This series of articles provide a chapter by chapter review of The Serpent’s Promise – British evolutionist professor Steve Jones’ latest attempt to belittle the Bible and delay the inevitable demise of Darwinism.
The book is dedicated to the memory of his great grand-father, Rev William Morgan, who, we are informed, was a Christian preacher for some forty years. I wonder what Morgan would think of his great grandson’s book and the fact that he has been voted Secularist of the Year?
The Preface brings us immediately to a very sad state of affairs that seems to be illustrated by Jones’ own life – namely, the ‘crisis in creationism’, the phenomenon whereby young people growing up in Christian families and taught to believe the Bible, and Genesis in particular, than move on to college and become disillusioned when they find themselves unable to answer the questions thrown at them by evolutionists. Tragically, many of them then lose their Christian faith, some even becoming militant atheists. This nonsense must stop.
The preface takes us straight to what I suspect is the root cause of the crisis – namely, the misguided and overly simplistic interpretation of the Genesis account of creation that many ‘creationist’ Christian groups promote. As Jones points out, ‘No thinking Christian person today defends the notion that the earth is six thousand years old’. The faulty assumption he seems to draw, however, is that since science shows the earth to be older than six thousand years old, then the Bible is wrong, not just the naïve creationist mis-interpretation of it.
To make his point, he quotes philosopher David Hume’s description of the Bible as: ‘A book presented to us by a barbarous and ignorant people’. Hume’s comment, I think, reveals his distorted atheistic bias. Were all the people of Israel barbarous and ignorant? And conversely, is every person living today wise and well-educated? How a highly esteemed philosopher can make such an inane comment is beyond me. Nevertheless, the comment seems to describe Jones’ own attitude towards the Bible, which he condescendingly describes as ‘the Good Book’, all the time, as we shall see, attempting to poke holes in it.
Jones informs us that he is going to examine the Bible to see if it can make sense of the physical world and answer the questions he will pose. We shall see.
Speaking of fundamentalist creationists in general, Jones says that he will not attack them, because they are ‘too easy a target’. That is a crucial statement, firstly because I actually agree with it, and secondly because he apparently seems unaware that a tiny but growing number of Christian people now understand, as did Oxford University geologist, Rev William Buckland, over a century ago, that a literal reading of Genesis does not require the earth to be six thousand years old, or, as Jones seems to sneer, for there to have been ‘dinosaurs in the Ark’.
Although the good professor (Sorry!) seems unaware of this tiny enlightened group of modern-day ‘Gap Theory’ adherents, he does describe ‘the acolytes of the Church of the Holy Metaphor’, mainstream Christians who apparently also despise ‘literalists’ and ‘fundamentalists’ and prefer instead to regard bits of the Bible that they do not like as being a mixture of ‘symbolism, myth and allegory’. So, apparently, although they do claim ‘believe’ the Bible from cover to cover, they do so ‘in their own way’.
What such believers have, is in fact a ‘half-truth’, not realizing that the inspired and meticulously worded Genesis is both metaphorically and historically true.
How shocking that Jones is able to say of such professing Christian believers: ‘Sceptic as I may be, I have more faith in the Bible than they do!’ I wonder what he would think of a local vicar, last Christmas, who qualified his mention of the three wise man with the comment: ‘If there were any wise men!’ What a tragedy.
Jones concludes the preface by stating that his book is therefore about science, not religion. The context is set by his comment that ‘as an explanation of physical events, the Bible fails’. So let’s find out what the real Truth is then, shall we?
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