I have been doing a personal inventory on my belief system, and kind of rearranging some of my ideas. As a science teacher who believes in God, I often feel I am caught in the crossfire between atheists and agnostics and radical-right Christians. For the longest time, I have held the belief that we did not evolve, but at the same time the earth was not created a mere 6000 years ago. I watched Doug Jacoby's debate with the agnostic, and was very intrigued that he has no problem with the theory of evolution. I owe most of my knowledge about the problems of evolution to a lesson that was presented at my parents’ church when I was a kid. This lesson made very logical and powerful arguments against evolution and I remember the arguments to this day.
Since I have been a Christian, I accepted these ideas as the basis for my stance against evolution. Lately, I have been revisiting these ideas as I have been having monthly discussions with an anti-religious agnostic fellow in my ham radio club, and also a Christian biology teacher at my high school. The Christian believes in a very strict, literal interpretation of the Bible and a very literal 6000-year-old universe theory. I have tried to explain to him that the days do not have to be literal, but he gives a very good counterargument (from a biblical point of view) that if we take some of the days in the six-day creation account to mean epochs or ages, then all would have to be ages. Therefore, if you believe that starlight is 13.7 billion years old, you also have to believe in man evolving slowly and not being created in a single event. He also pointed out that evolution goes against scripture in Romans that states that death entered through Adam and that this also pointed to a literal six days, as nothing would have died during this time, as Adam would have to had sinned before anything would die. These are good arguments from a biblical perspective. However, I would have to accept that God created the fossil record, geological record, and starlight with the appearance of age. If I believe this, I am afraid I would be deluding myself with nonsense like the Mormon church with all their silly inconsistencies and believing in a God that would create a deceptive universe. I have a hard time stomaching these ideas.
As far as evolution, I can see why Doug would take this position of accepting evolution as probable and possible as the fossil record seems to indicate there are transitional species in the fossil record. I am not sure if these are different (genetically incompatible) species, or simply organisms that no longer physically resemble their origin -- much like the Chihuahua and Great Dane -- but are still genetically compatible. However, I am a little astonished at the reasonable explanation of some of these observations by evolutionists. I have never included macroevolution in my worldview, and I find it a rather uncomfortable fit -- basing some of my faith in the miracle of sudden creation.
On a good note, I have left the agnostic scratching his head on the point of the first stage of evolution: the origin of the first living cell. This seems to be somewhat of a statistical impossibility.
Thanks for reading this really long e-mail that it is fertilizer for some good dialog and more ammo to help those come to faith, and to keep silly thoughts from turning people off to Christianity. -- Chris Maness
I respect your deep desire to be rational in your approach to the faith, and thanks for permission to post your thoughts here.
Two books that have helped me enormously through the years are by Michael Denton: Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, and Nature's Destiny. I think you would really like them. Others (perhaps works even more to the point) will be found at this website under Books > Recommended.