Christians are a “house divided” on the meaning of the six days in Genesis 1, the age of the earth, and how much truth there is in evolutionary theory. This year, we are paying particular attention to these topics and are allowing speakers to present and argue for their views. On the 21st of April, Brian Schroeder spoke on “Biblical arguments for a young earth”
Here is Brian’s summary of what he presented:
Should Christians base their understanding on science or on the Bible? And, in both cases, how do we interpret what we see and read? If there is no God and the universe created itself from nothing, then any human book is merely a fallible human book. But if the creator of the universe is responsible for the Bible, then clearly the one who designed and made everything has the best understanding of science and thus both science and Bible would fully agree. So ultimately it comes down to interpretation. As Christians we believe in God, and hence in the Bible.
Brian Schroeder presented how he believes we should interpret the Bible and what that means for our understanding.
Brian Schroeder is a Reasonable Faith committee member. He has BSc and BA degrees from Adelaide University (Computer Science, Physics, Mathematics), and an MA in Theology.
Christians are a “house divided” on the meaning of the six days in Genesis 1, the age of the earth, and how much truth there is in evolutionary theory. This year, we are paying particular attention to these topics and are allowing speakers to present and argue for their views. On the 7th of April, Dr Gordon Stanger spoke on “Is an old earth compatible with the Bible?”
Gordon’s main claim is that we should read Genesis 1-11 from a Hebrew perspective. Then we can understand the theological intent of this section of scripture. The Bible is a book on spiritual matters which only briefly and tangentially references planetary and biological creation. The 6 days in Genesis 1 do not have to be interpreted as six 24-hour days.
Dr Gordon Stanger is a geologist, hydrologist, water resources specialist, and a climate-change impact analyst. He is an RFA committee member, semi-retired and is a keen advocate of ‘sensible Christianity’.
A recording of the presentation and discussion is available on YouTube.
On the the 3rd October, there was a presentation on how we should conduct dialogue and respect each other. Apparently this fell on deaf ears.
If God is God, can’t he do anything he chooses? Nothing’s impossible for him, surely, but how could God possibly have a dilemma? Well, he has; and it’s a dilemma of cosmic proportions, a dilemma that’s way beyond anything that you and I will ever face.
Firstly, God is love. He loves everything he has made, including you and me, but he’s also holy and can’t tolerate the least deviation from his holiness. It’s us human beings that have brought about this dilemma for God. Love would have God forgive us anything and everything, but holiness would have him wipe us all out (Just consider what we’ve done to the world he gave us, and to one another). So, what’s God to do, and how can he resolve that dilemma?
Geoff Russell is a professional electrical engineer. He has a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours from the University of Adelaide, a post-graduate Diploma in Engineering & Computer Applications and an Associate in Theology from the Bible College of South Australia. Geoff is also a valuable member of the Reasonable Faith Adelaide committee.
How do we respond to division on evolution and age of earth? by Dr Kevin Rogers
This year (2022) we are devoting most of our meetings to address issues regarding
Young Earth Creationism (YEC),
Old Earth Creationism (OEC),
the scope and validity of evolutionary theory. and
their implications on Biblical
The difference between OEC and YEC estimates for the age of the earth is about 100,000 to 1. So, at least one view is diabolically wrong. However, what can be even more diabolical is how we address and treat each other.
The topics that are covered are:
What are the YEC/OEC options?
What are some Biblical perspectives?
How should we handle the division?
What are the advantages of the Christian perspective?
Bethlehem features in a number of Old Testament events which have prophetic significance. It is the setting of the Christmas story which is celebrated by many millions world-wide.
Bethlehem is now a Palestinian town that is a popular destination for tourists and pilgrims to visit. The sacred sites include:
The City of David (historic) with its wells,
The Church of the Nativity (built on Jesus’ birth location),
The Shepherd’s Field (2 contested sites),
The Field of Boaz, and
Rachael’s tomb (under Israeli control).
What is the evidence for these locations? In 135 AD the Romans established a pagan shrine and grove over the traditional site of Jesus’ birth. This site has a fascinating history – so is it correct? The other sites of Bethlehem also have controversy, so how likely are they genuine?
Trevor Harris has visited Bethlehem six times and has investigated these sites. He will present and assess the evidence.
In the first century Christianity (especially in the person of Jesus) raised the status of women dramatically in comparison with the prevailing Greek, Roman and Jewish cultures. Women played a key role in the rise of Christianity within the Roman empire. In fact, Christianity was mocked for being a religion filled with women.
However, some of the contemporary cultural male/female roles and practices (such as head coverings) were maintained, which now seem out of touch with modern egalitarian western views, especially those arising from the feminist movement. This is sometimes an object of ridicule that may cause some to dismiss Christianity as old-fashioned and irrelevant. So, is there an essential difference between a Biblical view and modern western values? If so, who is right?
The topics that will be discussed are:
What is sexism?
What were the cultural influences in the 1st century?
What does Genesis say?
How were women viewed in the Old Testament?
How did Jesus treat women?
What were Paul’s views on the role of women?
Are they still applicable?
How should we respond?
I would have preferred that this topic be presented by a woman, but I am the only one who has put their hand up so far; and I happen to be a man.
Kevin Rogers is the director of Reasonable Faith Adelaide and is a member of Ingle Farm Baptist Church. He is also an engineering researcher and research supervisor at the University of South Australia.
Amongst Christians, evolutionary theory and the age of the earth are highly divisive issues, and our subscribers and committee members also have different opinions. The differences are quite stark and at least one party must be radically wrong. We have had speakers with various views in the past. On this occasion, Dr Gordon Stanger will present his contribution.
His summary of what he will cover is as follows:
In a North American study, 67% of young people, who had been given a Christian upbringing, had abandoned their faith. The primary reason given was that “science in general, and evolution in particular, disproves the Bible”.
At least a third of global Christianity teaches that:
Evolution isn’t true,
The Bible and science are incompatible, and
One must choose between Darwin and Jesus, and between God and evolution.
This issue is as polarized as vaxxers vs anti-vaxxers; US Republicans vs Democrats, Scientists vs climate deniers; or ‘Young Earth’ vs ‘Old Earth’ Christians.
But can Earth’s amazing panoply of life be generated by the seemingly random processes of evolution, and yet simultaneously be an outcome of God’s creative volition? Creationists emphatically say NO! I emphatically say YES! …..and will explain how this can be true.
In this presentation I will argue that evolution is a reality and that the true core of this issue is more a matter of Biblical interpretation. Do we read scripture from the modern perspective of Biblical literal inerrancy, or do we read it in its original context of multi-faceted visual imagery and a rich complex of early Hebrew linguistic idioms?
Science strongly indicates that a Biblical literalistic interpretation is erroneous, whilst using the original contextual frame of reference is consistent with reality. Science and Christianity are allies, not enemies.
Dr Gordon Stanger is a geologist, hydrologist, water resources specialist, and a climate-change impact analyst. He is semi-retired and is a keen advocate of ‘sensible Christianity’.
Have you ever heard people claim that the Bible is full of contradictions? I expect so, but is it true? This presentation reviews the claims of “The Bible Handbook for free thinkers and inquiring Christians” by GW Foote and WP Ball. This catalogues numerous alleged contradictions and problem passages in the Bible.
The forward to the 10th edition states:
OUR BIBLE HANDBOOK was first issued in 1888. It has now survived the storms of religious controversy and continues to carry devastation into the ranks of Christian bibliolators without receiving any adequate answer… the anti-Christian controversialist “has only to open our Handbook, and in five minutes he will be able to advance more arguments against the Bible than his opponent will be able to answer in a lifetime”.
Stephen White assesses some of these alleged contradictions and whether the claim in the forward is true.
In addition, he addresses the following issues:
What do we mean if we claim that the Bible is inspired?
How should we respond to alleged contradictions or problematic passages in the Bible?
How should we respond when people claim that the Bible is rubbish and full of contradictions?
Dating the gospels is controversial, but some scholars date the gospels from 65 AD for Mark and up to 95 AD for John. In the meantime, the gospel message was supposedly passed on mainly by word of mouth. Sceptics claim that the stories were distorted and embellished by Chinese whispers, and then written down to meet the needs of the church at the time of writing. Thus, they are historically unreliable.
Is this true, or are the gospels based on eye-witness testimony? So,
What do the gospel authors claim about the nature of their testimony,
Can they be trusted, and
How can we know?
Kevin Rogers is the director of Reasonable Faith Adelaide. He is also a researcher, research supervisor and former lecturer at the University of South Australia.
You’ve no doubt heard of the pyramids and other huge monuments of ancient Egypt. Many inscriptions are chiselled on to these monuments and people have been fascinated by them for centuries. Once the hieroglyphic script was decoded in the modern era, our understanding of the stories, religion, history, and laws of ancient Egypt has greatly expanded.
More recently, over the past 100 years or so, a huge number of texts from other ancient nearby cultures – Sumerian, Babylonian, etc., have been discovered and decoded. This has similarly added hugely to our understanding of these ancient cultures.
The Bible, widely available and read by westerners over the past 2 millennia, includes the stories, religion, history, and laws of the ancient Hebrew people, who existed in the same general area as those other ancient peoples.
So how do the texts from these different cultures relate? In particular,
How do the non-Biblical texts from various cultures relate to the Bible texts?
Are they related?
To what extent and in what way do the non-Biblical texts help us to understand the Bible texts?