‘equipping the church
on origins’

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Conference reports: Origins 2019 and Reclaim Wisdom

21 August, 2019
'Paul Garner at smoky mountains creation retreat in pigeon forge.'.

Paul Garner with fellow conference speakers.


Following his speaking tour in St Louis, Paul Garner headed to Cedarville, Ohio, for Origins – the annual meeting of the Creation Biology Society (CBS) and Creation Geology Society (CGS). This year, Origins ran back-to-back with another conference entitled Reclaim Wisdom Beginning with Creation, at which Paul was one of the invited speakers.

The meetings began with an ‘unofficial’ fossil hunt in the storm beds of the Ordovician McMillan Formation, exposed in a roadcut near Independence, Kentucky, followed by a visit to the nearby Ark Encounter in Williamstown, where the group spent the day looking round the exhibits.

Origins 2019 took place on Friday 19 July and was an opportunity for creationist scholars to present new research to their peers. The research talks spanned a range of theological and scientific themes.

Michael Radmacher gave a helpful analysis of Psalm 104, a passage often claimed by theistic evolutionists to demonstrate that animal carnivory and death were part of the original creation. However, Radmacher argued that many features of the text showed the psalmist was writing with a post-Fall context in view.

Jim Johansen’s talk built upon ideas first presented in Kurt Wise’s book, Devotional Biology, to show how both the spiritual and biological features of man work together to bring about God’s desire for healing and redemption. Jim illustrated these principles with a case study centred on alcohol abuse and recovery.

Matt McLain and his students presented three new baraminology studies of fossil organisms, including one looking at the classic cynodont to mammal evolutionary series. The others raised interesting questions about where the Flood/post-Flood boundary might be located in the rock record.

Aaron Hutchison gave a fascinating talk about the role two medieval concepts played in the development of chemistry: potentia Dei ordinata (the power of God expressed through natural law) and potentia Dei absoluta (the power of God to perform miracles). He showed how the transition from alchemy to chemistry culminated with Robert Boyle, who accepted both concepts but with each in its proper place. Boyle’s approach seems remarkably reminiscent of modern-day creationism.

John Whitmore’s talk reported that the Coconino Sandstone of Arizona correlates with other Upper Palaeozoic sandstones across the western USA, to form a massive sedimentary blanket in which entire formations (such as the Hermit Formation) are merely lenses. It’s clear that Flood geology should get us looking at the rock record at an altogether different scale!

Other presentations looked at the meaning of Genesis 1:1 (Doug Smith), anticipatory systems as a feature of biological design (Randy Guliuzza), biblical death as the cessation of divinely-defined function (Kurt Wise) and God’s use of process during Creation Week (Ken Coulson). In the evening there was a discussion about ‘public outreach’, including publishing, blogging and podcasting. Todd Wood of Core Academy of Science also announced the launch of the 2020 Sanders Scholarship Fund, in memory of Dr Roger Sanders. Applications are now invited.

Abstracts for all the talks have been published in the Journal of Creation Theology and Science : biology and geology

The Reclaim Wisdom conference, hosted by Steve Gollmer of Cedarville University, took place on Saturday 20 July. There were three plenary talks and three parallel sessions with a choice of two talks each session.

The first plenary by philosopher John Gilhooly analyzed the process by which someone decides which theory is correct, and demonstrated that theism (and by extension creation) is an appropriate control belief, with implications for one’s scientific conclusions, how ambiguous data is adjudicated, and so on.

Paul Garner and Todd Wood were presenters of the first parallel sessions. Paul gave an overview of the creation model of origins, discussing the progress that has been made in the disciplines of biology, geology and cosmology, and ending with an appeal to students and scholars to ‘join the adventure.’ Todd Wood spoke about new scientific discoveries in the field of human origins and how these new discoveries might be integrated with the history of humanity revealed in Scripture.

The second plenary was Kurt Wise’s talk about the problem of evil, in which he argued that Augustine’s free will theodicy could be expanded to provide an answer not only to moral evil, but also to natural evil and palaeoevil (i.e. the natural evil evidenced by the fossil record, which greatly dwarfs even present natural evil).

The second parallel session included a talk by James Bjornstad on God’s revelation in creation, asking how we see God and his role in the universe in light of creation and how this affects our witness in a post-Christian culture. Jeremy Blaschke gave a thought-provoking presentation about the beauty of animals in a post-Fall world. Blaschke defined beauty as that which reflects God’s character, and argued that as God’s image-bearers humans have a duty to increase the beauty of the natural world, with far-reaching implications for our approach to conservation issues.

The final plenary was a talk by Peter Gentry on humanity as the divine image in Genesis 1:26-28. Scholars have generally regarded the Hebrew terms ‘likeness’ and ‘image’ as synonyms. However, Gentry argued that the meanings are not identical and sought to draw out the distinctions and their implications.

The final set of parallel sessions included a talk by Heather Kuruvilla on gene editing, addressing the question of how far we should use this technology to reverse disease, food shortages, and perhaps even extinctions. Gary Phillips’ talk, delivered with much dry humour, addressed many pertinent hermeneutical issues relevant to the origins debate, and appealed for the clarity of the biblical text against ‘hermeneutical nihilism.’

Abstracts for the talks can be found on the conference website All the presentations were recorded and will be uploaded to the ‘Is Genesis History?’ YouTube channel when post-production is completed.


Creation ministry in St Louis, Missouri

21 August, 2019
'photo of Paul Garner speaking at ameeting in St. Louis, Missouri'.

Paul Garner speaking at a meeting in St. Louis, Missouri.


Paul Garner visiting the Mastodon State Historic Site.

Paul Garner visiting the Mastodon State Historic Site.


In July Paul Garner spoke at a series of meetings in the St Louis area of Missouri, hosted by the Missouri Association for Creation (MAC).

On Saturday 13 July Paul gave a talk explaining the creationist model of the ice age to about 60 people in St Peters. Afterwards, he and Zachary Klein of MAC led a field trip to Mastodon State Historic Site, where the group examined outcrops of the local rocks as well as the ice age fossils on display in the visitor centre. Some of the group also went to see nearby outcrops of the St Peter Sandstone, an extraordinary blanket of pure quartz sandstone that can be traced across at least 22 states. Such widespread marine deposits on the continents are a striking testimony to the historical reality of Noah’s Flood.

Later that evening Paul presented a theological and scientific case for young-age creationism at an informal gathering in the home of a local believer. Many of those attending were not young-age creationists or at least unfamiliar with it, but the meeting was cordial and the talk seemed to be well received. Several copies of Stephen Lloyd’s booklet, Adam or death : which came first? were given away.

On Sunday 14 July Paul spoke to an adult Bible class at Twin Oaks Presbyterian Church in Ballwin. His topic was the origin of coal and how the creation model successfully explains a range of data, from the curious anatomy of the coal plants to the evidence that they were transported in a marine environment before being rapidly buried. That evening Paul gave a talk about dinosaurs to about 60 people at Rock Baptist Church in Ballwin, and the evening closed with a buffet supper.

On Monday 15 July Paul had dinner with the MAC board and was the guest speaker at their regular monthly meeting, held on this occasion at Covenant Presbyterian Church in St Louis. His talk focused on some major features of the earth’s sedimentary rock record, showing how the young-age model explains these features better than the old-age model. Members of MAC were pleased to have the largest turnout – over 70 – for any of their monthly meetings so far.

During his trip Paul was able to share about the work of Biblical Creation Trust with a number of others, from local church leaders to professors at St Louis’ Covenant Theological Seminary. Paul’s public talks were recorded and will be posted to the MAC YouTube channel when post-production is completed.

Thanks are due to Zachary Klein and MAC for hosting Paul, Steve Hiler and the Klein family for welcoming Paul into their homes, and Phyllis Dawson and other local believers for helping to organize Paul’s itinerary.


Wimborne Supporters' Evening

1 August, 2019
'photo ofStephen Lloyd speaking at the Wimborne Supporters’ Evening.'.

Stephen Lloyd speaking at the Wimborne Supporters’ Evening.


Our second regional supporters’ evening took place on Saturday with 40 people gathering in Wimborne in Dorset.

Trustee Colin Reeves began with Scripture and prayer before an opportunity for all to chat over a buffet supper.

Paul Garner then outlined our history, sharing recent ministry highlights, before Stephen Lloyd focused on our distinctive aims and future plans. Bill Worraker gave a summary of his research into the Flood-heat problem and Matthew Pickhaver spoke about publicity and engagement.

An enthusiastic question time followed covering topics such as environmentalism, education, utilizing UK geology and working with other groups. Finally, local contact Jeremy Hett, who did a great deal to help organize the evening, closed in prayer.

Thank you to all who came and look out for news of other supporter evenings to come … perhaps near you!


Wren’s Nest Field Trip

1 August, 2019
'photo of Paul Garner speaking at the Wren's Nest Field Trip.'.

Paul Garner speaking at the Wren's Nest Field Trip.


‘It was fantastic to be taken around Wren’s Nest by someone so scientifically knowledgeable and with a Christian faith and belief in creation. We look forward to joining another trip soon...’

So said one of the more than 30 people from across the Midlands who joined Paul Garner at this internationally renowned site in Dudley recently. As well as learning about rock layers, folds and faults, there were also opportunities to collect fossils to take home.


Dinosaurs in Chinnor

1 August, 2019
photo of Paul Garner speaking at Chinnor Community Church in Oxfordshire

Paul Garner speaking at Chinnor Community Church in Oxfordshire


Last month Paul Garner spoke at Chinnor Community Church in Oxfordshire. His first presentation was about dinosaurs and their place in biblical earth history. His second talk was about why the origins question matters, showing the incompatibility of the biblical and evolutionary storylines. Each talk was followed by wide-ranging and stimulating Q&A. Pastor of the church, Pete Walley, contacted us afterwards to say: ‘Your presentations were excellent and greatly appreciated. Thank you for taking time to visit us and minister to us.’



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