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Christianity Today

To the Editor,

It is a shame that Christians be divided on the issue of origins I have an idea why they are.

I was a Theistic evolutionist during my training. After going through a time when even looking at Scientific Creationist literature made me feel ill, I began to consider the evidence and was astounded that I had never been told that there is design in life that cannot be accounted for by chance. I now have been convinced that the case is also strong for a young earth and recent creation.

Why do others not think so? There is strong peer pressure in science. Professor Pun was honest enough to say it when he stated, "I hate to hear the name creationist, because I am a creationist -- but I don't want to be treated by my colleagues as a cultic person." In many cases it amounts to more than being looked down upon, Jerry Bergman, himself a victim of persecution, documents many instances of withholding degrees, losing positions and denying tenure to creationists in his book, The Criterion: Religious Discrimination in America (Richfield, Minnesota: Onesimus, 1984).

Creationist articles are rarely accepted for publication in refereed journals and creationist journals are unavailable in most public or college libraries. An exception is that some of the work of Dr. Robert Gentry on polonium halos was published before its significance was clear to the scientific community. Afterward, Dr. Gentry was treated very shabbily by those "objective" scientists who control the flow of information. It is all documented in Creation's Tiny Mystery by Robert V. Gentry. (Knoxville: Earth Science Associates, 1986.)

Because of all this, it is incredibly unlikely that a creationist can get through the system intact. Christians often take on "protective coloration" by accepting scientific orthodoxy but adding a Christian footnote to it. This is no threat to their peers because it fits the prevailing cultural idea that something can be "true for you but not for me." It does not fit the description of Paul in Romans 1, however. For there it says that the existence, divinity and eternal power of God are so apparent from the things He has made that those who fail to acknowledge Him are without excuse.

It is good to have a respect for scientists, both believers and unbelievers, but it is also healthy to recognize the human tendency for covering ulterior motives. If reporters used the same suspicious nature here they use on politicians with whom they disagree, we would have Pulitzer Prizes for an expose of "Evolutiongate". I have had discussions with people who could run intellectual circles around me and see them become infantile when logic led to an uncomfortable conclusion.

A treatment of this subject for Christians must be more than a "Gallop Poll" of scientists' opinions. The data must be examined. It is possible to make the key pieces of evidence understandable to non-scientists and there are a number of qualified people able to do it including Dr. Duane Gish and Dr. Henry Morris.

This is an important issue. It is at the root of the conflict between our culture and the Gospel, for our age does not believe there is objective reality behind religious pronouncements. Yet the evidence for a young earth and recent creation marks the Bible as credible. It does not need to be "protected" from science any more than it needed to be protected from history in the time of Karl Barth.

Regarding the Biblical data, I think it would be safe to say that if it were scientifically agreed that the earth is young, there would be absolutely no problem harmonizing that with the Bible. Waltke's recommendation that creationists argue for an ancient earth since the record indicates a chaotic period prior to "Let there be light" seems uncalled for since the period could have been moments or hours. Archer's concern that there was not enough time in a 24 hour day 6 to name all the animals diminishes when one recognizes the nature of Genesis "kinds". There is evidence that broad categories of creatures are genetically related. There was probably tremendous potential for variability built into the original living creatures that allowed a relatively small number of "kinds" to branch out into the plethora of life we see today. It does not allow macro-evolution because there are limits, but is still present even in many species and genera today.

I am convinced that this is the truth and I am trying to speak in love.

In Christ,

Ross S. Olson MD