Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7 with T.A. McMahon, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. I’m Gary Carmichael. It’s great to have you with us! In today’s program, Tom welcomes his guest Jay Seegert as they examine the question: Are You A Creationolutionist? And now, here’s Tom.
Tom: Thanks, Gary. Well, we’re in part two of my conversation with Jay Seegert. Jay is the head of a ministry titled The Starting Point Project, and it deals with creation/evolution, but primarily, the major focus is on the Word of God, which, certainly, true science supports Scripture as opposed to the whole evolutionary view, which we’ve talked about.
Jay, welcome back to Search the Scriptures 24/7.
Jay: Great to be back again!
Tom: Jay, I mentioned last week that I would give my approach. I love what you had to say – we were talking, folks, if you’ve missed last week’s program – we were talking about Christians being intimidated by evolutionists, and my question to Jay was, “Ought we to be intimidated, or are we to be defensive? Shouldn’t we be on the offense here, based on what we know and understand not only from God’s Word but from the facts, the true facts, of science, the evidence, and so on?” And, Jay, I loved what you had to say. Could you just give us a synopsis of how somebody needs to respond to somebody who’s trying to intimidate them from either an evolutionary point of view or a theistic evolutionary point of view, or whatever it might be?
Jay: Sure. Again, the simplest thing that anyone can do, because most Christians will be thinking, “Well, I don’t really know that much about it. I don’t want to get into a debate or look bad. I don’t have the answers.” So given that, the simplest thing you can do is, number one, listen to what’s being said and claimed; and number two, ask appropriate follow-up questions. So you’re really not on the defensive at all; you’re paying attention to what they’re claiming as being true, and then you’re finding out why they believe that, because it does better position you to ask even more challenging follow-up questions, but it also helps you understand their mindset of not only what it is they believe, but why, because too often people will throw things at us as to what they believe, and we don’t take the time to find out, well, wait a minute, why do you believe that?
We just get defensive and try to offer an opposite answer or “proof” of our view versus taking the time to say, “Okay, you said you believe A, B, and C. Tell me more about that. How did you come to that conclusion? How do you know that it’s true? Why are you confident in that? And what are the evidences for that? What difference does it make in your mind?” And so you just ask deeper questions when they’re making these claims, and along the way it shows that you actually care about this person versus something I did when I was younger: I had all these facts in my head and I thought, “Man, if all the people just knew these facts, they’d change their mind.” But it doesn’t work that way. This is a spiritual issue that we’re dealing with, and when I would talk to someone many years ago, I wasn’t really even listening very closely to what they were saying. I was just politely waiting for them to finish so I could share with them my brilliance and they would change their mind! But it doesn’t work that way.
But now – my wife has helped me a lot too – to listen to what they’re saying to show I care about you and want to know more about who you are, what you believe, why you believe it, and then along the way it better positions us to ask those follow-up questions and then we can also take it further and get into a positive response as to what it is that we believe and why.
Tom: Right. Jay, the reason I love that approach is I’ve made all the...just as you’ve put it, you know, with yourself, I’ve made all those mistakes. You immediately put somebody on the defensive so then it becomes a debate, forgetting the fact that somebody’s eternal destiny – you know, the person you’re talking to – may bear on the basis of how you treat them and how you handle it. And plus, you don’t even have to have answers. If you’ve got a good question – we want answers, if it gets down to that, but the basic thing is you’re planting seeds that the Holy Spirit can use for conviction. If, when – you mentioned last week if somebody says, “Well, the Bible is just a bunch of myths,” and so on, you know, I mean a reasonable question would be, well, as you pointed out, “When’s the last time you read the Bible? Or are you just hearing this from others?” and so on. And then you let it go at that. You don’t have to grind somebody, but you want to allow the Holy Spirit to bring conviction. You know, if this person is really going to come to the Lord, what the Scriptures says: “One man plants, another waters, but God gives the increase.” So we don’t know whether we’re seed-planters or waterers, and so on, in God’s plan for the person that we’re talking to.
Tom: Now, if I get someone who’s really tough, and – I still want to do that, so I’m not undermining what I just said - but I say…one of my answers is, “Well, you know, I really have trouble with science. Could you kind of explain to me DNA and how that might come about by chance?” I think that’s a loaded one, right?
The other thing is – you see how I have to do simple things, Jay, when it comes down to – not a firefight or anything like that; I don’t want to undermine what we just said – but the other simple thing is the law of biogenesis: has life ever been proven to come from nonlife? No! So those are two seeds that you can drop in and let somebody go off and see if they can figure it out. But I don’t see how they can.
Jay: Yeah, along the way what we want to do is something I call “staying out of the weeds,” because what can happen is you get into a discussion with someone, and it can often quickly turn into what looks like a debate, and you might feel intimidated already because you’re not ready for that. You don’t really have all the science, or maybe you’re not a science person, but maybe they do have some background and they start throwing all these things out, and they inevitably will share something with you that you’ve never heard of – not only have you never heard of it before, but you don’t even understand it. They say, “Well, evolution’s a fact because bacteria evolved resistance to antibiotics and that’s proof. You know, what do you say to that?”
And the Christian may be thinking, “I’m not quite sure exactly what you said, and I don’t know anything about it, I just believe the Bible.” And they can look really weak at that point, and so what’s just happened in that scenario is they pulled you down into the weeds, into something that’s very specific and very somewhat technical, and an area that’s outside your expertise, so how can you have a response? You don’t know anything about that. So what I suggest is this: an analogy that I use that I think works really well is that of you go out to buy a used car. So now we’re not talking about antibiotic resistance of bacteria, which most people don’t quite get. I’m talking about buying a used car, which most people can relate to. So you’re on the lot, looking at a car, salesman comes out that’s going to help you. You say, “Yeah, I was looking at this car. I’m interested in maybe buying it.”
And the salesman says, “Ah, let me show you something.” Takes you around to the passenger side, opens the door, drops open the glove compartment, says, “Bend down and look at the back there. See that bolt that’s holding the glove compartment in place?”
“Yeah, I guess so.”
He says, “That is the most precisely manufactured bolt on the planet. You won’t find a better bolt anywhere on earth.”
And you’re like, “I can barely see it. I guess I’d have to take your word for it, but I have some other questions that maybe you could address first, bigger questions?”
“Well, before you got out here, I was walking around the car and I noticed there aren’t any wheels, and then I also got inside the car and I don’t want to complain, but every car I’ve had prior to this had a steering wheel. This one just has a column sticking out. And then I popped the hood and I noticed there’s no engine in it. But if you could explain to me how those things are not going to be an issue for me, I’ll still be able to drive the car, then you can tell me more about the bolt in the glove compartment. But if you can’t answer those other questions, honestly I don’t care about the bolt.”
And so what you did is you pulled it out of the miniscule and the minute in the weeds there, you got it up to the bigger picture focusing on that, and in the real world here, talking about our discussion with the Bible and creation and evolution, they’re talking about bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics, you could say, “You know what, I’m not sure I know too much about that, but I’ve got some other questions.”
And then you can go through a whole list of like, “Could you tell me in your view” (let’s say they’re an atheist), “where did stuff come from? Like all the physical stuff in the universe, all the matter and energy, where did that come from to begin with, and then once it was here and supposedly exploded, how did life start? You got nonliving chemicals banging together – how did all of a sudden they become alive and be able to reproduce themselves?
"And then we know that living things have a lot of information in their DNA, so how did particles banging together create all this information? And then when it copies, when creatures reproduce themselves and they copy that existing information, we know that mistakes happen. Those are mutations. So how does making mistakes in information increase the information and make it better and better to go from a single-celled organism all the way to a human being? Can you help me understand that a little bit better? And then at some point in history, apparently, you think there would be single-celled organisms that just divided themselves into two and then into four and such. How do we go form that to having a pink and a blue one, a male and a female, with complementary plumbing that work together perfectly? Can you help me understand that? And why, if one thing – single cell – evolved into every other life form on this planet, why do we have all these missing transitions to go from a fish to an amphibian and all that? We should have millions of these transitional forms, and all you have is a handful of questionable examples?”
And there’s a whole list of just very big-picture questions that don’t require anyone to have technical backgrounds in science that you can pose to someone that need to be answered before you get into great detail in any other area. And so Christians could at least think through these things and then ask those questions and then get asked follow-up questions because if they say, “Well, where did everything come from? Nature is such that it can produce something out of nothing.”
Like, “Okay, I don’t think we’ve ever seen that. First law of thermodynamics says you can’t get something out of nothing. Can you give me some examples where nothing created something?” And they’ll have a lot of fluff, and…(I’ll throw in something extra real quick.) Stephen Hawking, arguably probably the world’s leading theoretical physicist, brilliant guy; he’s an atheist. He was asked about the origin of the universe, the origin of stuff – where’d everything come from? And he said that because there is something such as the law of gravity, the universe can and will create itself out of nothing.
Now, there’s a statement that might be a little confusing, but it’s very intimidating because it came from the world’s leading theoretical physicist. Do you really want to debate that guy? Most people would say no. But let’s just look at what he said: “Because there is something such as a law of gravity, the universe can and will create itself out of nothing.”
If we rephrase that, he said, “Because there was something, the universe can create itself out of nothing.” Well, wait a minute: if you have something, you don’t have nothing, and if you need that something you’re not creating it out of nothing. And what is the law of gravity that he was referring to? The law of gravity is not a physical thing. You can’t take it into a laboratory and bend it and weigh it and paint it; it’s a description of how the universe operates. Well, you can’t have a description of how the universe operates unless you have a universe, and if you have a universe to describe, you’re not creating out of nothing, you already got it! So here’s a statement from someone who’s truly very intelligent, but not wise, because he’s making a statement that makes no sense whatsoever.
Tom: And, Jay, as you know, and probably many of our listeners know, what do they do? They will not accept being accountable to a God who’s created everything, and that’s why they have some brilliance in some areas and are certainly very intelligent, but it’s the moral aspect that many of them reject, because they can’t go – even though they really cannot prove what we’ve been talking about, the whole evolutionary perspective – if they can’t prove it, and the evidence seems to be on the weight of those who take a biblical worldview, they can’t accept it. Just pointblank, they can’t accept it.
Jay, one of the things that you said as you were talking about that that really hit me is that all these things – we talk about debate. Problem with debate is somebody’s got to win the debate. But if what you said – if we take the approach that, for example, “I’m not an evolutionist because I’m having problems with putting this together. Could you help me?” Now, how can somebody dig their heels in? To me, that takes it out of the debate realm. We talked earlier about being concerned about an individual, even a hostile individual. If you phrase things in such a way that you want answers to help you come over to their side, that’s not a deceit; it’s just a way of approaching things that people won’t be defensive immediately and turn it into a he-said/she-said kind of thing.
So to me, I don’t care whether it’s an evolutionist or it’s a Jehovah’s witness or a Mormon at our doors, that’s the way I think is the best way to approach it, because that way the Holy Spirit can – whatever thoughts may come and whatever inability a person has to explain it or may even recognize the contradiction – and what you just said, there’s an obvious contradiction there, that should bring conviction. But that’s the work of the Holy Spirit I think.
Jay: Right, and that’s a great approach. I’ve used that many times. And I’ve talked to Mormons – one day they came to the house, and I was busy at the time so I said, “Hey, could you come back? I’m busy now, but I’d love to talk to you.”
So they said, “Sure!” So they came back the next Tuesday night at seven or whatever, and they came in, sat down, I just said, “You know, I appreciate you guys taking your time being here.” I said, “I’ve looked into Mormonism a little bit, and a lot of questions have come up but I’m sure you guys could help me because you guys are experts, right?”
And they said, “Sure!”
So they didn’t know, but I had a list of like 30 pages of questions, but I just wanted a time to…very innocently I just asked, “You know, can you help me with this? Help me understand this. Is it one god, or are there many gods?” And I won’t go into all the details, but it was funny – it was the first question I asked them and they stared at me. I’m thinking, That’s a pretty basic question. I think I worded it pretty clearly.
So I asked again: “Do you believe there’s one god or many gods?” And they were silent again. So I asked them a third time, and then I was able to bring up some things on my own to show that in their beliefs, it’s pretty clear there’s one, but then obviously there’s millions, because we can become god, and, you know, for all these reasons. And they were cornered instantly, and I just said, “No, that’s okay. If you don’t have an answer, that’s fine. I’ve got another question.” So I went on to another question and they ended up being cornered again in a very gracious way, and I said, “That’s okay, if you don’t know that one, that’s fine. We’ll let that one go.” And I went to another one and another one. So we can do the same thing here when we ask questions that they don’t know, we don’t need to say, “Ah, see? You don’t know and you’re wrong!” We can just say, “If you don’t know, that’s fine. I’ve got some other questions.”
Occasionally I’ll even say, “You know what, apparently you don’t know, which is okay, but I just want you to understand that you are exercising faith. You’ve said evolution’s a fact, and then I asked, ‘Well, how do you know it’s a fact?’
And when you said, ‘Well, there’s tons of evidence,’ and I said, ‘Could you give me some examples?’
‘Well, there’s tons from like every area of science.’ And like, okay. Could you help me understand some of them? What are…could you give me some examples?
‘Well, there are whole books written on it! Go to the library and get a book!’
And I’m like, ‘Okay, so you believe in evolution because you believe there’s a lot of evidence, but you don’t know it yourself. It’s apparently in books that someone wrote that maybe you’ve read and maybe you haven’t, so you’re really exercising blind faith at this point. It’s not only faith, but it’s a blind faith, which is okay. It’s your choice, but don’t think you’re actually coming across as everything being proved and that it’s a fact. You are exercising faith, and more faith than I’m exercising, because in your instance, you’re not offering any reason.”
Tom: Jay, last week we mentioned it, and I’m excited. You’re coming out to the conference, the TBC conference, which is going to be held here in Bend, Oregon, in August. And what I’d like you to do is just, by the titles of your talks, could you just give us kind of a synopsis of what they’re going to be about? I’ll give you the title, the first one is Creation vs. Evolution: The Case Is from Science. So what’s that about in a nutshell?
Jay: Yeah, that one’s just a quick overview of…I put that one together a while back because there are a lot of skeptics who say, “Don’t give me that Bible stuff. I’m just into science.” So with that particular talk, I kind of say, “All right, let’s put the Bible to the side for a second, and let’s look at what science actually says.” So in that talk I describe the origin of the universe, the origin of life, and origin of species from a scientific standpoint. At the end of each segment I just quote one verse saying, “You know what, this is actually what the Bible’s told us all along.” And then I go back into the next section, you know, in origin of life, talk about that scientifically, and say, “You know what, this is actually what the Bible has indicated.” And then origin of species, and… And so it’s not overly technical. I take some technical things and make them very understandable for the common person, because I consider myself the middle man. I get to hang around literally some of the world’s leading scientists who are brilliant, but some of them aren’t the best presenters, so I take their information, put it into a format that everyone can understand. So that talk will give a defense of biblical creation from a 99 percent standpoint of science: what does science really say? Well, it’s actually backing up what we’re reading in Scripture all along.
Tom: So, Jay, then you’re going to follow that up with Scientific Evidence for the Inspiration of the Bible. What about that?
Jay: True. That one I personally like even more because the creation/evolution controversy is very significant for many, many, many reasons, but underlying that is really the authority of Scripture to being with. And as I travel around, I asked Christians, “Well, why do you believe the Bible?”
And they’ll often say, “Well, because I’m a Christian.”
“Okay, why are you a Christian?”
“Because I believe the Bible.”
“Okay, why do you believe the Bible?”
“Because I’m a Christian.” And around and around.
Like, “Okay, how do you know God wrote the Bible?”
“Well, I just know. It says He did, and I feel it. I sense it. I believe it.”
And it’s like, “Okay, why should anyone else believe it? Just because you feel it? You’ve decided to believe it; why should anyone else, including your own children or grandchildren?”
So in that talk I start out with that and a few other things that really are very captivating, and I get like “deer in the headlights”: help us! We don’t know…how do we know that God wrote the Bible? And so then that talk is going to consist of a response that we should be able to give as to why we are so confident that Scripture is inspired by God from cover to cover, and it’s a very reasonable belief to believe that God inspired those writers. In fact, you have to exercise blind faith to say that God didn’t do it. So we’ll go through…there are four main areas; we’re going to focus on the scientific evidence that shows these writers absolutely had to have been inspired by God.
Tom: Mm-hmm. Jay, I want you to talk more about this blind faith, because we hear it all the time: “Well, I just believe it because the Bible says so.” In my view, blind faith, that’s not biblical faith. God said, “Come, let us reason together.” And yes, there are things that are incomprehensible because God is infinite, omniscient, all of that. But He has the responsibility and had the responsibility to communicate to His creation, and He’s done it in an incredible way, and also He’s given us His Holy Spirit to help us to understand these things. So part of the problem, and maybe it’s a major problem with somebody who claims blind faith, is just as you’ve alluded to, how can I share anything with anybody? “Well, you’ve got to trust me because, you know, I’m a nice guy, and this is the way I feel, so you’ve got to go along with my blind faith.” That doesn’t cut it, does it?
Jay: No, it doesn’t. Romans:12:2 does not say, “Be ye transformed by the removal of your mind,” but, “Be ye transformed by the renewal of your mind.” And we need to use our minds and have answers…you know, 1 Peter:3:15, and “reason together” in Isaiah. I’ve done a lot of seminars where afterwards someone will come up to me, big smile on their face, and say, “That was great! But you know, I don’t really need that. I just believe.” And they’re all excited, and I tell them, “You know what, it is great that you believe God’s Word. But here’s the problem: why should your children, or your grandchildren, or your neighbors, or your relatives? Why should they believe just because you’ve chosen to and you’re happy about it?”
You can’t just say, “Well, it works for me. You should do it, too.” Because a Mormon will tell you that. Mormonism seems to work fairly well for the Mormon. They’re happy, they’ve offered to mow my lawn, they’re nice people, and it seems to be working. That’s a pragmatic approach. But the Bible isn’t true because it works for some people, because some people say it doesn’t work for them at all, so we need to have reasons.
And God doesn’t say, “You know what, if you get a chance, maybe look into some of this.” He commands us – again, 1 Peter:3:15 – commands us to have reasons for the hope that we have, to have answers so that we don’t have a blind faith. When we don’t have reasons, as strong as we think our faith might be, it truly is, as you mentioned, a blind faith, and we have no business really sharing it with anyone else or expecting them to believe it, because if we do that, we are truly saying, “Just trust me. I can’t really give you all the reasons why, but just trust me.” That’s a recipe for disaster. We don’t want them to have their trust in us, we want to turn and point to God’s Word and say, “Trust God’s Word.” We don’t even need to defend God’s Word for the same reason we don’t need to defend a lion. You just let it loose, it defends itself. So we need to believe God’s Word and then share it with others. What we do defend – we don’t need to defend Scripture directly. What we do need to defend is our choice to believe it. We say we believe it’s true – what are the reasons we’ve chosen to believe that it’s true? And those reasons should make the skeptic think. They should be reasons for them to consider that maybe it really truly is the inspired Word of God.
And then that second talk I’m giving at the conference, Evidence for the Inspiration of the Bible, you know, we can talk about evidence from internal consistency of Scripture. We can talk about the historical accuracy, we can talk about the prophetic accuracy of God’s Word, we can talk about the scientific accuracy of God’s Word. Those are all reasons why we’re believing and choosing to believe that it’s the actual inspired Word of God, so it’s not a blind faith. There should be reasons that people would place their trust in it apart from what we’ve done and what seems to work for us.
Tom: Mm-hmm. Well, my guest has been Jay Seegert. As I mentioned earlier, his ministry is the Starting Point Project, and we’re thrilled, Jay, that you’re going to be out to Bend, Oregon, in August to be a part of our conference. So I really look forward to seeing you out here, and you’ve been a blessing here and you’ve spoken at our conference before, so I’m just excited for the conference and to have you out here. So, Jay, thanks for being with us on Search the Scriptures 24/7.
Jay: Yeah! Thrilled to be on the program, and looking forward to the conference.
Gary: You’ve been listening to Search the Scriptures 24/7 featuring T. A. McMahon, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. We offer a wide variety of resources to help you in your study of God’s Word. For a complete list of materials and a free subscription to our monthly newsletter contact us at PO Box 7019 Bend, Oregon, 97708. Call us at 800.937.6638, or visit our website at the bereancall.org. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thanks for joining us, and we hope you can tune in again next week. Until then, we encourage you to Search the Scriptures 24/7.