Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Responses to Listeners (3)

Many listeners were enlightened by the recent programs featuring astrophysicist/theologian Dr. Hugh Ross. One recent letter to the John Ankerberg Show expressed the essence of concerns from other listeners. The writer was saddened by the interpretations of Dr. Ross concerning Genesis 1 and 2, including the length of the creation days. He only expected this kind of approach from “liberals” and “deniers of the faith.” He wondered what Christians believed about creation events “before science,” and felt the program guest distorted the simple meaning of the scriptures.

Our complete response follows:

Thank you for your letter and your interest in the topics being presented on our recent programs. Many of us understand your questions because, like you, we were once taught a different interpretation of the Genesis account than we now hold. Sometimes we justify our beliefs by saying “This is what I was taught.” Scripture encourages us to study and to prove what is true, praying for God’s wisdom before coming to conclusions.

You use the expressions “liberal” and “denier of the faith.” I must characterize the position of ATRI as being far from liberal, and I must state that we affirm orthodox Christian beliefs and are not deniers of the faith. A study of our ministry’s many available resources would confirm this. The most straightforward readings of English translations of Scripture do not convey variations of meaning in the original Hebrew. Readings of those translations do not, for example, acknowledge that there are several “literal” interpretations of Hebrew yom (day). A thorough study of scripture, interpretive helps and commentaries by our side, may help us understand difficult passages. But we must never stop learning, studying, and discovering.

The findings of science are a great blessing rather than a threat to our faith. As a science teacher, I have been brought closer to the Creator by becoming aware of God’s work revealed and clarified by science. Your question “What did all Christians do before science?” is a good one. Before 1950, we were not aware of DNA as the fundamental genetic material. Before the 1960s we had not broken the genetic code of life. The 1960s also brought us vibrant confirmation of the CMBR (cosmic microwave background radiation), the leftover radiation from the Big Bang, present wherever we look in the universe. Satellite technology in the last twenty years has affirmed this creation event and the age of the universe with great precision. Also in the 1960s, plate tectonics was affirmed, revealing how the earth has been prepared by our Creator for life today. In the last fifty years, science has provided ultrasound and genetic confirmation of the truth of Psalm 139:13 (NIV), God’s hand in creating the total personhood of the pre-born: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Science has revealed these truths. We are thankful for these scientific discoveries and rejoice that our knowledge of the natural world is now more complete.

Hundreds of discoveries in cosmology and advances in technology are testimony to our Creator’s wisdom and love for humanity. He designed a world of order and beauty for the benefit of mankind. New discoveries about the origin, age, and fine tuning of the universe enable us to reconstruct earth history as never before dreamed possible. Such evidence did not exist a short 50 years ago. Dr. Hugh Ross’s programs on The John Ankerberg Show on design in the universe and God’s creative events are not an occasion for ridicule. Rather, they are an opportunity to give God the glory. These discoveries magnify God rather than diminish Him.

Thank you for listening to our programs, and for writing to us at The John Ankerberg Show.