Sir, Mr Carey (29 July) is deeply misguided about creationism (calling it nonsense) and about science.
The fact is that both creationists and evolutionists have exactly the same evidence, which exists in the present, and both sides perform science using the scientific method (established by the creationist Sir Francis Bacon).
But the scientific method cannot tell us what happened in the unobserved past. All views about the origins are necessarily held by faith. Each side uses their assumptions to interpret the evidence. Those who claim that creationists are not scientific are either ignorant of the nature of science, or deliberately trying to mislead. For example by pretending that evolution is assumption-free and faith-free.
Many of the greatest scientists of all were creationists (Newton, Kepler, Kelvin, Maxwell, Joule, Pasteur, Babbage, to name but a few).
The vast majority of science (decoding DNA, building space rockets, etc) has nothing whatever to do with origins, one way or the other.
It is interesting to note that it is only evolutionists (and their sheep) that want to stifle debate. Creationists are more than happy for opposing views on origins to be taught, and for people to be encouraged to use critical thinking. One wonders what evolutionists are scared of.
Since I accept God’s word as authoritative, I do not accept assumptions about millions of years of evolution. The Bible is unequivocal that God created the universe recently in six days. Jesus taught that Adam and Eve were created ‘in the beginning’ (Mt 19:4). God wrote with his own finger (Ex 31:18) that he created in six days and rested for one day, to set the pattern for our week.
I prefer to trust the finger of God over the claims of the British Humanist Association, or Mr Carey.
I too used to think like Mr Carey. I encourage him to try putting aside evolutionary assumptions, and instead start with the premise that the Bible is true.
• God created in six days, a few thousand years ago;
• The original perfect creation was cursed, bringing death (and carnivory, thorns, disease, etc) into the world;
• God judged the world with a Global flood (which is why the whole world is covered in sedimentary rock, laid down by water, containing billons of dead creatures);
• Mankind was again judged at Babel (giving rise to the people groups, from which today’s nations are descended);
• The original created kinds have given rise to abundant variation through natural selection, genetic drift, etc. It is to be noted that all ‘proofs’ of evolution (peppered moths, Finches beaks, bacterial resistance, etc) are in reality examples of variation within created kinds.
When one takes off evolutionary glasses, and replaces them with Biblical glasses, one can see that the evolutionary tale is scientifically bankrupt. Those that would like to try the experiment can do no better than visit the outstanding creation.com
Paul and leadership
Sir, Colin Craston (Letters, 29 July) draws my attention to articles on the use of the Greek word kephale in the New Testament as applied to the relationship between men and women and their roles in the leadership of the Church. I write as a man who was eager to find good cause to support the ordination and consecration of women. So far I have not been persuaded.
The subject is very difficult for people like me who have not the training or resources to come to a decision whether to join the pro female consecration band or the antis. How can we stand up against the scholarship of FF Bruce and CK Barrett as they support the pro camp, or Don Carson and Wayne Grudem who support the antis?
The difficulty I have in accepting Colin Craston’s conclusion is that it seems to me to challenge St Paul’s description of the gifts he had been endowed with as an Apostle. He describes himself as the Apostle to the Gentiles with a brief to be all things to all men and assuring the Corinthians that he could speak more languages than the other teachers. Would such a man, filled with and guided by the Holy Spirit, be unaware that when he used the word kephale, although he intended it to mean ‘source of’ the average Greek reader would think it meant ‘authority over’ and thus throw such confusion into the Church’s position on its leadership for over 2000 years.
I find this to be improbable.
Beverley, E Yorks
Science and faith
Sir, In reviewing Atheism’s New Clothes by David H Glass (29 July) Paul Richardson suggests that those who advocate atheism must be well read in theology, particularly biblical theology.
This seem to be an unnecessary assertion. Would it be that many who are expert in biblical theology should be equally conversant with the scientific method. Those who are so equally conversant such as the estimable Rev Dr John Polkinghorne are eventually reduced to a world of paradox. Even he would admit irreversibility — for example, vector algebra would assist the understanding of field theory but not vice versa.
We could rather argue that Anglican theology, sic biblical theology, has led us to where we are today with controversial issues like women ministers and bishops and the acceptance of homosexuality.
For the first, such problems never existed with nascent Christianity and our problems lie with the impossible hierarchical system we have inherited. For the second we fail to get back to first principles where the concern for the homosexual ignores the associated unsavoury practices.
For the religious there is a need to wait for God’s lead on the issues… the true believer cannot accept a duality in God … and for the scientist a parallel need to accept that round the corner might lie a new progressive finding which can change contemporary understanding.
Prof R David Langman,
People come first?
Sir, Reading Paul Richardson’s review of Stephen Bullivant’s book The Salvation of Atheists and Catholic Dogmatic Theology (5 August) I sensed yet again that uncomfortable feeling which I sometimes get from evangelical and liberal Christians alike, that ‘people always come first’: their eternal salvation and/or their earthly well-being. It is as though the billions of human beings who have covered the earth over the past ten-to-twenty millennia (not a long time) are all that creation is about. Yet quite obviously human life is plentiful and cheap. To draw an old (and not very accurate) parallel, it is as if the only part of a gramophone which matters, if the sound impressed on the spinning record is to be heard, is the pointed tip of the needle.
In like manner today, the Church of England seems to be typified by what I can but call an ‘anthropomorphic Christianity’, in which human relationships have pride of place above all other considerations, including relationships with and between a myriad aspects of creation, from atoms and molecules to stars and galaxies – not forgetting the planet Mars! Are we really that important?
Sir, It was wonderful that those who designed the Olympic opening ceremony included a number of hymns for a variety of reasons, showing the extent of Christian influence on our country’s heritage. It is a shame that the Prime Minister and a few others are determined to ruin that by introducing same-sex marriage in an undemocratic way. The next election will confirm how far adrift they are from the electorate when many in “safe” seats are unseated by the majority of people who do not want this country run by MPs who are set on destroying our heritage and do not listen to the electorate.
Sir, Since I never was at Manchester University, as John Hughes claims (July 15), it cannot be held to account for my ‘Awkward Angle’. He worries that the Church is in danger from a monstrous regiment of women who, however gifted, necessarily lack proper ‘spiritual authority’. Despite never having studied Jewish Studies, as such, I am aware that Debra was an effective Judge in her day.
Dr Christopher Knight worries about lack of discipline, and it is probably less risky to ‘tell it like it is’, if one is a lay person. That Syro-Phonecian woman was undoubtedly also ‘awkward’ when she pestered Jesus to reconsider his response to her request. Is it too much to ask today’s Church to offer crumbs from the marriage feast to same-sex couples? I have been truly astonished that so many of my letters have been printed but remembering the parable of the Persistent Widow has dissolved any embarrassment.