The impossible improbable
A conversation with young-earth creationists
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Randy Guliuzza of the Institute for Creation Research is the author of Made in His Image: Examining the Complexities of the Human Body and Clearly Seen: Constructing Solid Arguments for Design. He holds a B.A. from the Moody Bible Institute, an M.D. degree from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Public Health degree from Harvard.
Guliuzza was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force, serving as the 28th Bomb Wing Flight Surgeon and Chief of Aerospace Medicine. I interviewed him and three other young-earth creationists (see sidebar) in front of students at Patrick Henry College. Here are edited excerpts.
Some evolutionists say: “Unless a graduate student believes in evolution, he can’t do biology. I don’t want him in my graduate program.” Is that silly? That’s extremely silly. I suppose it would depend on what your graduate program is, but if you’re going to do something useful like medicine (sorry, other graduate programs) it is irrelevant. If evolutionists say nothing makes sense in biology except in the light of evolution, why do so many biologists in their practice ignore evolution? Why do so many in medical fields ignore evolution?
What everyday practical differences does the age of the earth make to people working as medical doctors or in genome sequencing? In the practice of medicine, evolution is completely irrelevant. In sequencing genomes and finding out information from the genome, age is somewhat important because we know that mutations happen and most mutations are not lethal: If they happen in your germ cells, they get passed on to your offspring and tend to accumulate in the human population.
What’s the effect of that? As best as we can see (and, of course, there’s a lot of variability in this), they accumulate at a specific rate. When we try to extrapolate the rate backward at which mutations are accumulating in populations (not just the human population but in various populations), we see that over a long time the human population would have been completely destroyed by mutations.
Why is evolution not only improbable but impossible? We define “living things” as organisms that grow, adapt, metabolize, and reproduce, but which of these fundamental mechanisms came first? How can you reproduce until you have energy? And you can’t get energy until you metabolize, which means you need systems that extract energy from the environment.
A which-came-first, chicken-or-egg scenario? It’s very hard to explain the origin of metabolism unless it all comes as a unified functioning system. It’s clearly hard to explain reproduction unless organisms can reproduce. You have to have all of these systems even for single-celled organisms. And how do you get adaptation until you’re adaptable?
How do you apply the Bible to difficult questions of interpretation? My hermeneutic boils down to what one of my Moody professors said: “Give words their normal meaning in their normal context.” If you allow a religious authority to tell you that Scripture is mystical, hard to understand, with elusive meanings, then you need a special class of people to inform you of what Scripture says, and you are in bondage to those people.
‘If you allow a religious authority to tell you that Scripture is mystical, hard to understand, with elusive meanings, then you need a special class of people to inform you of what Scripture says, and you are in bondage to those people.’
2017 is the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s revolt. We had a Reformation to free us from that kind of bondage. Now the church is facing a threat of going into another type of bondage where scientific authorities (replacing the religious authorities) tell us what to believe. This bondage is not physical. It’s a type of bondage that we submit to, with someone telling us what Scripture says rather than letting Scripture tell us.
Some people go to graduate school in biology or medicine and become believers in evolution. What was your experience? As I sat in med school, listened to lectures on anatomy and physiology, and took notes feverishly, inside I was praising the Lord over and over again because I saw things so complicated yet so precisely designed that, as an engineer, I knew humans couldn’t even come close to designing anything like this. I learned about systems in physiology that made man-made systems look absolutely simple.
And those systems go through microevolution but not macroevolution? I learned about change in all kinds of creatures, including human beings: We are able to adjust. We all live on a dynamic planet that is constantly changing, so any good designer would have to put that ability into them: Otherwise, they could never live on a dynamic planet.
Young and old
Three others affiliated with the Institute for Creation Research—astrophysicist Jason Lisle and geologists Marcus Ross and Tim Clarey—were also on the panel. Lisle responded to an audience question: Do viruses evolve? The virus question represents a classic case where the word “evolution” is being used in two different senses. “Evolution” can just mean “change.” Everyone knows viruses change, but that doesn’t mean they become something that’s not a virus. They don’t change in a way that would be an evolutionary change, the kind of change that would make particles-to-people evolution happen. What were they? Viruses. What are they now? Viruses. That’s not evolution. That’s just “viruses.”
Clarey spoke about tendencies to avoid hard questions: Professors at secular schools taught about the thorny questions for creationists, but they avoided teaching us the things that don’t fit in their worldview. In geology, more problems aren’t explained than are explained, but you don’t really realize that until you get to the research level yourself and start doing graduate work. Then you realize all the things they glossed over at the undergraduate level.
Ross replied to my question about the debate between young-earthers and old-earthers: What about those who believe in creation but not a young earth? Are they allies? If they are brothers and sisters who affirm Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, they’re my allies. They might be my debate opponents. They might even seem adversarial, and I might seem adversarial to them, but we are one in Christ. Are they correct? I don’t think so. Am I wrong on some theology? Yup! They are my friends. They are my brothers. They are my sisters.
Are evolutionists enemies? Lisle said: The Bible does refer to those in rebellion against God as “enemies.” But at the same time we understand that we were once enemies of God and if it weren’t for God’s grace, we would be in exactly the same boat as the people who are still. The attitude we need to have as Christians is: They’re rebelling against God, but so am I. God stepped out and saved me, and I pray He’ll do the same thing for this person.
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