Category Archives: Origins

Seymour Creation and Science Workshop-March 15th, 2014

On Our OriginsIt isn’t too late to register for this faith-building, Holy Spirit-equipping, Christ-centered workshop on one of the most burning issues of our time—the relationship between faith and science! Pastor Daniel J. Lepley, author of On Our Origins, will lead this six hour workshop at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Seymour, Indiana next Saturday, March 15th.

Designed for all adults, college and high school students, this interactive workshop will be divided into four segments:

Darwin vs. MosesDarwin meets Moses- A discussion about differing foundations of thought and how to have a difficult, yet necessary respectful conversation between people of differing world views, especially those of a secular and/or scriptural persuasion.

Creation and Science, NOT Creation or ScienceCreation & Science NOT Creation or Science- An exploration of current secular models of universal origins and how they may actually agree with the scriptures, NOT “prove” the Bible wrong.

Moving at the Speed of LifeMoving at the Speed of Life- An examination of natural phenomena which make life possible and how they fit into the Genesis account of creation.

Christ ConnectionThe Christ-Connection- How the Creator connects with His creation in Jesus Christ! Learn how you can use science and the facts of life to share the ageless message of God’s love and salvation today.

Registration begins at 8:00 am and the workshop will run from 9:00 am-3:00 pm.  $20 registration includes lunch and all four sessions of the event.  NOTE-$5 discount for all pastors, teachers and students!  Everyone who pre-registers for the event, either in person, by calling Redeemer’s Church office at (812)522-1837, or online at shop.onourorigins.org by Thursday, March 13th, will receive an activity bag of items related to some of the demonstrations at the workshop. 

Event hosted by:

Redeemer Lutheran Church

504 N. Walnut St.

Seymour, IN 47274

There will also be a reception/book signing at the Pines Restaurant, 4289 N. US 31, Seymour, Indiana on Friday evening, March 14th from 6:00-9:00.  For $10, you will have appetizers, soft drinks, fellowship and an opportunity to get signed copies of On Our Origins at the reduced cost of $12 per soft cover or $25 for hard cover.  Full buffet and beverage options also available on a cash basis.

Any questions may be emailed to pastorlepley@onourorigins.org.

We look forward to seeing you there!

For those who live in the greater Indianapolis area, there will be another workshop hosted by Our Shepherd Lutheran Church and School, 9201 E. County Road 100 N., in Avon, Indiana on April 12th, 2014.  Same workshop, same cost, same bonus for registering early!  You may register for the Avon, IN workshop in person at Our Shepherd, by calling Our Shepherd’s office at (317) 402-9401 or online at shop.onourorigins.org.

Reflection On Bill Nye/Ken Ham Creation Debate

Pastor Lepley Reflection On Bill Nye/Ken Ham Creation Debate-

I appreciate Pastor Wren’s perspective on the recent debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye. I agree that debates seldom, if ever, change minds.  But they do offer platforms for further discussion. One of Bill Nye’s key claims, which he repeatedly made, was that the Bible never predicted anything that “science” has now revealed.  This untrue, and can be seen multiple places in the Bible.

When discussing universal inflation and Cosmic Background Radiation, it would have greatly helped Ham’s case if he pointed out that some 3,400 years ago, Moses recorded, that on the second day of creation, the universe “expanded.” That was “predictive,” since it was foretold by a prophet 3,400 years before a scientist happened to notice. The psalmist also described God, “covering [Him]self with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent.” (Psalm 104:2, ESV)  “Stretching out” sounds like universal expansion or “inflation” to me.

We have multiple references in the Old Testament referring to the earth as a sphere, also “predictive.”  These passages were written thousands of years before Ferdinand Magellan was the first human being to sail around the world. The prophet Isaiah wrote, some 2,600+ years ago:

“It is he [God] who sits above the circle of the earth,

and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;

who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,

and spreads them like a tent to dwell in;” (Isaiah 40:22, ESV)

(Note: Some dispute Isaiah’s authorship of his own book, but whether it was written between 600-700 BC or 200-300 BC, this passage was penned well before an explorer proved the world is a sphere.)

Job, quite possibly the oldest book in the Bible, also recorded:

“[God] has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters

at the boundary between light and darkness.” (Job 26:10, ESV)

These are just a few passages which accurately describe the nature of the universe and shape of the earth thousands of years before science “proved” either. Bill Nye only needs to correctly understand the first seven verses of the Bible to see the creation of light at the beginning (currently modeled by the secular Big Bang theory) and universal inflation/expansion clearly described as tools used by God in the creation of all things. This is “predictive,” the sort of evidence Bill Nye said he would need to see in order to change his view of the Biblical creation narrative.

Faith and science come together in the Bible.  God has clearly revealed many “mysteries” of the natural realm to humanity in His Word, long before science first unraveled them.  A well-educated Christian, who is versed in scripture and the sciences, is the opposite of ignorant (something Bill Nye insisted upon throughout the debate).  In my humble opinion, well-educated Christians are in the best place to answer the most-important question about life-

The question about origins, “Where did I come from?”

The question regarding purpose, “Who am I?”

The question of destiny, “Where am I going?”

If you’d like to get a copy of my book on a scientific look at the Biblical creation account, click here.

On Our Origins

I hope this debate gives Christians one more good reason to learn more about the scriptures and sciences.  Human beings are both physical and spiritual.  The world we live in is both/and (thank-you Ken Ham), not either/or (sorry Bill Nye).

THE WEST CENTRAL CONNECTION

bill-nye-ken-ham-debateReflections on the Creation/Evolution Debate

By Michael Wren

If you did not watch the debate, which took place at the Creation Museum in northern Kentucky, you can find the entire event on YouTube for a short time.  Like most debates, last night’s event featuring Bill Nye and Ken Ham is unlikely to change very many minds.  Debates generally don’t change very many minds.  However, if they are good debates, they bring the core issues to the fore for consideration and reflection.  This debate was no exception.  Neither Nye nor Ham had much chance of making an impression on the opposing constituency, but their debate was revealing.  Here are a few reflections.

1)      The question posed for debate favored Bill Nye from the start.  The question was “Is creation a viable model of human origins in today’s modern world?”  In a debate, the affirmative is always more difficult to defend than…

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Ball State President Deems Intelligent Design “Not Appropriate” Content For Science Courses

As a pastor with members who are studying at Ball State University, it saddened me to learn that Ball State had a lawsuit filed against it by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, apparently because Ball State hired a professor who wrote a book on intelligent design and/or a student accused a professor for “teaching creation” in a science class.  In response to the lawsuit filed, the president of the university sent a letter to faculty and staff “saying intelligent design is not appropriate content for science courses.”

See article at: http://www.wthr.com/story/22981421/2013/07/31/ball-state-president-intelligent-design-not-science?fullsite&view=web&clienttype=generic&mobilecgbypass&force_mobile_off=1&mview=desktop

When I went to the Ball State website, I didn’t see any mention of this matter.  Instead, when I searched “intelligent design” on the website, I found the syllabus of a physics course: ASTR 151 The Boundaries of Science.  You too can find it here.  http://cms.bsu.edu/-/media/WWW/DepartmentalContent/Physics/PDFs/MasterSyllabi/Master%20Syllabus_ASTR151.pdf  After examining the course description and resources used, I’m assuming that students taking this course in the future (if it continues to be offered) will no longer receive science credit for this class or any others like it.

My initial reaction to this matter is mixed.  First, I am personally not a fan of secular schools teaching my students or children anything about the origin of the universe other than the physics and theories behind current secular models of universal development.  But what makes this issue particularly difficult for Christians is that we live in a culture that is so science-driven that scientists often have a free pass in their classrooms to venture from speculation about HOW (science) the universe began into proposing godless or anti-god reasons WHY (religion) it may have come into existence.  So denial of God is currently acceptable in the context of a “science” class.  Yet, Christians are prohibited from discussing science from a Christian perspective in the very same class where an anti-god view of the universe (by definition a religion) could be promoted.  Here is a paragraph from On Our Origins that summarizes one of the reasons for my sentiment:

When the same scientist who uses Occam’s razor to limit experiment to observable, physical phenomena makes a case, based upon his science, to argue against the existence of a spiritual God, he has misled himself. Such science denies God by mixing pure observational science with the scientist’s godless worldview. A spiritual God can’t be observed in physical experimentation, but that doesn’t mean He couldn’t possibly exist.  In the end, such pseudoscience promotes an anti-God religion (On Our Origins, 136).

Those who think that eliminating a discussion of “creationism” or “intelligent design” will remove God from science classes deceive themselves.  Every time a professor or teacher makes any statement about God, positive or negative, they bring God into the science class and mix science and religion.  We do a disservice to students who live in a country where the majority of adults still believe in God when we, in the freedom from religion, are allowed to disallow certain talk about God (I would most often agree with) from public discourse in university classrooms while tolerating certain other talk about God (I probably wouldn’t be so keen on).

There are ethics classes offered and even required by many universities for science and medical degrees.  Is the study of ethics scientific?  Which field of medicine does ethics fall under?

Ethics over-arches both of these fields as a matter of public interest.  But let’s not kid ourselves, the study of ethics falls under philosophy.  That’s where the study of religion also belongs according to secularists.  It seems that we are allowed to study and apply certain philosophies in these fields but not others.  In the interest of being well-rounded, shouldn’t we study multiple philosophies to deepen our reflection instead of limiting ourselves to the one which seems to be compatible with a certain constituency?

Exploring the limitations of science (even if done from a theological viewpoint) in a science classroom equips students to limit science to that which can be physically observed.  It keeps scientists from mixing the scientific study of the physical realm with the religious study of the spiritual.  Instead of contaminating science, exposing students to “critiques” of science keeps science pure, just as the proper use of ethics keeps the practice of medicine and science pure.

If students never consider the limitations of science, the pure and proper pursuit of science may quickly be replaced by a paralyzing groupthink.  A world of people not allowed to question current theories doesn’t strengthen science, it threatens science.  This is the world we will live in if nobody of a different perspective is allowed to be a part of conversations which are often times best fostered in a university setting.

So instead of prohibiting “intelligent design” from the science classroom, why not engage in a conversation with it?  Such a conversation will equip people from all angles to grow in their understanding of themselves and others.  And done right, most will hopefully grow-up a little bit by learning to tolerate those who are different, while critically reflecting upon what science can or cannot do.

We don’t need to accept each other’s perspective in this regard, but we are all called to tolerate each other.  I pray that’s a virtue we can all agree with. If not, we’re all in trouble.  “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:43-45a ESV).

Only a Matter of Time?

In a radio interview I had this morning about On Our Origins, the host asked me how I reconcile the differences in the timeframes proposed for the creation and development of the universe.  I get this question often because many people don’t understand how a person like me, who believes that the creation account of Genesis is true without reservation, can also be a big fan of secular science.  Instead of fearing this question, I love answering it because it gives me a chance to explain one of the major misconceptions people have about time.

 

From the current human perspective, it seems that time keeps rolling along at a steady speed. Our lives are framed by time. Time helps us organize and order our affairs. We are born on a particular date at a certain point in time, live for a period of time, and die on our last days. But Einstein’s theory of relativity, the theory upon which most of our current understanding of the universe is built, has demonstrated that time is not the constant force that humans have long thought it is.

 

You may initially be resistant to the thought that time is not constant, but before clicking on to another blog, consider just one of the ways humanity is forced to deal with the very real effects of time dilation (the “stretching” of time anticipated by Einstein’s relativity as objects approach the speed of light). Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites are programmed to account for the difference in the passage of time between your GPS unit on the ground and GPS satellites in orbit. GPS systems need to be recalibrated constantly, because time itself has actually slowed down for satellites due to the speed of their fall in orbit.

Artist Interpretation of GPS satellite, image ...

Artist Interpretation of GPS satellite, image courtesy of NASA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Time dilation is scientifically proven to be true. It is measurable, predictable and has been observed.  If the cesium clock in a GPS satellite isn’t recalibrated based upon its speed and altitude, it is impossible for your GPS device to pinpoint your exact location.

 

The difference in the passage of time between the surface of the earth and an orbiting satellite is far too small to be perceptible to an observer who watched an earthbound clock and the display of a GPS satellite’s clock side-by-side. But if neither clock was recalibrated, after a few years, you would begin to see the difference in the passage of time. After about seventy years without adjustment, the two clocks would be a whole second different. The real-life application of this concept is that if the clocks on GPS satellites weren’t recalibrated constantly, the real difference in time between satellites and ground-based devices would quickly accumulate to the point that your receiver would no longer be able to triangulate your position, and you would be lost!

 

Science has predicted and calculated the flexibility of time in light of relativity and the Scriptures also testify to the flexible nature of time. The psalmist described the relativity of time from God’s perspective: “For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night” (Psalm 90:4 ESV). The apostle Peter reiterated this sentiment in his second epistle: “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8 ESV). Recognizing that the Scriptures testify that time isn’t constant and science has demonstrated the same, Christians should be better equipped to deal with some of the apparent contradictions between Scripture’s timeframe of creation and science’s current best estimates.

 

That being said, there are two wrong ways to attempt to reconcile the time differences between secular and scriptural explanations of our origins. One mistake is to throw away what the Scriptures describe without trying to understand it within its context or frame of reference. The opposite mistake is to dismiss, purely on the basis of religious grounds, any attempt to grow in an understanding of how things could have taken their current shape based upon our best scientific understanding of how the universe operates.

 

As I told the radio talk show host, “If time has slowed down for GPS satellites, who am I to say that it can’t be slowed down for God!?!”  For most, seven days seems like all too short a time for God to bring everything into existence.  But if God is God and time is flexible, time shouldn’t be a hurdle in acceptance of the Genesis account of creation.  We have good reason, scientifically and scripturally speaking, to dismiss time as reason not to believe.

 

Time was born when the eternal Creator formed everything out of nothing.  Time and eternity meet where God meets His people.  This is most especially evident in the creation account and in the incarnation of Christ.

 

In Jesus, the eternal Son of God took on human flesh and was born a mortal human being.  He traded His immortality for our mortality so that death would be swallowed up by life.  Creator and creation were reunited when salvation was won on a cross.  All this was done so that when time fades back into eternity, we will be with Him forever.

 

The Revealed Knowledge of God

Here’s another excerpt from On Our Origins.  This section follows “Before We Begin” in my book.  https://onourorigins.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/before-we-begin/ In a world where it is often hard to tell the difference between Truth and lies, it’s good to be reminded where the Truth can be found.  It is found in Jesus Christ, who is the Truth, the Way and the Life (John 14:6).

The church, since the time of Christ, has been built upon the confession of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. This is heard clearly in an episode recorded by St. Matthew in the first gospel:

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church. (Matthew 16:13–18a, emphasis added)

Here, Jesus explicitly stated that the revealed knowledge of God is essential for knowing the truth about God and the true nature of existence.

This revealed knowledge comes from a different source than scientific knowledge. It is based upon a supernatural knowledge given by God’s Holy Spirit as revealed and preserved in the Scriptures. This revelation includes the overarching story of God’s relationship with His creation, especially humanity, and provides Christians with a framework within which human reason operates. It is not contrary to reason but rather equips human minds and souls with faith to interpret existence from God’s perspective instead of an exclusively anthropocentric (human centered) view of life.

St. John recorded an episode in which Jesus explained to His disciples that He was the key to understanding the God of the Scriptures. Jesus said to Thomas, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him” (John 14:6-7). Here, Jesus asserted that because He is the way, truth, and life, the only path by which humanity can come to an accurate understanding of God (and consequently the true nature of reality) is to know Him.

According to the teaching of the apostles, the Bible began with God’s creative work, is centered on Christ and will conclude at the consummation of all things. Throughout the course of His work, God promised to care for His people and all that He created by sending humanity a Savior. He and His love for humanity would not remain abstract, but He would reveal them clearly in the person of Jesus Christ. For Christians, everything comes together in Jesus of Nazareth, the historical person, because in Jesus, God made Himself known in ways that humanity can comprehend.

The traditional Christian worldview, which is based upon the revelation of God in the Scriptures, is therefore Christ-centered. It is based upon a revelation of God in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. It is based on the belief that in the Bible, God reveals to humanity a reality deeper than what is apparent to the naked eye.

Suffice it to say that a Christ-centered worldview is not anti-science. Yes, the basis for a Christ-centered worldview is the revealed knowledge of God, who has manifested Himself in the Scriptures and in the person of His Son. God does not, however, give this revelation at the expense of reason or science. According to the Scriptures, revealed and natural knowledge are complementary parts of God’s revelation to humanity.

There are parts of God’s revelation that, since the time of the apostles, the church has labeled as “mystery,” which means “beyond human comprehension.”[i] Never in the Scriptures is the mystery of God invoked to deny the proper use of reason. The Scriptures instead simply acknowledge that certain things in life (including God) defy purely naturalistic human sensibilities.

We are and always will be limited in our understanding of what we can perceive through our five senses. The confines of the human mind also limit our depth of knowledge. A Christ-centered worldview equips Christians with the revealed knowledge of God—a scriptural big picture—within which they are free to explore and learn about the world.

 

[i] “Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith—to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen” (Romans 16:25–27). “He has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on Earth” (Ephesians 1:6–10). “I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:25–27). “Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory” (1 Timothy 3:16).

Before We Begin

Below is an excerpt from the opening chapter of On Our Origins, which is available now at onourorigins.org, Amazon and many other online book retailers:

“In the 1830s, an unknown British naturalist set sail on a journey that became a lifelong quest to discover the origins of the human race. He was far from the first person to ponder the beginnings of humanity and is certainly not the last to do so. What has made his journey remarkable is the effect his conclusions have had on how the human race has come to understand its origins.

            In the introduction of his book, On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin stated his conviction that the human intellect finally could grasp how life came to its present state. Equipped with his impressions of the natural order and loads of evidence to defend his radical new theory, Darwin optimistically stated, “These facts seemed to throw some light on the origin of species—that mystery of mysteries, as it has been called by one of our greatest philosophers. On my return home, it occurred to me, in 1837, that something might perhaps be made out on this question by patiently accumulating and reflecting on all sorts of facts which could possibly have any bearing on it.”[i]

Not only has something been “made out” of his theory, but his ideas have completely rewritten humanity’s understanding of life. His ideas proved so influential that they have now become the foundation of the life sciences.

            Darwin recognized the potential of his theories to revolutionize how we understand our origins and clairvoyantly predicted that his theory would become the basis of many fields of study: “In the distant future I see open fields for far more important researches. Psychology will be based on a new foundation, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation. Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history.”[ii]

Darwin’s prediction has proven true. His evolutionary model now serves as the foundation of sciences as diverse as biology, geology, psychology, and sociology. His theories have had such far-reaching implications that they now form the framework within which most people today—even most people of faith—try to understand themselves and where they’ve come from. His ideology has become ingrained in our collective consciousness.

Reflecting on Darwin’s impact on both culture and the sciences, we would be mistaken to view Darwin as a genius who arrived at his conclusions in a vacuum. By the time of his rise to popularity in the nineteenth century, the world had already experienced many awakenings. The theory of evolution, birthed in the mind of Darwin, simply grew out of humanity’s already changing understanding of the universe, life, and self. A culture dominated by the Christian church, with God at the center of humanity’s understanding of existence, was found by many to no longer be acceptable.

By proposing a new explanation for humanity’s origin and life based strictly upon natural knowledge, Darwin substituted a purely naturalistic view of humanity and life’s origins. His view naturally grew out of his purely scientific mindset. Because God cannot be observed physically, all theories based upon a purely naturalistic scientific method will, by necessity, be godless or potentially anti-God.

Darwin’s contribution to the sciences tipped the scales in favor of a much more naturalistic analysis of human origins. Before the rise of secularism (greatly accelerated in the sciences by Darwin’s theory of natural selection and later by Einstein’s theory of relativity), the church had been the largely undisputed arbiter of truth in the Christian West.[iii] People had generally accepted the premise that God had revealed the true nature of existence and humanity’s origin in the Scriptures.[iv]

We now find ourselves living in a culture awash in the confluence of two strikingly different explanations of humanity’s origins. Much of the current conflict and confusion about human origins likely stems from the different foundations upon which the institutions of religion and science are built. The faithful have traditionally viewed the revealed knowledge of God in the Scriptures[v] and the church as authoritative in matters of faith and life. In contrast, a scientific community, now secularized, proposes natural knowledge as the exclusive source of truth.”

What blessings do you enjoy because you live in the 21st century Scientific/Information Age?

What curses come with life in the 21st century?


[i] Charles Darwin,  On the Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection; Or, the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle of Life (Rockville, MD: Wildside Press, 2003), 1.

[ii] Darwin, 488.

[iii] Francis Oakley, The Medieval Experience (Toronto: Universtiy of Toronto Press, 1997), 113.

[iv] “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:14–16).

[v] “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

Did life spring from physical death or is death an “unnatural” interruption of life?

Every explanation of life’s origins is a version of one of the following two ideologies: either life springs from death or death is an interruption of life.  We, 21st century human beings who live in an ever-more secular world, must decide for ourselves whether we believe life comes from death or that death is an unnatural interruption of life.

Since the 19th century, Western culture has become more and more convinced that life is simply a result of “natural” processes dependent upon death.

Charles Darwin. 1 negative : glass ; 5 x 7 in....

Charles Darwin. 1 negative : glass ; 5 x 7 in. or smaller. From a photograph by Elliott & Fry. According to Gene Kritsky, maintainer of an archive of Darwin photographs, this was from a photography session at Darwin’s home, Down House, and on another photograph from that session Darwin wrote “1879” on the back. It was later widely sold and distributed on heavy card stock by Elliott & Fry, with a caption dating it “Circa 1880”. It was later reproduced in a wide range of Darwiniana. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Charles Darwin proposed in the conclusion of On the Origin of Species that death along biological lines has brought life on earth to its current form, “Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows.”  In other words life as we now see it is a product of millions and millions of years of death.

Those who believe that God Elohim is the Creator of the universe teach  that life came before death and therefore hold that death is an unnatural interruption to life.  On the fifth day of creation, God Elohim filled the sea and skies with “living creatures” (נֶ֣פֶשׁ חַיָּ֑ה).  He filled the dry land with living creatures on the sixth day, capping off His creation with human beings who were created in His Image.  These living creatures were blessed so that they could fill the new planet with biological life of all forms.

How do Christians reconcile these two competing ideas?  Some interpret the opening chapters of the Bible in light of science, favoring the secular explanation of origins to the Biblical account for a variety of reasons.  Others hold to the creation account and look for ways to interpret scientific findings in light of the scriptures.  In both cases, what you presuppose is true (either life from death or death from life) will color how you interpret what you discover in the scriptures and observe in the physical realm.

Recognizing this—what you presuppose to be true about the origin of life determines how you will interpret every fact or theory regarding life as it now exists—is the first step towards understanding why you think the way you do about your life.  Everyone who embraces the “life springs from death” mentality will be more likely to think along secular lines about life, ethics, even God and eternity.  Those who presuppose that physical death is an “unnatural” interruption to life will be much more open to what God proposes in the scriptures.

It takes special insight and great courage to hold to the Truth of human origins as recorded in the scriptures.  Jesus Himself said such knowledge is a supernatural gift.  “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 16:17 ESV).

Christians have been blessed with faith to see God at work in creation, in Christ and through His Church.  But this greatest blessing can become a curse if we look down upon others who think differently than us or fail to share Christ’s love and forgiveness with those who are different from us.  Instead, we should live humbly among our neighbors while speaking confidently of our faith so that God can draw others to Himself through us.  This is how Christians bring others from spiritual death to life in Christ!