Every teacher, including Pastor Martin Thielen, needs to be reminded of this verse of Scripture. This verse came to mind when I read Pastor Thielen’s latest article on the creation/evolution issue.
Now, I’ve written about Thielen before, who is known for his book What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian? He’s a United Methodist pastor and is, by his own admission, a theistic evolutionist.
I often ponder the influence a Christian teacher has on his people—and I have to search my heart also before the Lord as I meditate on these verses:
My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. (James 3:1)What an incredible responsibility teachers have before the Lord—we need to pray much for wisdom and knowledge to ensure we are not leading people astray!
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:31)
Thielen, as a pastor and therefore one who influences those who come under his teaching, shares a comment in his recent Huffington Post article, titled “Can I Be a Scientist and a Christian?” He states,
Years ago a conservative pastor asked me, "Do you believe in creationism, or do you believe in evolution?" I said, "Yes." He gave me a strange look and said, "What do you mean, 'yes.'" I said, "Yes, I believe in creationism. And yes, I believe in evolution. I believe God created the world, but I believe God created through evolution."Thielen accuses young-earth creation to be without a basis in science. In fact, he makes some rather wild claims about what biblical creationists believe, saying, “It denies virtually every branch of modern science including physics, chemistry, cosmology, geology, anthropology, genetics and biology.”
Now, I don’t recall ever denying the existence or validity of these branches of science. Actually, my degree is in applied science, and I was determined (even while being a biblical creationist) to be qualified as a public school science teacher in Australia—and it was secular authorities who qualified me to teach science! Not only this, but there are a number of researchers on staff at AiG with earned PhDs in these branches of science.
I often hear the accusation from the secular world (as Bill Nye “the Science Guy” stated in my recent debate with him—and as he continues to make) that if students are taught to believe in creation, it will undermine what they call science and depress technology! Yes, if secularists are to be believed, if people become creationists, then satellites will fall from the sky, jet planes will stop working, computers will fail, bridges won’t be able to be built, electricity won’t be able to be generated, and so on! What a load of nonsense!
The issue here is the one I outlined in my presentation during my debate with Nye in February: most people don’t understand the difference between observational science (that builds our technology) and historical science (beliefs about the past—our origins). Thielen, just like secularists, is using the word “science” equally for both the development of technology (involving the use of our five senses in the present) and the study of origins (which cannot be directly observed or repeated in the present).
You see, there are great astronomers, biologists, geologists, medical doctors, etc. who are biblical creationists. And they can perform observational (or experimental) science as well as any evolutionist. After all, creationists and evolutionists have the same observational science—it’s their historical science (beliefs about the past) that is different.
The question of origins can’t be proven through experimentation—indeed, there is no absolute proof for either evolution or creation! But a creation geologist looks at the layers of rock and the fossil record and finds that much of it fits in the biblical framework of a catastrophic global Flood, not in the evolutionary model of slow erosion over millions of years.
Thielen makes another false claim about biblical creationists:
Contrary to what this view teaches, the Bible is not a science book. The book of Genesis was never written to give us a scientific explanation of creation. In fact, Genesis has two completely different creation stories, one in Genesis 1:1-2:3 and another in Genesis 2:4-25. The two accounts don't agree with each other and cannot be reconciled.Now I assert the Bible is something of a science textbook because it is primarily a book of history—it’s an historical-science textbook! It’s a history book that gives a true account of how God created the universe. Genesis 1 tells us that God spoke it into existence over the course of six (approximately) 24-hour days. The Bible then outlines a very specific history about creation, the Flood, Tower of Babel, and so on.
As for his claim that Genesis 1 and 2 contradict each other, we at Answers in Genesis have responded to this false claim many times. Genesis 1 is an overview of the Creation Week in chronological order. Most of Genesis 2 is actually a detailed account of Day Six of the Creation Week, particularly in regard to the details concerning the creation of Adam and Eve. Here’s a great article by our Ark Encounter researcher Tim Chaffey on the issue.
I also want to address Thielen’s final claim about biblical creation. He writes, “Beyond the obvious scientific and biblical problems with scientific creationism, its biggest flaw is that it forces people to make an either/or choice between science and faith, a totally unnecessary choice.” Sadly, Thielen has resorted to the misleading argument that there’s a division between science and Christianity. There isn’t.
The real division is between God’s historical science or man’s historical science—in other words, biblical authority or man’s fallible word. Biblical creation is based on the clear Word of God, while the evolutionary worldview came out of naturalism (which is really atheism). It was an attempt to explain the world without God. Thielen rejects a world without God, but he accepts the ideas that come from that naturalistic worldview.
Biblical creationists don’t deny science—but explain that the word “science” means knowledge, and that there is a big difference between observational science and historical science. Thielen simply does not understand this distinction and doesn’t realize he has been indoctrinated by the world to accept the world’s historical science—contrary to the clear teaching in God’s Word.
I urge you, if you want to know more about biblical creation and the evidence that confirms the claims of Scripture, visit our website at AnswersInGenesis.org.
And pray for these church leaders who are wittingly or unwittingly undermining the authority of the Word of God. I believe this is putting a stumbling block in the way of increasing numbers of people in our culture—resulting in so many young people walking away from the church. Yes, we do need to be reminded that “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,