Book Review: Searching For Adam

Searching for Adam: Genesis & the Truth About Man's OriginSearching for Adam: Genesis & the Truth About Man’s Origin by Terry Mortenson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A long and difficult, but excellent book on the case for a historical Adam. It begins with Scripture, moves through some various theological and philosophical arguments, and then moves on to science. The exegetical part was interesting, though I find any exegetical argument against a historical Adam similar to the Cleveland Browns. They keep trying but always come up short. The Bible does not allow you to get rid of historical Adam. And by that I mean a man specially created as the first human to be the federal head of the entire human race.

But the sections most fascinating to me were the scientific sections where DNA, Neanderthals, human over design, comparison of humans to apes, and several other things were discussed.

As I continue to read young earth creationists as well as the old-earth guys and theistic evolutionists here is what I am noticing. For a long time YEC men have had a leg up in theology, Scripture/exegesis, philosophy, and church history. In other words, in each of these areas the YEC interpretation was more probable than the OEC interpretation or theistic evolution. The one area where OEC and theistic evolutionists had a leg up was science. This has led to some embarrassing YEC scientific conclusions, especially early on. (Though in fairness it is not as if evolution has been one long string of uninterrupted successes. They are constantly modifying as well.) But YEC is catching up. Men are getting advanced degrees in key areas from schools with secular pedigree and are using their knowledge to prove YEC instead of OEC/TE. The other thing I notice is that many YEC scientists interact regularly not just with Christian OEC men, but with secular evolutionists. They read their papers and books. This makes them sharper, clearer, and more precise in what they are arguing.

I do not see this same effort from secular evolutionists and even many Christian OEC men dismiss YEC scientists. This is a mistake. In the long run, taking your opponents seriously is a sign of respect and will help you grow. YECers do this better than OECers, though of course they are not perfect.

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Where are the Brakes for Old Earth Christians?

I am a young earth, six day, 24 hour day man. I believe this is consistent with the Biblical text and think science backs this up. I have friends who are old earth guys. One of the key questions I think OEC men need to answer is where are the brakes? What is not allowed in their system? What I have found with many OEC is there are no brakes. Anything is allowed as long as God shows up somewhere. Full scale human evolution with a view of God that verges on Deism. Death of all kinds before Adam’s sin. A fall that drifts towards the mythical. An Adam and Eve that doesn’t really exist. I know not all OEC men hold these positions. That is not my point. My question is if you are a Christian who is old earth what are the lines that cannot be crossed? What interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis would they condemn?

I do not believe every OECer is a heretic or is going down the slippery slope to apostasy, though of course some are. But if a system allows for any and all approaches to Genesis 1-3 then it seems to me it is a system with problems. So what is and what is not allowed by old earth Christians? When will an OEC man say to another OEC man you are out of line? Is the only criteria that God got the ball rolling? As long as God hit the first domino everything else is allowed? Is there any teaching on Genesis 1-3 that they would label a “false teaching and dangerous?” In my experience, while there is disagreement among OEC men on the specifics of Genesis 1-3, there are few brakes if any in the OEC system. This allows for false teaching to take up residence among OECers that has little do with the age of the earth.

PETA Compares Breeding Cows to Rape



Sorry for the headline, but that is exactly what PETA has done. Apologies also for the language in the link below. The PETA ad in question begins with women describing being raped. At least that is what you are led to believe. Their hands are held down, etc. Then the ad takes a turn of epic proportions and ends with this quote:

Every year, billions of animals are born into the meat, egg and dairy industries. Almost all of them are a result of forcible artificial insemination. Almost all of them are a result of rape. Don’t participate, go vegan.

So it isn’t about the rape of humans. It is about the rape of animals.  You can read about here.  Of course, lots of folks on Twitter got upset. But PETA refused to back down. After some kickback PETA’s official Twitter feed said this:

Acknowledging that animals are sexually abused for meat & dairy doesn’t take away from seriousness of sexual abuse of humans.

The president of PETA said this:

It is rape when someone sticks their hand into a vagina or rectum without permission,” Newkirk said. “Every decent person abhors and denounces sexual abuse of women but we cannot blithely accept the sexual abuse of other females who happen not to be human but have the same vulnerability to pain.”

A couple of thoughts on this.

First, this is a natural outworking of evolutionary theory and the rejection of God as our Creator. I am not saying everyone who believes evolution ends up here. But logically it is hard to refute. Men and animals are not distinct creatures. Man does not bear God’s image. He is an animal. This type of thinking flattens out the differences between men and animals and naturally leads to killing an animal being compared to killing a human or in this case artificially inseminating an animal is compared to raping a woman. A woman who has been raped should not under any circumstances be compared to a mistreated cow.Why? She bears God’s image. She is a human. A cow is not. That does not mean animals should be treated cruelly. But it does mean the distinction between man and animal must at all times be maintained. Sexually abusing a child is not comparable in any way to hurting an animal.

Second, has PETA ever watched animals in the wild during mating season. Not trying to be crass here, but the animal kingdom is not known for its calm, placid lead up to, participation in, or follow up to mating. Whether it is male animals warring with each other over a female, males conquering the females, females eating males after mating, etc. the animal world is filled with this kind stuff. Maybe PETA should send a animal cop out to police all the rape, murder, assault, and violence taking place in the animal kingdom. I am not sure the cows in captivity are that bad off compared to their cousins on living in the wild.

Third, how does one get permission from an animal?

Fourth, remember Hollywood, media types, etc. love PETA. This sounds so fringe and crazy  to us. But the elites love this stuff.

Finally, if breeding cows through artificial insemination is rape then of course the people (no doubt men!) doing this should be prosecuted and put away.   For PETA this is criminal behavior.

As Christians we should treat our animals with kindness. But we can kill them, eat them, help them reproduce faster to lower the cost of food, and use chemicals to help them grow faster and fatter. None of this is inherently wrong. We need to be wise about it, but breeding animals is not the same as having a harem of women and raping them to raise children. As Christians at all times we must maintain the line between humans and animals. We bear God’s image. Animals do not. Without this framework the sexual assault of an image bearer loses its gravity and horror.

Book Review: Faith, Form, and Time by Kurt Wise

Faith, Form, and Time: What the Bible Teaches and Science Confirms about Creation and the Age of the UniverseFaith, Form, and Time: What the Bible Teaches and Science Confirms about Creation and the Age of the Universe by Kurt P. Wise

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had never heard of Kurt Wise before a friend recommended this book. It was an excellent read. Several things of note from the book.

First, he is a YEC, global flood guy who believes in everything the Bible says. The book operates on this assumption. In other words, he operates from the view the God of the Bible exists. He is not an ID guy or something like that. He assumes a literal fall with sin and death entering the world at that point.

Second, he does not treat evolutionists or OEC as if they are idiots. In other words, he is gracious throughout the book and a good model of how to interact with those we disagree with. He states in various places that evolutionists have good reasons for believing certain things.

Third, he does not assume YEC answers all the questions out there. At numerous places in the book he indicates the need for more research from the YEC guys to answer specific questions put to them by OEC folks. This approach spurs on the need for more research by Christian scientists. If I was a young Christian looking to study biology, geology, or similar disciplines I would find a good ally in Wise.

Fourth, he does indicate that YEC answers more questions better. In other words, YEC is not just more plausible via Scripture, but even via science it is more plausible. He often uses phrases like “it would seem” or “at this point in study” or “if YEC is true then this scientific finding makes sense” and so on. He does not say everything evolution says is rubbish and stupid. But he does indicate that YEC does a better job answering more questions, though it does not answer all of them.

Fifth, he does a lot work with the post-Flood world and Babel. I am not convinced of all that he says in these sections. But again the goal is not absolute assurance, but plausibility. Can a worldwide flood account for the earth as it is today? He gives numerous examples of how the flood can do this. This was one of more fascinating sections of the book as he described shifting plates, an Ice Advance, as he called it, the creation of canyons via large amounts of rain, etc. Many YEC folks focus on the global flood, but Wise spends more time on how a post-flood world would create the geological formations, etc. that we have. Also his section on Babel was unique, at least as far as my reading goes, but only served to increase the plausibility of the Biblical account when laid alongside the world as it currently is.

Sixth, some of this was way over my head. Two sections, that on DNA and the part on tectonic plates, were hard for me to follow. There is quite a bit of technical language in the book.

Finally, what Wise does best is convince you that YEC/global flood/Babel are just as plausible, if not more plausible, than evolution or OEC. But he does this without treating either group as fools and without giving the impression that we just point at Genesis 1 and tell people to shut up. He also does it in such as way as to encourage Christian scientists to explore the world.

He does have some strange dispensational/pre-mil views that show through here and there, but overall do not impact the value of the book.

Highly recommended to all Christians who are interested in the topic.

My Rating System
1 Star-Terrible book and dangerous. Burn it in the streets.

2 Stars-Really bad book, would not recommend, probably has some dangerous ideas in it or could just be so poorly written/researched that it is not worth reading. Few books I read are 1 or 2 stars because I am careful about what I read.

3 Stars-Either I disagree with it at too many points to recommend it or it is just not a good book on the subject or for the genre. Would not read it again, reference it, or recommend it. But it is not necessarily dangerous except as a time waster.

4 Stars-Solid book on the subject or for the genre. This does not mean I agree with everything in it. I would recommend this book to others and would probably read it again or reference it. Most books fall in this category because I try not to read books I don’t think will be good. There is a quite a variety here. 3.6 is pretty far from 4.5.

5 Stars-Excellent book. Classic in the genre or top of the line for the subject. I might also put a book in here that impacted me personally at the time I read it. I would highly recommend this book, even if I do not agree with all that it says. Few books fall in this category. Over time I have put less in this category.

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Evolution and Beauty

Biological beauty is challenging to explain in evolutionary theory. Organisms usually generate their beauty at some cost to the organism. Either complex chemical pigments are required or cleaver mechanisms are employed for the diffraction of light. Either way, energy is invariably expended by the organism to create and maintain its beauty. In evolutionary theory, anything that requires an investment of energy on the part of the organism should have come about only because it was necessary for the organism’s survival. But the beauty of organisms-even that which is utilized by the organism for mate choice, defense, and so on-does not seem to be necessary for organismal survival. It seems to fulfill a function beyond survival: to show the abundance and glory of God. (Kurt Wise, Faith, Form, and Time, p. 128-129)