My Church cannot really give me answers to alot of the evolution questions I have and direct me to either Kent Hovind or some other creation website. I know from talking to a lot of my atheist friends this source is not reliable. I also have an atheist friend who is studying history. His rebuttals for the lack of evidence in the Bible have disturbed me quite a bit. My other friend who is a bioligest tells me that evolution is an absolute fact. we have evolved from lower life forms over millions of years. I have been reading Francis Collins book and I’m sure you can understand how this has disturbed me greatly, Due to the fact I have been brought up in a church that absolutely regects anything to do with evolution. Collins book makes little sense to me. Sin didnt come into the world until the fall, Yet Collins believing that we had life before the fall that died makes little sense to me. Lack of evidence on the Exodus and other things is also a problem for me. Hopefully you can appreciate where I am at the min with my faith and I’m hoping you can help and provide me with some crediable sources to help with all this and give me some peace as to were I stand.
First of all, Ken Hovind is NOT a good source on the question of evolution and the age of the earth. He applies presuppositions and argues, not from scientific evidence, but from his presuppositions. Whether or not his presuppositions are biblical is debatable, but he definitely does not give an honest evaluation of the scientific evidence. I am sorry that your church pointed you toward this person. I believe that he is probably sincere and do not doubt his Christian credentials, but his credentials as a scientist are not strong at all. I do not often agree with my atheist friends, but this is one time I have to admit I agree with their assessment of Hovind.
About evolution, I believe that God is the inventor of evolution, so we are wise to give him credit for this amazing invention. The Bible does not discuss organic evolution. Genesis 1 and 2 are not a scientific treatise. They are a theological treatise. I believe that the scientific content in Genesis 1 and 2 is reliable, but we should be aware that it was not the intent of the Genesis writer or of the Holy Spirit to give a careful scientific description. The modern scientific terms did not even exist in the second millennium BC.
Now, let me turn to your biologist friend. First of all evolution is not a fact!!! No scientific theories are ever facts, and anyone who calls a theory a fact is either not well-informed about what science is or, at best, is not speaking carefully. The evidence for evolution over time is fairly strong. However, no scientist can ever "prove" that God did not intervene or that God did not create certain species at certain points in time in the past. This is outside the ability of science to establish.
So, here is the "bad news" (just kidding). The evidence for common descent of species is rather strong from the data. The DNA evidence for the interconnectedness of species is quite strong. To call evolution a conspiracy of atheists to destroy faith in the Bible is simply not accurate. Genesis 1 gives credit for creating all species. It also gives God credit for creating life. It does NOT say HOW God did these things. If we allow for the possibility that the "days" of creation are metaphorical with regard to the length of time for each "day" then 1. Genesis 1 fits the scientific evidence as to what happened and in what order and 2. There is no clear contradiction between the Genesis creation account and what we know from science.
Here is the "good news." I believe that the data we have is consistent with the origin of species being directed by God–that purely random processes are a very poor predictor of the actual evidence. Francis Collins agrees with my view to a significant extent (I have talked with him about this by the way), but he also differs with me on this point. He leans strongly toward the conclusion that God created the universe, and set everything up so that purely random processes produced all species and an intelligent being into which God put a soul, a spirit and his image. I believe that this process probably was not random and that God’s "finger" determined the direction of change over time. I also believe that God created Adam and Eve "in his image." The difference between Collins and myself is not huge, but it is significant. The difference between the two of us is small compared to the difference between us and Kevin Hovind.
Why is it problematic that there was death on the earth before the "fall". The death of plants and animals is not evil. The fact that lions chase down gazelles, kill them and eat them is not evil. It is a beautiful part of God’s creation. Death is not evil. Sin is evil and sin is what brought evil into the world. There are a few theological assumptions found in Calvinism but not in the Bible about the fall of man. We should learn to read Genesis without theological preassumptions. We should let God’s Word speak for itself. I believe many of your uncomfortable feelings about science and the Genesis account might be resolved if you read the text carefully and ask what is being said. Animals ate animals before Adam sinned. Where does the Bible say that they did not? You may have heard this in your church, but it does not say this in the Bible.
Critics try to attack the Bible on historical/archaeological evidence, but their lack of evidences are extremely weak. I will happily point you toward evidence which supports my claim. A lot of this evidence is in a really nice Christian Evidences book I have written. It addresses every one of the questions raised in your letter. The title is "Reasons for Belief." It can be found at www.ipibooks.com. I strongly suggest you get this book. In the meantime, you can access some info on this topic by going to the power point section of my web site and finding a power point titled something like History, Archaeology and the Bible. We also have an entire 10 hour class on the topic available through our Apologetics Certificate Program. More info is at my web site on the button for the apologetics certificate.
As for the Exodus, the honest truth is that we cannot absolutely prove with hard evidence that this happened. There is some strong supportive evidence (Tel el Amarna Letters, Jericho data, occupation data for Palestine, etc.) However, the archaeological evidence for the conquest is modest. The overall picture for the archaeological and historical support for the Old Testament is wonderfully strong, but for events before about 1000 BC the Israelites were either a very small clan or were slaves and such groups do not generally leave a massive amount of evidence. Nevertheless, in the overall picture, the Bible is BY FAR the most accurate historical record we have from the ancient world. I can back this up with a lot of examples, but suggest you get my book. Another book on the Science and the Bible topic is my book Is There a God? It is also available at www.ipibooks.com