Since social media sites hit cyberspace I have occasionally joined groups and contributed to discussions, but after a rather interesting participation in one particular group, I realised that people are often not what they claim to be. Although I use a pseudonym on this blog (for reasons that will become evident shortly), I’ve always been pretty open and mostly honest with people. When you believe, as I do, that a benevolent Father is watching over you, it is difficult to disappoint Him by telling blatant lies. However, it seems people who believe they are on their own, people who have no sense of a Greater Reality, can be capable of the most unbelievable deception.
One of the groups I joined was on facebook. The group was called Creationism and I thought it would be interesting to discuss scientific issues relating to the creation/evolution debate with other Christians who were interested in this topic. I chose not to join an evolution group, as I’m not really interested in conflict, but I do enjoy discussing topics from differing points of view. The first thing I noticed in this group was that most of the posts were very negative towards creation science. Posts placed by the administrator were all rather airy-fairy and didn’t ever address anything to do with Creationism or present any scientific information relating to creation science. They centred more on positive thinking and being thankful for the beauty of nature. That did rather surprise me, but then I thought that perhaps the administrator was not well educated on the subject, even though s/he was a believer in biblical creation.
I decided I’d contribute by raising topics of interest to biblical creationists, after all, that is what the term Creationism is all about. The response was unbelievable. The crude, personal assaults from anti-creationists were so disgusting it took my breath away. At one stage someone called Randy posted a photo of a piece of human faeces in a glass with a caption stating that this was a photo of my brain. It was after this incident that I decided I would try to remain more anonymous in cyberspace. Gradually, I came to realise that no one else in the group ever contributed from the creation side of the debate, and eventually, I was barred.
It finally dawned on me. In reality, the person who set up the group was an evolutionist. This person knew nothing about biblical creation and precious little about the science behind the theory of evolution. I was the only person to post anything that supported creation science, so I guess that’s why I was barred, people who posted anything resembling scientific evidence for creation were inevitably barred. I am now totally convinced the administrator was not a Christian, but rather, a particularly dishonest mischief maker. The group’s whole aim was no doubt to falsely represent Christians who believe in biblical creation, whilst opening them up to ridicule and personal abuse.
I have since come to believe that another site I have contributed to (God of Evolution (GOE)), may also be run by a person whose claim to be a Christian is false. Like the facebook group, this site appears to be dedicated to attacking people who believe in biblical creation. The owner of this site claims he is a believer, but once again, I wonder whether his motives are what he claims them to be. He is very fond of making claims about the so called beliefs of what he terms “young earth creationists” (YECs), and then attacking those claims. He presents straw man arguments, and as his readers seem to be generally ignorant of the true arguments creation scientists make for biblical creation, he effectively attacks his straw men, thus creating the illusion of having completely refuted any biblical creationist propositions by completely misrepresenting his opponents.
This person never attacks well qualified and trained creation scientists, instead he chooses less informed creationists and lay people to quote, people who are far less capable of presenting information effectively. He also uses sweeping generalisations, lumping everyone who believes in biblical creation together under his YEC banner and if one sneezes, everyone has a cold. Whatever one person has been heard to say (he seems to particularly dislike Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis) he uses as part of his data bank of “things all YECs believe” and fuel for yet another attack article.
The interesting thing is he doesn’t appear to venture into any specific scientific issues. He links to a number of evolutionist sites that claim certain scientific evidence points to evolution as the most convincing theory for the origins of all that is, but virtually all of these claims have been robustly answered many times over by reputable scientists who believe in biblical creation, and these rebuttals never see the light of day on his site. In fact his site appears to be set up for the sole purpose of denigrating people who believe the biblical account of creation, while having very little to say about evolution, other than it happened – full stop.
I find it difficult to believe someone of faith would want to spend so much of their time vehemently attacking specific individuals just because their approach to The Bible is different. There is no attempt to examine issues, it is people who are being attacked. This is character assassination on a grand scale, with very little promotion of the gospel. This is not something I can imagine Jesus doing and therefore I doubt this person is actually a follower of Jesus. Jesus reserved this sort of personal attack for hypocrites. Perhaps this site’s owner believes all YECs are hypocrites. However, after my earlier experience with facebook, I suppose I’m actually less naive, one might even say more cynical. I have recently begun to wonder just who the owner of this site actually is. Is he who he claims to be – a follower of Jesus? Is he even a real person? He may in fact be nothing more than an avatar representing a non-Christian group who hate biblical creationists.
This leads me to the issue I wanted to discuss in this post. Who are we? Am I the person I think I am, or the person my family thinks I am? Am I simply someone who was born of English, Irish, Polish and German stock, in the middle of Sydney in the middle of the 20th century; only to have 80 or so years (if I’m lucky) of life experience? How can we know who we really are? We appear to spend a great deal of our lives trying to be someone, but is that someone who we are essentially?
This question began to distract me in my teens and for some time I entertained the idea that we may be reincarnated, that we may have lived on Earth many times before and have already had a number of different personalities. After someone pointed out the mathematical difficulties with this concept I was less inclined to see reincarnation as a possibility. It is likely that the present population of people on Earth is equal to, or perhaps even exceeds, the total number of people who have ever lived on the planet in the past. Also, believing in reincarnation didn’t actually address the big question I had – Who am I anyway?
Our friend over at the GOE site states that:
When I engage with other Christians who disagree with me on evolution, I have never sensed in them much of a longing for nonbelievers to experience the joy and salvation of knowing Jesus. I more often tend to encounter a deep animosity and mistrust, especially toward scientists.
Is that me? It certainly doesn’t seem to have anything to do with me or any other biblical creationists I’ve met, particularly as a number of them are PhD scientists. So are we what others tell us we are? Sadly this can sometimes be the case. As a primary school teacher I worked with children who were having difficulties with reading. A number of my pupils had been virtually told by adults that they would never learn to read, and some of them began to believe this assessment. Other children I encountered had been told they were “thick”. These kids often decided that if they couldn’t be good at school, they’d be good at disrupting school – and they often were. This is frequently referred to as fulfilling negative expectations. My approach to this problem was to try to remove the negative expectations and replace them with positive, achievable goals. Thankfully, this approach nearly always had positive outcomes.
After many years of thinking over the issue of just who we are, I came to the conclusion that we must be either one of two possibilities. Either we are an accident, or we are a part of a bigger plan. Naturally (sorry about the pun), the accident adherents follow the creed of evolution, that is, we are all the product of random, unplanned, haphazard chemical reactions. Our life journey is simply a combination of what nature gave us genetically at birth, the environment into which we happened to be born and what we do throughout life with the cards we were dealt. Our personalities are nothing more than chemical reactions in our brains, and we have nothing to look forward to beyond the grave, other than becoming compost.
I find this a very depressing outlook and have wondered if it might be at the root of a lot of the depression that so plagues our modern culture. Is it possible that some children, who were raised with this sort of concept, somehow, through lack of use, turn off certain neural pathways in their brains that lead to hope and optimism? After all, what is there to hope for under this scenario? It is no surprise that so many people are working their way through a bucket list. If we are not born with genius or beauty, under this scenario we are simply part of the herd, striving to make a life amidst the chaos and confusion of the modern world. Some people do a better job than others at enjoying themselves and loving life and those around them, but ultimately, surely we are more than this small life we each live. Deep inside each one of us is a sense of so much more.
When we choose to believe the Creator’s version of life this is only the beginning of the journey in the opposite direction. We are no longer striving to satisfy personal needs (even if these needs may have included altruism or philanthropy), our attention is directed towards our Creator and His plans and purposes. This path is nevertheless a steep learning curve. My friend over at GOE opens his site with the verse:
“Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.” 1 Cor 14:20 (ESV)
No doubt he is inferring that a mature Christian would follow his way of thinking and believe in evolution, accepting a rather confused hybrid between my two possibilities. He doesn’t make much of an attempt at convincing us or explaining why we should believe in evolution; he simply informs us that everyone who is even slightly intelligent, and all the people he respects, believe in evolution. When I was an infant Christian, evolution is exactly what I believed in, but it seems very clear to me today that once one starts to really look at the issues, examine the evidence, and read both sides of the argument thoroughly, it is far more in keeping with rational thought to believe The Bible’s straightforward account of creation. To me this is far more likely to be the product of mature thinking.
Being a biblical creationist is counter-cultural; this is the journey that is less directed by culture and more by the Word of God. It takes a certain sort of determination to question the dominant cultural paradigm, but the journey once begun is startling in its clarity.
The Bible’s version of who I am is also uplifting in its purity. Through His Word our Father has revealed that He wants us to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor 4:18; 5:7), He wants to have a deep spiritual and personal relationship with each one of us – He created us for this very purpose. God has a definite plan for each and every person born onto this very special planet.
To begin with, there is good evidence to demonstrate that our planet is at or very near the centre of the universe. We are not living on an obscure little blue blob lost in a vast array of cosmic bodies. When God stretched out the heavens (Is 45:12; Jer 10:12), creating time and space, He was opening a new chapter in His eternal existence. He is the “cause” of all that is (Rev 4:11) and the reason we exist (Col 1:16). Our Father chose to create a family for Himself and consequently He created a stunningly breathtaking environment for us to physically inhabit.
When He created Adam and Eve in His own image as two unique individuals, He knew every single person who would come from their genetic material, as humanity filled the Earth (Gen 1:26-28). Each and every one of us is known to our Creator and He has an individual plan for each of our lives. We are no accident! We are the intentional, miraculous creation of the eternal, omniscient, omnipotent God, who has made it possible for each one of us to become part of His eternal family.
Who we are can only be fully realised in the context of who we will become when we are given the gift of eternal life. When we accept this gift, which cost the Father the life of His Son, we embark on a journey of discovery that will go on into eternity. During this journey we will find our true selves and be given our true names (Rev 2:17). No longer will we be the person we were told we are, or the person we think we should be, we will discover who our loving Father created us to be as His unique, individual, immortal child. As our brother John pointed out:
See how very much our Father loves us, for He calls us His children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know Him. Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but He has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He really is. (1John 3:1-2)
This must be one of the most hope filled, life giving promises in The Bible. Not only are we assured we are the much loved children of the Creator of the Universe, we also know that we will be like Christ – we will be immortal, we will be sinless, we will be the objects of unimaginable love – and that love will rise up in us and become our very own nature. We won’t be clones of Christ, anymore than we have been clones of Adam and Eve, but we will inherit His righteousness. The sin nature we inherited from our natural parents will be gone and because we have been born again of the Spirit we will no longer be subject to this fallen nature. Thus we will be fit for God’s eternal kingdom (John 3:3, 7). The apostle Peter tells us:
God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and His Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed Him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more grace and peace. All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by His great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by His power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see. So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. (1Peter 1:2-6)
We can have great expectations because we are offered a priceless inheritance, and this inheritance is within reach of every person who has ever been born on this specially crafted planet. God is producing an eternal family and each one of us can be part of that family. That is what we can be, that is who we were designed to be. We can be immortal people living in a truly loving family with an omnipotent, omniscient, eternal Father who loves us and will care for us throughout eternity. He will enable us to realise our unique potential, and it is only through His Son that this is possible. To find out who we really are we must take hold of what we can be through the Lord Jesus Christ.
As Peter explains:
Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because He raised Christ from the dead and gave Him great glory. You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart. For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. (1Pe 1:21-23)
Sincere love for brothers and sisters is not what I encounter when I go to the GOE site. This causes me to wonder whether the owner is the person he claims to be. He writes with such vehement animosity towards people he states are his brothers and sisters, people who happen to be biblical creationists, that I am forced to doubt him.
If he is a Christian I can only hope he takes the time to properly look at what he is attacking, not the people (we all have faults), but the substance of the scientific research. Then he might begin to understand why so many fellow believers have taken hold of creation science, having realised that the scientific evidence actually does point to biblical creation as the most convincing model for the origin of our universe. He too can join the Christian Counter Culture and stand against the great deception of evolution, with its naturalistic annihilation of human eternal potential. Perhaps then he will be a true follower of Jesus and express that deep love for his fellow believers Peter talked about. If he is what I suspect, another fabricator of elaborate lies, I can only pray he will find his hope in Christ, because then he too will discover his own personal, eternal potential and come to know who he truly is.