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Creation and evolution don’t have to be in conflict.  This site explores the doctrine and science of Genesis 1 and God’s creative work.  As a community we need to accommodate a range of opinions while being true to God’s Word so we don’t cause others to stumble.  Following is an explanation of evolutionary creation, or theistic evolution or God directed evolution (whatever label you wish to use).

In addition to tags, the pages capture the posts relevant to various subjects with an index/links to relevant posts.

Following is a bit of an intro/background/purpose on how the initial author of this page arrived at evolutionary creation, having been an ardent creationist all his life.

 

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If you’ve got it all wrong, you’re in excellent company

Discipleship is about wonderful growth – the baptised believer rises from the water on a promise to imitate Jesus, to be made anew in his image. Some time later, it goes bad. Piety and traditions obscure our understanding of God, His ways and works. Reverence becomes the enemy of clarity. Tradition inhibits growth. Reality is too painful, we argue based on what we think God should have done, based on what we think his character should be. It’s an affliction.

Paul said the Jews he knew had a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge (Rom 10:2). As he describes in 2 Cor 3:13-15 they were caught in a religious rut. The glory of God which shone in Moses’ face started off impressive, but it faded. Did Moses put on the vail to hid the glory, or to hide how it was fading? However it was, the same limitation was still holding them back centuries later, according to Paul – they just couldn’t see the glory in Jesus Christ. Their reverence for Moses’ law limited their growth. But even people who have accepted salvation in Christ face similar limitations: stalwarts in the faith fail to grow due to the stifling restrictions of misplaced piety and tradition.

When Peter was confronted by unclean animals and commanded to eat by the angelic voice, he knew exactly what to do: say NO! Peter refused three times in Acts 10:14-16. Our piety, simply knowing what’s right, can get us into some remarkable contradictions. Peter was refusing to obey a direct command from God because of his own personal understanding of God’s word. He was elevating his interpretation of God’s word, and his tradition, over the plain obvious evidence of the vision. Yet he had the spirit! He was one of the inner circle of disciples, a leader in the community, a leading preacher and teacher, personally instructed by the Lord before and after the resurrection. He was also mistaken, misguided – frankly, just plain wrong. If Peter was capable of this mistake we cannot imagine ourselves to be immune, and we don’t have to squint to see very clearly that leaders in our own community have plenty more to learn. Peter was not infallible (no ex cathedra for that supposed first Pope!) and neither are the leaders of our little community.

Did Peter learn? Probably. However even if (as we could perhaps generously assume) he retained the lesson, Peter faced a similar challenge later and showed the same weakness.

Peter was a leading pillar in the early congregation – we know that from Paul himself (Gal 2:9). However Peter’s traditional piety mixed with his desire to ‘maintain unity‘ so to speak (you see where this is going!) led him to flatly contradict the gospel. Jews did not mix with Gentiles[1] – even John tells us so (John 18:28). Peter had learnt that God was no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34), but he was still vulnerable to pressure from others to ‘be a team player‘, to ‘maintain unity‘ – not realising the perilous cost. According to Paul, Peter dissociated himself from Gentiles due to pressure from pious Jewish believers (Gal 2:12). No doubt it assuaged their sensitivities and made the whole Jewish faction content while they waited for the next issue to arise. It was ‘keeping the peace’. Peace without principle, but peace. Paul labelled it hypocrisy. The Jewish believers were pious but wrong – just as Peter had been in Acts 10. They exercised influence, played politics, drove wedges to maintain their purity, caused division.

In the incident with Cornelius, Peter was confronted with the evidence that his reading of the Bible was wrong and he had to correct it. Would he? Yes, with some difficulty he accepted the change. Others didn’t accept that his testimony was genuine and later pulled out all the stops to get their own way, to bend others into line with ‘the Truth as they had always understood it‘ – that is, their personal piety. Their reverence, their tradition, their long-held beliefs – it was all a vail over their eyes, preventing them seeing the whole truth of the situation.

The Christadelphian community was founded on the basis of growth. Its founder, John Thomas believed in the necessity of development:

Must a man never progress? If he discovers an error in his premises, must he for ever hold to it for the sake of consistency? May such a calamity never befall me! Rather let me change every day, till I get it right at last[2]

Is this spirit alive and well? It seems not.

Today we see members of our community insisting on their own readings of scripture, insisting on projecting their understanding of Adam onto Jesus, in the face of overwhelming evidence that the have been wrong. We risk making the same mistake which Peter and others in his community made. Evidence cannot be ignored, the vail must be pulled off and as a community we should have the guts(?) to listen to evidence of God’s works rather than simply dismiss anything which doesn’t match our interpretation. Peter was stopped in his tracks by a vision that only he saw – we shouldn’t carry on as though nothing has happened during fifty years of demonstrable discoveries all over the world that have resulted in great advances in many fields.

If it could happen to Peter it can happen to us – how can we expect to be immune?. Is God continuing to work with our community to bring peace from would-be apostles agitating for a separation from those whose understanding of His creation they despise?. It cost Paul some trouble to do the right thing in that situation. Who is willing to do what Paul did in our day?

 

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[1] Neusner, J. (1988). The Mishnah : A new translation (p. 980). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

[2] Thomas, John. (1848) Letter to the congregation assembled at Barker Gate Meeting house, 14 July, 1848

Billion year old diamond anyone?

how-kimberlites-formDiamonds may be a girl’s best friend but their geological history is no friend of the literal creationist.  Many literalists decry those who read Genesis 1-4 differently to them.  Most of the same individuals (for they are usually men) at one time purchased a diamond ring for their wives.  But diamonds demonstrate our planet has operated for billions of years. For a basic overview of diamond ages and formation see here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diamond#Ages

Essentially most diamonds formed 1 to 3 billion years ago deep below the earth’s surface and in a few rare cases a number of them are brought to the surface.

These sparkling gems have been formed through long geological process.  They witness to the wonder of God’s creative power.  However they also witness to a long continuous process quite different to the young earth, or even old earth, readings of Genesis.  Can you insist Genesis 1 is literal in all its details and buy your wife a diamond – who provenance and age contradicts your assertions?  Should we ban geologists or diamond rings (or both?) for contradicting a favoured traditional interpretation of God’s word?  Or do we listen to the evidence of God’s creation?

(PS banning diamond rings would save a lot of money which could be better used elsewhere)

When even wine merchants contradict Genesis

One of our team was little surprised to get an email from a national wine merchant offering a selection of Georgian wines with the headline “8,000 years in every bottle”.  A little research and it becomes obvious that once again a literal reading of Genesis 1-3 as favoured by most creationists doesn’t match reality.  Georgia has been making wine for some 8,000 years

8000 years of georgian wine

The traditional wine making technique involves fermenting in clay jars which are buried during the process.  The process has received recognition from UNESCO as a core piece of human culture.

kvevri wine

The historical age of the process has been established by a variety of methods, per the abstract of a recent study:

Chemical analyses of ancient organic compounds absorbed into the pottery fabrics from sites in Georgia in the South Caucasus region, dating to the early Neolithic period (ca. 6,000–5,000 BC), provide the earliest biomolecular archaeological evidence for grape wine and viniculture from the Near East, at ca. 6,000–5,800 BC. The chemical findings are corroborated by climatic and environmental reconstruction, together with archaeobotanical evidence, including grape pollen, starch, and epidermal remains associated with a jar of similar type and date. The very large-capacity jars, some of the earliest pottery made in the Near East, probably served as combination fermentation, aging, and serving vessels. They are the most numerous pottery type at many sites comprising the so-called “Shulaveri-Shomutepe Culture” of the Neolithic period, which extends into western Azerbaijan and northern Armenia. The discovery of early sixth millennium BC grape wine in this region is crucial to the later history of wine in Europe and the rest of the world. [1]

The full article is recommended and the link is below.  Evidence of the wine making 8,000 years ago is based on detailed analysis of three separate sites (although more evidence is accumulating).  See Wikipedia for more simple information.  are Of course the challenges from Georgia don’t stop there – ancient rock art is another problem, but perhaps that’s for another time.

What does this mean?  Simply that the demands to accept only a literal reading of Genesis cannot be reconciled to the abundant evidence of human life and activity.  Rather than recriminations and interrogations, perhaps we could discuss over a glass of vino – made with an 8,000 year old technique?

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[1] Early Neolithic wine of Georgia in the South Caucasus – PNAS

 

 

Accepting the reality of God’s works in the Tiding’s Magazine

The December 2017 Tidings Magazine caused a small stir with an article that referenced at least 10,000 years of human activity.  The comments were challenged and responded to in the February 2018 issue.  It is great to see our community’s old (but often neglected?) view of God’s word and works being applied and the facts of God’s creation being accepted rather than brushed aside.  Increasingly people are coming to positions not dissimilar to COD’s, because of the God’s facts. Continue reading

Flood geologists struggle with geology

Flood geology is the endeavour by Christians to try and explain geology through the prism of Noah’s global flood.  Unfortunately over the last 50 years of this pursuit, these geologists (of sorts) have continually disproven the global flood they seek to establish.  Most damning of all is what should be the copious evidence for the greatest disaster and death event ever.  Leaving that aside, these motivated flood geologists have continually disagreed with each other and demonstrated the impossibility of reconciling a worldwide inundation with the geological record. Continue reading