Many old-earth creationists (OEC) and theistic evolutionists think mature creationism is deceptive on God’s part. Either something has a “real” history or it does not? Consider the words of OEC Rich Deem (2013):
Here is where the appearance of age argument distorts the reality of God’s creation. Since we know that objects in the universe are 13 billion years away, it must have taken the light 13 billion years to reach us. Therefore, the universe must be at least 13 billion years old. Either God created the universe at least 13 billion years ago or He deceived us by making it seem to be 13 billion years old.
Essentially, all scientific data must be allowed to speak for itself. If the evidence contradicts biblical revelation, then either the biblical revelation is in error (the view of theistic evolutionists), or the data has been misinterpreted by well meaning, but scientifically misguided Christians (the view of old-earth creationists towards young-earth creationists).
But, as I will now show, there are times when the scientific evidence should not be allowed to speak for itself and must instead be interpreted with the eyes of faith.
Consider Jesus. Jesus is fully God, but he is also fully human:
For this reason, he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people (Hebrews 2:17 NIV).
We should assume, therefore, that Jesus would have diploid somatic cells (two sets of chromosomes, one from the father and one from the mother), just like all other humans. If not, then we cannot say Jesus was fully human. Consequently, if a secular scientist could run a test on Jesus’ blood, the results would almost certainly indicate a chromosomal blueprint that was biologically indistinguishable from any other human (i.e., having two sets of chromosomes). For those who look at things only in the natural, this would indicate that Jesus was nothing more than a man with a biological past just like everybody else. If you told the scientist that this DNA was from a man born of a virgin, he would obviously think you were mad. Does this mean God is deceiving us? Of course not. Why? Because He told us about Jesus’ virgin birth and divine nature, despite what the biological evidence suggests.
Notice that in this case, the scientific data cannot speak for itself. Those who believe God is lying or being deceptive because he gave Jesus an extra set of chromosomes (complete with certain alleles that would seem to indicate a genuine historical connection to an earthly father), are essentially putting their scientific convictions before their theological ones.
Now, at this point, the theistic evolutionist and/or the OEC may object to this example by stating that Jesus’ blood is not available for testing. This is the objection often raised against other examples like Jesus’ wine, bread, fish, or even Adam. If it’s not available for scientific testing, then young-earth creationists can’t use these examples as evidence.
Yet one piece of Jesus’ biological blueprint is beyond question and requires no scientific validation. You see Jesus’ gender is unequivocal. Jesus is (present tense!) a man, and as a man, requires a Y chromosome. Scientifically speaking, Y chromosomes are only passed on to the child through the father—the mother only passing on an X chromosome. This is a scientific fact.
So here is my question for the OEC and theistic evolutionist: On what basis do they believe Jesus was virgin born? If the answer is in any way related to God’s special revelation, then they are taking God at His word despite what the scientific evidence suggests. Please just ponder this for a few seconds…Why are OEC and theistic evolutionists willing to reject the scientific evidence and believe in the supernatural history associated with Jesus’ DNA but not the supernatural history woven into the universe? This is especially important since rejecting the reality of Jesus’ super naturally created partial genome will affect one’s eternal destiny.
In a nutshell, when God says that He has acted in nature to create objects supernaturally, humans are not given the option to interpret their origin in terms of scientifically evaluated processes. Instead, the Christian is to exercise faith and believe what God has said. This doesn’t mean we can’t use science for the purpose of understanding God’s supernaturally created universe, or even trying to understand how He made it; it just means that at the end of the day, Christians must submit themselves to the priority of biblical revelation, even when that revelation seems to contradict the scientific evidence.
Image of Chromosomes by vchal@iStock
Deem, R. 2013. “Appearance of Age. A Young Earth Problem.” Accessed March 14, 2019. http://www.godandscience.org/youngearth/appearance.html