecular machinery and physical organs cannot evolve step by step since the transitional stages would not function. The only evolutionary explanation I have come across for irreducible complexity is the claim it does not exist, which is a clear example of putting one's head in the sand!
  • Even the comparatively small amount of change required to produce modern man and chimps from a common ancestor is so huge there is not enough time for it to have taken place in the few million years claimed by evolutionists - as demonstrated by my challenge on my web site.


I am sorry for taking up your time and for such a long email, as I'm sure you are very busy; but it is a big, important issue and I am deeply concerned about it, because, while some committed Christians may be able to perform mental gymnastics to align evolution with the Bible, the man in the street, (egged on by the likes of Dawkins who scoffs at the compromise of theistic evolution) believes it to have been disproved by science and ignores it as irrelevant. So this push away from the traditional church teaching of a literal Genesis and a universe less than 10,000 years old, in my view is highly damaging to the cause of evangelism and totally unnecessary since it is based on opinion and hypothesis unsupported by objective scientific observation. It is only the truth that will set people free, and it would be most profitable to repeat what our Creator has told us about how He did it and point out the many deficiencies in evolutionary dogma, since, if God is responsible for creation, no naturalistic theory is ever going to stand up to scientific scrutiny forever.


Finally, some scientific evidence pointing to the truth of the 'young earth' claim can be found in this recent web page (https://answersingenesis.org/creation-scientists/creationists-power-predict/), describing the predictions of three scientists - 'young earth creationists' - whose proposals were totally contrary to 'old earth' thinking, and yet proved to be true by later observation.

Best wishes,

Les



On 19th January I received a reply expressing surprise that I had pasted the original reply on this page and asking me to remove it. I was also told there was not time for further correspondence. My response on 21st January was as follows:


Hello …,

Thank you for your reply. As far as I was concerned, your email to me was the official response from the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion (FISR) to the message I pasted in your web site's 'Contact Us' box. It is unfortunate that your web site removed the hyperlink to my web site page on the topic of your Test of Faith course, since the main purpose of writing was to give it to the promoters of this course. However, my message did contain some key objections to the contents of the course, and I therefore felt it valid and appropriate that my web page should include FISR's answer to them.


Since you now tell me that your email was a personal message from you to me and therefore presumably not the FISR 'official' response, and you have asked me to remove it, then in the absence of an FISR reply to my objections to 'Test of Faith' I have replaced it with my own summary of the main points it contained without divulging the identity of the writer.


The raison d'être of Test of Faith is the promotion of theistic evolution, and FISR appear to have invested heavily in producing this glossy, three-part documentary, and are now promoting it around the country and supporting it with their web site; so I am astounded that when the claims on which it is based are challenged they have no one who can justify them. They should hardly be surprised that they would be expected to explain themselves when they make such ludicrous claims as "that way of reading Genesis One as a creation of only 6,000 years old is probably only a century old in terms of being stated as orthodox Christian belief," which is patently untrue, as I have shown. Well, here is an opportunity for them to do so and I repeat the offer I made to you: should FISR choose to send a response of reasonable length, then I will include it on my site. It will be for visitors to my web page to make up their own mind regarding the reason for FISR's reluctance to reply and on the merits of their case after reading the counter arguments I have given.


Best wishes,

Les




Should I receive a reply it will be pasted below. However, since months have passed with no response, the assumption is they are unable to produce one!




TOP






















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INDEX

Introduction

The Big Bang

Irreducible Complexity

The Common Ancestor

The Teaching of the Bible

The Multiverse

6,000 year old Creation: a theory 100 years old?

Young Earth Creationists throw away all physics

Dogs and Cats

Science Proves an Old Universe?

Conclusion

Postscript

Bible Options