Last month, some of our YOM team went out street witnessing at an outdoor mall in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The team encountered many atheists and evolutionists who challenged our team with many questions. This week we will present some those here along with the responses from our team members.
Comment: Religion and science ultimately state the same thing and therefore can never be used to disprove one another.
YOM: This is a reification fallacy: attributing concrete (in this case personal) characteristics to an abstraction. Science is not a person and it doesn’t literally “state” anything – nor does religion. Science is a set of tools that we use to learn more about certain aspects of the universe. Religion (in a general sense of the word) is a philosophy or worldview; it is a set of beliefs concerning the cause purpose and nature of the universe. A person’s worldview will naturally control his or her interpretation of the evidence. In other words, science is worldview-dependent.
Comment: There was an "energy" that preceded all things and existed outside the natural realm. By definition, this is considered "God."
YOM: God is not “energy.” Energy was created by God - all things were (John 1:1-3). However, it is true that God is beyond time; this makes sense because God created time. He is indeed beyond the natural realm.
Comment: The origin of the biblical misinterpretation for a "young earth" (6,000 to 10,000 years old) came from a Catholic bishop in the 1400s who assumed "yom" as used in the Bible meant a 24-hour day. The literal and correct translation of the Hebrew word is actually "an undefined period of time."
YOM: No. The Hebrew word for a 24-hour day is “yom.” This is obvious by virtue of the fact that Exodus 20:8-10, when describing our work week, uses the word “yom” for day. If “yom” actually meant "a long unspecified period of time," then a week would not be seven days, but seven indefinite periods of time. In fact, Exodus 20:11 explains that our work week is actually based on the creation week using the same word for day (“yom”) in both cases.
Comment: The scientific age of the earth is 4.54 billion years; the age of the universe is 14.6 billion years.
YOM: No. Over 90% of the various attempts to estimate the age of the Earth by scientific means give ages far, far less than 4.5 billion years. Sediment on the ocean floor, Carbon-14 in diamonds and coal, excess helium in rocks, the decay of Earth’s magnetic field, the recession of the moon, and many others all give age estimates far less than billions of years, but are perfectly consistent with 6000 years. Evolutionists don’t want you to know this because they need billions of years to make the theory of evolution feasible.
Comment: There is extensive empirical evidence to support the scientifically established age and very little accurate evidence to support a "young earth" theory.
YOM: No. The reverse is true. All old-earth arguments assume naturalism and uniformitarianism – that present rates and conditions are indicative of past rates and conditions. But the Bible denies both of these. Evolutionists and other old-earth proponents arbitrarily assume the Bible is wrong when they make their estimation. And then their conclusion is that the Bible is wrong about the age of the earth. That’s hardly a surprising conclusion since they began with that assumption. They have committed the fallacy of begging the question.
Comment: Our space-time continuum can be observed and mapped because it has order. It in no way disproves the existence of an omnipotent everlasting energy.
YOM: Only the Christian worldview with Genesis as literal history can account for the order of the universe. In particular, the laws of nature do not arbitrarily change with time. This underlying uniformity of law is what makes science possible. Yet such uniformity makes no sense apart from Genesis. In Genesis 8:22, God promises that the basic cycles of nature will continue in the future as they were in the past. Only God (who is beyond time) is in a position to know that. And only if we take Genesis as literal history can we have confidence in Genesis 8:22. Therefore, science would be unjustified apart from biblical creation.
Question: What about commonly accepted beliefs?
YOM: Of course, what is commonly believed is not necessarily true. There was a time when it was commonly believed that the Earth was flat and the sun went around the Earth. But that didn’t make it true.
Comment: Discoveries in astronomy have shown beyond a reasonable doubt that the universe did, in fact, have a beginning. There was a single moment of creation.
YOM: Although it is true that the universe did have a beginning, the way it is commonly argued from astronomy is not cogent. Most astronomers have a secular worldview, and by assuming naturalism and uniformitarianism end up believing in a “big bang” in the distant past. But it is now increasingly popular to believe that this was not the beginning.
Question: The universe is ordered by natural laws. Where did these laws come from and what purpose do they serve?
YOM: Natural laws describe the consistent and thus predictable way in which God upholds the universe. Apart from biblical creation as described in Genesis, there would be no reason to assume that there should be such laws of nature and that they would apply everywhere and not arbitrarily change, and that such laws would obey laws of logic and laws of mathematics, and that such laws would be understandable by the human mind. All scientists accept these things (or they couldn’t do science). But few people stop to consider that such things only make sense in light of the Christian worldview.
Tell us about a recent encounter you had with a skeptic.
Since he was old enough to understand anything, I have been training my son in biblical truth. Now that he is in Junior High he has heard enough things to cause him to question my teaching and the scriptures and God.
Last week as we were talking about Creation, he began to debate me using the science and evolution tidbits that he has learned in school. He began to talk about an old earth, fossil records and carbon dating...he's learned a lot! I am glad that he is going through this as I believe it will help him to develop a full understanding of the differences between biblical truth and scientific truth.
I am here to educate myself so that I will be better prepared to address these issues not only with him, but with all skeptics that God puts in my path. Thank you ICR.
Thank you for your comment! I hope the blog will continue to be a useful resource for you. Please feel free to send your son here to ask questions, too. We'd be more than happy to answer - that's what we're here for!
One thing to reinforce in his mind is that the Bible and science don't contradict each other. Science confirms the Bible.
The Bible says God created. Science is a tool to observe the results of His creative power. The differences lie in man's interpretation of the evidence. How one views evidence depends on what lens he looks through. Either he stands on the Biblical worldview or he clings to a secular, humanistic worldview.
I hope that helps. Keep standing firm for the Truth!
The most common problem I encounter with skeptics is that the Bible is not trustworthy and is just a book written by men. One person who works with me is a Buddhist and we have had a number of conversations on this topic. He feels the Bible is just a record of men. I advised him that the Bible makes this clear, it is written by men because we see there names in various places like Moses in the Law or prophets like Jeremiah or Ezekiel in the Old Testament. We have the writings of the apostles too like James, Paul, or John. The struggle is accepting that these individuals wrote the Word of God in the Bible and the Bible is not just a record of ancient peoples thinking on religion. The individual grew up in a family that appears to have at one time embraced the Christian faith, but the individual admitted to me that no one in his family really believed the Bible and he found Buddhism more satisfying. We did discuss this issue.