Of “Sacred Cows” and “Sour Milk”
I make no claims of being a scientist. Though I regularly remind catechumens and the congregation of the errors of the “scientific” theory of evolution, and point them to the Scriptural truth of creationism, I do so not on the basis of “science” but of faith—whereby I believe without doubt that the worlds were framed by the Word of God.
Yet a Christian might be inclined to wonder about the truthfulness of Scripture—when all the “scientific” evidence seems to point to evolution—and a long age of the earth and universe.
The worldly scientist insists on a certain rule of “uniformitarianism.” He insists that all things ever existed even as they do now today. He is convinced that, on the basis of what he discovers now, he can posit what must have been true in the past. Obviously, he refuses to take into account the Scriptural presentation of an instantaneous creation; of a fall of man into sin—and its resultant curse upon the earth; of a universal flood which must have radically altered the face of this earth. Still, I’m not a scientist. I feel myself lost before the avalanche of “scientific facts” quoted to prove evolution.
But recently I read a brief article in the Herald of the Covenant which points out several things apparently contradictory to the idea of evolution. I am not in a position to prove or disprove them. At the least, however, the material is interesting. The I writer of the article, Hugh Powlison, points out several “proofs” for a young earth—one not much older than 6,000 years. What do you think of the “proof”?
. . .One of the finest clocks available to our observation is our own solar system. The sun is its mainspring, and it is unwinding at a rate of 4 million tons PER SECOND or about 8 miles off its diameter per year. With a diameter of 865,000 miles, its useful future life is less than 100,000 years. Looking backward in time to see how big it was at the ‘beginning’, we run into deep trouble if we are looking for eons.
Any astronomer can tell you that if you know the mass of the sun, the mass of the earth, the distance between them and the velocity of the earth, you can calculate the orbital equilibrium. Any significant changes in any of these parameters, and the earth either goes out into space or is sucked into the gravitational field of the sun, just as Skylab did to the earth after 7 short years. All the planets, asteroids and satellites are displaying a symphony of motion as they obey these exact parameters. Now if the sun is losing so much weight per second, and the earth is adding 14,000,000 tons of meteorites and space ash to its weight per year, it is conceivable that it could still be within the tolerances after 6,000 years, but to talk of 4.5 BILLION years is to confess that blind chance would have been kinder to Skylab than all their careful planning.
The sacred cow kicked over the whole bucket when the Apollo space missions brought back moon rocks to be analyzed. The evolutionists reveal their crass dishonesty in failing to publish or admit the problems created by the discovery that the concentration of Thorium 230 in the moon rocks indicates by their own clocks that the moon could not be older than 100,000 years, which for evolution’s requirements is barely a tick of the watch. They had expected some 50 feet of space ash on the moon to account for their billions of years. You know it turned out to be half an inch when you saw those footprints around the landing module.
. . .If you visit Glen Rose, Texas, you can find human footprints preserved in stone along with dinosaur tracks in the Paluxy River bed. An honest scientist would be happy for this correction to his chart of history, but the textbooks still teach our children that dinosaurs disappeared 70,000,000 years before man appeared. By the way, can you explain how to make a fossil out of a FOOTPRINT? They say it took a lot of time, and how long do YOUR footprints stay around?
If you visit Carlsbad Caverns, the guide will explain to you in all seriousness that those stalactites and stalagmites took 100,000 years to reach their present size. He fails to tell you that inside one stalactite a complete bat was found encased. It had not rotted or been eaten by predators. This does not seem to bother the evolutionist.
In Pennsylvania a spoon was found inside a block of soft coal. A finished spoon speaks of a civilization far beyond the cave man style, yet this spoon was fabricated BEFORE the coal bed was formed. Do you know when the books say the Devonian, Carboniferous & Permian ages were? With evidence like that, you should feel sorry for the evolutionist. . . .
The above makes for interesting reading. I am not in a position to verify the statements made. Yet after all is said and done, we need not “prove” the creation fact by science, but we believe by faith (Heb. 11). Many things can not be “proved.” Yet the faith of the Christian holds to the testimony of the Word of God. And, after all, it is far less difficult to understand creation as Scripture presents this than it is to believe that what we see and what we are, came to be by blind chance. But unbelief will not agree.
The R.E.S. News Exchange, Dec. 8, 1981, quotes from a Dutch paper indicating the changing attitudes towards evangelism. More importantly, there is a changed definition of proper evangelism. The changed definition governs not only churches in the Netherlands, but also those throughout the world. It is time for the faithful in Christ to return to the old and proper paths.
An exchange of ideas in Central Weekblad reveals that not everyone in the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (GKN) thinks alike of what is meant by evangelism. The Rev. J.B.J. Jonkers of the Center for Evangelism here highlighted the change in conception that has occurred in the churches by juxtaposing two synodical declarations, one in 1923, the other in 1973. The 1923 statement said: “The aim of evangelism is to call those who are estranged from God’s Word and the service of the Lord back to the Lord, and thus also to the church of the Lord.” Fifty years later the Church’s Board of Evangelism described evangelism as: “the communicative mode of existence and activity by which church (members), as sharers in Jesus’ mission, invite people to participate in the liberating work of the Lord.”
Jonkers points out that more than a formal change has occurred, for a “material” shift has taken place. The synod of 1973 held that the gospel cannot always and in all situations be articulated in the same system of concepts. “In the bringing of the gospel the normal and clear call to conversion may definitely not be absent.” Jonkers concluded that the aim of evangelism itself is susceptible to change. This means, of course, that before doing evangelism one should determine what one wishes to accomplish with it. In his opinion, this makes evangelism more difficult but also more true to life.
Reacting to Jonkers, Prof. Klaas Runia questioned whether the fact that life constantly changes requires a change in the aim of evangelism. Doesn’t the essential message of Jesus Christ and the salvation of the Kingdom which He announced and for which He lived, suffered, died and rose again remain the same? Runia was not opposed to speaking of participating in the liberating work of the Lord. But one can never really participate in that liberating work without first having a part in the Lord himself. . . .
Notice especially the first paragraph above and the statement: to “invite people to participate in the liberating work of the Lord.” It is that kind of statement that is heard increasingly in connection with the calling of the church. This usually does not mean that there is that liberation from sin and death through the work of Christ. Rather, the calling of the church is said to be to liberate the oppressed from the oppressors: to liberate women from the oppression of men; to liberate the poor from the oppression of the rich; to liberate the black from the oppression of the white. This emphasis is also the mark, I am convinced, of the anti-Christian church. That seeks “liberation” not in the cross of Jesus Christ, but in the efforts and strivings of men. Be aware of this emphasis of a “liberation” theology which rejects the theology of the cross.
Difficulties of Westminster Seminary
Most of us have heard of Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia. It is an independent, rather conservative, seminary, independent of any denomination though always closely allied with the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Some of its professors are former Christian Reformed men, including the well-known Dr. C. Van Til. In past years there has been a controversy surrounding the teachings of one of its professors, Mr. Shepherd. The controversy centers in Mr. Shepherd’s view of justification by faith and the relationship this has to works. The details of the controversy I have not carefully analyzed. From reports, they appear to be confusing. But the result has been the dismissal of Mr. Shepherd from the teaching staff of the seminary. A report is presented in the Presbyterian Journal of Dec. 9, 1981:
Pressed to the wall by a complex controversy which it called “unresolvable,” the board of Westminster Theological Seminary here has dismissed systematic theology professor Norman Shepherd from its faculty effective January 1.
Grounds for the dismissal were stated by the board to be “the best interests of the seminary.”
In a public statement remarkable for its candor, the Westminster board all but conceded that it took the difficult step for reasons of expediency rather than principle.
“The board makes no judgment,” said the statement, “whether Mr. Shepherd’s views as such contradict or contravene any element in the system of doctrine taught by the Westminster Standards.”
Instead, the board observed that for a variety of reasons “too many people in the seminary community and constituency and the larger Christian public have come to judge that Mr. Shepherd’s teaching appears to them to contradict or contravene, either directly or impliedly, some elements in that system of doctrine taught by the Standards.”
With obvious hurt, the Westminster board blamed “its own indiscretions” for the fact that such judgments had been made. It also blamed “the indiscretions and at times one-sided allegations of others,” “the deep inherent problems in the structure and the particular formulations of Mr. Shepherd’s views,” and “Mr. Shepherd’s manner of criticizing opponents as non-Reformed rather than primarily incorporating their concerns more thoroughly into his own position in response.”
The board said the “controversy over Mr. Shepherd has reached such dimensions and such tangled complexity that it appears unresolvable. . . .”
. . .Beyond the personal issue, however, continue to lurk the implications for the denominational constituencies which Westminster Seminary serves. Although Westminster is commonly perceived as an institution of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) it is in fact not only independent, but is controlled by a board denominated now by members of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) rather than from the OPC. . . .
One could well follow future developments in this trouble. Not all of the board or the majority of the faculty of the seminary were happy about the “resolution” of the controversy. Whether Shepherd is correct or not, surely on a doctrinal matter the board of that seminary ought to have taken a stand. As the situation presently exists, the problem likely remains, though Shepherd is dismissed.