100 Answers in 100 Days

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Sharing answers to the various questions of faith I have faced, and which others have been challenged with also.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Would You Even Forgive a Pedophile?

There is a certain man I often visit who likes to discuss matters of faith with me. I visited him recently and he asked me whether we should always forgive others, even when they've done something terrible, and if they're not even sorry for it. I told him that forgiveness has no limits. He then asked me more specifically... "Would you forgive a pedophile who had abused your son?" This is a tough question; pedophilia has got to be the worst offense possible! I hear that pedophiles are even hated by all the other prisoners in jail. Could I even forgive such a person?

Christ commanded us to forgive, and there should be no limit to our forgiveness. Jesus illustrated this in a parable (Matthew 18); a man who owed some enormous amount of money (in the millions, say) was forgiven his debt, but then refused to forgive one who owed him a small debt. The man who forgave the large debt was furious; how dare this man withhold forgiveness of such a small debt when he had just been forgiven millions? So it is with us; since Christ has forgiven us of all our sins against Him, how can we withhold forgiveness from anyone? Consider it this way... God forgives every sin, even pedophilia. And if Christ can forgive a pedophile, who am I to withhold forgiveness? "A servant is not greater than his master". Jesus clarifies this parable in saying that unless we are forgiving of others, God won't be forgiving of us. This is because it demonstrates that we are not "born of the Spirit", for the fruit of the Spirit is love, and forgiveness follows love. (See #51: What is the unforgivable sin?)

Forgiveness aims to restore the relationship between the offender and the offended. In the case of God and Man, God forgives but we must repent, which is the natural result of accepting forgiveness. The relationship is not repaired if God forgives only but we remain unrepentant toward Him. Now imagine the pedophile who thinks he can take advantage of my forgiving nature - he wants to sexually abuse my son expecting that I'll just forgive him and our relationship will be as though it never happened. But if a man intended to abuse my son, what good is it whether I forgive him or not; he doesn't care for our relationship at all. The expectation of future forgiveness of sins should keep us from committing those sins in the first place. And if I forgive him it is because I, at least, do intend to maintain a relationship between us. But what kind of a relationship do I want from a man who has sexually abused my son? ...

Earlier in Matthew 18, before the parable on forgiveness is told, Jesus tells His disciples:

If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. (Matthew 18:15-17)

When Peter hears this, he understands that it has to do with forgiveness. He asks "Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven." Again, seventy times seven is a way of saying "there is no limit". As 1 Corinthians 13:5 says in the NIV translation "love keeps no record of wrongs." By contrast, unforgiveness and hatred are inseparably linked. In as much as love should abound in us, so should forgiveness. In the passage above, it's saying that when your brother sins against you, you should seek to bring him to repentance (ie to "gain your brother"). Forgiveness should have already taken place on your part. This is in the context of the Church where the offender professes to be a Christian. But if you've sought repentance diligently and they still won't repent, we "let him be as a Gentile and a tax collector". That is to say, we come to the conclusion that they're not genuine Christians. (You have to consider the Jewish audience Jesus is speaking to here, where "Gentile" stands for anyone outside the faith.) But how do we treat people outside the faith? We seek to lead them to Christ! This is not where we find the limit to our forgiveness, as it may sound to some readers. This is as I explained to my friend; through forgiveness I am able to carry on loving that person, and seeking to bring them to Christ. "If someone abused my child," I explained, "I would feel so much compassion toward them... they are so lost and in need of Christ!" This is the kind of relationship I would still want with the man who abused my son. Forgiveness emerges out of the character of love, and especially Christ-like love which even loves one's enemies. And if I did forgive a pedophile, it would not be inconsistent for me to turn him over to the police in the interests of protecting my son or other children from further abuse. It would also be out of love in an attempt to help the man himself.

Now in thinking about all this, I feel that there's something clearly lacking... it's all hypothetical. I can say I'd forgive a man who sexually abused my son as much as I like, but even I have to wonder; How would I really feel? What would I really do? And so I tried to think of a time in my life when I really did forgive in spite of a grievous offense. And after some time of self-reflection, I discovered something wonderful. I realized that I couldn't really track down any feelings of being horribly offended by anyone, precisely because I had forgiven them! Forgiveness repairs relationships, after all. But I came up with this... Trying to step outside of my own mind, I think that by rights I probably should be resentful of my mother. My mother used to ridicule and mock me all the time. It was, one might argue, a form of abuse. I do remember hating her as a teenager, and even into my twenties, before I gave my life to Christ. But God has given me a forgiving heart. We can forgive whether the offender is repentant or not; my mother wouldn't even know she'd done anything wrong, let alone repent of it! Yet because I forgave her in my heart there is no hatred or resentment. Some will probably say, "Well, maybe you've just grown up and matured?" And maybe my mother's offense wasn't as serious as sexual abuse... but at least consider how many adults are still resentful of their parents and hold grudges against them for a similar childhood experience. As this friend of mine and I were discussing forgiveness, he shared that one person in his life that he could never forgive was his father. For what offense, I don't know. But it's all too common for children to become estranged from their parents through unforgiveness. Yet Christ gives us the power to forgive because He has forgiven us, and is ready to forgive still.

"pray for those who abuse you" (Luke 6:28)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Which Comes First, Evidence or Faith?

Yesterday I wrote about how the life I live now, compared with the life I lived before I became a Christian, is solid evidence for me personally that the Bible is true. But as I said in that post, I had to live that life first before it became evidence to me. This may seem a little backwards, but it is quite Biblical. Paul refers to the Holy Spirit as a “guarantee” of our future glorification. That is, Christ will fully renew us one day so that we will be rid of sin and of all our ailments such as hatred, envy, depression, greed and so forth. And we have a “foretaste” of what that will be like through the Holy Spirit. But when are we given the Holy Spirit? It’s when we make that step in faith and say “Lord, I believe...” Believe what? That what all the Scriptures say about Christ is true, and that what all the Scriptures say about a new life in Christ are true. That Christ really is the Son of God, and that His work on the cross really is the only way we can be saved, wherein He took upon Himself the sentence we deserve for our sins, and imputes His righteousness to those who believe.

Saint Augustine made the point that most of what anybody believes they believe by faith. Even to believe that the woman who I call mother really is my mother in a sense takes faith. I trust that she has told me the truth when I first heard her say, so many years ago as a small child, that she was “Mummy”. And of course, there’s strong supporting evidence... my father testifies that she is my mother, my uncle testifies that he was at the hospital where his sister gave birth to me. It’s a little hard to believe that all these people would collaborate on a lie and not be found out in that lie after all these years. Nevertheless, as a child I didn’t need the evidence first... my mother told me she was “Mummy” and I believed her. The evidence came later.

I want to say that believing the Bible is at least somewhat the same. My own parents testified to the change that the Holy Spirit had made in their lives. My parent’s Christian friends gave the same testimony. Many throughout history, from the least to the greatest; from the journal of some unknown puritan to the sermons of Charles Spurgeon or John Calvin, have given the same testimony. And now I testify the same to you. It is hard to believe that so many would collaborate on this lie, especially since I myself would have to be a collaborator. You are given a promise; that through faith in Christ you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, and that through the Holy Spirit you will be given power over sin, love for others, a “peace that surpasses understanding”... all these things which will assure you of your salvation. Believe it and you will receive it. We could adapt what was said by G K Chesterton; “The Christian faith has not been tried and found wanting, it has been found difficult and left untried.”

Now there are people I know who said “I did try and I did find Christianity wanting!” But I would want to ask them whether they noticed a difference between their life before their conversion and after? There should be a noticeable difference. I remember the story of a group of Church elders who were involved in wife-swapping. Do you suppose that while they were supposedly “trying Christianity” they actually had any evidence of the Holy Spirit at all? Let’s realize that it’s possible to be physically present in the Church but not be of the Church spiritually speaking at all. No, what I have experienced in my life is undeniable. In fact, I believe that my testimony is the perfect answer to this objection. You see, I grew up in the Church and believed that I was saved like everyone else. Many former Christians say “Yeah, I had all the same feelings of the ‘Holy Spirit’ as you, but I realize now that it wasn’t the Holy Spirit at all; it was just my emotions.” I can identify with that - before I truly gave my life to Christ I had feelings that I thought must be the Holy Spirit... how is one supposed to know what that feels like anyway? And when I did truly give my life to Christ, it was a while before I started to sense that my new life was very different. I actually fought against the idea for long time that I had only just received salvation! In my mind, I had always been saved and this recent event was more of a “re-dedication”. But seeing the sheer contrast of my new life against the old, I couldn’t honestly maintain this outlook any longer. The evidence of regeneration starting from that later time in my life was simply undeniable.

So there is certain evidence of saving faith, and that evidence is our good works wrought from the heart. But the works come after, or as a result of, the faith. So how do we get faith? For me, personally, it was through reading the Bible and desiring the righteousness of Christ at any cost... that is, at the cost of giving up the sins that I loved to do. It was desiring to serve Christ at any cost, and trusting that the cost would be something I was able to bear; trusting that Christ would give me the strength to bear it. And ultimately, of course, it was a gift from God.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (Matthew 5:6)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

How Do I Know The Bible Is True?

As I was browsing the blogosphere the other day I came across a post by a certain atheist gentleman who does not believe that the Biblical depiction of Jesus’ life is reliable. In his post he said things like this: that there are almost no documents supporting the life of Jesus outside of the four gospels, and that there is little to no archaeological support either. Well, perhaps he’s simply unaware of the various references to Jesus in the writings of Josephus, Pliny the Younger, Tacitus, Suetonius, Thallus, Lucian... And perhaps he hasn’t heard of the work of Sir William Ramsay, an archaeologist and skeptic of the New Testament’s historicity who, through his archaeological work in Asia Minor came to the conclusion that books like Luke and Acts are entirely without fault historically.

Now you could invest a day or a week or even more researching all of these alleged ancient references and archaeological finds, and maybe you’d be convinced by the end of it. Here’s a good place to start if you’re interested. But few of us are likely to do that, I’m sure. And while I am certain that a diligent study would satisfy the skeptic, as it did Sir William Ramsay, it didn’t take any such study to convince me that the New Testament is true. How is it that I am personally convinced of the Bible?

The disciples walked and talked with Jesus, and they saw the miracles that He did. They emphasize the fact that they were eyewitnesses of the life of Christ when they wrote the New Testament documents. But they also acknowledge that we didn’t have that opportunity. Peter says...

We ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts (2 Peter 1:19)

Peter refers to the fact that he was an eyewitness, but then he says there is “something more sure” than the fact that he was an eyewitness; “the prophetic word”. Now, often people will say that this refers to the Old Testament and its various predictions of Christ which were fulfilled. But to look for fulfilled prophecy in the gospels presupposes the reliability of the gospel account; the reliability of this eyewitness account. So that can’t really be “more sure”. Of course I absolutely affirm that the life of Christ did remarkably fulfill Old Testament prophecy, but I don’t think that’s what Peter is saying here. I think that Peter is referring to their very own letters and documents that make up the New Testament itself, which he describes as “the prophetic word”. This is not something that we should study one time to see how prophecy was fulfilled, but something we should pay attention to continually “until the day dawns and the morning star rises...” Peter is drawing attention to the prophetic nature of their own writings.

The New Testament makes prophetic utterances, certain “predictions” if you like, about what the Christian life is like as a result of faith. It tells us that when we put our faith in Christ we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit, and that this will be evidence of the reality of Christ for us (Romans 8:16). The New Testament tells us that the Christian life will be characterised by “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). And so it is in my own experience. When I first became a Christian I wouldn’t have noticed it, but as time went on I recognized this clearly as I compared my life “post conversion” to the life I led before I put my faith in Christ. The Bible tells us that a Christian will have victory over sin (1 John 3:9), and so I have found in my life that I have a hatred and aversion to sin I had not known before I put my faith in Christ. The Bible says that the Christian will be filled with love for others (1 John 3:14, 1 Thessalonians 4:9), and this too I have found; that since I put my faith in Christ I am filled with love for all people, “sinners and saints alike”, far more profoundly than I ever had before my conversion. Again, when I first put my faith in Christ I wouldn’t have known it, but I can look back now and compare my life before and after conversion, and say that my life has been consistently characterized this way after I was saved by grace. This may be subjective, but there are thousands upon thousands of Christians who will also testify the same thing. This is how I know that the Scriptures are true... because I can testify to the transformed life they very precisely foretell that I should be living.

And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony (Revelation 12:11)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Acts of God, by Clark H Smith

I love to fellowship with men and women of the Body of Christ, and today I am privileged to share with you an article written by a beloved brother in Christ, Clark Smith, on the topic of prayer in the face of what we commonly call “acts of God”. Clark has the heart of a disciple-maker – spending the last two decades teaching the Bible and encouraging faith-filled application of the truths found there. In different seasons of life Clark has been a pastor, a writer, a businessman, a teacher, and as he says “a finder of lost things and a smeller of sourdough”. Clark and his wife are parenting four young adult men and, in their home, caring for Clark’s mum in her 90s. He’s a wonderful man of God, and you can find more of his material at http://www.followillustrated.com/


Understanding Acts of God

In the midst of any natural phenomenon – hurricanes, droughts, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc – prayers are freely offered up to God to change the course of the disaster or to minimize the damages to life and property – especially to the lives and property of people we know. Here’s a series of questions that logically flow from a situation like this:

    If this is an Act of God, why is He acting this way?
    Does God want us to pray that the disaster does not affect a specific person?
    Will God change the course or limit the damage done if we pray earnestly?

If God honors our prayers about the course and amount of destruction, why doesn’t He just not allow the destruction in the first place? After all, at every time and place, there are people who are praying that damage and destruction be limited – why not just eliminate it altogether?

Why are there “Acts of God”?

We live in a broken world. In Genesis 3, God said, "cursed is the ground because of you." This "ground" is not just the dirt, but the entire world in which we live. The natural disasters that afflict us would hardly seem to fit within a perfect Garden of Eden. Our planet suffers under the curse of Adam’s sin. There is another facet of the curse which affects us in even more personal ways. Do you believe there was cancer in the Garden? Was there infertility, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or autism in God’s original creation? I don’t think so. The physical catastrophes that plague our lives are also as a result of living in a broken world.

In Genesis 3 and 6, the Bible teaches that there are things present on this earth that do not honor God’s original design. The logical question then becomes, "Why does God allow these bad things to happen?” Is a hurricane, an earthquake, an infertile couple, or a forty year-old father dying of brain cancer a sign of God’s judgement? Are natural and medical disasters what happens when God takes a nap and forgets to watch over us? Let’s look at scripture.

He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthew 5:45)

This verse tells us that God has set rain and sunshine on earth without regard to goodness or badness! He is not mad at you when the rain ruins your birthday party at the lake and He is not doing you a favor by sending enough rain to keep your yard alive and hold your water bill down. God is not in the water bill business! This verse teaches that rain and sunshine are naturally occurring phenomena on this earth.
Note John 9:1-3 where we meet a man born blind. The disciples assumed the disability was the result of sin. Jesus elevated our understanding, "It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was in order that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (John 9:3) Another time he addressed a serious illness by saying: "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it." (John 11:4)

It is simple superstition to think that God gets mad enough at us to ruin our lives with physical catastrophes. Now, I would not tell the full Biblical truth if I did not acknowledge that the record shows that God has judged people during their lives - apparently for their sin. He has done this through natural disaster (the Flood of Noah / the plagues on Egypt / the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah) and through physical illness (Acts 12.21-23). Please note how rare these events are; clearly not the norm of how God deals with us. In most of these "divine" judgments, there seems to be a common factor of crossing the boundaries between God and man. That’s perhaps another study for later, but for now, it is sufficient to say that He has not made a habit out of destroying people (by whatever means) during their life on earth.

The fact that you and I and the rest of the world are alive today is proof that God is not judging the sinfulness of man during our lifetimes. Hebrews 4.16 gives us the best insight on what God is doing about our sins: “Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.” God is not sitting on His throne eagerly waiting to zap us. He is gracious toward us, eager to help us, in spite of our sin, to do the things that are beneficial for us and glorifying to Him. That is entirely consistent with the teaching of the entire Bible. God may have destroyed much of Egypt through the plagues, but He also begged Pharaoh ten times to release the Israelites. God is not hard-hearted, but patiently, pleadingly hopeful.

How should we then pray?

Now at last we turn to the issue of prayer. Can we pray away the calamities that befall us? Many people have claimed credit for praying and causing God to act in a certain way. Some have claimed God diverted the path of hurricanes because of their prayers. I have some Biblically-based doubts about such claims. First, why pray to change the course or minimize the damage from disasters – why not just pray that a disaster never happen? Why not just pray right now that no hurricane, tornado, earthquake, drought, flood will ever again mar the lives of humans? I doubt that prayer would work, because it goes against what God has told us life on earth is like (remember Matthew 5.45).

Should we pray that God minimize the disastrous effects of the storms of life, whether they are natural or physical, or emotional for that matter? Yes, I think God is glorified when we pray about our hopes and fears. The great hymn reminds us: "What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer." God knows we don’t want Granny’s house or our livelihoods destroyed or any human suffering. Our prayers honor God because they admit a dependence on God – and that is the sole purpose of the curse on Adam! Genesis 3.17 is best translated to read "cursed is the ground for your sake." God intended that generation after generation would learn to depend on Him to provide the blessings of life. “He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” (Acts 14:17)

However, many times our prayers become selfish. We are inclined to present God with a shopping list of preferences. We detail the prayers and praises of our lives and ask God to address them in such a way as to maximize our blessings and minimize our pains. This, too, is within the scriptural boundaries of prayers and promises (see Jeremiah 29.11). But I can tell you with absolute certainty God does not answer our prayers so that our lives may be made more tolerable! That is not the business God is in. As unpalatable as it may be to people defiant to the will of God – God is in the God glorifying business. And more personal than that, we should be in the God glorifying business!

Jesus was in that business and God liked it: "Father, glorify Thy name." There came therefore a voice out of heaven: "I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again." (John 12:28) Never once did Jesus pray to escape or avoid any personal tragedy. He never had a "comfortable" life, He faced personal rejection, the sickness and death of friends, betrayal, and even his own death with absolute steady focus on glorifying God.

Jesus wants us to pray in every circumstance for one purpose – THAT GOD BE GLORIFIED: "And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son." (John 14:13)

We live in a broken world. As a consequence, we suffer personal, private tragedies and great global catastrophes. God is not disappointed when we pray for hurricanes to turn left or right avoiding Granny’s house. God is not disappointed when we weep at the bedside of a sick or dying child and beg Him to restore health. God is not disappointed when we cry out "WHY?" in despair over the evil in the world. But I firmly believe that God is disappointed when we seek anything other than for Him to be glorified. When we can join David in this Psalm of Praise, we will find ourselves in the sole business of glorifying God:

All Your works shall give thanks to You, O LORD, And Your godly ones shall bless You.
They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom And talk of Your power;
To make known to the sons of men Your mighty acts And the glory of the majesty of Your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.
Psalm 145:10-13
(all verses NASB)

Clark H Smith

Follow Illustrated

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Are We Really Mutants?

Have you heard that Richard Dawkins was stumped by the question "Can you think of an example of a mutation or evolutionary process which is seen to increase information in the genome"? There are so many copies of this on YouTube now, and most of your search results will be responses from atheists trying to defend Dawkins. Many of these videos will tell you the answer is a simple one, and that the footage of Dawkins must have been taken out of context. However, I had a conversation with an atheist friend of mine recently about this very question, and so I thought I'd make a few brief comments.

As usual, I remind you that I'm not a geneticist or anything; I'm just like most of you... my view of the world is shaped by my education as well as documentaries on TV, clips on YouTube, blogs and such like. So this is the context I write in; most atheists claim to have all their ducks in a row, but their information comes from the very same sources as mine... through reading Richard Dawkins' books, or watching documentaries about the origin of various species, or by watching atheist YouTube channels. These same sources which so convince my friend that there is no God have seemed to me quite weak in their arguments. So on this matter in particular, my friend tried to answer this question of “new information” for me. He later revealed that this was the answer given in one of these “in Dawkins defense” videos on YouTube. His answer went something like this...

DNA is made up of four key molecules which we signify by the first letter of their names, A, G, C, T. DNA is read in triplets, called codons. Each codon, such as “AGC” would tell a cell to generate a certain amino acid. These instructions are strung together until a "stop codon" is reached. The amino acids are put together to form a protein. In this way the cell is like a mini factory, the DNA is like the instructions on what needs to be made and how to put them together, and the bits that do the work are like little robots called tRNA. So far, intelligent design is sounding pretty good, by the way - your cells are like little factories, where DNA is the “computer program” to control little robots! Now, as for evolutionary processes creating new information, my friend gave this example... if you have the letters A, G in your DNA, this means nothing; but if a mutation occurs in the DNA strand to add C, you now have a codon AGC which will produce the amino acid Serine. And there you have it... new information!

Normally I don't like to write about the kinds of things which are better left to a website like creation.com, but the reason I wanted to write about this is precisely to point out that you don't always need to consult something like creation.com when faced with information like this. And I'm speaking to atheists primarily... think critically about the information you read and hear. This is supposed to be quite an authoritative answer, but if we just think about it, the story has a fatal flaw. First, let's try to picture the whole DNA sequence. Every group of three bases is a code for an amino acid. There is no such thing, then, as "AG" all on its own, doing nothing. It has to be followed by something... there are no "blanks" in the DNA sequence. Our AG will be part of a very long string. It’ll exist in a sequence perhaps like this...


Now watch what happens if we insert a C after the AG...


It affects every codon after it so that each one now produces something completely different. We no longer have GAG but AGA. No more TUU but GTU, and so on. As for the "stop codon", wherever that was, it has now changed also so that the “program” no longer stops where it used to. One mutation changes everything in front of it.

Now as for the question of whether this creates new information, let's consider what information is. A page of random characters contains no information at all. A page of text, like this one, does contain information. If we encoded information in the same way that DNA does, then a mutation in this sentence here would eftupsz uif sfnbjojoh jogpsnbujpo. (That is, “destroy the remaining information.”) There I wrote a simple computer program to make a similar kind of “mutation” to the way computers encode information. All you get is corruption; a complete loss of information.

Now my friend wasn’t completely defeated by this; he explained to me that this is a known problem called “frameshift”. Now I don’t intend this post to become technical, so I’ll make my point simply... whether you think that such massive change caused by a single mutation could create something new and functional and beneficial despite the massive loss of information that goes with it, or whether you think that multiple mutations might be able to balance out the massive loss that goes with a single mutation, you’re actually starting to forsake the chief defense of Evolution! Namely that massive beneficial change, like all the parts of a jumbo jet falling into place in a dust storm to form a functional jumbo jet, is outside the realm of possibility; and that for this to happen you need gradual incremental changes over long periods of time. For a single mutation to shift all of your DNA into something functional would be tantamount to the jumbo jet example. And I think relying on two or more mutations in close proximity to each other having a beneficial effect is again failing to evaluate the improbability of such a thing.
I don’t know whether or not there are no examples of mutations adding information to the genome, but I am certain of this; that there are nowhere near enough! My friend wanted to say that Evolution isn’t just mutations, it’s also natural selection. But natural selection has no creative power at all! It only selects from what is already there. Adding natural selection to the equation doesn’t add a new way for new information to be added to the genome. Mutations are, as far as I know, the only possible way in theory. So if you consider that the Earth is supposedly 4 billion years old, ask yourself... is even that enough time for mutations to generate the vast amount of information present in the genomes of every species alive today? We should be seeing beneficial mutations all the time in nature!

So was Richard Dawkins actually stumped? As I said, many people made YouTube videos and wrote blog posts to defend him. This particular one which my friend saw clearly failed to do so. One would think that Dawkins himself could write his own defense, and that it would be the definitive answer as to whether he was “stumped” or not. Well, Dawkins did exactly that, and you can read his answer and judge for yourself.