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 tune in. In today’s program, Tom concludes a two-part series with guest Jay Seegert. Here’s TBC executive director Tom McMahon.
Tom: Thanks, Gary. In this part two of our program where I’m talking with Jay Seegert, and talking about what Christians believe about creation vs. evolution. And I don’t know, maybe you’re thinking, “Well, come on, we’re all on board with creation.” But as we’ve been discussing and discussed last week (so I hope you go to our archives and listen to part one), that’s not necessarily the case. And I love talking to Jay. He’s out and about in his presentations all around the country dealing with Christians, addressing things, explaining things, and it’s really important. But his heart, which is what I loved, is even though he has degrees in physics and engineering, his heart is the B-I-B-L-E, the Word of God, which, as we mentioned last week - as he said - that’s where it’s got to start. Because God said that He did create these things, and certainly the proofs - a whole other program - but the proofs that God’s Word is indeed God’s Word, one of the major proofs is prophecy, okay? He claims throughout Isaiah that only He knows the beginning from the end, and He challenges the false gods.
To that end, and…well, again, you just need to read the Word of God. Certainly it begins with being born again, being born of the Spirit. Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Unless you are born again, you cannot enter the kingdom.” But once you do, God gives us the gift of His Holy Spirit who indwells us. And as Jay mentioned last week, the Word of God says He’s our teacher. He will guide us into all truth.
So, Jay, welcome back to Search the Scriptures 24/7.
Jay: It’s great to be back again. Appreciate it.
Tom: Now, Jay, as we mentioned at the end of the program last week, I want to talk about some thoughts that Christians have, whether they be true Christians or professing Christians. They believe that what you do, it’s interesting, but it has nothing to do with salvation. What do you say to that?
Jay: Well, again, they typically will say that because they have heard that from others, and it kind of then keeps them out of an argument, and say, “We don’t need to talk about it, because it’s not related to salvation.” But it’s actually directly related, and I approach it differently at different times with different people, dependent upon the circumstance. But sometimes I’ll ask them if they think they’re going to go to heaven when they die, and they certainly would say, “Well, yes, they’re Christian.”
“Well, then why do you think you’ll go to heaven?”
“Well, because I placed my trust in Jesus and I asked for forgiveness of my sins.”
“Oh, okay. Why did you do that?”
“Well, because the Bible tells us we need to.”
“Okay, well, why did Jesus die for our sins?”
“Well, because we’re sinners.”
“Okay, but why are we sinners?”
“Well, I guess because of Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden.”
“Oh, okay, so that really happened?”
“Well, I guess so.”
“Well, then I guess the creation account and the Garden does matter, because if it didn’t happen, then we lose the basis for the gospel message.”
In fact, here’s an interesting quote from an atheist who seems to get it better than some Christians. And he said, “Christianity has fought, still fights, and will continue to fight science to the desperate end over evolution, because evolution destroys utterly and finally the very reason Jesus’s earthly life was supposedly made necessary. Destroy Adam and Eve and the original sin, and in the rubble you will find the sorry remains of the Son of God. If Jesus was not the redeemer who dies for our sins, and this is what evolution means, then Christianity is nothing.”
And I think that’s true. If evolution as they teach it in the public school system and state universities, if that’s true, then Christianity is not true. If evolution is true, then the creation account didn’t happen. There wasn’t an original perfect earth with an Adam and Eve in it to actually sin and tick God off, and then God says, “Oh, great. Now I’ve got to kick them out of the Garden and send My Son to die for their sins.” That didn’t actually happen if evolution is true. So it does matter what we think about that. It does matter whether Genesis can be taken seriously or not, but sometimes the skeptics understand that better than we do.
One other quick quote here: Richard Dawkins, one of the world’s leading atheists today and outspoken evolutionists, he knows that a lot of Christians say, “Well, you know, Genesis isn’t meant to be taken historically. It’s just kind of poetry, and it’s symbolic. Adam and Eve were symbolic, and so we can still believe in the Bible and evolution.”
But Dawkins himself understands this better, and he said, “Oh, but of course: the story of Adam and Eve was ever only symbolic, wasn’t it? Symbolic? So in order to impress himself, Jesus had himself tortured and executed in vicarious punishment for a symbolic sin committed by non-existent individuals. As I said, barking mad as well as viciously unpleasant.”
So Dawkins is saying you can’t just take your Bible and say, “Oh, it’s just symbolic. It’s just poetic.” It wasn’t meant that way, because then it just destroys the whole idea of what Jesus did in the gospel message.
Tom: Mm-hmm. And as you mentioned last week when I asked the question, “Well, how do you start, Jay? How do you - what would you say is the most important thing about your belief in creation, and so on?”
And as you presented it, it came back to “Well, this is what the Bible says.”
Now, you know, I totally agree with everything you just said. But we also know, and I know you would agree with this, that it doesn’t take all that knowledge to be saved, okay? A child can receive the gospel. That’s the beauty, the miraculous aspect, of the gospel, that it is simple and straightforward. You know, “What must I do to be saved? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”
However, now, once that takes place, and this is the problem that we’re seeing today, that many Christians, professing Christians, are not into the Word of God! They’re not believing what they’re reading, because they’re not…well, first of all, they’re not reading it! So my encouragement to myself and to others out there is that you need to get into the Word of God.
And these things that you just addressed, Jay, they are confidence builders! Why should I put my confidence or my faith, my trust, in the Word of God? Well, I can’t if I don’t know what it says, or I’m not a student of the Bible. And to me that’s an important aspect of this, that especially in these days, these days in which there’s so much confusion - you know, we could call it the days of apostasy just before, hopefully, the return of our Lord Jesus Christ - confusion, delusion, all of these things are out there, and the thing that I find for myself personally that makes my belief rock solid is the continued consideration of what the Word of God says. Getting to know Him, getting to know what He says, seeing how these evidences (and they really are evidences) that the Bible is true. I mean, isn’t that the way you would approach it?
Jay: Oh, definitely. You know, and when I put an emphasis on Scripture, sometimes people mistakenly view that as kind of being naive, saying I don’t care about what science says, I don’t care about the “real world,” I’m just going to believe the Bible no matter what, and that’s not really the intention for me to come across that way. What I’m saying is I’m 100 percent confident that God’s Word is true, and confident that real science backs that up all the time. So I’m not just saying, you know, “Read the Bible and ignore everything else.” I’m saying, “Read the Bible, believe it’s true, and that will help you actually see how real science backs it up.”
There will always, always, always be conflicts between scientists’ opinions and the Bible, but there’s never a conflict between science and the Bible, because scientists’ opinions are just interpretations of what they’re looking at, and they’re always interpreting things using their worldview. And if they reject the Bible to begin with, they’re going to come up with a lot of wrong conclusions. And 2 Peter 3 alludes to that, where Peter said, “In the last day, you’re going to have scoffers.” They’re doubting the return of Christ, and Peter says these scoffers, they’re ignoring two things: Number one, that God created this earth out of water to begin with, and secondly He used that water to judge it and destroy it because of sin with the flood. And he said they’re going to ignore those two things, so today a skeptic, especially a scientist, if they’re ignoring God’s original creation, and then they’re ignoring something like the global flood, they’re going to come to a lot of wrong conclusions when they’re looking at the earth - particularly, you know, one quick example: the Grand Canyon. When you ignore the flood, you come up with silly ideas about the Colorado River going through there over millions of years carving it out, which is physically impossible. But they’re forced to come up with slow, natural explanations vs. saying, “There was a global flood; that could easily account for what we see there.”
Tom: Jay, I think I mentioned this last week, but I’ve told you personally I really enjoy talking to you, because you’re out there, you’re dealing - whether it be in churches, whether it be in academic…say, whether it be Christian colleges or whatever it might be, you have some great stories. And I appreciate that, because I’m hearing things from you that help me understand better where the body of Christ is, or even professing Christians, where their heads are and what they’re thinking.
Now, when you speak on the subject of evolution-creation, what’s the most common question that you’re asked?
Jay: Well, that would probably have to be Christians asking, “Well, does Genesis really mean what it says? Can’t it just be poetry? Is a day really a day?” and the reason behind those questions is that they have a dilemma of they know what the Bible actually says and what they hear maybe at church, but they keep going to school and watching documentaries, and they hear something that looks just the opposite, and they’re nervous about this dilemma. They feel like they have to choose between the two, and they’re uncomfortable with just totally rejecting the Bible; they don’t really want to do that. But at the same time, they are uncomfortable in totally rejecting science, because they happen to have a cell phone they use all the time. They don’t want to tell their skeptic friends saying, “No, I don’t believe in science. I don’t believe in my cell phone.” They misunderstand what science is really all about, so I know where this is coming from. But what they want to do is they want to say, “Give me a way that I can accept everything coming out of the scientific community, yet still hold on to the Bible, or at least salvation.”
And I also need to make it very clear: I am never saying that you cannot be saved unless you believe in the six-day creation account, or that you can’t be saved if you believe in evolution. That’s not at all what I’m saying. You can be saved and believe in evolution, but my view would be that if you are saved and you believe in evolution, you’re being very inconsistent with what Scripture says. You know, I can be saved, and I could go out and steal something. Doesn’t mean I’m not saved, it means that I’m totally going against what I’m claiming to be true. And so believing in creation isn’t a requirement for salvation, but if you’re really going to be a student of the Bible and be consistent with your beliefs, then we need to take it seriously. And so that’s the biggest question that I get as I travel around within the Christian circles. I do talk to skeptics and non-Christians, but within the Christian circles, their biggest thing is, “Does Genesis really mean what it says, and couldn’t it be something else - some poetry, an allegory? And is a day a day?”
Tom: Yeah. And what you’re saying here and what we’re alluding to is a Christian’s life begins with being born again. But Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life and have it more abundantly,” and you’re only going to have an abundant life in Christ if you believe what the Word of God says, if you know it. That produces - I mean, whether it be the Holy Spirit enabling us to live a life that’s fruitful and productive, it’s only going to be based on truth, and the truth…Jesus prayed to the Father for believers. He said, “Separate them - sanctify them by thy truth. Thy word is truth.” And you can’t be fruitful and productive - I mean, you’re going to have huge problems if you go south with some of these false beliefs. Isn’t that right?
Jay: Sure. Yeah. Well, a paradox for Christians too is that many of them will say, “Well, Genesis can’t really mean what it says, because we know the Big Bang was true. We know that they’ve apparently proven evolution, so we have to look at Genesis differently because of what ‘science’ is telling us.”
But then when I tell them, “Okay, that’s fine, but then you can’t believe in the resurrection.”
They say, “Why?”
“Well, science has shown us that people don’t come back from the dead after three days. Maybe after 90 seconds or two minutes or something where they weren’t maybe technically dead, but not after three days. So Jesus didn’t rise from the dead.”
But then the Christian will say, “Well, yeah, but Jesus was God, and He could do that!”
And I say, “You’re actually right about that, but long before Jesus was Savior, He was Creator (John 1, Colossians 1, Hebrews 1). And so He could not only arise from the dead, but He could actually create everything in six days just like He said.” And so there would be a case where they’re not being consistent with their own logic.
Tom: Mm-hmm. Now, are there any questions, Jay, as you’re out and about preaching and teaching and giving information that Christians don’t have, are there any questions that come to you as surprises? I mean, give us an example if you have one.
Jay: Sure. They - typically I’m not surprised, and it has nothing to do with my intelligence, because I’m intelligent enough to know how dumb I am. But I’ve been doing this for 29 years, so that just means I’ve heard most of the questions. It’s extremely rare I get a new one, but sometimes there are interesting questions. I remember I was talking to one Ph.D. professor of Old Testament history at a Christian college (I’ll let it remain nameless for now), but I had given a talk, introductory talk, on creation and defending the historical account of the six-day creation. And he stood up during Q and A, and he said, “I’m Dr. So-and-so, Old Testament professor, blah blah blah.” And he said, “I think what you’re doing is damaging to the students,” meaning telling them that they can actually trust the straightforward account here, because the implication was that they’re going to find out that science has shown it’s not true, and then they’re going to doubt the Bible. And I happened to talk to him afterwards, and his big question to me was, “But how could all the scientists be wrong?” Like how could Scripture be right or my view of that be right and all the scientists be wrong? And my response to him was, I said, “Do you think that most of the scientists believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God?”
He said, “Well, no.”
I said, “Well, how could they all be wrong? You on one hand will allow them to be all wrong about that, but then you say, ‘Well, they have to be right about evolution.’”
And so again, he really wasn’t being consistent in his argument, and the reason scientists can be wrong is because everything’s interpretation, like we’ve mentioned a number of times, and science has changed its mind so many times. For years they said the plates in the earth were static; they didn’t move. And then a guy came along who was actually a Christian - he was a scientist - and he said he believes that plates have moved, and they just laughed him off the planet. For 50 years they laughed at him, until finally they realized, “You know what? Plates have moved.” And so now everybody knows the plates have moved.
And they say salt is bad for you, then salt is good, then salt is bad. Aspirin good, aspirin bad. Eggs good, eggs bad. Back and forth and back and forth, all based on their interpretations and lack of knowledge.
So we shouldn’t be surprised that these scientists who are largely not Christians come up with a conclusion that’s contrary to God’s Word.
Tom: You know, Jay, I really appreciate that you had the opportunity to talk to him afterwards, but this guy got up in front of students, all right, and he’s presenting something that - we’ll call it “seeds” or whatever. How did you respond to him without trying to embarrass him? But nevertheless he’s planted seeds, erroneous ideas, among these students, which, you know, perhaps…I’ve never been in his classes, but there may have been problems that way.
But just tell me, how did you respond to his initial statement?
Jay: Sure. It’s always tricky, because I work very, very hard at being tactful and gracious, and my point wasn’t to demean him in front of the students, but I had to respond. So I basically, you know, talked about that if his view was correct, that means that for (again, like I mentioned before) the vast majority of history, God knew that we were going to naively just believe what He wrote there, even though He never meant that, and now we finally realize that he never really meant that at all. Well, do we need to go apply that to the rest of Scripture then? We believe that Jesus died and rose again after three days for our salvation, but maybe we’ll discover something…“No, no, that really isn’t true, either. We have to take it a different way,” which we already should…As I mentioned, you know, Jesus couldn’t have risen from the dead, because science has shown that’s impossible. So we need to rethink the gospel message, and then that ultimately puts secular men and women as authority over God’s Word. We keep having to wait on them to find out “What does the Bible really mean? Here’s another passage. Tell us what that means.” Why would we go to secular scientists to help us understand what God meant in Scripture vs. praying and letting God’s own Holy Spirit sort that all out?
Tom: Jay, you know, I spent some time in academia…although, you know, my family believed that I was majoring in the path of least resistance - which I was, by the way, okay? But when you - as the example you gave - when you have the opportunity to be on campus, a Christian university or college, are you usually welcome with open arms by Christian academia?
Jay: Not at all. The majority of Christian colleges out there would not be supportive of a six-day creation account. Not all of them accept evolution necessarily, but most of them would accept the idea of the Big Bang and 13.8 billion years for the universe, and 4.6 billion years for the earth and all that. But they would not be supportive of the six-day creation account, and in my view it’s primarily because they want respectability from the community, and they also want parents to say, “Hey, if I send my child to that Christian college, they’re not only going to a Christian college and having some Bible classes, which would be awesome, but they can also be taught good science, because they’ve got professors from secular universities who come in and teach them real scientists about the Big Bang and evolution,” or whatever it is. And so that’s often what has happened at Christian universities and even seminaries. There are very few that I think are really taking a strong stand for the traditional, historical, (I believe) correct view of creation.
So just one example: I have two degrees, one from a Christian college and one from a state university, and the Christian college where I have the degree, they will not let me speak on campus, because they are now teaching evolution. They weren’t originally, but they are now. So even though I have a degree from them, I have given them money in the past, and I don’t charge anything for my engagements, they won’t let me speak because they are really only promoting the idea of - that God used evolution.
Jay: So it’s hard to even get into those circles.
Tom: Wow. You know, we have about five minutes left, Jay. I want to remind our audience that Jay’s been on with me before, and one of the main topics that we talked about that he addressed is young earth vs. the old earth, which is a controversy within…you know, major controversy within Christianity - Christendom, at least.
So, Jay, if you could just address that quickly, but this is what I want to go out on: in the few minutes that we would have left after you kind of deal with that, give us your concern for the body of Christ and the importance of Scripture in their lives. That’s what I want to go out on. But let’s go back to old earth/young earth.
Jay: Sure. It’s the hottest topic, it’s the most potentially divisive topic, and it’s the biggest reason why a regularly otherwise fundamental Christian church or college, Christian college, would steer away from addressing the creation account as a topic, or have me maybe come in and speak. It’s largely because of the age of the earth. Again, most Christian churches, truly Christian churches, are not promoting evolution so much, but they do buy into the Big Bang and an old earth, and they think it doesn’t really matter anyway; it’s not that big of a deal. But this is the biggest controversy within the creation/evolution debate.
And in a nutshell, again, for the vast majority of history, we believed in a young earth, because Scripture seemed very straightforward with that. It wasn’t until more recently - actually, just before Darwin’s time - when some guys came up with some ideas that the physical features of the earth were formed by natural processes which would take a long time vs. God creating them and then flooding the earth.
So the long ages came in just before Darwin’s time, and then Darwin jumped on that and tried to explain the origin and the variety of life with these newly found millions of years, and then theologians started accepting that, thinking that science had proven it.
But in a nutshell, and we could spend hours on it, but in a nutshell there are no clocks in nature - none. All we have are processes that we see today, and by making certain assumptions about these processes, we can turn them into a clock, whether it’s something - one thing decaying into another thing… I don’t have time to go into the analogy I usually use about a glass of water sitting in the sink half-full, and the faucet is dripping one drop per second, and you try to guess how long the glass has been in the sink, because you say, “Oh, well, it’d probably take about 25 minutes or so to fill that up halfway with it dripping.” Well, you’re assuming the dripping has always been one drop per second, but you don’t know that, because you weren’t there to watch it the whole time. You’re also assuming the glass was empty to begin with, but maybe somebody put it in there half-full right away and you just walked in five seconds later.
So there are a number of assumptions that are being made, and that’s what scientists do today is they use processes that we do truly observe today, but then make these unwarranted assumptions about them to come up with millions and billions of years to back up their secular ideas vs. taking Scripture straightforward.
And then what’s interesting (and I’ll have to wrap it up with this with the time we have): If you look at all those processes, 90 percent of them - when you make the same assumptions they want to make, which I don’t think are great assumptions, but even if we grant them those assumptions - 90 percent of those processes we observe today yield ages that are far too young for the Big Bang to be possible, or evolution. But they ignore those, because it doesn’t fit with their paradigm.
Tom: Jay, again, you said at the beginning last week it’s the Word of God, it’s the Bible, it’s true. And all that we’re seeing that tries to reconcile itself with science, so-called - I’m not talking about true science - science, so-called, is it gets us away from the Word of God. It’s buying into something that’s not true.
You know, my guest has been Jay Seegert. I’m excited to have Jay be one of our speakers, the Lord willing, this coming August at The Berean Call conference here in Bend, Oregon. So I’d invite…you want to meet Jay personally? I’ve never met him personally; I’m looking forward to it. But it’s going to be great to be with you in August, Jay.
So thanks for being with us in this program, and I encourage people to go to our archives and hear the first conversation I’ve had with Jay, which deals in more detail with old earth/young earth. So, Jay, thanks for being with us on Search the Scriptures 24/7.
Jay: It’s been my honor. Thank you.
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 thebereancall.org. I’m Gary Carmichael. We’re glad you could join us, and we hope you can tune in again next week. Until then, we encourage you to Search the Scriptures 24/7.