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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Biblical Case for an Old Earth, by David Snoke, part 9

I have posted several times on David Snoke's A Biblical Case for an Old Earth (Grand Rapids, Mi: Baker Books, 2006). The most recent post is here.

Having considered the main arguments for young-earth creationism, and seriously weakened or demolished them, using the Bible itself, Snoke considers the question of the relationship between science and Christianity. Although he does not mention Ian Barbour (and perhaps is unaware of him) Barbour has been the most prominent voice arguing for Integration of science and Christianity. (As opposed to supposing that they are necessarily in conflict, or that they have nothing to say to each other.) Snoke uses the term, Concordist science. For what it's worth, I agree whole-heartedly. Scientific facts are one part of God's revelation to us, and, although not as important as the Bible, or, especially as God's revelation in Jesus Christ, the different ways in which God has revealed Himself to us should agree, or at least work together, provided, of course, that we understand them well enough.

So why do some Christians, who take the Bible seriously, take the position that science and Biblical revelation are opposed?

Many Christians seem to be afraid to make any predictions based on the Bible that could be falsified, for fear that people will reject all of Christianity if it is attached to a particular scientific theory. This, in my experience, lies at the root of much of the objection to concordantist science. Many Christians want to seal off their Christian belief from any possible contradiction with science, so that it is an impregnable fortress against all attack.
I call this basic mind-set of so many Christians, both conservative and liberal, the "two-worlds" view. . . . This view says, in essence, that science and real-world experience lie in one world and that the Bible and theology lie in another world, completely distinct from the first. The two worlds do not contradict each other because they cannot; no overlap exists so one world does not have implications in the other. The Bible has authority in matters of faith, but not at all in matters of science, because faith and science have nothing to say about each other. . . . This two-worlds mind-set reflects an essentially defensive posture. Having survived a long tradition of attack on Christianity in the name of science, many Christians assume that if the two worlds did overlap, then science would surely contradict Christian faith. Even if science does not presently appear to contradict our faith, the possibility always exists that it will. (pp. 117-8)

Well, says Snoke, so what if there is that possibility? He goes on to make a strong statement:
We must face the facts: if the Bible is wrong, utterly wrong, about the history of our origins, then we should dump it. We cannot avoid this risky aspect of our faith. If we protect the Bible by attacking modern science, or if we protect it by making it speak only about matters of morality and personal faith, we have cut it off from the real world and made it far less than it claims to be. (p. 121)

Wow! But I think he is exactly right about that.

Thanks for reading. Read Snoke.


Tim Martin said...

Hello Martin,

I found your blog by a search of David Snoke's book, "A Biblical Case for an Old Earth."

I have written a book of my own from the OEC perspective. I also interact with Snoke's material at key points.

Can I send you a complimentary copy of my new book titled "Beyond Creation Science"? You can see more about it at

If you would like a free copy, please e-mail me at


Tim Martin
co-author, Beyond Creation Science

Martin LaBar said...

Jan 10, 2009: Thanks. I have e-mailed you information on how to send the book.

I hope to finish my posts on Snoke's book soon..

zuma said...

Evolutionary theory is in question if we would compare the orderliness of animals and plants. You would discover that all animals would have their heads on top and follow by their chest and abdomen and even legs. For instance, if all the animals have their derivation from evolution, there would be a possibility of the disorderliness that would occur that some animals would have their heads to be formed at their abdomens or their chests to be formed above their heads or some might have one eye or more than two eyes. It seems to be that all animals are in orderly manner that all have two pairs of eyes and the eyes are always located at the heads instead of in the bodies. Besides, all have even number of legs or hands instead of some have odd number of hands. Small creatures, such as insects, would have all their heads to be in front and their tails or bodies to be behind. There is indeed orderliness among living creatures.
For instance, if all living things have been come about through evolution, there would be disorderliness since it would not give warranty an initial single lively molecule would develop into creatures with orderliness. There would be a possibility that an insect would be formed with the head at their body or only an eye or more than two pairs of eyes to be formed.
Consideration has also need to taken into the accounts that there would be more than a lively molecule to be formed in the beginning due to the environmental factors and condition that would deem best for the formation of living thing. As that would be so, there would be the liveliness that animals would be created in disorderliness in which some animals would have their heads be formed at the bodies and some even be formed.
As there is orderliness in the formation of living things, there seems to be something that controls it to cause it to be so. Religious people call it, God.

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, zuma.

I'm afraid that you have lost me on most of this.

Natural selection (which, most likely, God built into the universe, as He did, say, the force of gravity) would tend to eliminate grossly unfit organisms, such as the ones you describe, and which are conceived by most all organisms, including humans, but seldom, or ever, make it to maturity. I think that that is the way God has chosen to work. Thinking that mechanism up (if God did so) was an amazing miracle.

However, you don't seem to know much zoology. Starfish, and that entire phylum, are animals, and have five-fold symmetry -- five or a multiple of "legs," as well as other parts. Gastropods have rather different body plans than, say, mammals, and there were fossil groups with some strange (to us) body plans.