From the Pastor's Pen
From the Pastor’s Pen . . .
As I listened to the news this morning, I was surprised that the show’s big “tease” was a report of a recent scientific study that ‘confirms’ the trustworthiness of the Bible. Intrigued, I waited and watched for the segment to air. Naturally, it didn’t appear until near the end of the broadcast, but it was worth the wait. The study concluded, among other things, that: 1) All human beings derived from a single pair of parents about 100,000 to 200,000 years ago—like yesterday to geologists and evolutionary scientists, and 2) more than 90% of all animal species living today are the descendants of single pairs of parents representing their respective species, that, coincidentally, all began reproducing about the same time.
The study, conducted by Mark Stoeckle of Rockefeller University and David Thaler of the University of Basel in Switzerland, examined more than five million Mitochondrial Cytochrome Oxidase Subunit I DNA barcodes (if it’s alright with you, we’ll just call them ‘barcodes’) to reach the conclusions noted above. These and other conclusions from their research, published in the scientific journal Human Evolution, turn accepted evolutionary dogma on its head. Far from providing proof of gradual evolution of species, animal and human alike, the research shows conclusively that . . .
we and our fellow creatures on Earth arose from a recent and profound creation event, orchestrated by some unknown mechanism. And second, that the DNA barcodes reveal that . . . instead of there being a continuum of animal varieties, as one might expect from millions of years of gradual evolution, creatures fall into very distinct, widely separated populations—what the Bible describes as ‘kinds’ . . . .1
Thaler, commenting on Darwin’s inability to explain the absence of intermediate evolutionary states (i.e., ‘missing links’) explains that “if individuals are stars, the species are galaxies. They are compact clusters in the vastness of empty sequence space.” In other words, we find exactly what the biblical account describes.
Have Stoeckle and Thaler stumbled onto proof for the existence of Adam and Eve, and confirmed the biblical account of Noah’s ark? Naturally, they prefer not to make that connection. Talk of Adam and Eve would likely get them excommunicated from the scientific establishment. Instead, they theorize that there must have been some unknown cataclysmic event that wiped out previous life on earth and prompted some great explosion of all the distinct species that we see today. But even a child familiar with the biblical account of creation and the flood will recognize that the connection with the biblical record is unavoidable.
As interesting as such studies are—to some of us, at least2—we need no such scientific studies to know that all human beings are descended from a single, human pair. In fact, we even know their names! We need not theorize about some mysterious cataclysmic event. We know that it was the great flood, and the distinct pairs of animals that suddenly began repopulating the Earth were the animals that came two-by-two onto Noah’s Ark. How do we know this? We know it by faith, for the Bible tells us so.
Faith is a ‘dirty word’ to some in the scientific community, for there it is often taken to mean a reckless leap into the darkness of wishful, if not irrational, thinking. Biblical faith is nothing of the sort. It is a confident, reasoned, and reasonable step into the light of revealed truth. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” It is the very essence, the foundation, upon which our confidence is based. It is the convincing, pragmatic proof of things that lie in the realm unmeasurable and undetectable by the five natural senses. Those who know by faith simply accept into evidence the revealed truth given us by our loving, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent Creator.
As Christmas draws near, we have every reason to rejoice over the Babe of Bethlehem. Few, if any, rational persons would deny the birth of a baby some two-thousand years ago. Few would deny that He lived and grew and died upon a cross. Few, if any, would dare dispute that this little baby changed the world. Few would dispute this, because the evidence is simply too great and too compelling. But it is not what we know from history or science that gives us reason to rejoice this or any Christmas season. For many babies have been born, lived, and grew only to die a tragic death at much too early an age. Many, indeed, have even changed the world in profound ways, for good or for ill. We rejoice, not because of what we measure and test and record with our rational senses. We rejoice because of what we know by faith. By faith, we know that God sent His Son, as a Babe, born of a virgin, fully God and fully man, to do for us what only the uniquely begotten God-Man could do. By faith, we rejoice that He is not only a world-changer (even Hitler was that!) but was the world’s Savior, who came to save His people from their sin and from their self. By faith we rejoice in the knowledge that He gave His life, not as one murdered among tens of thousands before and after Him, but that He laid it down willingly as the perfect and final payment on man’s sin. By faith we rejoice that He is risen from the dead, ascended into heaven, and ever lives to make intercession for us. By faith we know and rejoice that the world has not seen the last of Jesus, because just as He promised, He is coming again. By faith we rejoice with exceedingly great joy, not because of what we know from the history books, but because of what is revealed in the Holy Book, God’s Holy Word.
May your faith in Jesus fill your heart with joy this Christmas season!