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Creation debate

September 2013

Professor Andy McIntosh took part in a debate in July, on Premier Christian Radio, with Dr Robert Asher, lecturer and curator of the Museum of Zoology at Cambridge University.

     There were two interviews and discussions and for both it was important to have read Dr Asher’s recent book Evolution and belief. Dr Asher is from NY State. He is religious (having attended a Presbyterian church in his childhood) but not evangelical, and though courteous, the debate was not an easy ride. Justin Brierley of Premier Christian Radio said the exchanges were ‘feisty’.

     The two sessions were entitled ‘Does the rock and fossil record speak of Noah’s flood or evolution?’ and ‘Adam and Eve, death and suffering: is evolution or young earth creation the best explanation?’

     Dr Asher was adamant that the rocks spoke of evolution, but Prof. McIntosh responded by saying that carbon-14 should not be in rocks meant to be millions of years old. Based on its short half-life, all the C14 should have gone from the layers, if they were that old. Yet C14 is found repeatedly in coal, fossilised wood and dinosaur bones.

     Dr Asher spent a lot of time putting over a recapitulation idea, that various evolutionary transitions are mirrored in the embryo as it develops.

     During the second debate Dr Asher would not accept biblical authority, so it became an opportunity for Andy McIntosh to gently help him consider the coherence of the Genesis account taken historically, and the greatness of Christ’s redemptive sacrifice.

     The New Testament provides the way to approach the theology of Genesis. The death which was the result of Adam’s sin in Eden has been reversed by Christ’s death and resurrection (