God, the Universe and
A Conversation with a Creationist.
What follows is an in depth discussion between Kevin O'Brien and a Young Earth Creationist. The creationist's words are in italics.
Yeah, it [the Bible] does [deny evolution]. Its timeframe for creation is somewhere around or under 10,000 years; not enough time for macroevolution, obviously.
That's how you interpret it; other people have different interpretations. In point of fact, however, there is no unambiguous "timeframe" described anywhere in the Bible; there certainly is no claim that the universe is only 10,000 years old. As such, I prefer not to rely on a book written by men and interpreted by men to determine the timeframe of the universe, but to look to the universe itself for such a timeframe. And the clear, unambiguous evidence from the universe is that it is anywhere between 10 and 20 billion years old with a 4.5 billion year old Earth.
And we do not claim this because we have "interpreted" the evidence in a "naturalistic" way, but because the evidence clearly demonstrates that obvious conclusion. Your fellow creationists must agree with me, because none of them have tried to "interpret" the evidence within a young earth model, but instead have tried to claim that the evidence is flawed. It might be, but saying that it is flawed is not a method of "interpreting" it differently. In fact, now that I think about it, no creationist has ever tried to "interpret" "naturalistic" evidence supernaturally; they just deny it or try to obscure it in some fashion. Denying evidence is an appeal to ignorance, so as I said in my previous post an appeal to a supernatural explanation is an appeal to ignorance, and thus worthless.
And it specifically says God designed all creatures . . .
No, it doesn't. Nowhere in Genesis 1 or 2 is the word design used; nowhere in Genesis 1 or 2 does God directly create any living thing except man. When God created plant life on the third day, He did it through the earth ("Let the_earth_ bring forth . . . ."); when He created bird and sea life on the fifth day, he did it through the water and the air ("Let the _waters_ bring forth . . . ."); and when He created land life on the sixth day, he did it again through the earth ("Let the _earth_ bring forth . . . ."). Even when He created man He did it through the earth (. . . then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground . . . .). The only direct creative act that God did was to breath life into man.
Now, there is no doubt that God Himself is doing all this, but there is nothing in Genesis to suggest that God was acting supernaturally, except when He breathed life into man. Instead, the references to using the waters, the air, and the earth to bring forth life suggests that God was working naturally; i.e., God used abiogenesis and evolution to create life rather than supernatural forces. Nothing in Genesis 1 or 2 contradicts this interpretation. Again, however, since you and others interpret Genesis 1 and 2 differently, I prefer to examine the universe -- God's direct creation -- to determine whether God created life naturally or supernaturally, and again the unambiguous, clear evidence demonstrates -- without "naturalistic" interpretation -- that God created life naturally.
. . . to reproduce 'after their own kinds,' thus showing limits to change.
The Bible does not say that, but that is a common misconception among creationists. (Personally, I believe Satan has deluded you creationists into believing this; since the Bible so clearly contradicts this, I see no other explanation.) Here is what the Bible does say:
Gen 1:11-12: And God said, "Let the earth put forth vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, upon the earth." And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
Gen 1:20-22: And God said, "Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the firmament of the heavens." So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth."
Gen 1:24-25: And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds." And it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the cattle according to their kinds, and everything that creeps upon the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
Notice that in each case, God created life according to its kind, but He did not command organisms to reproduce "after their own kinds." In fact, as you can see, that phrase does not exist in Genesis at all. This suggests that even if God created life supernaturally, He did not forbid it the ability to transmutate. And if He created life naturally, He endowed it with the ability to transmutate so that He could use evolution to diversify life.
Again, though, your fellow creationists must agree with that, considering that most of them place "kind" somewhere above the species level, thus permitting one form of macroevolution -- speciation and the creation of other higher taxa -- to occur. In fact, they demand that it must occur, otherwise the "kinds" could not diversify the way they obviously have. The classic example is the dog kind, which -- according to the creationists -- gave rise to wolves and coyotes and the domestic dog, to foxes and other hunting canines and (depending upon who you read) hyenas as well.
Here is a case where creationists cannot deny the evidence of macroevolution, so they instead try to obscure it by calling it "variation within a kind." Except that depending upon how high up the taxonomic ladder you place "kind" you allow for the appearance of new genera, families, orders, even phylla (among certain groups of invertebrates and microorganisms). If the diversification of a "kind" into separate phylla is not macroevolution (or even just plain old ordinary garden-variety evolution), I don't know what is.
[I claimed that there is no verse where God states anything like that He created the universe in six twenty-four days 10,000 years ago without using evolution.]
Guess you haven't read Ex. 20:11, then.
Exodus 20:11 -- " . . . for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it."
1) From the context of the Scripture at that point, it is clear that Moses is reporting what he claims God said. How do we know he is reporting accurately? How do we know that he didn't just add that part to what God really said?
2) It is also obvious from the context that the point of the verse is to explain why the sabbath day is to be kept holy, not to establish a cosmological "timeframe."
3) There is nothing in this verse to establish that "day" refers to twenty-four hours. The Hebrew word for "day" could mean anything from the "daylight hours" (half a day) to whole eons; it can even be used to indicate distinct periods of time in a sequence of events; i.e., stages of a process. So an equally plausible interpretation is that the verse is saying that God created the universe during the first six steps of a seven-step process. Also the verse makes no mention of when this occurred (other than the obvious notion that it happened sometime in the past) or how it was done (other than the obvious notion that God did it). As such, the verse does not deny the possibility that God created the universe billions of years ago using evolution and other natural physiochemical forces.
4) Sorry, four points. What about Deuteronomy 5:12-15? Did God suddenly forget that He had created the universe in six days? Or is it more likely that these two copies of the Ten Commandments were written by two different groups of people trying to justify the sabbath day according to their own theology?
Put yourself in the ancient Israelite's shoes receiving that word from God via Moses - how would you have understood it? For how the ancient Israelites, the original recipients, would've understood it *is what it means*. Period.
Why? For me this is the most blatant example of an underlying anti-science bias in your thinking, that you would require us in the modern world to see the universe as a nation of semi-nomadic herdsmen saw it through their myth and folklore. Why should we not use science to determine what the universe is really like, regardless of how it was created?
Your reasoning that we should believe the universe was created in six twenty-four days 10,000 years ago because the ancient Israelites saw it that way requires that we must also believe that the earth is a flat disc divided into four quarters supported by pillars of bedrock in the midst of a vast primeval ocean, that the firmament is a vaulted dome supported by mountainous pillars, that the sun and the moon and the stars reside in the sky below the firmament, that the sun and the moon are mere lights, that they are the same kind of lights, that above the firmament the heavens are (or were before the flood) filled with water, that sluice gates sit in the firmament (through which the flood water drained onto the earth), that bats are birds, that insects have only four legs, that rabbits chew cuds like cattle, that the heart is the source of thought and intelligence, that disease was caused by God or evil spirits instead of germs, that sick people were healed by God rather than the immune system or regenerating tissue, and that the healing arts that form the basis of modern medicine are witchcraft.
These were all things that the ancient Israelites believed at one time or another, which modern science now tells us are false. No creationist that I am aware of requires that anyone believe these things, yet your reason for why we should believe in a six twenty-four hour day creation 10,000 years ago would demand that we believe these things as well. Do you see where your invocation of ignorance would ultimately lead you, would ultimately lead us all? Is this the kind of "science" you want to establish?
[I claimed that I did not believe that the Bible was the Word of God.]
No, because you're a donkey's hind end who doesn't listen when God clearly calls Scripture HIS WORD.
[The remainder of my response, in which I explain that Christ is the Word of God and that the Bible is simply a record of the statements and deeds of God was cut out.]
The surest sign that you have no truth on your side is when you start trying to insult people instead of discussing what they say. Also your deliberate distortion of what I said demonstrates that it is you who refuses to listen to God. God said very clearly that Christ is His Word; nowhere does God place Scripture on the same level. That the Bible is the record of what God and His Word said is indisputable, but the Bible is not part of the Trinity; it is not God, so it has no divine authority over men. Its authority such as it is extends only to instruction and training. You appear to be trying to set up the Bible as your god in place of God Himself and His Word, Jesus Christ. It makes me wonder who God would consider to be a horse's ass in this case.
[I claimed that science seeks to explain physical data by naturalistic means.]
No. That is how _unbelievers'_ science works.
There is no unbelievers' science, any more than there is Christian science or feminist science or Jewish science or any other "kind" of science. There is only science, and the way we do it now is the same way Galileo and Isaac Newton did it.
Look, if God really has intervened in history, and if He really did create the universe in a certain manner consistent with the Genesis parameters, then as Christians we simply must interpret nature from within that framework. Anything less is unfaithful to God's revelation of Himself and His actions.
Exactly. So if in fact God's revelation of Himself and His actions in nature -- his one indisputable creation -- contradicts the parameters you claim exist in Genesis -- a work of men as much as if not more than of God -- we Christians must interpret the universe within that naturalistic framework. Anything less would be unfaithful to God. And any attempt to ignore God's clear revelation in favor of human-invented myth and folklore would be blasphemous.
"Here's God, on the one hand, telling us, 'People, look, here are some unique acts I performed in the distant past. I am God. You cannot explain Me or My miraculous actions. I am revealing My glory to you.'"
Yes, exactly, God has revealed His glory to us through nature, the one thing that we can indisputably know that He created that is unadulterated by man.
And then here comes puny little Kevin O'Brien, saying, 'God, I can't accept that.'
On the contrary, I fully accept God's revelation in nature; it is you who refuses to accept it.
There has to be a natural explanation for Your creative acts.
Since God Himself has revealed that this is the case, I am simply accepting God's word for it.
So I'm not going to buy what You've told me in Genesis. Thanks anyway.
In fact I do "buy" what God has told me in Genesis; I just don't "buy" what other people -- including you -- claim that God said. And since it was God who showed me the difference, again I am simply accepting God's word for it.
What colossal arrogance from a puny, sniveling human insect in the face of Almighty God.
I find it very interesting that you see humans as mere insects in the scheme of God's grand creation. It's clear from the Bible that God does not share your opinion. Neither does CS Lewis. In fact, Mr. Lewis indicated that that is how the Devil sees us, and that is how the Devil wants us to see ourselves. Are you sure that it is God you have been listening to?
In any event, my "arrogance" must surely pale in comparison to that of someone who in essence declares that he would rather believe his own biased interpretation of a human-written book than the direct revelation of God Himself in His one indisputable creation.
The problem with people like YOU is, you refuse to accept those limitations [that science cannot study supernatural explanations]!
Non sequitur. Since I stated that this was a limitation of science, I must obviously accept it; if I did not, I would not claim it to be a limitation of science. Simple logic.
You might as well say that because science cannot explain Jesus' resurrection, he must not really have risen from the dead.
Another non sequitur. Science does not claim that what it cannot explain does not exist; therefore, it does not logically follow that the inability of science to explain the Resurrection means that the Resurrection never happened.
Science simply CANNOT and will NEVER be able to explain how God created!
So you claim, because you limit God to only acting supernaturally. Since I allow for the possibility that God could have acted naturally (and since so far God has revealed through the universe that He in fact did act naturally), I also allow for the possibility that science ultimately can and will explain how God created the universe. Both Galileo and Isaac Newton believed that that was the ultimate purpose of science, to understand how God created the universe.
A *faithful* Christian in the realm of science would simply accept those limitations and work within them for God's glory.
True. However, a faithful Christian would also listen to God as He revealed through nature how He created the universe.
Apparently that doesn't interest you. You'd rather take the same low road atheists take.
If listening to God reveal Himself through nature is being an atheist, then I am an atheist. However, I know a few who would violently oppose that definition.
For all practical purposes, Kevin, you approach your science as an atheist.
I approach it the way God has revealed it should be approached, by discovering the naturalistic way in which God created and governs the universe. That this is the same way that atheists approach science simply reflects the fact that a naturalistic creation could have come about with or without God, and science cannot tell us which was the case. I choose to believe that God created the universe while an atheist chooses to believe that the universe was created without God, but either way it was a naturalistic creation, so we'll both come to the same understanding of how the universe was created.
God just loves that, I'm sure.
Since I am doing what God has encouraged me to do, I'm sure He does at that.
Look, even IF I granted you that the universe is 15 billion years old and macroevolution occurred . . .
So while I am willing to grant the possibility that God created by supernatural means as you claim, you are unable to grant the possibility that God created by natural means as He Himself has revealed through nature?
. . . science STILL would not be able explain origins, because the ULTIMATE explanation for the origin of all things is SUPERNATURAL.
Yes, this is your fundamental premise, which all your other arguments are based on. However, all this is is your personal belief. You have provided no evidence that it is true, and you have provided no compelling argument that would convince me to adopt it. I allow that it may be true, but for now I believe that it is not.
So if we're going to inevitably run up against that brick wall anyway, which we are, then why not just take Genesis at face value? If you truly believe in an omnipotent God, Kevin, then why can't you entertain the idea that He was able to create things in just the way Genesis describes?
Because your interpretation of the account of Genesis is contradicted by what God has revealed to us through nature. It is that simple.
"The bottom-line fact of an omnipotent God's existence makes all the miracles in the Bible, including the first one (creation), perfectly reasonable."
Yes, as long as there are no contradictions. However, when this assertion is contradicted by what God Himself has revealed in nature, then it become distinctly unreasonable.
"You simply haven't justified the naturalism of science."
I wasn't aware I needed to. The naturalism of science is a characteristic of science going back at least as far as Galileo, and it comes from the same source: the recognition that the universe was created naturalistically and operates naturalistically.
SCIENCE SIMPLY CAN'T EXPLAIN EVERYTHING.
I never said it could; in fact I said it could not. Please do not put words in my mouth.
That's the very point at issue here. That event [creation] was a supernatural event [i.e., "creation isn't a natural phenomenon"].
Again, so you claim, but you have not convinced me that your view is correct.
Besides, God has revealed through nature that it was; that you cannot or will not accept that revelation is the real issue.
Do you consider the following to be a 'natural' event? -- 'By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.' (Heb. 11:3)
The verse itself contains no information that would tell us whether God created naturally or supernaturally, since either way could be described in this manner. As such, we need to look to nature to discover which was the case.
Please explain that verse 'naturally' to me, if you can. I'd love to see that.
Let's see. ". . . at God's command. . . ." God used the physiochemical laws and forces as tools to manipulate space-time into producing a baby universe, then used those some laws and forces to guide the evolution of that universe and its components.
". . . so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible." What we see are planets, stars, gas and dust clouds, and whole galaxies; these are in turn composed of ordinary matter and energy, which is visible. However, matter and energy are, in turn, made up of particles that are not visible: photons, gluons, gravitons, bosons, leptons, baryons, and quarks. On top of that, we now know that the universe is composed mostly or dark matter and dark energy, which are also not visible, and that these were predominantly responsible, along with the four fundamental forces of gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces (which are also not visible), with determining the nature and the structure of the universe.
So, the natural explanation of that verse could be that used the fundamental forces as well as other physiochemical laws and both dark matter and energy to manipulate space-time into forming a universe that would evolve according to the way He wanted it to.
I remind you, however, that there is nothing in the verse itself that tells us how God created the universe; it only maintains that He did.
And by your reasoning, you also must not accept the post-creation miracles strewn all through Scripture, then. There's no natural, 'scientific' explanation for them, so they must not have happened.
Your assumption about my "reasoning" is wrong. I never stated that if science cannot explain something it does not exist. Science makes no claim that what it cannot explain does not exist. Therefore the post-creation miracles can be real phenomena even though science cannot explain them. You do yourself a disservice when you misrepresent another person's position by making up strawmen to dispute.
[I claimed that the idea that God created the universe 10,000 years ago in six twenty-four days was contradicted by nature.]
No. It's contradicted by the NATURALISTIC INTERPRETATION of nature . . .
There is no "naturalistic interpretation" of nature; there is no supernaturalistic interpretation of nature; there is only the scientific interpretation of nature, based directly on the evidence revealed by nature. You simply do not understand how science is supposed to operate.
. . . and by your insistence that science must be able to explain everything.
I never made such a claim, and I would defy you to quote me saying that. In fact, in my first post, I was the one who told you that science could not explain everything. I strongly suggest that you discontinue this pathetic attempt to distort my position and instead address what I actually say. Or better yet, address the evidence.
You are assuming, along with ATHEISTS, that there must be a naturalistic explanation.
You have no idea what my assumptions are, since you simply distort my position to fit you bias. I have made no such assumption. I have instead recognized that God has revealed through His creation that He created the universe using naturalistic mechanisms. As such, I then use science to try to determine how He did it. If, instead, God revealed through nature that He created the universe by supernatural means, then I would not use science to try to understand how He created the universe, since I would know that science could not explain it.
So, I do not assume that creation must have a naturalistic explanation; instead I accept the evidence God has revealed through nature that creation in fact has a naturalistic explanation. If you have a problem with that, I suggest you take it up with God.
Kevin, the **ULTIMATE** EXPLANATION FOR EVERYTHING IN NATURE IS . . . (drum roll) . . . **SUPERNATURAL**.
Very dramatic, but God Himself has established through His creation that you are wrong. That is good enough for me.
[I claimed that nature is the direct creation of God.]
Since you just finished saying that 'To invoke supernatural explanations for natural phenomena is to surrender to ignorance,' could you scientifically explain a 'direct creation of God'?
That God created the universe is a statement of faith; science can never tell us whether or not this statement is true. However, science can determine whether the creation of the universe was a natural phenomenon or a supernatural phenomenon. If science determines that the creation of the universe was a supernatural phenomenon, then science can go no further, because science cannot explain supernatural phenomena. If, however, science determines that the creation of the universe was a natural phenomenon, then science can attempt to explain it, because science can explain natural phenomena.
So far, all the evidence we have tells us -- without any "naturalistic" interpretation -- that the creation of the universe was a natural phenomenon. Therefore, to insist as you do that the creation of the universe must be considered a supernatural phenomenon is in fact a deliberate appeal to ignorance, since it is contradicted by clear, unambiguous evidence.
Now, even though the creation of the universe is a natural phenomenon, I still prefer to believe that God created it, but that is not a scientific claim, so I cannot explain it scientifically. All I can say is that God has revealed through nature that He created the universe using natural means.
After all, we shouldn't have to invoke a supernatural explanation for creation, according to you . . .
We should not invoke a supernatural explanation for creation because such an explanation is contradicted by what God has revealed through His creation. This is not "according to me" but according to God Himself.
. . . so God Himself must be natural, then.
Another non sequitur. A natural god could only create by natural means, but a supernatural god could create by either natural or supernatural means. God, who is clearly supernatural, has revealed through His own creation that He created by natural means. So your implied claim that a natural creation demands a natural god is also contradicted by God Himself.
You see, this is where your reasoning leads, Kevin - you end up refusing to let God be God. You end up elevating human reason above God Himself. You end up worshipping man.
Funny, but that's what you are doing. I am letting God tell me through His creation how He created the universe. It makes no difference to me whether God created by natural or supernatural means; being God He could have done it either way. He has simply revealed that He used natural means.
*YOU* are the one who refuses to permit God the ability to create the universe naturally; *YOU* are the one placing limits on an omnipotent God because of your own biases. *YOU* are the one elevating human reason -- your own and that of your fundamentalist literalist teachers and leaders -- above God Himself. The only difference is that you worship the Bible instead of man, but the end result is still that you make an idol out of the Bible and prefer it to God Himself based on human reason.
[I claimed that I take whatever position God reveals through nature.]
But nature itself has to be INTERPRETED from within a certain worldview.
No, it doesn't. As I said, you have no idea how science works. Nature is not interpreted; nature is understood by examining and explaining the evidence it presents. Nature is objective, so the evidence it presents is also objective. Objective evidence needs no interpretation to be understood. Only subjective evidence must be interpreted to be understood, but natural evidence is objective, not subjective.
You are INTERPRETING nature as if Genesis doesn't exist . . .
No, I am reading nature directly, and nature clearly contradicts your interpretation of Genesis.
. . . your presuppositional starting point - without justification - is naturalism rather than theism.
It is not a presupposition; it is not an _a priori_ assumption. It is a recognition of what God Himself has revealed through nature.
Consider the following analogy: in the contemporary world of humans, we see the phenomenon known as "sin".
And sin is a supernatural phenomenon, so it cannot be explained by science.
Now nature *by itself* doesn't reveal to us how sin originated.
Of course not; sin is not a natural phenomenon, so a study of nature can tell us nothing about it.
If nature *by itself* was all we had to go by, we could logically conclude that sin had always been there because that's all we can ever remember knowing.
No. If nature was all there was, there could be no supernatural phenomena, by definition. As such, what we perceived to be sin would actually be some kind of natural, psychological phenomenon, and therefore explainable by science. But it really wouldn't be sin then, would it?
Ah, but when you look at what God has revealed in Genesis about our remote ancestry, then you see that once upon a time sin did NOT exist, and that it was introduced into humanity by a rebellious act on the part of two of our forebears.
No argument there. But since your initial premises are flawed, I no longer see how this is relevant.
But without that Genesis revelation, our naturalistic interpretation of sin would be MISTAKEN.
*YOUR* strawman "naturalistic explanation" is mistaken because it is based on flawed premises. Sin is not a natural phenomenon; it cannot be understood by science; therefore we must turn to an alternative methodology to understand it, and in this case that methodology would be theology, since by definition theology is an attempt to understand supernatural phenomena. Genesis is one way of understanding sin; I see no problem with that. In fact, I accept what God has revealed about sin in Genesis rather than try to use science to understand it.
But this has no bearing on our discussion, because God has revealed that creation was a natural phenomenon; therefore creation can be understood by science.
The bottom line, Kevin, is that nature simply cannot explain itself by referencing itself; it must reference a larger framework encompassing it.
That's your opinion and you are welcome to it, but you are wrong. Science has been able to successfully understand a great many aspects of nature by referencing just those aspects themselves and nothing more. By your reasoning we cannot understand an enzyme by referencing only it, but in point of fact -- as an enzymologist -- that is exactly my job. When I study an enzyme I study just it; I don't try to put it in a larger framework because that would unnecessarily complicate the issue. While it would be fallacious to claim that what is true of the parts is also automatically true of the whole, so far our study of nature has shown that we do not need to invoke a larger framework to properly understand it. This just seems like another example of an anti-science bias on your part.
That framework was provided for us in Genesis . . .
Why am I not surprised? But how do you know that the right framework is in Genesis? A Muslim would believe that it is in the Koran. A Zuni tribesman would believe it is in his creation stories. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of creation stories; how do you know that yours must be the only true version?
Faced with that kind of mess, I would rather use science to determine what the framework is, or even if it exists. Science can be used by anyone of any belief, or even no belief, and everyone should still get the same answer, since science is dependent upon the evidence and not any particular worldview or religious belief (or non-belief). So far science tells us such a framework is unnecessary. That may change one day, but if it does it will be because science has finally found evidence that such a framework exists.
. . . which reveals approximately how and when God created . . .
The "how" is clearly poetic/mythic, and so not meant to be scientific; your claim that it is is contradicted by what God Himself has revealed through nature. No "when" is given; your interpretation of "when" is also contradicted by what God Himself has revealed through nature.
. . . (of course it doesn't give us the details our human curiosity craves).
Of course not; since God revealed the details within His creation for us to find using science, why should He present them in Genesis? The purpose of Genesis is not to describe how God created the universe, only that He did.
The creation is *by definition* a supernatural act beyond the explanatory power of science - do you deny this?
I deny your claim that it must be a supernatural act by definition. The only reason why you believe this is because you limit God to only performing supernatural acts. I also deny your claim that creation was a supernatural act, since this is not supported by any clear unambiguous evidence in the Bible and because it is directly contradicted by what God has revealed through nature. I accept the general proposition that the creation could have been a supernatural act, but I also accept the general proposition that it could have been a natural act as well. I then look to nature for evidence as to which is the case, and the evidence we have so far clearly indicates that the creation was a natural event.
You should deny it, to be consistent with your own reasoning.
Your understanding of my reasoning is flawed by your biases and your deliberate distortion of my statements. As such, this claim of yours is irrational and nonsensical.
If, on the other hand, you accept it, then you've contradicted your earlier assertion that all natural phenomena 'must' have a natural explanation. You've left yourself no way out here.
By definition, any natural phenomenon will have a natural explanation; by definition any supernatural phenomenon will have a supernatural explanation. Invoking supernatural causes for natural phenomena is to invoke ignorance; invoking natural causes for supernatural phenomena is to invoke delusion. Since science can only understand natural causes, science can only investigate natural phenomena; since theology can only understand supernatural causes, theology can only investigate supernatural phenomena.
If the creation was a supernatural phenomenon, then it could only be explained by theology, not science. However, since the creation was a natural phenomenon, then it can be explained only by science, not theology. However, why God created the universe is a supernatural question, not a natural one, so it can only be answered by theology, not science.
So I have not contradicted myself at any time. You think I have only because you refuse to deal with my arguments honestly and directly, and instead insist upon distorting them.
[I claimed that since God through nature has revealed that He did create the world using macroevolution and other natural forces, then who am I to argue with Him?]
You have INTERPRETED nature to be evolutionary . . .
No, the evidence clearly and unambiguously demonstrates that nature is evolutionary. No interpretation is needed.
. . . there is nothing in nature that DEMANDS an evolutionary explanation.
There is nothing in nature that demands a gravitational explanation, or a chemical explanation, or an atomic explanation, or a relativistic explanation, or a heliocentric explanation, or . . . well, you get the idea. The point is that there are always counter-explanations for any phenomenon. The reason why we use these explanations and not others is because they best explain the evidence in the simplest manner. The same is true of evolution.
It is logically possible, yes (without reference to Genesis), but not logically necessary.
As I said, no explanation is logically necessary, but science does not verify or refute explanations on the basis of logic; it does so on the basis of evidence. As such, if the evidence indicates that one explanation is better than all the rest, that is the explanation that is accepted as being the true explanation. Evolution is accepted as the true explanation, not because it is logically necessary, but because the evidence indicates that it is the true explanation.
I don't have any trouble with accepting that God COULD have done it that way [created the universe in the manner described by the natural sciences] had He chosen to do so.
If you say so, then I will accept your word for it, though it seems to contradict some of your earlier statements. But then I have to ask: why do insist that a supernatural explanation is the only possible explanation?
But nature must be INTERPRETED . . .
No, as I have pointed out, nature does not need to be interpreted because nature is objective and produces objective evidence. The only things that need to be interpreted are subjective things.
. . . and your frame of reference, unfortunately, is naturalism rather than God's word.
No, it is the evidence that God Himself has revealed through his own creation. Calling it naturalism simply because you do not want to admit that it contradicts you Biblical idol is blasphemous.
You insist on having a naturalistic explanation . . .
No, I simply recognize what God has revealed through His creation, that He created the universe by natural means.
. . . even though science CANNOT provide a naturalistic explanation for the ULTIMATE origin of everything, because that Ultimate Origin is God Himself.
This statement is simply irrelevant. The question of whether science can explain the creation and operation of the universe is completely separate from the question of whether science can explain God. No, science can never understand God, because He is supernatural, but a supernatural god can still create a natural universe. As such, science can provide a naturalistic explanation for both how the universe operates and how it originated, provided the operation and origin of the universe are/were natural phenomena. But that's all science is interested in. Science only cares to explain natural origins; if there is an "ultimate" origin that science cannot study, it still exists but science has no interest in it.
I have no problem with acknowledging that there is an ultimate origin that science cannot explain; after all, I have claimed that God created the universe, so if God is the ultimate origin, then I must accept that the ultimate origin of the universe cannot be explained. But the problem is that you do not simply restrict yourself to that theological concept. You try to argue that since God is unexplainable, then the creation of the universe must be unexplainable as well. But why stop there? By this reasoning, if the origin of the universe is unexplainable, then the operation of the universe is unexplainable as well. In other words, if by your reasoning science cannot explain the origin of the universe because it cannot explain God, then science cannot explain how the universe operates either, for the same reason.
You see, your reasoning in this case does not effect just origins, but the whole of science as well. To be logically consistent, you must not only claim that science can never understand the origin of the universe, but that it can never understand how the universe works either. Of course you won't because such a claim can be easily refuted by demonstrating that science in fact can understand how the universe works. But that simply demonstrates how hypocritical your position really is.
What you refuse to accept is that while God is supernatural, He could create a universe by natural means that in turn operates by natural means. Since this has nothing to do with the nature of God, science can understand everything about the universe, including its proximate origin, without violating the fact that it can understand nothing about God. And since the ultimate origin of the universe has nothing to do with how we interact with the universe, then the inability of science to understand the ultimate origin of the universe would have no effect on the ability of science to understand how we interact with the universe. The ultimate origin of the universe is important only for its theological meaning, especially as it pertains to salvation; it has no importance regarding the purely scientific questions of the structure, function, development, and yes the origin of the universe.
[I challenged him to respond to my essays posted at my website, then suggested that he might not because he prefers making irrational claims to discussing the evidence.]
I make no irrational assertions.
Your entire position is irrational, because it is built on flaws and fallacies and biases, not evidence or logical argument.
But your essays are all based on the presupposition of naturalism, and so we must deal with that first. There's no point in reading your 'scientific' arguments if we haven't dealt with your epistemological underpinnings. This is a worldview issue.
No, the only issue is which model is best supported by the evidence. By avoiding this issue and instead invoking this red herring, all you are doing is demonstrating that you have no evidence to support your model. Since you cannot win if you discussed the evidence, and you know it, you instead try to obscure the issue with philosophical claptrap about "worldviews" and with cheap rhetorical tricks concerning "ultimate origins."
Well, I'm not buying it. It's put up or shut up time. I claim that my essays demonstrate that the evidence best supports the evolutionary model and contradicts the creationism model. I know that you disagree with that, but can you refute anything I say?