There is a window by the dining room table, and outside is the falling snow. It falls on a sprawling backyard, covered in leaves its owner never got around to raking this year, and it falls on the one pile the owner’s son raked for him. The grass under that one pile is now long dead, an unintentional by-product of big-hearted kindness.

Next to the pile is a puddle. It rained the day before the snow, rained long and hard. The puddle fills a depression to the left of a large oak tree, the largest in the sprawling yard, which seems to lean away from the puddle on account of the swaying tire swing that hangs on the opposite side. The tire is also full of water.

The snow drifts, then swirls, sometimes thick and heavy, then light, dust-like in its descent. It falls now on a buck, wearied from its work evading hunters earlier in the year, wearied from its work chasing does earlier in the month, wearied from its work fighting for what it wants—to live, and to live the next day too.  It seems unconcerned for the fences, the dogs, the loud slamming doors of homes and cars that fill the worn neighborhood on this slow winter morning. Spent, the buck wanders around the winterized garden uncovering, then happily lifting it’s head to chew its own trophies-- hordes of fallen acorns the owner neglected to rake up along with the leaves.

A sudden flurry brings with it a covey of mountain quail, flying low and fast until deciding the yard outside the window looks like the perfect spot for touchdown. Maybe they saw the buck and decided it was safe. Maybe they saw the trampoline and thought it looked fun. Whatever the reason, they land, and the ground is soon a swarm of bobbing black heads, weaving in and out of broken iris stems.

The sun peeks out from behind some distant cloud, illuminating the flurries until the yard outside seems cloaked in a swarm of fireflies. Their lights extinguish suddenly with a gust that brings more gloom, but only for a moment— and then their fires are again reborn. Just then a large gray squirrel erupts from high in a neighboring tree, indignant at the buck in the owner’s yard. Leaping, scrambling, it claws its way down the trunk of a small cedar and pounces onto the frozen ground, scattering the quail. They fly for two wing-beats then land, tiny feet working furiously to slow them back down to the humor of their jerking gait. The squirrel gets as close as it dares and lets the buck know what for. The buck pays the squirrel no mind, and keeps on feeding. Dejected, the small bundle of forlorn fury surrenders his hidden treasure for the moment and retreats to a large rock near the fence to watch. He sits there torturing himself for the next half-hour before finally leaving in disgust. 

The owner laughs as he takes it all in, a witness to a simple beauty, seen through a window by the dining room table, and outside is the falling snow. 


When I was a kid growing up in Africa, the only thing worse than a dirt road full of potholes was a paved road full of potholes. The reason was simple: poor driving conditions on the first kind of road were easily and quickly remedied by a quick treatment with a run-of-the-mill road grader. To improve conditions on the second kind of road?—well, that was no minor surgery.  In many of Africa’s older paved roads, the ruts are well-established and deeply engrained. Not only that, but they are— for all intents and purposes— ‘fossilized’ ruts, surrounded by the armor of asphalt that’s hardened over time until it becomes virtually impervious to change.

Most people alive in America today were raised with the theory of Darwinian Evolution from a young age, in various degrees of detail, year after year after year, until theory—a supposition (uncertain belief) or a system of ideas intended to explain something— was laid down enough times and with enough frequency and insistency and authority that it hardened into “fact,” or “law.” But what happens when cracks form in the hardness of pavement, followed by pressure and temperature and time, and there’s a choice made to ignore the problem? A pothole forms. No educated person any longer questions the validity of the so-called theory of evolution, which we now know to be a simple fact,” says evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr. And that, my friends, is a pothole in the pavement.

This post is an initial, rudimentary look at a few of the cracks I see growing into serious road hazards in the aging infrastructure that is Darwinian Evolution. Some may find this introduction humorous for the simple reason that the ‘pothole’ analogy is exactly the same way many people feel about Christians and the Bible. While I’m very aware of the parallels, I’m not so sure the average evolutionist is. Which is why, off and on over the course of the next few months, I want to take a fresh look at several of the ‘benchmark’ issues I feel have been used to either blindly support or legitimately challenge the theory of Darwinian Evolution. These will likely include such topics as ‘Micro’ vs. ‘Macro’ evolution, The Miller Experiment, the significance of the Archaeopteryx discovery, implications behind the Laws of Thermodynamics and more. When it comes to the theory of Darwinian Evolution, in the words of double PhD and author Jonathan Wells, “The question I’m raising is whether all of this is really science—or is it actually a kind of mythology?” (Strobel  36, The Case For A Creator). I hope you’ll stick around long enough to take an honest look and decide for yourself.

Before I leap willingly (foolishly?) into the jaws of controversy— in order to do this fairly—I need to make something clear up front: I do not accuse science of, nor have I ever condemned science of being, “satanic,” or “the devil,” or as the opponent of God’s Truth. It has never been my intention to set up any sort of false dichotomy that forces the Christian to choose between science or the Bible. I agree to a great degree with a frequent visitor to this blog that “If God is the author of both the Bible and creation we shouldn't need to choose one or the other (Bible or science); we should be able to reconcile both.” In general, this is true. Under normal circumstances, when nothing but predictable scientific laws— which deal with the natural world and which God created to establish an orderly and functional universe—when predictable scientific laws are at work, the Bible should and will perfectly mesh with the naturalistic discoveries of our time. Science should be the greatest ally of Scripture in all areas where natural laws are at play. A good follow-up question, however, might be this— Are natural laws the only ones at play when we read the Bible? Asked another way, how does one reconcile the Bible and science in the case of events and accounts touched by external, supra-natural forces? How does one reconcile the Bible and science in the case of the miraculous?

In a blog post some time back, pastor Bill wrote this in regards to the miraculous—“Wrap your mind around this wonderful definition of “miracle” from Easton’s Bible Dictionary (Thos Nelson, 1897).
“An event in the external world brought about by the immediate agency or the simple volition of God, operating without the use of means capable of being discerned by the senses, and designed to authenticate the divine commission of a religious teacher and the truth of his message (John 2:18 Mt 12:38).
“It is an occurrence at once above nature and above man. It shows the intervention of a power that is not limited by the laws either of matter or of mind, a power interrupting the fixed laws which govern their movements, a supernatural power…
“‘The simple and grand truth [is] that the universe is not under the exclusive control of physical forces, but that everywhere and always there is above, separate from and superior to all else, an infinite personal will, not superseding, but directing and controlling all physical causes, acting with or without them.’
“God ordinarily effects his purpose through the agency of second causes; but he has the power also of effecting his purpose immediately and without the intervention of second causes, i.e., of invading the fixed order, and thus of working miracles.””

I think the caution of Brian Edwards is a valid one—“The evangelical who relies upon the argument [for example,] that Genesis 1 and 2 (or 3 and 4) are poetic and not historical has abandoned sound principles of interpretation in order to avoid what appears to be a scientific problem; why then does he not abandon Jonah as well—or, more particularly, the virgin birth and resurrection of Christ?”
How does one reconcile science and the Bible when God suspends the laws of science in order to accomplish His sovereign ends? Which one wins out then? Clearly, there are vital and important areas where science and the Bible are at odds, even when God is the Author of both. You can understand my hesitation to agree with those who wish to make science the absolute arbiter of Truth when it comes to reading and interpreting the Bible—it is clear that science is not the plumb-line for gauging that which is most “real.”

Now let me be clear; I do not see it as contradictory to use the products of science, or trust their ability to make certain tasks in life easier or more enjoyable. I have no problems living my life in harmony with the observable and applicable laws of science, which can only “work” because God a. created them (Col. 1:15, 16) and b. sustains them (Col. 1:17). But while I live my life in an autopilot sense of reliance on the natural (scientific) laws of God’s world, I also live in a more fundamental dependence upon the supernatural. So that, should God choose to suspend or supercede the natural laws of the universe in the literature of the Bible, or should He ask me to suspend my trust in those laws today, so that I might, for instance, ask Him for a miracle of healing in the life of a child with leukemia, I must revert to that greater Reality.

I have frequently been asked, wouldn’t a contradiction between science and the Bible necessitate in some way that God is being expressly deceptive?
To which I would reply—
Is it deceptive of God to set up natural laws such as gravity, so that water flows downhill, only to supercede those laws and part a sea when His people needed to escape the clutches of Pharoah’s army (Ex. 14:21,22)?
Is it deceptive of God to set up natural laws such as the laws of friction and the 2nd law of thermodynamics, and then allow the sandals and clothes of His people to remain in perfect condition for 40 years as they wandered through the wilderness (Duet. 29:5)?
Is it deceptive of God to set up natural laws of procreation and then defy every known law of science as well as the understanding of heaven to enter our world Himself, through the womb of a virgin, fully man without ceasing to be fully God (Luke 1:30-35)?
Is it deceptive of God to say “all men are destined to die once” and then raise Lazarus from the dead? To raise Christ from the dead (Jn. 11:38-44)?
No. Not deceptive. Above our pay grade, perhaps, but not deceptive.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8,9). My sense, whenever God is accused of deception, is that there exists in the accuser an underlying and emotional trust issue rather than an objectively legitimate intellectual objection. Granted, this is a generality—but I have seen it proven to be true many times.

As I have said before, much unnecessary confusion could be avoided if people understood that many of the literary forms of Scripture, such as historical narratives, are written in what is called ‘The language of appearances,’ or, ‘Phenomenological Language.” R.C. Sproul defines this as “language that describes things the way they appear to the naked eye” (Sproul, Literary Forms, Part 1). What if, just as the Bible writers described things as they accurately appeared, science is simply doing the same, striving to describe and explain the world as it accurately appears? Is it ‘false,’ is it ‘deceptive’ that the world appears to function in a way an ordinary person can observe, when in reality, something far more complex is going on behind the scenes? No. Just as ordinary people in Bible times could walk outside and observe the sun ‘coming up’ and ‘passing overhead’ and ‘going down,’ so can and do we ordinary people today, in scientific times. It is not ‘deceptive,’ it is not contrary to fact that the sun appears to ‘rise’ and ‘set’ when viewed with the naked eye. So what if, just as the language of appearances cannot hope to capture the incredible complexity that lies behind the curtain of scientific laws even while describing appearances accurately, what if, in the same way, the language of science cannot hope to capture the incredible complexity that lies behind the curtain of supernatural laws that went into a supernatural process of creation and that continues to operate in a way that sustains the natural creation? Does that make “what’s really going on behind the scenes” deception? No more than it does in the case of phenomenological language.

All science is capable of doing then, is only ever discovering ‘half’ of the story because at best, its tools are natural and created, and thus unable to detect or understand either the supernatural creator or His supernatural means. Does that make science a waste of time? By no means! I believe God has given us these tools as a gift, to better our lives and to “be our brother’s keeper.” The finiteness of science does not mean it is a waste of time, only that science must admit to and honestly face its own limitations. This is where C.S. Lewis’ beautiful quote rings out so poignantly—“In Science we have been reading only the notes to a poem; in Christianity we find the poem itself.”

Surrounded By Grace,


A good friend of mine recently posted this comment on facebook, and it got me thinking. "Christmastime offers opportunities for stress and opportunities for hope," he wrote—"Which are you choosing this season?" 

It’s a fair question, you know. Stress is a Christmas staple, right up there with eggnog and elves. I would have added fruitcake to that list, but it didn’t start with an “e” and, apparently, there’s a general and growing discontent surrounding that belovedly traditional brick of stick-to-your-ribs. So be it; more for me. But all rib-sticking aside, it really is easy to get caught up in the stress machine that is an American Christmas, easy to get drug out to the deep end of the tree lot by an undertow of deadly nostalgia that pressures you to accept responsibility for recreating the magic of Christmas past while simultaneously orchestrating the memories for Christmas future, all at the expense of Christmas present. And that’s just stupid. When it comes to choosing between opportunities to create “the perfect Christmas” and opportunities to share the hope of the incarnate Christ in a loving way to those around us, the choice should be a no-brainer. 

But what about that first Christmas? Was it immune from the barbs of stress and filled strictly with the sweet strains of hope? Was it free from complications and full only of “The little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes?” No. Now granted, absent were the petty stresses of recreating nostalgia or the headaches involved in thinking up cute new traditions. But, in general, the more I think about it, the more I believe stress has always been and always will be a companion of Christmas.

Think of the virgin.
A man that she loved, a wedding on the horizon, her whole life ahead of her. She had plans, you know, she had dreams. And then she had an angel, standing in front of her, telling her that everything about her everything was about to change. I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty stressful to me.

Think of the fiancé.
One day he’s the luckiest man alive. The next day he’s the subject of pity and speculation. He had honor, you know. Now he was being asked to risk it on a miracle. He had rights, you know. Now he was being instructed to forfeit them for the greater good of God’s master plan. I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty stressful to me.

Think of the Wise Men.
Families, livelihoods, schedules to keep. Then, suddenly, a brightness in the heavens that claims their attention over jobs, wives, even children. They must drop everything to follow this inconvenient star, leave home behind and follow a belief that costs them comfort, not to mention gold, frankincense and myrrh. I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty stressful to me.

Think of the Shepherds.
Minding their sheep and their own business on a cold night, a silent night. But suddenly— a holy night! A noisy night! Gleaming beings with a message that must have been nothing less than overwhelming to these simple men. Maybe their sheep scattered at the explosion of singing. Maybe they lost some much-needed sleep. For sure, we know they were afraid, at least initially. I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty stressful to me.

Think of that stable.
No privacy. No drugs. No sterile, multi-positionable cushioned bed. No caring family, keeping anxious vigil in the waiting room under the influence of free yet horrid coffee. Just a bunch of sleepy cows or donkeys or, God help us, goats— filling the air with what I can only assume to be an irritable ‘lowing,’ accompanied by the distinct aroma cattle barns are known so famously to possess. And then, on top of it all, visitors—visitors!— unannounced and uninvited by the new and bewildered parents, who by this time were doubtless exhausted and at their worst. I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty stressful to me.

Christmastime offers opportunities for stress and opportunities for hope,” my friend wrote— “Which are you choosing this season?”
You know, I'm beginning to believe the two have always been connected. That maybe, just maybe, God allows stress as a test of our trust. Maybe these “stress-tests” are actually “trust-tests.” God says something, maybe through a promise in Scripture written a millennia before, and then he brings along stress, to see how firmly we’re holding onto Him. Maybe that stress looks like an angel, informing you your dreams are about to change. Maybe that stress is a whole boatload of angels, enough to make you ‘sore afraid.’ Or maybe the stress comes to you in the form of a governmental decree that inconveniences you at a time of incredible financial and emotional vulnerability. Maybe then, the question is not so much ‘will you choose stress or hope?’ but ‘what will you choose to do with stress?’  I doubt you can avoid it this Christmas, but you do have options, you know. You can complain about it. Get angry about it. You can fight it. Or you can give it back to God and trust Him, trust that God can use stress to lead you to Him, in much the same way that a star can sometimes lead to a King.

Christmas has always been stressful, and always will be. But perhaps, in the end, the test of stress comes down to how we choose to interpret the character of God in light of it. Herod looked at the stress-filled arrival of baby Jesus and saw a threat. The virgin, the fiancĂ©, the shepherds and the wise men looked and saw 'peace, on earth... good will toward men.' I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty hopeful to me.

Surrounded By Grace,


Here's a quick look at some of the pictures and footage from last Sunday's Christmas play and party at The Outpost!

An Outpost Christmas from Josh Thompson on Vimeo.


In my last blog post I issued a challenge of sorts regarding the importance to “Man Up” and choose your position when it comes to the forces at work behind human existence. Our choices, as I see it, come down to ‘purposeless accident’ or ‘Divine design.’ It’s one, or it’s the other; we do not have the luxury of remaining neutral. A great question that came out of the ensuing discussion asked, basically— Why is it necessary to equate “purposeless accident” with evolution? Couldn’t evolution be the tool God divinely designed as the means to bring about humanity?

It’s one thing to debate the validity of evolution with the individual who refuses to consider supernatural means in the origin of MAN; it’s quite another thing when the individual proposes that evolution is the means employed by The Supernatural One to bring about the end result that is MAN. But for that person, the Christian evolutionist, there are some interesting difficulties to wrestle with as a result. This post is intended to deal with just a few of these difficulties. In my next post, already in the works, I’ll attempt to deal with a few of the pivotal potholes I see in the pavement of the evolutionary highway itself.

1) False Starts
Interestingly, both camps that support Darwinian evolution as the means of explaining the appearance of mankind (advocates of ‘purposeless chance’ as well as advocates of ‘Divine design’) share a similar problem: the matter of ‘first life.’ “Why can't we say that God "created" life because He created an earth in which various chemicals could interact to eventually become rudimentary DNA?” asked a recent ‘Divine design’ visitor to my blog. As this question seems to imply no need for supernatural “meddling” once all the non-living chemical components for life are created and accounted for, the answer is the same for both camps: Because there is no scientific evidence to indicate that life can spontaneously generate from various, non-living chemicals, any more than there is evidence that my amazing Apple computer can spontaneously generate from a pile of metal bits, loose wire and motherboards. What needs to be understood is that, using the analogy of the computer, there isn’t even evidence to show how the components themselves, the “pile of bits and wire” came into existence, much less the computer itself. It would be helpful if we could simulate an environment, complete with all the necessary, non-living chemical components and then duplicate this “first life” in a laboratory experiment; unfortunately, no one has been able to do so. “Science, you might say,” notes science journalist John Horgan, “has discovered that our existence is infinitely improbable, and hence a miracle” (Science and Christianity: Four Views, 139).

2) Natural vs. Supernatural
‘Fine,’ the Christian evolutionist might say, ‘Let’s say God was necessary to make the first living organism (whatever that was), but— the rest of the process could be done without Him.’ This seemed to be the tone in another recent comment on my blog by a supporter of Divinely-backed evolution, who kept referring to 'random' and 'natural' processes—“Note that both micro and macro evolution use the exact same mechanisms, random mutations being selected for or against by natural selection, the only difference is the degree of change over different lengths of time”(I’ll address ‘micro’ & ‘macro’ evolution in my next blog post). My question is— Isn’t that language contradictory to “Divine design?” Doesn’t ‘random mutation’ by definition mean there was no ‘design’ behind it? That it could just as well have evolved in a different way, along a different evolutionary trajectory that did not lead to the spirit-filled creature that is Man? And what about the “selection” process for the progress of life? When it comes to which mutation is more advantageous and, by extension, which life form is thus “selected” to survive, is it  ‘nature’ that is selecting and guiding those mutations, or is it God? ‘Natural selection’ or ‘supernatural selection?’ Random processes imply random results, which is confusing if a person is claiming that God is behind and directing the evolutionary process as a way to arrive at a very specific end result that is Man. If the Christian evolutionist is saying God set up the scientific framework of laws that would make evolution possible, and that that qualifies everything which has emerged since as His ‘design,’ then unless you’re also saying that this creation scenario under the guidance of scientific laws would have produced exactly the same results (humankind) were it repeated hundreds of times with the same beginning variables, what you’re describing is still chance, and not God that brought about the being that is Man.  Again, it seems as though a choice needs to be made on this point; I struggle to see how this language is reconcilable. Stephen C. Meyer, director of the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute in Seattle, put it this way: “To say that God guides an inherently unguided natural process, or that God designed a natural mechanism as a substitute for his design, is clearly contradictory” (Strobel, The Case For Creation p.23). Darwin himself once argued that if we admit God into the process, then God would ensure that only “the right variations occurred… and natural selection would be superfluous” (Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution, 329-30).

But let’s hold off, for the sake of argument, and take either ‘natural’ or ‘supernatural’ selection as the means for evolutionary change and increased complexity. Because either way— whether the selection of ‘which life-form would survive’ was truly “natural” or if the selection was “supernatural” and guided subtly by the hand of God— this leads the God-believing evolutionist into another, more complicated difficulty.

3) The Problem of Death (“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men…” Romans 5:12)
According to the Bible, prior to the sin of Adam and Eve, the created world was devoid of sin. There was no wrongdoing, no suffering, no want, no sickness and— no death. Death, according to the Bible, is a bi-product of sin. And not just “spiritual death”— that is not the sole implication of Scripture— but physical death as well. So what’s the problem? Namely this— Darwinian evolution, the theory of change from simple to complex, is a theory dependant on death. Natural selection, evolution’s chief tool, is a process dependant on the death of the weak and the survival of the fittest through competition in order to pass on the favorable traits necessary to live on and evolve in a hostile world, all for the designed purpose (according to the Christian evolutionist), of bringing about God’s finished product that is Man. The problem is… the first book of the Bible depicts a non-hostile environment, free from fear or competition or… death— until, until, fully formed man makes a choice to disobey his Creator. How does a theory of Divine design by means of natural selection (or Divine direction for that matter) address this important inconsistency? There is only one way, as far as I can see, and it’s the same way the atheist would address the problem—by challenging the credibility of the Bible.

A last (but by no means final) difficulty in this brief study that perhaps would have fit better under “False Starts,” comes into focus when the God-fearing evolutionist reads the Biblical order of creation.
4) The Order of Creation (DAY 5: “So God created… every winged bird according to its kind.” DAY 6: “And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind.” Gen. 1:20-25)
What we have here is the Bible’s description of the order of creation events. Assuming with the Christian evolutionist that what’s being described is the order in which animals evolved on the earth, you immediately run into what I understand as a basic evolutionary problem of sequence. This is because the evolutionary theory would likely reverse this order of events, having ‘winged birds’ follow or evolve from some creeping reptile. I think this is a fair inconsistency. Again, how would the ‘Divine design by evolution’ respond to this? I would assume by another assertion that the Bible is not a science book, or some similar argument. But it’s important to admit that the more details you “bend” in the Bible to make it match up with unproven theories, the less ground you leave yourself to stand on when it comes to what you can really trust in that Book. In the end, you are unavoidably making a decision about which you trust more.

Surrounded By Grace,
*Grace induces faith & Grace is obligated to faith ~