Student protests in Australia over climate change have been in the news of late. It makes sense that informed younger folk would be outraged by government inaction on climate – after all younger people will be disproportionately impacted. Climate denial in the Christadelphian community follows a similar age pattern. The blatant disregard for climate science is necessary theologically though. Tens of thousands (and in many instances hundreds of thousands) of years of climate records fly in the face of the literalist reading of Genesis 1-3. You can’t be an old or young earth creationist and accept climate science. The two cannot be reconciled. The heat on literalists will continue to grow – but much like old conservative politicians, the denial of reality is not over yet.
As requested by the Australian Conference, the AACE – a consultative Australian body – has commenced a process of considering the Bible’s teaching on creation. There are people of balance and goodwill on the committee. However the majority of the committee are decidedly literalist. A sub-committee will examine the issues. A sub-committee including zero Evolutionary Creationists. It does contain high profile anti EC individuals and some decent individuals, but ones whose opinions are literalist approved only. Anyone can have input but only anti-ECs can have a voice.
The project scope excludes any science. Ie no accountability to God’s reality for any conclusions. If we read the Bible to say the earth is flat, then it is flat. Simple, accessible and obvious evidence for ongoing ancient life (human and animal) is conveniently off limits. We can use archaeology as evidence in Bible lectures, but not to check what we think the Bible is teaching. Illogical. However this is a core demand of literalists on such “investigations”. Ignore inconvenient truths which might serve as a check on our exposition.
Optimism is somewhat hard to maintain. The AACE tried to establish a fair process, but the literalists succeeded in squashing the inclusion of any evolutionary creationists. Without a voice on the sub-committee, there is no pressure to address issues in an even handed way. The sub-committee proceedings are a closed book. The results of the handpicked review group will be delivered to the literalist controlled AACE. This body will then deliver a report. Barring a miracle, the result is a foregone conclusion and an opportunity to engage and learn has been effectively neutered.
A few times various ECs have been asked and encouraged to leave the community. That in the main ECs chose not to leave exasperates some zealous literalists. So why stay? The sentiment of Schurz’s famous line is appropriate ““My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.” Further we could explain further while quoting from Fred Barling. He had a somewhat different relationship with the community post the Ralph Lovelock controversy, but still had this to say “I found Christ through the Christadelphian community“. Well said Fred.
The South Australian issued “IEAC Reaffirmation Statement” claimed that the supporting ecclesias took the Genesis creation record as “literal in all its details”. This is simply incorrect as demonstrated by Gen 2:19-20 where Adam names every animal and bird. The record five times tells us Adam named all/every animal and bird. This all happened in less than one day. Do the literalists think so? No. They don’t. They adopt an inconsistent pick and mix approach to Genesis 1-3. Continue reading
On 12.08.18, Neville Clark presented a lecture on the subject of demons in Scripture. The crux of his argument is that demons do not exist, and that every reference to them in Scripture is merely a well-established ancient euphemism for mental illness and/or mental disability. While Neville does make a number of valid points in his talk, he overstates the case considerably and leaves a number of crucial issues unaddressed. This paper will examine these, and present an alternative interpretation. Continue reading
Once again The Lampstand Magazine (Oct 2018) has an article proclaiming that evolution is impossible because something is complicated. Obviously they think this rules out evolutionary Creation. However ECs are firmly of the opinion that nothing is impossible for God, complexity is no barrier for Him.
The article wonders “how could blind chance assume that sound even exists and that these vibrations can somehow be detected and translated into meaningful information“. Indeed. But EC is not beholden to blind chance but the infinite wisdom of the Almighty whose ways are far beyond our understanding.
Needless to say the Lampstand article appears to be totally oblivious that large portions of the development of hearing are well attested. Indeed the development of the mammalian ear with its advanced hearing is an excellent demonstration of graduation improvement and evolution over time. (see a simple summary at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_mammalian_auditory_ossicles). The development of mammalian hearing provides significant evidence of development over time and many – what creationists call – transitional forms.
Perhaps the most disturbing part of the Lampstand article is their use of Psa 94:9 which says “He that planted the ear, shall he not hear?“. They comment on the passage saying “God has, as it were, dug a hole in our head and placed a concealed mechanism beneath the surface that will absorb His words and cause us to grow spiritually“. Um no. This adds mishandling of God’s word to their ignorance of science. Scripture consistently uses the language and understanding of the day to describe the natural world. For example Scripture talks about the foundations of the earth – see Psa 18:7, 15 104:5, Prov 8:29 and in a similar language picture mentions pillars Psa 75:3. Arbitrarily taking the language of scripture as literal in some instances and figurative/poetic in others is inconsistent and poor method. God speaks of natural processes as being under His direct control and His direct responsibility. Eg in Psa 104
v13 He watereth the hills from his chambers: The earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works. 14 He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, And herb for the service of man
v16 The cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted
v20 Thou makest darkness, and it is night:
v28 Thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good
v30 Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: And thou renewest the face of the earth
Time and time again God is presented as directly intervening and doing daily things, bringing night, feeding animals, making them die, creating them again, making grass grow. These are all natural processes. Sure God can (and rarely via miracle does) intervene in these processes. But the Bible speaks of the ongoing natural process as the direct work of God.
Literalists deny the possibility of God using natural process for creating and claim it denies God glory. They would do well to consider Psa 104 which concludes that God’s natural processes bring Him glory, exactly as ECs see it.