The third night of "In the Beginning: 3 Views on Creation," continues tonight with Dr. Michael Behe arguing for theistic evolution. Fixed Point Executive Director Larry Taunton noted that all speakers agree on the authority of the Bible, they just have different interpretations of the text.
Though Christians disagree on the details of the universe's origins, it's vital they engage the culture, Taunton said, because "whoever gets to tell the creation story -- they are the priests of our society."
Mortenson, pictured above, of Answers in Genesis, said the earth and universe were created in six 24-hour days about 6,000 years ago. He took exception with others who argue that the "days" mentioned in Genesis 1 might be long epochs. The literary form in Genesis is narrative, he said, not poetry, parable or prophecy, meaning it was to be taken as literal history.
"That was Jesus' view, and all the other biblical writers treat it as history," he said.
Mortenson, who said he didn’t grow up believing in a 6,000-year-old earth, said Genesis 1-11 is vital to the Christian doctrine of salvation. “Genesis is foundational to the rest of the Bible.” He said parts of the world where the church has accepted evolution have gone on to reject other biblical doctrines as well.
The previous night, Dr. John Lennox had argued that other creatures might have lived and died long before man came along, but didn’t see “decay” that entered the world after the fall of man. Mortenson said fossils have shown that dinosaurs had cancer, so if they existed millions of years before man, they did see decay.
Mortenson said the layers of sediment seen in the Grand Canyon don’t represent millions of years of deposits followed by millions more of erosion. They point to a cataclysmic event: Noah’s flood. He pointed to an atheist scientist who had reached the same conclusion about a deposit in England.
Secular scientists, and some Christian ones, get false results because they are using the wrong lens, he said, just as if he looks through the bottom of his bifocals he would presume members of the audience have heads, but no eyeballs. Looking through the top of the top lens, he can see more clearly. Most Christians who don't believe in his view haven't closely examined the evidence, he said.
Ross, of Reasons to Believe (pictured left), described his view as “constructive integration.” “The Bible and science can be completely integrated,” he said. “God has given us two books: the book of science and the Bible.”
Ross grew up secular, but at the age of 17 decided the complexity he saw in nature demanded a creator. He read the scriptures of all the major religions, finding only the Jewish/Christian texts describing creation the way science does.
The space-time theorem states that the universe began with a singularity, but it had to have an outside causal agent. That agent, Ross said, is God.
While Genesis provides an account of creation, Ross says the Bible contains 27 separate accounts of the universe’s origins. Genesis doesn’t say what God did between creating the universe and man, but elsewhere such things are explained, including his stretching out of the heavens. Science wouldn’t discover the universe is expanding for thousands of years.
Ross rejects young earth creationism, but does believe that God created creatures as they are today; he didn’t use the process of evolution. “There’s been no discernible change in human DNA in 25,000 years,” he said, adding that on average one new species appeared on earth until man showed up. Since then there have been zero.
He said Genesis 1 is written from the perspective of the earth, and that’s why light appears before the sun and moon. The earth was previously covered in clouds, as Venus still is. After God removed the permanent canopy of clouds, photosynthesis could occur, allowing plants to grow.
Ross believes Adam was on the earth a long time before Eve was created. Part of that reason, when Adam first saw his wife he exclaimed, in Hebrew, happa ‘am (At long last!)
Ross said it’s important to find a creation model that synthesizes the Bible with science or it will be impossible to win skeptics over. “If skeptics can’t get past the first page of the Bible, they aren’t likely to get to John 3:16.”
Photos: Owen Tew