The Misuse of Galileo by Evolutionists

The Misuse of Galileo by Evolutionists

The condemnation of Galileo for teaching heliocentrism by the Catholic Church is often used by evolutionists and old-earth creationists to attack the scientific methodology of young-earth creationism. They argue that just as the Catholic Church at that time wrongly condemned Galileo because they interpreted the Bible to teach geocentrism, young-earth creationists wrongly condemn evolution and billions of years in the face of overwhelming evidence because they too have misinterpreted the Bible. Therefore, they argue that young-earth creationists must reinterpret the Bible in light of the scientific evidence just as the Catholic Church had to reinterpret the Bible in light of Galileo’s findings.

But it is actually the young-earth creationists, not the evolutionists or old-earth creationists, who are represented by Galileo. The reason the Catholic Church rejected Galileo’s findings was because they were contrary to the predominant scientific theory of the day: geocentrism. The church leaders were listening to the voices of the leading scientists and theologians of their day who disagreed with Galileo. Their theologians interpreted the Bible to teach geocentrism because the early church fathers taught geocentrism which they inherited from the teaching of Greek philosophers. They came to the wrong conclusion because they were attempting to interpret the Bible through the teachings of fallible human scientists and philosophers.

So likewise, evolution and the belief that the universe is billions of years old are the predominant scientific theories of today just as geocentrism was the predominant scientific theory then. The Catholic Church interpreted the Bible in light of the prevailing scientific theory of the day just as they do today. But it is absolutely impossible to reconcile the Bible with evolution or even with billions of years.

When young-earth creationists bring up scientific evidence in favor of their view, they are dismissed and treated like scientific heretics (as Galileo was) for opposing the prevailing consensus. As Galileo was condemned in the court of public opinion for his theories because they were outside of the scientific consensus, young-earth creationists are dismissed a priori because their beliefs entail the truth of Christianity which secular scientists do not want to believe in.


Chicken and Egg Problems for Evolutionists

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? This question is known as a causality dilemma which illustrates the impossibility of biological evolution. But this is not the only causality dilemma which exists for the theory of evolution. Here are some others:

Did DNA which produces proteins come first or did proteins come first which are necessary for life?

Did proteins come first or did ribosomes come first which produce proteins and are themselves made up of proteins?

Did DNA come first or did cell membranes come first which are necessary for cellular life?

Did DNA come first or did DNA replication, synthesis, and transcription come first which are necessary for life?

Did DNA come first or did DNA’s ability to repair itself come first?

Did the cell come first or did the nucleus and DNA come first?

Did left-handed amino acids in proteins come first or did right-handed nucleotides in DNA come first?

Did the immune system come first or did life in a world of bacteria and viruses come first?

Did male sexual reproduction come first or did female sexual reproduction come first?

Did blood come first or did blood clotting come first which is necessary for survival?

Did the E. coli bacteria come first or did the bacterial flagellum come first which is irreducibly complex?

Did animals come first or did the eye come first?

Did butterflies come first or did caterpillars and metamorphosis come first which results in butterflies who alone are able to sexually reproduce unlike caterpillars?

Did bees come first or did royal jelly proteins come first which are necessary to make queen bees?

Because both of these could not exist without the other, both of them had to come into existence at roughly the same time. But this requires a creator and atheists do not want to accept the consequences of belief in a personal God. Hence, in an atheist worldview, we are reduced to absurdity and end up fighting against science itself.

The Historicity of Genesis 1-11

The first eleven chapters of Genesis have become extremely controversial because of the prevalent acceptance of the theory of evolution. Since people believe that evolution is a proven fact, they dismiss the authority of Scripture altogether or embrace theistic evolution which teaches that God created all things by means of evolution. They argue that Genesis 1-11 cannot be interpreted literally because it would contradict what we know to be scientifically true. But when the beginning of Genesis is treated as an allegory or myth, it undermines foundational truths of the Christian faith such as original sin, the need for salvation, marriage, modesty, and human dignity. As we shall see, Genesis is the foundation for the rest of Scripture. And since the authors of the New Testament interpreted Genesis 1-11 literally, theistic evolution is not an option for Christians who know the Bible. We must either reject the inerrancy and authority of all of Scripture or embrace all of Genesis as literal history.

When asked about whether divorce is permitted for any reason, Jesus responded by appealing to the narrative of Genesis: “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female'” (Mark 10:6). The force of Jesus’ argument is dependent upon the truthfulness of the first two chapters of Genesis. Because the original man and woman were designed to be together for life, divorce is not acceptable (Matt 19:4-6). Notice also Jesus’ use of the phrase “from the beginning of creation.” He believed that the creation of man and woman took place at the beginning of creation and not billions or millions of years after creation began. The truth that man was created on the sixth day while the Sabbath was made on the seventh is the basis for Jesus’ assertion that the Sabbath was made for man’s good and not the other way around (Mark 2:27). Jesus also believed that the story of Cain and Abel was real history when he speaks of the blood of Abel together with the martyrdom of Zechariah (Matt 23:35). Jesus taught that the flood of Noah was universal and is the paradigm for his own coming which will bring judgment on the whole world as Noah’s flood did (Matt 24:37-39). Just as Noah’s flood brought universal destruction, no one will escape on the day of judgment except those who trust in Christ – the one to whom the ark pointed. The Gospel of Luke even contains the full genealogy of Jesus going all the way back to Adam (Luke 3:34-38).

Paul is even more explicit in his affirmation that Genesis is real history. All men trace their lineage back to Adam: “He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26). Adam was “the first man” which means he had no human parents (1 Cor 15:47). He is called the “man of dust” which shows that Paul believed Adam was created out of the dust of the ground (1 Cor 15:47-49). The fall of Adam and his disobedience is the reason why Christ had to obey God in our place to accomplish what Adam never could (Rom 5:12-19). Adam’s sin brought death to all mankind and Christ’s righteousness brings life to those who are in him (1 Cor 15:22). The fall of Adam not only had consequences for his descendants, but for all of creation which was subjected to decay because of his sin (Rom 8:19-23). The story of God creating Adam first and then Eve from Adam’s rib is also interpreted literally by Paul: “For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man” (1 Cor 11:8-9). Eve was deceived by Satan who transformed himself into a serpent (2 Cor 11:3). The order of creation is the basis for Paul’s teaching that women cannot teach or have authority over men in the church (1 Tim 2:13). The truthfulness of this order is reinforced by Satan’s attempt to undermine it by going to Eve instead of Adam (1 Tim 2:14). God created the one-flesh union of man and woman in marriage to be a picture of his eternal plan to unite the church to Christ (Eph 5:31-32).

The author of Hebrews bases his interpretation of the Sabbath as pointing to a future day of Sabbath rest in eternity based on God’s resting from creation on the seventh day (Heb 4:3-4). The stories of Abel, Enoch, and Noah are all interpreted literally as referring to actual people (Heb 11:4-7). Abel’s blood is contrasted with that of Christ (Heb 12:24). The apostle Peter uses the story of the flood as a picture for baptism (1 Pet 3:20). Only eight people were saved from Noah’s flood which destroyed the ancient world (2 Pet 2:5; 3:6). He describes the creation of dry land as coming out of the water just as Genesis 1:9-10 does (2 Pet 3:4-5). Jude tells us that Enoch was the seventh from Adam (Jude 1:14). The apostle John describes the murder of Abel by Cain as real history (1 John 3:12). The depiction of Satan as a dragon is an allusion to the deception of Eve by Satan when he transformed himself into a snake (Rev 12:3-4). And a dragon is nothing more than a snake with arms and legs (Gen 3:14). The end of the book of Revelation alludes back to the garden of Eden when it speaks of the tree of life in the New Heavens and New Earth (Rev 22:2).

For those who want to dig deeper into this subject, Walt Brown’s book In the Beginning contains a wealth of scientific evidence which points to God’s existence and the historicity of the events of Genesis.

A Response to Old Earth Arguments

I have argued in past three blog posts for young-earth creationism. But how should Christians respond to scientific arguments for the universe as billions of years old instead of only thousands? Many possible answers have been given through internet ministries and books, but I would like to respond here briefly to four of the most common arguments for an old earth: distant starlight, ice core layers, tree ring data, and radioisotope dating. While I am not a scientist or the son of a scientist, I think that I too have the Spirit of God.

How is it possible that we can see stars that are millions of light years away if the universe is only thousands of years old? Wouldn’t the universe have to be at least millions of years old in order for their light to reach us? If the Bible is true in all that it says, then the answer to this question is revealed in Genesis 1. God created the stars on day four and on day six he created man. That means Adam could see the stars when he was first made. God created the stars in such a way that their light was already visible from earth when Adam was created. Not only were stars created, the light particles that stars emit are also part of God’s creative work and he ordered them in such a way that man could see the stars from earth at the beginning of creation (Mark 10:6). And he did not just miraculously extend the light that those stars emit when they were created, he continuously extends the particles of light they emit even to this day.

When God created the universe, he created it as a mature universe. Just as Adam was mature (not old) when he was created, the earth was mature from the beginning of creation. The “old” appearance of the earth (the presence of pre-existing mountains, continents, caves, minerals, and canyons) is not God’s attempt to deceive us, but his providential act of creating a mature earth that is fully habitable for his creation. The diamonds that exist in the world are primordial in nature having been created by God directly at the beginning of creation rather than taking millions of years to be formed through uniformitarian geology. God is not being deceptive by placing diamonds in the earth that otherwise would have taken millions of years to form because he has already told us that he created the earth and all that is in it in six days. Using this principle of a mature earth, every argument for an old earth can be explained away. This is not a cop-out, but the natural conclusion taken from Genesis 1:31 that the earth was “very good” from the beginning of creation and complete in God’s sight. It would be deceptive if God had not told us that he created the world in six days, but since he has, no Christian can get mad at another if he employs the “mature earth escape clause” when that is the conclusion that must be drawn from the days of Genesis being normal 24-hour days composed of one evening and one morning (Exod 20:11).

But why are there ice cores that show hundreds of thousands of years of progress if each ice layer only represents one year? Two possible answers can be given to this question. The first is that many of the ice layers are primordial in nature existing from the beginning of creation. Some of the layers were created directly by God and the rest are the result of snowfall over thousands of years. A more “scientific” solution is since multiple layers of ice can form over the course of a single year when there is heavy snowfall, most of the layers were laid down quickly after the flood caused by an ice age due to global climate change. This ice age created the land bridge used by Native Americans to cross from Asia to North America. One recent example of rapid ice buildup can be seen in Greenland when 250 feet of ice built up over a 50 year period.

What about the Bristlecone Pines that are said to be older than the global flood? The oldest living one has 4,600 tree rings. But the assumption that is being made is that only one tree ring can form per year. In extreme conditions, however, trees can produce more than one ring per year. What if the world’s climate after the flood was much colder than it is now? The trees that grew during this period of cold could be more likely to form multiple rings per year in comparison to the warmer climate we experience now.

Radioisotope dating is one of the most common arguments used against a young earth chronology. But creationists do not accept the presuppositions of uniformitarian geology and radioisotope dating. For the dates to be accurate we must: 1. know the starting amount of parent and daughter elements in the original sample and that it is the same for every sample; 2. the decay rate is constant; 3. no parent or daughter material has been removed and the system has remained closed; 4. all daughter elements are produced by radioactive decay. In contrast, I would argue that the ratios of elements present in the samples that are examined during radioisotope dating are primordial in nature rather than the result of millions of years of radioactive decay. The ratio of unstable atoms to stable ones is part of the original created order rather than the result of radioactive decay. The mistaken assumption that all differences in ratios are the result of radioactive decay rather than being the result of a direct act of God leads to the mistaken belief that the universe must be billions of years old.

The debate over the age of the universe is ultimately a debate about authority. Do we interpret the Bible in light of changing scientific theories or do we interpret the world around us in light of Scripture? The Word of God does not change, but scientific theories do. All evidence is interpreted evidence and we must have the right set of principles in place for us to rightly interpret biblical and scientific data. If we believe in sola Scriptura, that the Bible is our ultimate authority in matters of faith and practice, we must interpret the world through the words of the one who was there in the beginning.

How Long Are the Days of Genesis 1?

What did Moses mean when he wrote in Exodus 20:11: “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them”? I would like to briefly argue here that “day” in Genesis 1 and Exodus 20 should be interpreted as a normal 24-hour period of time. More extensive arguments are given by Gerhard Hasel, Mark Snoeberger, Jason Lisle, and Jonathan Sarfati.

1. Each day is defined as one evening and one morning whereas long ages have multiple evenings and mornings.

2. When the term “day” is used preceded by a number in Scripture, it always refers to a 24-hour period of time. Hosea 6:2 is not an exception to this rule when Hosea says “on the third day he will raise us up” since this is a messianic prophecy fulfilled when Jesus rose from the dead on the third day (Luke 13:32; 24:46). The first day of the week when Jesus rose again was a literal 24-hour day.

3. Exodus 20:11 interprets the days of Genesis 1 as literal days occurring in the course of one week: “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day.” God’s pattern of working and rest is our pattern for life. Notice the introductory causal term “for” explaining why the Israelites should observe this pattern of six days of work followed by a day of rest. A non-literal interpretation of “day” would destroy the force of the argument for the people of God to observe the Sabbath if God did not actually create the earth in six days and rest on the seventh.

4. The term “day” occurs with other temporal markers such as “seasons” and “years” in Genesis 1:14. If “day” is a long period of time, then what are “seasons” and “years”?

5. Genesis 1 is an example of narrative literature rather than poetry as demonstrated by the consistent use of qal waw-consecutive imperfect verbal forms also known as preterites. See Steven Boyd’s work on the subject.

6. Long ages of time would introduce animal death before the fall of Adam into sin contradicting Romans 8:19-23 which includes the fall of all creation with the fall of man. The cursing of the ground is a direct result of Adam’s sin and did not exist beforehand: “cursed is the ground because of you” (Gen 3:17). Death of any kind is not “very good” (Gen 1:31). Even children know this when their pets die. Death will not exist in the new heavens and new earth (Rev 21:4). If animal death was “very good,” then why doesn’t God allow for it to continue forever?

7. The incentive to interpret “day” as something other than a 24-hour period is not derived from exegesis, but by evolutionary constraints to fit billions of years into the text of Scripture and accommodate evolution with Christianity.

8. The history of Christianity is almost universally against interpreting “day” as a long period of time in Genesis 1. The concept of evolution is pagan in origin having its roots in Greek philosophy rather than the Bible. It was not until the rise of evolutionary biology and uniformitarian geology that old-earth creationism gained a foothold in the church.

9. Even if the days of Genesis are long ages, their chronology and ordering of events does not fit in with an evolutionary understanding of astronomy.

10. The nearly universal consensus of Hebrew scholars is that the days of Genesis 1 were intended to be interpreted as literal 24-hour days by the original author.

James Barr, a well-known Hebrew scholar and no friend of Christianity, admitted in 1984 that the interpretation of “day” as intended to be understood in Genesis 1 as a 24-hour period of time is the universal interpretation of Hebrew scholars as far as he knows:

“Probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1-11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that (a) creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience (b) the figures contained in the Genesis genealogies provided by simple addition a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the biblical story (c) Noah’s flood was understood to be world-wide and extinguish all human and animal life except for those in the ark. Or, to put it negatively, the apologetic arguments which suppose the ‘days’ of creation to be long eras of time, the figures of years not to be chronological, and the flood to be a merely local Mesopotamian flood, are not taken seriously by any such professors, as far as I know.”

This general consensus has been corroborated by others. For these reasons, I see the days in Genesis 1 as 24-hour periods and not long ages of time. The Zondervan Counterpoints book The Historical Adam has a good discussion on whether Genesis 1-3 should be interpreted as literal history or allegorically. Walt Brown has a useful article on how the New Testament interprets Genesis 1-11 which contradicts an allegorical reading of Genesis.

Evidences for a Young Earth

The ultimate reason for my belief that the universe is relatively young and not billions of years old is the consistent exegesis of the text of Scripture. But in addition to that, I believe there are observable and scientific reasons for holding to a young earth form of creationism. While many possible evidences could be brought up, the four examples I would like to mention here are: “Old” DNA and the presence of soft tissue in dinosaur bones, living bacteria in the stomachs of insects trapped in resin, the presence of Carbon-14 in fossils and diamonds, and the existence of comets.

Fragments of DNA have been found in the remains of insects, plants, fish, and dinosaurs dated from 25 to 120 million years old. One example of this phenomenon is the work of Mary Schweitzer on the discovery of blood vessels and blood cells in dinosaur bones. Walt Brown quotes from some of the published articles on the subject: “‘I got goose bumps,’ recalls [Mary] Schweitzer. ‘It was exactly like looking at a slice of modern bone. But, of course, I couldn’t believe it. I said to the lab technician: The bones, after all, are 65 million years old. How could blood cells survive that long?’” (Virginia Morell, “Dino DNA: The Hunt and the Hype,” Science, Vol. 261, 9 July 1993, p. 160). “Soft tissues are preserved within hindlimb elements of Tyrannosaurus rex (Museum of the Rockies specimen 1125). Removal of the mineral phase reveals transparent, flexible, hollow blood vessels …” (Mary H. Schweitzer et al., “Soft-Tissue Vessels and Cellular Preservation in Tyrannosaurus Rex,” Science, Vol. 307, 25 March 2005, p. 1952). “‘I am quite aware that according to conventional wisdom and models of fossilization, these structures aren’t supposed to be there, but there they are,’ said Schweitzer, lead author of the paper. ‘I was pretty shocked.’” (Evelyn Boswell, “Montana T. Rex Yields Next Big Discovery in Dinosaur Paleontology,” Montana State University News Service, 24 March 2005, p. 1). Schweitzer made these discoveries while completing her doctor’s degree under John “Jack” R. Horner, one of the world’s leading dinosaur researchers. Horner is the Curator of Paleontology at the Museum of the Rockies, and was a technical advisor for the film Jurassic Park. When Schweitzer reported her discovery to Horner, he replied, “Mary, the freaking creationists are just going to love you.” Schweitzer replied, “Jack, it’s your dinosaur.” See Jack Horner and James Gorman, How to Build a Dinosaur (New York: Penguin Group, 2009), pp. 80–81.

The discovery of insects in resin that are dated up to 230 million years old look the same as the insects of today. Brown relates some of the research that has been done on them: “In a clean-room laboratory, 30-40 dormant, but living, bacteria species were removed from intestines of bees encased in amber from the Dominican Republic. When cultured, the bacteria grew! This amber is claimed to be 25-40 million years old, but I suspect it formed at the beginning of the flood, only thousands of years ago. Is it more likely that bacteria can be kept alive thousands of years or many millions of years? Metabolism rates, even in dormant bacteria, are not zero.”

Carbon dating is the process of determining how old any organism that was once alive or deposit of carbon is. The amount of Carbon-14, an isotope of carbon, decays over time rapidly with a half-life of only 5,730 years which means that it is impossible for there to be any detectable C-14 left in an organism that is older than 200,000 years. But C-14 has been found in the fossils of organisms, rocks, and petrified wood that are dated millions of years old by evolutionary standards. C-14 has also been found in diamonds dated to the Precambrian era but based on the presence of C-14 in them, they could be no older than 80,000 years. Contamination in diamonds is next to impossible because of the strength of the bonds of carbon in diamonds.

If the universe is billions of years old, why are there still comets around? Each time a comet circles the sun, a portion of it melts away because of the intense heat of the sun vaporizing the ice molecules. Some comets also crash into planets in addition to the sun. After billions of years, comets would have ceased to orbit the sun. Where do comets come from in the first place? Can we really believe that the water on earth came from comets crashing into it? These are just a few of the arguments I would bring up in a debate over the age of the earth. For more information on this topic, I recommend the book Refuting Compromise by Jonathan Sarfati and In the Beginning by Walt Brown.

Examples of Irreducible Complexity

Irreducible complexity is the state of a biological mechanism being so complex that one missing element renders the entire organism being unable to pass on its genetic information. The concept of irreducible complexity is a challenge for the theory of evolution because if genetic mutation is the mechanism through which organisms evolve, how can these complex mechanisms have evolved and survived up until the present day when a gradual process of evolution would have rendered the organism unable to reproduce or survive without this complex biological structure fully intact? While many examples can be given, I will just list the ones I find the most compelling.

The process of metamorphosis, as seen in insects such as butterflies, is an incredibly complex reorganization of the catepillar. The larva disintegrates and rematerializes as a more complex flying insect. How did the catepillar avoid extinction when it has to first become a butterfly in order to reproduce? Without metamorphosis and then sexual reproduction, the catepillar could not have survived to the present day. How does metamorphosis evolve when it is a highly complex process of taking a non-reproducing organism and turning it into a reproducing one? The reproducing organism must first have existed in order for its larva to exist and acquire the ability to metamorphosize through genetic mutation according to evolution. But how can its reproducing stage exist without metamorphosis in the first place?

The flaggelum of the E. Coli bacteria is a biological motor and living piece of technology.  The bacteria uses reversible motors that control shafts which rotate flagella that act as propellers. The entire process is powered by protons rather than electrons as in an electric motor. The motor uses rings, a bushing, a central rod, an S-ring, and a rotor which is the terminal ring. Diagrams of the bacterial motor can be found all over the internet for you to study further. How could the bacteria survive and reproduce without the ability to move using its flagella? How could such a device evolve over time through random mutations?

Sexual reproduction requires both a male and female partner who are genetically compatible with each other. How can a male and female pair have evolved independently of each other at the same time and at the same place? Extinction would set in unless all of the conditions for sexual reproduction exist at the same time. How could an asexually reproducing creature evolve into a sexually reproducing one? The ability to conceive and nurture unborn life must also have evolved at the same time for sexual reproduction to occur. The intricate process of fertilization is not fully understood even in our day. This is why even evolutionists can speak of the “miracle” of life.

The immune system is necessary for survival in order to fight off invading bacteria and viruses. The body’s defense network can keep track of invading organisms and learn from past victories over disease. But how could the genetic information that supports the immune system have evolved in the first place? An immune system is necessary for survival but existence is first required before the immune system could develop. The organism would have died before the immune system could have evolved. The genetic information for life to exist must have come into existence at once rather than through millions of years of random genetic mutations.

Other topics that could be discussed are: the human eye, photoreceptors, the cupped eye of marine limpets, the biochemistry of vision, the bombardier beetle, the making of proteins, amino acids, RNA, mRNA, DNA transcription, gene regulation, the binding of proteins to catalyze a chemical reaction, cilium, the fibrin protein network and blood clotting, the animal cell, mitochondria, vesicular transport, photosynthesis, antibodies, biosynthesis of the AMP, symbiosis of cells, cell membranes, protein structure, the four levels of nucleic acid structure, lipids, and polysaccharides. While not an example of irreducible complexity, I find it hard to believe that anyone can think that the leaf-tailed gecko, which might as well have “God Exists” painted on its body, could possibly evolve through random genetic mutation.

For more evidence of God’s existence based on the world around us, see Walt Brown’s book In the Beginning.