Thanks for your message, which as is my usual policy, I will respond to via my blog, CreationEvolutionDesign , minus your personal identifying information.
[Above: Crown of thorns based on head wounds on the Shroud of Turin, by Ricci, G., "The Way of the Cross in the Light of the Holy Shroud" (1978). Note that the crown of thorns "is virtually signatory" that the crucified image of a man on the Shroud of Turin is Jesus (see `tagline' quote), yet no forger would have depicted such a non-traditional cap of thorns.]
----- Original Message -----
To: Stephen E. Jones
Sent: Sunday, June 17, 2007 8:04 AM
Subject: A note of Appreciation
>I stumbled upon your blog this evening and found it to be highly interesting.
>While I am inclined towards Young Earth Creation and disagree with your positions, I find them fascinating to read and well written.
If you are only "inclined towards Young Earth Creation" then you are not actually a Young Earth Creationist. Just as if you were only "inclined towards" Christianity, then you would not actually be a Christian. Young Earth Creation is the position which positively claims that the age of the Earth is only of the order of tens of thousands of years.
The Old Earth Creation position in fact does not claim that the Earth is any particular age, and therefore it does not claim the Earth is young. Evidence of that is that as the scientific estimate of the age of the Earth increased from tens of millions of years in the 19th century to thousands of millions of years in the 20th century, the Old Earth Creationist position has had no problem adjusting to that. So if you do not positively claim that the Earth is young, then you may in fact be an Old Earth Creationist without realising it!
>I only dabble in science with just high school fascination trickling into my reading from time to time (I am more interested in apologetics as a study than biology or physics like I used to be). Maybe if I ever become well-versed enough in the science behind Young Earth Creation we can have an intelligent discussion, but I fear I would seem rather unintelligent compared to your mind.
After debating for over a decade (1994-2005), I `retired' in 2005 from actually discussing Old Earth Creation vs. Young Earth Creation (as well as Creation/Intelligent Design vs. Evolution) and nowadays I just post to my blog and am writing a book called "Problems of Evolution."
Although right now I am writing a paper for a Shroud of Turin journal called, "A proposal to radiocarbon-date the pollen of the Shroud of Turin." See also my current blog series, "Bogus: Shroud of Turin?"
>I'll just stick to repairing computer hardware for now. But enough of that rambling, I just wanted to mention I am thankful for thinks such as yourself that are out in the world defending your faith and boldly proclaiming it.
Thanks again for your recognition that publicly defending Christianity is far more important than arguments about whether the Earth is young or old!
>When we get to heaven, we'll either find out who is right or maybe it won't matter at that point.
According to a verse I recently read in my morning `quiet time' study of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, when we get to heaven, we "shall know fully":
1Cor 13:9-12. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
But I agree that "it won't matter at that point"!
>Maybe I can ask! Meanwhile, thank you for being bold!
PS: The `tagline' quote below is for my blog readers generally who may not realise how closely the image on the Shroud of Turin corresponds to the crucifixion of Christ as recounted by the Gospels.
Stephen E. Jones, BSc. (Biology).
"The evidence seems, then, to indicate that the man of the Shroud was very probably a Jew crucified under the Romans. This draws us to the inevitable question, Could it have been Jesus? To what extent does the image on the Shroud correspond to the crucifixion of Christ as recounted by the Gospels? Given the premise that the Shroud is from all other points of view genuine, this presents us with virtually no difficulty. ... 1. Jesus was scourged (Mt. 27:26, Mk. 15:15, Jn. 19:1). The body is literally covered with the wounds of a severe scourging. 2. Jesus was struck a blow to the face (Mt. 27:30, Mk. 15:19, Lk. 22:63, Jn. 19:3). There appear to be a severe swelling below the right eye and other superficial face wounds. 3. Jesus was crowned with thorns (Mt. 27:29, Mk. 15:17, Jn. 19:2). Bleeding from the scalp indicates that some form of barbed `cap' has been thrust upon the head. 4. Jesus had to carry a heavy cross (Jn. 19:17). Scourge wounds in the area of the shoulders appear to be blurred, as if by the chafing of some heavy burden. 5. Jesus' cross had to be carried for him, suggesting he repeatedly fell under the burden (Mt. 27:32, Mk. 15:21, Lk. 23:26). The knees appear severely damaged as if from repeated falls. 6. Jesus was crucified by nailing in hands and feet (Jn. 20:25). ... There are clear blood flows as from nail wounds in the wrists and at the feet. 7. Jesus' legs were not broken, but a spear was thrust into his side as a check that he was dead (Jn. 19:31-37). The legs are clearly not broken, and there is an elliptical wound in the right side. Of these seven stages, it is possible that stages one, two, and four through seven could have occurred in the case of any crucifixion victim. But the third stage, the crowning with thorns, is virtually signatory. ... If the Shroud itself is genuine, the case for it being actually Jesus' shroud is very strong, as even one of those most convinced of its fraudulence, the Jesuit historian Herbert Thurston, felt obliged to admit in 1903: `As to the identity of the body whose image is seen on the Shroud, no question is possible. The five wounds, the cruel flagellation, the punctures encircling the head, can still be clearly distinguished... . If this is not the impression of the Christ, it was designed as the counterfeit of that impression. In no other person since the world began could these details be verified.' [Thurston, H., "The Holy Shroud and the Verdict of History," The Month, CI, 1903, p.19]" (Wilson, I., "The Turin Shroud," Book Club Associates: London, 1978, pp.37-38. Brackets added)
pleas explain to me what you mean by universal common descent. Sounds like you believe in guided evolution?
>pleas explain to me what you mean by universal common descent.
As I state in my `FAQ' post, "What I believe about Creation, Evolution and Design" under "Common ancestry," what I mean by "universal common ancestry" is that "all life on Earth, both living and dead, shared a single common ancestor at the origin of life. And that thereafter all life has descended with modification from that single common ancestor."
>Sounds like you believe in guided evolution?
There is no such thing as "guided evolution" just as there is no such thing as a "square circle".
If the origin and development of life on Earth was "guided" then it would be a forms of creation not "evolution". The essential cidea of "evolution" is that it is unguided.
As the National Association of Biology Teachers defined "evolution", in its "official `Statement on Teaching Evolution'" it is "an unsupervised, impersonal, unpredictable, and natural process" which "rules God out of the picture" (my emphasis):
"The claim that evolution is purposeless and undirected has become almost an article of faith among evolutionary biologists. For example, the official `Statement on Teaching Evolution' from the National Association of Biology Teachers describes evolution as `an unsupervised, impersonal, unpredictable, and natural process.' That pretty much rules God out of the picture." (Cartmill, M., "Oppressed by Evolution," Discover, Vol. 19, No. 3, March 1998).
The "standard scientific theory" of evolution is that "God had no part in this process" (my emphasis):
"Facing such a reality, perhaps we should not be surprised at the results of a 2001 Gallup poll confirming that 45 percent of Americans believe `God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so'; 37 percent prefer a blended belief that `human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process'; and a paltry 12 percent accept the standard scientific theory that `human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process.'" (Shermer, M.B., "The Gradual Illumination of the Mind," Scientific American, February 2002. My emphasis)
As I then go on to say in my `FAQ', "But that modification was by both supernatural and natural means" (my emphasis).
But no leading evolutionist from Darwin to the present would accept that God intervening supernaturally in the origin and development of life was "evolution."
As I concluded that section of my `FAQ': "Common ancestry is therefore not necessarily evolution, since as Dawkins (quoting Darwin) pointed out, God could have intervened supernaturally "at any one stage of descent" in which case it "was not evolution at all" but was in fact "divine creation" (Dawkins, R., "The Blind Watchmaker," 1986, pp.248-249,317)! See my posts of 23-Sep-05, 04-Jan-06, 16-Nov-05, 27-May-06, 30-May-06, 20-Jun-06, 11-Aug-06, 02-Aug-06, 27-Aug-06, 04-Nov-06, 31-Dec-06, 17-Feb-07, 26-Mar-07 & 30-March-07."
I also state in the same `FAQ' that my position is "Progressive Mediate Creation," which "holds that, as per Genesis 1, God created ex nihilo (out of nothing) the raw materials of the Universe (Gen. 1:1). Thereafter (Gen. 1:2-31) God created by the making and forming of those raw materials, both supernaturally and naturally, through secondary causes."
Stephen E. Jones
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