Jim Bendewald Interview
A brand-new DVD documentary demolishes the deceptive claims of Biologos
Published: 16 August 2018 (GMT+10)
Jim Bendewald is the founder and director of Evidence Press. His ministry focuses on film production on the topic of creation versus evolution for evangelistic purposes. He also enjoys using creation as a bridge to the Gospel while talking to students at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Read more . . .
Jim was raised in a liberal Christian environment. He was presented with the Gospel at a Josh McDowell event in 1976 and came to Christ later that year. After reading McDowell’s classic book, Evidence that Demands a Verdict, he was powerfully impacted by the evidence presented, both theologically and historically. The changes in Jim’s life were dramatic and he became involved in apologetics. At that time, he underwent discipleship training through Campus Crusade for Christ and later with the Navigators ministry. He also received an M.Div. from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary to get better equipped, and discovered that the issue of creation, evolution, and the age of the Earth often arose during interactions in door-to-door evangelistic encounters. This led him to write articles and develop resources focusing on creation.
His latest documentary project is called DNA Battles: Were Adam and Eve Historical? and features specialist scientists from the Institute for Creation Research, Answers in Genesis and also Drs Robert Carter and Jonathan Sarfati from Creation Ministries International.
Why make a creation documentary about genetics?
Jim says, “My pastor told me about a creation versus evolution book that is getting a lot of attention among pastors and seminarians. It’s a book that was funded and promoted by Biologos, so I knew it was going to be interpreted in an evolutionist, old-Earth viewpoint and that concerned me. The book is Adam and the Genome: Reading Scripture after Genetic Science by Dennis R. Venema and Scott McKnight.”1 Biologos is a group founded by Francis Collins, who is currently the Head of the National Institutes of Health in the US. He was appointed to this position by President Obama in 2009. In his book, The Language of God (which CMI has reviewed) he wrote “reported scientific indications that anatomically modern humans emerged from primate ancestors perhaps 100,000 years ago—long before the Genesis time frame—and originated with a population that numbered something like 10,000, not two individuals.”
Jim felt that Adam and the Genome was spinning the scientific evidence to fit the Biologos old-Earth narrative. That is, as CMI has noted, despite the claim to be a Christian organization, Biologos’ authority is not the Bible. When there is conflict between what the Bible says and secular evolutionism, the Bible is interpreted to fit their old-Earth views. (See It’s not Christianity! Biologos says: Christian parents and students should believe evolution.) Jim notes, “For example, although Venema never used the term ‘junk DNA’, rather he used the junk DNA concept as a basis to support his arguments, as if junk DNA was still true today.” Rob Carter discusses this as one of the reasons for Biologos’ existence. Yet as Robert wrote in his article, The slow, painful death of junk DNA, it is not supported by any genetic evidence today. In fact, junk DNA has gone down as one of the biggest mistakes in the history of evolutionary biology. Jim was aghast as to why a supposedly Christian organization would even mention this when they clearly know the history of this argument. He said, “It made me angry that they would overtly twist the data to support their view. The book is cunningly deceptive.” DNA Battles powerfully ties these issues together for the viewer to show the pervasive nature of the book’s deception.
He adds “Another example is Venema’s claim as to the genetic similarity between humans and chimps. Venema writes that we have about 25,000 genes and 99% of them are identical to chimps. But Venema fails to mention the deceptive way evolutionists came up with the close proximity numbers. For example, they took sections from all 24 pairs of chimp chromosomes to line up matches with the human chromosome number 1. And then they did this cut and paste method again for each of the other human chromosomes. But they also did not factor in areas that did not match at all. Yet Venema does not clarify this, so he leaves one to think that if you just line up the chimp chromosome 1 to human chromosome 1 it will be a 97 to 99% match. It is amazing that historically evolutionists had the audacity to say there is just a 1% difference between humans and chimps because of the cherry-picking method that was utilized! Note Venema’s attitude about this. On page 32 of Adam and the Genome Venema wrote, ‘No matter how you slice it, the human and chimpanzee genome are nearly identical to one another.’ This is unbelievable as it is not supported at all by the scientific evidence.” And when it comes to the part of the Y-chromosome that’s unique to males (the “male specific Y”, or MSY), there is a huge 30% difference!
However, the evidence against the 1% difference between humans and chimps has been well documented (see The myth of 1%: Human and chimp DNA are very different). For example, Jim Cohen refuted that myth in the prestigious journal Science 10 years before Adam and the Genome was published.2 He cited a then-recent paper3 that reported “that human and chimpanzee gene copy numbers differ by a whopping 6.4%.” Cohen points out further that there is a huge difference in the expression of the genes, depending on their position in the gene network, especially in the brain. He reports the findings of another cutting-edge paper of the day,4 “In the cortex (brain), for example, 17.4% of the connections were specific to humans.” This is most relevant for the most dramatic differences between humans and chimps: intelligence and language.
Genetics and the Bible—a perfect match!
Modern genetic evidence is actually one of the strongest areas for biblical creationists in supporting a real historical Adam and Eve and a recent creation. In fact, we’ve previously written about it. See Biologos’ claims that Adam and Eve were mythical.
In DNA Battles, creationist, cell-biologist Nathaniel Jeanson reveals that Biologos scientists ignore biblical-creationist arguments and evidence. Jeanson said concerning Biologos scientists, “They are not really interested in dialog; they just want evangelical acceptance. They are not interested in discussing the science; they want to discuss, ‘Do you think I am a Christian or not?’ and they want the answer to be yes.” (CMI’s Dr Sarfati can confirm that when he presented a creation address in Venema’s home turf, Trinity Western University in British Columbia, over the hostile reception of its evolution-compromised staff, Venema didn’t ask about the science but rather something on those lines.) In addition, Biologos wants people to defer to the ‘second book’, that is, nature. This is the same flawed approach of Hugh Ross from Reasons to Believe, who calls nature the 67th book of the Bible. But without a correct historical view of Genesis, one will not recognize that nature itself is fallen (Genesis 3). It is incorrect to interpret Scripture through a lens of a current broken and sin-cursed world. This is not the way that Jesus and the New Testament authors interpreted Genesis. In fact, there are over 100 verses in the NT that demonstrate the authors believed in a literal Genesis and a historical Adam and Eve.
Biologos has a flagrant disregard for the authority of Scripture. They claim the NT authors were wrong and that Jesus laid aside His divinity so could teach error (something known as the Kenotic Heresy). Biologos author Kenton Sparks wrote:
“If Jesus as a finite human being erred from time to time, there is no reason at all to suppose that Moses, Paul, John wrote Scripture without error. Rather, we are wise to assume that the biblical authors expressed themselves as human beings writing from the perspectives of their own finite, broken horizons.”5
The Bible clearly states many times that Jesus was fully God, and also states that He was preaching from God the Father (John 5:30, 8:28)—who explicitly commanded people to listen to Jesus (Matthew 17:5, Luke 9:35). So Biologos is implicitly charging God the Father with error as well.
Despite their false teachings, Biologos has become a formidable and well-funded group in evangelical circles and Jim, like us, is concerned about their influence. Shockingly, they are endorsed by such notable top evangelical authors and apologists such as Tim Keller, Philip Yancey, Os Guiness, and NT Wright.
To counter the false scientific assertions, DNA Battles talks about nuclear DNA evidence for creation. But more forcefully, the documentary focuses on evidence from mitochondrial DNA revealing a 6,000-year human existence and overturning another evolutionary icon. The film powerfully shows why errant views on the historicity of Adam and Eve destroy the Gospel. The implications are vast.
The Bible has strong language about false teachers
In Mark 10:6 Jesus said, “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.” Clearly Jesus believed Adam and Eve were real people who came about at the beginning of creation and not after evolutionary processes of billions of years. DNA Battles exposes Biologos’ false teaching regarding modern humans going back 100,000 years. The movie thoroughly lays out why this is wrong, scientifically and theologically.
The apostle Paul warned against following popular teachings of error
2 Timothy 4:3–4 says, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”
He strongly warned against false prophets and teachers bringing heresies. He also warned that some will even deny the Master.
2 Peter 2:1 states, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.”
This is why CMI endorses and is promoting DNA Battles: Were Adam and Eve Historical? We believe in it so much that we are selling it well below the normal suggested retail price as a clarion call to the dangers of Biologos’ dubious science and theology. Click here to see the special price in your country.
You must be logged in to post a comment.