Conflict In Science And Theology (by JD Walters)


JD Walters, a Princeton student and fellow Cadrist, has begun posting a promising series analyzing and critiquing conflict in science and theology.

His fine first entry can be found here. I hope he’ll be able to continue the series. (If so, I’ll add updated links as posts.)

The topic has nothing to do with universalism per se. It was just a good article and I wanted to promote him a bit. :slight_smile:

Here are the first few paragraphs:


Thanks for that Jason it looks very interesting. It is refreshing to hear the view that both scientific AND philosophical/theological positions are complex and not understood at the drop of a hat. I realise as I get older (in my second half-century now :smiley: ) that I am constantly swayed by both sides of the argument because the refutations of each side toward the other (I’m talking about those with a depth of knowledge on both sides - not bickering by partisan bystanders) always seem very plausible when people like these are stating their case.

I struggle constantly with my belief system because my life experience hasn’t ever included anything that could be remotely described as - beyond the natural (probably a poor phrase) - therefore I only have my intellect with which to decide these things and theology is perhaps less about intellect (though not entirely so) than the scientific approach (not that I place logic and evidence above everything).

When I hear others here (and elsewhere) relaying stories of their encounters with ‘something beyond the physical’ one part of me is quite jealous. Lately I have portrayed my stance as more atheist than agnostic (mainly because of the way certain threads have developed). The reality is still that I am the Agnostic Universalist - I have great difficulty with the existance of the supernatural (for the want of a better phrase) but if I were granted one wish it would be that Christian Universalism be true.


Hi @jasonpratt Just came across this post. I wondered if you could provide a few links or give some examples of evidences for theistic evolution?? It looks like the science area has been removed from the forum as well as controversial topics. I have a friend who is a strict literalist as well as claims science disproves evolution and any attempt to accept common ancestry is a lie and junk science. If anyonr else has any links to share or thoughts to provide please do. Thanks so much :slight_smile:



The science category hasn’t been removed; it’s just in members-only because the discussions aren’t necessarily relevant to the main topic of the board.


Biologos may be the premier Christian theistic evolution site.

They frankly don’t understand intelligent design very well, however. Their description of ID paints it as “scientific… reasons to give up on pursuing natural explanations for how God governs natural phenomena.” That’s a quite cheating way to describe ID, which is primarily a scientific forensic study, although one which, due to the character of the current scientific paradigm, is highly critical of neo-Darwinian gradualism as an entirely undirected method of producing species development. Theistic evolutionists themselves vary on whether God directs a process that would otherwise be tantamount to neo-Dar-grad, and if so how far God directs it (or sublets that direction out to various created entities). ID and Theo-Ev can overlap without necessary problems.

Of course, some ID proponents are more critical of neo-Dar-grad theory than others; the general thrust from ID has been that there are too many scientific details that neo-Darwinian gradualism cannot account for, and that it has intrinsic principle problems in any case, so we should look for adjustments to a new scientific theory – there are scientists proposing this who aren’t intelligent design advocates either. Still, someone could decide neo-Darwinian gradualism works just fine and also that there is scientific (forensic) evidence that the process was set up by an intelligent designer. That would still be ID, and still be theistic evolutionism. None of that amounts to “giving up on pursuing natural explanations for how God governs natural phenomena”. :unamused: :unamused: :unamused:


Meanwhile: in order to make the tag function work, you just type the forum name (not sure if you have to include appropriate capitals but I do it anyway to be safe), drag-select it with the mouse, and then left-click on the “tag” button at the upper right immediately above the post-composition window. Don’t include the ampersand; the system does that by itself.

The result will look like this in your text, except with square brackets not fancy ones: {tag}JasonPratt{/tag}. You can also type it out manually, as I just did (but use square brackets). I prefer to type it out because if you drag-select a little too far you could pick up punctuation by accident and that will ruin the tag function.

Thus I’ll demonstrate by tagging you, [tag]Robert[/tag]. If I drag select a little too much, [tag]Robert,[/tag] and try the same thing it won’t work. However, the function knows to get rid of extra spaces if you drag-select them by accident. (You can “quote” reply to me and see the BBCode directly that I used.)


Whether or not those who “argue that the Universe is only 6,000 years old expose themselves to the possibility of being proven wrong,” if the genealogies given in the Bible from Adam on are correct, then the time from Adam to the present is about 6000 years.

Also, Moses in Genesis affirms that man (“adam” means “man”) was created on the sixth day of creation (Gen 1:24-31). I know many want to think of these “days” (with their evenings and mornings) as long ages of time, but in my opinion such an interpretation is a stretch, and would surprise Moses if he had known that people would some day regard the six days of creation in that way.


Moses might have been surprised to learn that someday people would regard the blue firmament over his head as not actually a firmament holding water above it either, and the sun as not actually rising and setting around the world. Perspective language is as perspective language does. :wink:

(Also, I’m pretty sure I’ve read that the way the day announcements work, mankind was actually created on “Day 5”. The evening and morning afterward start “day 6”. Day 7 hasn’t come yet. Creation starts before “Day 1”. This is connected to why the Jews regarded the new day as starting at sundown. This is aside from how the two separate creation sequences in Genesis are supposed to be regarded – mankind is reckoned as being created earlier in the second account.)


Man was created on the fifth day?

Does not Moses say that the events described above occurred on the sixth day? If he had meant that man was created on the fifth day and then pronounced the beginning of the sixth day in verse 31, tell me what happened on the sixth day?

The above account is followed by these two verses in chapter 2:

Doesn’t verse 1 summarize all of the creative acts that preceded it, culminating with the creation of man on day 6?
Doesn’t verse 2 indicate that the following day—day 7, God had finished creating?

Thus if He had created man on the 5th day, He must have finished his creating on that day, and did nothing NEITHER on the 6th or 7th day.


Creation is brought to completion on the 6th day (e.g. polishing and tweaking and adjusting), God rests on the 7th.

The way English grammar works, combined with our tradition of the day starting with sunrise (or maybe at midnight), we naturally think of the sentence reading as though mankind is created on the 6th day: there was evening and morning following creation of mankind and that was the sixth day. The ancient Jews didn’t think that way, though: the new day started at sunset, so evening and morning Day Six starts day six. Typologically, the finishing of the heavens and the earth and the masses of them (the armies? the groups?) on the sixth day, corresponds also to human and natural history after creation before the coming Day of YHWH. (I mean even if there was literally a sixth day after the creation of mankind on a fifth day.)

I was surprised to learn about this, too, several years ago – but once I did, several oddities in the scriptures clicked into place, including why Jewish culture would ever regard sunset (of all things) as the start of the new day: because that’s how their creation account runs. (I suppose one could chicken and egg that: which came first, the idea that sunset starts the new day which thus got put into how they described creation, or seeing a revelation of creational processes which led them to regard sunset as the start of the new day somehow? Eh, no idea yet. :slight_smile: )

Days, as a distinction, can only get going once there is light and darkness, too (setting aside whether a distinct sun has to be created yet for that, or whether this is an impression from someone being given a vision of the separation of gasses, liquids, and solids, upon the surface of the earth, since the sun and moon wouldn’t be visible at first). So once there’s an evening and a morning, Day One can start: creation of the heavens and the earth happens before Day One.

If you’ve ever heard theories about an unknown amount of cosmic history happening before Day One, this distinction is sometimes behind those theories. :ugeek:


Yes, Jason. I have been aware for many years that the Hebrew day begins at sunset and ends at the sunset of the next day.
However, I don’t see how that fact implies that man was created on the fifth day.

However if we want to think of the fifth day in the sense of midnight to midnight as we presently do in United States and Canada, then it is possible that man was created on the fifth midnight-to-midnight day, if he had been created, say at 9 P.M. But if he had been created at say, 3 A.M., it would still have been on the sixth day even in the midnight-to-midnight system.


“And it/he was evening and it/he was morning day of-six” means Day Six has started at sundown (and the subsequent morning – evening and morning both being masculine in grammar so getting a masculine pronoun for the neuter). Not that Day Six has ended at sundown (and the subsequent morning). Mankind and the other animals are created the day before day of-six starts at sundown, specifically after “it was evening and it was morning day of-five” meaning after Day Five started at sundown.

Once the day-starts-at-sundown factor is factored in, that fact implies that mankind (and the animals) are created on the day that started with the evening and the morning of day five. Thus, created on day five. If they had been created on day six, they would have been listed as being created after the sundown-and-morning start of day six instead of after the sundown-and-morning start of day five.

Sundown or morning either one could be considered the start of the day for technical or practical purposes, respectively; but either way, the day number is reckoned as starting then. Not ENDING then. The whole point to including morning along with the evening would be to clarify that the count, day six for example, is being reckoned forward as the start of the next day (day six starts), not the ending of the previous day (not day six ends).


My gut instinct is precisely the opposite. When I first read the Genesis account at age 10, it was obvious to me that these six days lasted much longer than 24 hours each. It never even crossed my mind that anyone would think otherwise until I ran into my first Young Earth Creationist when I was 16 or 17 years old. I think Moses would be astounded at some of his readers thinking these days each lasted 24 hours.

Is there a way that doesn’t feel artificial to regard Adam being created and instructed by God, naming all the birds of the air and the beasts of the field, getting to feeling lonely, having surgery, and getting married–all within 24 hours? And surely Adam took time for meals and for sleep, further reducing his work time to a mere 14 hours or so? Cramming all of that within 14 or even 24 hours would have Adam hustling and bustling as though it were Christmas Eve and he just started buying presents for 82 relatives. If nothing else, surely Eden was paradisial and not filled with hurry!hurry!hurry!



And that’s before accounting for the different creation order in the second creation story (where Adam specifically shows up, names the animals as they’re being created, etc.) :wink:

I know there’s a YEC way around that, sort of, by going with two literal weeks of creation, with the second week only being the creation of Eden and the garden, but it still starts running into problems. (Though it does kind of solve the who-did-Cain-marry-later problem: he married from the people God created on the first week before creating Adam and Eve and Eden. They had been busy going about their own business and… um… weren’t part of the fall? …opps. :mrgreen: )


I’ve known dozens of believers in a young earth, and have never met one who even hinted at what you are suggesting in the paragraph above.

The seven days are concluded in Genesis 2:3
So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

Man was created on day 6, but those events you are describing are recorded AFTER the reference to day 7 in Genesis 2:3, and so I, personally, have always understood that they occurred after day 7.


But Paidion, please consider the following verses:

“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27)

“So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.” (Genesis 2:20)

“Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.” (Genesis 2:22)

We see from Genesis 1:27 that God created both Adam and Eve on day six. We see from Genesis 2:20 that Adam named the animals before God created Eve. Since Eve was created on day 6, therefore the naming of the animals necessarily took place on day 6.

“All cattle, the birds of the air, and every beast of the field” is a lot of animals to name within a 24-hour span of time. I do not see how it could all be accomplished within 24 hours.


Uh-oh :astonished: :open_mouth:


Genesis 1:1 to Genesis 2:3 is a different account for that of the events described in Genesis 2:4 onward. Notice that the creator is merely called “God” in the first account, and the events on each of the seven days are given. But from Genesis 2:4 on, He is called “Yahweh God” in nearly every instance.

I still say that the account of the 7-day creation in Genesis 1:1 to Genesis 2:3 gives the basics of creation, but not the details, and that those events described in the second account took place AFTER day 7.


A number of years ago (I’m not sure how many—maybe 20 or more), a pagan posted his views in another forum. He believed that Genesis 1 and 2 were descriptions of two different creations and several different creators (in Genesis 1). He believed that he, himself, was a descendant of those from the first creation described in Genesis 1, prior to Adam and Eve, and that others are descendants of Adam and Eve, who were created by the god, Yahweh, as recorded in Genesis 2. He called himself one of “the other people.” I posted this once before; I can’t remember whether it was in this forum or not.

In any case, I thought you might be interested in this pagan’s understanding of Genesis 1 and 2—far out from a Jewish or Christian point of view, but rather interesting notwithstanding:


Paidion, I am puzzled as to how that could be so. Consider:

On day 6 “God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27).

In Genesis 2:7-21 God created man: a male and a female. Therefore the events of these fifteen verses took place on day 6. In verses 19-20 of that passage Adam named all the animals. This naming therefore took place on day 6.


Yes, Gen 2:4-7 gives a short account of God’s creation (or should I say a brief reference to God’s creation?).

I should have said that the events described from Gen 2:8 onward, occurred after day 7.