Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7, a radio ministry of The Berean Call featuring T.A. McMahon. I’m Gary Carmichael. We’re glad you could be here. In today’s program, Tom launches a two-part series with guest Jay Seegert. Here’s TBC Executive Director, Tom McMahon.
Tom: Thanks, Gary. Today and next week, we’re going to talk about creation and evolution, and what most Christians think and believe about the issues. I say “think and believe” because many if not most who call themselves Christians haven’t settled the issues in their minds, and therefore many are confused at least. So we’re going to discuss what such confusion does to one’s faith in the Scriptures, and consequently, the effect is has on a person’s trust in the Lord.
Here to discuss the subject with me is Jay Seegert. He is the cofounder of Creation Education Center and its principal lecturer. His degrees are in physics and engineering, yet you will hear his heart and mind are first and foremost in the Bible. Jay is the author of Creation and Evolution: Compatible or in Conflict? and has produced an excellent DVD titled Creation in Six Days: A Biblical and Scientific Analysis.
Jay, welcome back to Search the Scriptures 24/7.
Jay: It’s great to be on the program again. Appreciate the opportunity.
Tom: Now, Jay…well, first let me tell our listeners that Jay is going to be one of our speakers at this year’s TBC conference here in Bend, Oregon, and the date for that is the last weekend in August. So you’ll have the opportunity to meet him in person if you plan on attending, which I hope is the case.
And each time we talk, Jay, I’m fascinated by the conversations you have with the folks who attend your presentations. Since most of the time you’re speaking to Christians, I would assume that you’re speaking to the choir, as the saying goes, regarding creation, and that the folks are pretty much on the same page with you. But that’s not necessarily the case, is it?
Jay: Not necessarily. You’d think so; in an ideal world it certainly should be, but there’s just a lot of people who are largely confused about the creation/evolution controversy and don’t necessarily even know enough about Scripture to have a confident stand one way or the other. So they’re a little intimidated by science, as well. They’re not quite sure what to think, and they often kind of write it off because they’ve heard someone else say, “You know what, it really doesn’t matter anyway. We’re just here to worship Jesus, so don’t worry about it.” So they don’t spend too much time thinking about it, so it’s…it’d be nice to speak to the choir, but at the same time, a lot of education needs to occur.
Tom: Yeah. And I’ve found that myself, although, you know, certainly not even close to your expertise with regard to the scientific aspects of creation, the evidences, and so on.
But, Jay, what is it that troubles many Christians about creation? Is it the propaganda generated by evolutionists through our education system (which, you know, that’s overwhelming), or is it the promotions by those who try to reconcile creation and evolution, or simply their ignorance - as you alluded to, their ignorance of the Scriptures, what the Scriptures teach?
Jay: Sure. I think it’s kind of a combination of things. We’ve got, first of all, that a lot of people - not everybody, but a lot of people are intimidated by science. It’s not necessarily their background, they don’t know that much about it, and they see it as being something that’s black and white. They think the scientists are studying things, they discover things, and you really can’t argue with it. It is what it is. And they get the impression that science keeps coming up with things that are contrary to God’s Word, and then they also, in combination with that, have a fair amount of biblical illiteracy. They’re not quite sure what the Bible says about different things, not having studied it directly themselves. Again, there are certainly exceptions, but I think my experience - for the last 29 years I’ve had to travel around - that there are way too many people in church who have a very surface-y understanding of Scripture, and then they’ve heard from someone else that, “Well, Genesis wasn’t meant to be taken literally. It’s more of an allegory, or poetry,” and so you don’t even have to worry about trying to reconcile anything. And so again, they just kind of go on their way realizing, “I don’t have to do a whole lot of work here to figure this out.”
Tom: Mm-hmm. You know, I know especially with young people, boy, they don’t want to be considered intolerant, or they don’t want to be considered ignorant. But, Jay, although Christians - you know, the argument goes from whether it be atheists, or one of those who are into evolution, the argument goes that, “Well, we’re just into religion, and religion has nothing to do with our science.” Jay, tell our audience what “scientism” is.
Jay: Well, in general the way we can answer that is that they say Christianity is just a faith, you just have to believe it, whereas science deals with facts and all that. But in reality, we’re dealing with two types of paradigms here: one is when we look at science that produces cell phones and cures diseases and makes computers, it’s great stuff. No one would question that, and creationists and evolutionists aren’t even debating that kind of science. That’s what we call “operational science,” or “observational science,” things we can see in the laboratory. It’s pretty straightforward. There really aren’t any big questions there, so much, but when they’re discussing events that happened in the unobserved past, events like origins - origin of the universe, origin of life, origin of species, whatever it is - those are things that happened when no one was around to see it; they can’t reproduce it in their laboratory, and they can’t test it directly. So then they’re talking about historical science, and that involves a lot of guesses and assumptions, and that’s where the debate lies. Different scientists have different guesses and assumptions as to what they think happened a long time ago, not so much based on the facts that they’re looking at now, but based on their starting points, or their biases or worldviews…so a Christian, for example, would say, “Hey, we’ve got a leg up here. We have an eyewitness account from God who told us a fair amount about origins and gives us a great framework to properly understand real science we’re looking at now, whereas an atheist, for example, would say, “Well, there is no God, so whatever happened in the past had to happen all by itself naturally just through scientific explanations.” So then they would base their guesses and assumptions about the past based on that starting point or worldview. So at that point, they’re both belief systems that can’t be proven scientifically, because science deals with the here and now, and has to make guesses about the past. And so that’s where the conflict comes in.
Tom: Mm-hmm. And again, scientism, when that term is used, it is a religion, it’s a belief system just as you’ve articulated, just as you’ve presented it.
Jay: Sure. They - you know, scientism could be looked at too as people who have decided that science is the only way of determining truth, that science answers everything. And it’s interesting: just that statement that has been made by scientists that science is the only way of determining truth, I asked one group of students at a Christian school, I said, “What would you say if you heard a scientist, a teacher, a professor make that statement that science is the only way of determining truth?” And they just stared at me, and I’m sure I would have just stared at someone when I was that age asking me that question, but I said, “You wouldn’t even necessarily have to argue back so much, you could just ask a follow-up question. You could ask this person - the scientist, teacher, professor, whomever - ‘How did you determine that science is the only way of determining truth? Did you use science to do that? And if you did, that’s circular reasoning. You can’t use science to prove science. But if you didn’t if you used something else, then apparently there are other ways of determining truth, because you used that just now.’” So either way, the whole statement doesn’t even make any sense.
Tom: Right, right. Again, you feel bad, and I know you experience this more than anybody, because you’re out teaching about creation, dealing with evolution, but as we opened the program, we were talking about the confusion among believers, whether it be through ignorance of the Word of God, or an intimidation pushed by science or scientism, as we’ve said.
But, Jay, there are influential Christian leaders who promote either a variation of this - I’m talking about theistic evolution. Now, what are the fundamental problems with teaching theistic evolution?
Jay: Sure. There are a number of them, and one thing that leads to this is that these Christian leaders usually have some background in, you know, theology and the Bible certainly. They usually have very little education in science, most of them - again, there are a few exceptions, but most of them don’t know much about science, and they typically never question the science. Whatever they hear is like, “Well, that must be true, because we’ve got all these experts out there.” So they don’t question that. They take that as a given, then they go into Scripture and say, “Well, the two don’t seem to fit very well, so let’s see how else Scripture could be interpreted to match with what we ‘know’ from science.” And so they get…I believe that most of these leaders who do that are being very sincere. They think they’ve got a legitimate solution here.
Unfortunately, it’s not a legitimate solution. They end up actually taking very bad science - this whole idea of evolution - they’re taking a bad scientific concept and then marrying it with the Bible, and it produces bad theology. But again, I think most of them, in my personal experience, traveling around speaking to hundreds of churches, most of these leaders, when they’re confronted, and you elucidate all the problems that are now in the Bible when you try to bring evolution in, it’s usually news to them, because they’ve just heard maybe a little article here or there from some other leading Christians who maybe are scientists who say, “No, evolution and the Bible can fit together, and here’s a few bullet points” - that’s good enough for them, as leaders, so whenever the topic comes up, they just pull out a little card with the bullet points on it, saying, “No, it fits together. There are experts who are Christians; they’ve shown us how this works together. It’s good enough for them!”
So the leaders actually have faith that someone else has figured this out, but they haven’t gone very deep themselves to see all the problems in the Bible that happen and occur when you bring in concepts like the Big Bang and millions of years and death and suffering and getting rid of the global flood, which, we can talk about that later, but most of the leaders don’t even realize that if you’re going to be pulling in evolution, the Big Bang, then you can’t look at the Genesis flood as a global event that wiped out all life outside the ark, and they don’t even realize that. So, the biggest problem is they’re taking bad science, bringing it into the Bible, and producing bad theology.
Tom: Right. And their examples, with regard to…yes, it’s bad science, but it’s also bad exegesis of the Scriptures: understanding the Scriptures. It really destroys many sound doctrines that the Scripture presents for us.
Jay: Yeah, it really does. It’s really a contortion of Scripture rather than a natural reading. And then the other thing that most people don’t think about is if evolution is really true, what that means, amongst tons of other things, is that God inspired these writers many years ago, and He told them to “write these things down,” the whole time knowing that people were going to believe that God actually created things in six days, and not that long ago, very simply – you know, no Big Bang, no evolution – they were going to believe that through the vast majority of human history until we got up to more recent times, where we have modern science when we “finally realized” that no, God never meant that. So God is now kind of relieved, saying, “Ah, you finally got to the point where you realized I didn’t mean what I said there! I really meant something completely different!”
And that really impugns the character of God, if we view Him that way.
Tom: And of course, this strategy goes back to Genesis 3, the first words out of the Adversary, Satan, in the form of a serpent: “Yea, hath God said?” And, of course, He comes back with the hammer: “No, you’ll not surely die!” So God’s a liar. God just threw these things out there.
So it’s troubling, and, Jay, I appreciate your pointing to these days. I mean, certainly a major emphasis would have to go back to Darwin in the 1800s, but we have it today, and we have this as a fulfillment of prophecy. You know, I keep thinking about maybe the verse that I quote most often, given what we do here at The Berean Call, and that is 2 Timothy:4:3, right in there: “The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.” And this is really the problem that we’re talking about here! You don’t know the Scriptures, then you’re ripe, right? – vulnerable for whatever comes down the pike.
Jay: Jesus said Himself, that “You are in error because you don’t know the Scriptures or the power of God.” And in my own experience, I’ve never doubted God’s power. I think anytime I’ve been wrong about something, it’s because I haven’t known Scripture. And most Christians that I know, as well, they believe God is all-powerful, so they don’t struggle so much with His ability to do things, but they greatly struggle with their understanding of Scripture.
Tom: And, Jay, I know you know this, but I was speaking to maybe my own heart and our listeners: Hey! The solution, the antidote, the prevention, is: the B-I-B-L-E, right?
Tom: And I can start…you know, if I’ve been sort of avoiding this, or not into the Word of God, hey! Tomorrow morning I can start out and begin to discipline myself to read the Word of God, continually, every day.
Jay: That should be encouraging to people, knowing they don’t need to go out and get a degree in physics or even Greek and Hebrew, necessarily. They can read God’s Word, and the Holy Spirit can guide them into all truth. I tell my audiences that all the time. I say, “There’s only two things you need to figure out the truth in this whole area of creation and evolution or anything else, and that’s 1) a copy of God’s Word, and 2) the Holy Spirit.” And if they’ve placed their trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior, the Holy Spirit can guide them into all truth. There’s one thing that nobody needs out there to figure out the truth, and that’s me! You don’t need some “expert” coming along telling you, “Trust me, this is what it says.” I tell them, “No, I don't want you to trust me. I want you to question everything you hear from me against your understanding of God’s Word.”
And I’d have more respect for them if they were studying God’s Word and praying and came to a different conclusion than me as opposed to them just walking out saying, “Well, I believe what Jay said now, because he sounded smart.” They should not have their faith in me. It should be directly an understanding of God’s words, so that’s why it should be an encouragement. You don’t say you need to get a degree in physics to figure out what God really told you; you can read it, and He can make that very clear to you.
Tom: Jay, that’s why I like talking with you. Yes, you really give me information, so let’s not take away from that. But you’re a Berean! And this is what you just presented. You’re a Berean, you know. And that’s where we are, and we believe here, it’s very much needed in these days of apostasy and confusion and delusion.
But, you know, Jay, I’m really a simple-minded guy. My degree is in fine arts. So when it comes to science, you know, sometimes you can lose me very quickly. But it’s not that difficult. It’s not that complex.
So here are a couple of questions that I have for you: What, for you, is the most compelling reason, very simply, for believing in creation?
Jay: Sure. I’ll give you two quick answers. I have to give you two because the first one is always fairly disappointing for people. They get kind of excited, like “Oh, tell me this best evidence!” And they usually want a silver bullet: “Tell me the one thing, that if you shared that with me, if I could have that in my arsenal, anytime I run into an atheist or an evolutionist, I pull this out, the arguments over, I won!” Nothing works that way, including this area. But my absolute best reason for believing in creation – the first of these two answers – is the Bible. And that’s like “Oh, well, no, I didn’t want that! I want something else, like DNA, or this or that…” and I say, “But let me tell you why I say the Bible. Because is the Bible is the inspired Word of God – and that’s what we believe as Christians – if that’s what it claims for itself, and that’s what we say, if it truly is the inspired Word of God, then everything it says is true. And it says that God created everything. So therefore, that must be true. And that can be absolutely true because it’s a message directly from God as opposed to some evidence we might discover, which we think is strongly supportive of creation, but the problem is, all evidence, or facts, have to be interpreted to give them any kind of meaning.”
So when we look at DNA, we might say, well, that’s so complex, it had to have been created by God, and an atheist would look at the DNA and say, “No, we don’t think it was created by God. We think it just happened in nature over time. We don’t have all the answers yet, but that’s how science works. We will eventually figure this out.”
So they’ll look at the same facts, the same evidence, and they will interpret it differently, not based on the facts but based on their starting point or their worldview.
Then you have a third person – maybe another atheist – who comes along and looks at the DNA and says, “You know what? You Christians are right. This DNA is so unbelievably complex, there is no way that happened by accident. But it wasn’t designed by your God. It was created by aliens.” So then you have just another person looking at the exact same facts coming up with a different conclusion.
So we can’t just throw facts out there and say creation has to be true because of these facts, so I start out with believing it because that’s what God’s Word says, and I’m totally convinced that the Bible is inspired by God – a whole other topic, and all the evidences for that. But secondarily, I would say that yes, there is a lot in science that backs up what the Bible is already telling us. I don’t use the evidences to say therefore the Bible is true, because if I do that, then I’m giving this evidence or science authority over God’s Word, saying it can tell us whether God’s Word is true. It needs to be the opposite, that God’s Word is the ultimate authority and helps us to properly understand the science.
But within the scientific disciplines here, to me, the complexity of DNA and information in general is probably the strongest evidence in my mind, because information – every time you see it when you look at a book, or you look at magazines or CDs or a computer hard drive – tons of information there, and the physical materials that are there, the paper and the ink, or the plastic and the metal in the hard drive and the CD, and things like that, they do – those materials do a great job of storing that information. But in none of those cases did those physical materials create that information. They’re just storing it. You can always trace that information back to an intelligent source.
Then you look at the DNA, which is incredibly complex. It has over – each cell has over 3 billion letters of instructions in it. How it’s layered in there is a topic for another time – it’s incredibly complex. But again, it’s made out physical material, and the phosphates and sugars and such – those physical materials do a great job of storing that information, but they can’t create it. We’ve never seen a case where particles smashing together create information. So, where did that come from? It could only have come from an Intelligence, which is what the Bible is talking about.
Tom: Now, on the other hand, in your mind, looking at evolution theory, what do you think is their biggest error? What would you point to right away?
Jay: Well, I would look at the big picture with evolution, starting from the beginning up until today, and I would categorize them.
Their biggest problem would be, number one, How did they get something out of nothing? You know, where did things come from to begin with? That’s a whole issue in and of itself – so much so that a lot of evolutionists say, “Well, that’s not our issue. We just deal with one creature changing to another one.” But, wait a minute! You have to first get a universe here to begin with – they have a planet, they even have a life on it. So, they do need to address that in their worldview. How did we get something out of nothing? If you say it came from “something,” where did that something come from? And then that came from something – where did that something come from? They need to have solid answers for that, and they don’t. So, how do you get something out of nothing?
The second one is, How did we get life to begin? How did you get non-living chemicals to get life started? That’s another problem again, so usually they say, “That’s not our issue.” Yes, it is. It needs to be addressed. How do you get chemicals to become alive and reproduce themselves?
And then, thirdly, How do you get that single-celled organism, however it did start, when it copied itself – it just makes a copy of its DNA mix in another bacteria. It makes another bacteria – how do you get it to become more and more complex over time when basically, all we see in real science, is when we make copies, errors occur, and those are the mutations. So how do these mutations make it more and more complex over time, gaining new information all along the way?
Tom: You know, Jay, as a Christian, and doing a documentary on – way back when, when the movie ET came out – this was a company that wanted me to do a…as I said, a documentary. We were at JPL, and this was Carl Sagan’s organization there. And we got in to interview some of the scientists. And the guy who headed it up, I asked him before the cameras were rolling, I said, “So what makes you think this search for extraterrestrial beings, and so on, what makes you think there’s life out there?”
And of course his answer was, you know, in the Carl Sagan way, “Well, there are billions and billions of stars,” and so on and so forth. And so I let that slide, but, Jay, if I would have asked him one question, and I refrained from doing this because I would have gotten all of us thrown out, and it’s related to what you just said, “Could you give me an example of where life ever came from non-life?” Never. Ever. So, that would have been the end of us – the end of the story. But that’s, as I say, with my lack of science background, that’s a very simple one – there’s no evidence for that, and there never has been.
Jay: Right. They have a law in science called the law of biogenesis, meaning that life only comes from pre-existing life. It’s so consistent with what we see in nature that they’ve made it law. But yet evolution violates that law to start out with. They violate the first law of thermodynamics, saying that you can’t get something from nothing. They kind of violate that to begin with – they get something out of nothing. And then it gets going, and it makes a universe, and then they have planet, and then they violate the law of biogenesis by having nonliving chemicals start the first form of life; they have faith in that. And then they violate a bunch of other things along the way, but it is a challenge for them.
Tom: Well, my guest has been Jay Seegert. This is part one of our two-part program. We look forward to Jay to next week. One of the things we’re going to talk about next week, or have Jay address is – you alluded to this earlier in this program – Christians say, “Well, you know, it’s all too complicated for me, and besides, it has nothing to do with salvation.” We’re going to talk about that next week, the Lord willing. Jay, thanks for being with me on this part, and we look forward to next week!
Jay: My pleasure.
Gary: You’ve been listening to Search the Scriptures 24/7 with 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 tuning in, and we hope you can be here again next week. Until then, we encourage you to Search the Scriptures 24/7.