John Clayton's ministry: "Does God Exist"
Special note: The interactive Bible website disagrees with all the statements made below and does not endorse the "Does God Exist" ministry. These are merely to openly document exactly what John Clayton believes, since there are many who mistakenly think he is a young earth creationist rather than a theistic evolutionist. For more detailed documentation we recommend you buy the book In the Shadow of Darwin.
- Hill and Carol Roberts "Lord I believe" seminars are strong advocates of John Clayton.
Documentation from original sources:
John's -Modified Gap Theory and theistic evolution:
In The Source, brother Clayton introduces what he calls his "forest of evolution" interpretation of all living things. He avows that this is the idea "that life may have started in a number of different places upon the Earth." And, he says, it "does work." John explains:
"The amazing thing about this newest concept of evolution, which does a much better job of fitting the fossil evidence and conforms nicely to all the other evidence used to support organic evolution, is that it agrees beautifully with the description given in the Bible. The only place in the Bible where the word kind is given anything approaching a definition is I Corinthians 15:39 when the writer identifies four kinds of flesh. He enumerates these as the flesh of fishes, birds, beasts (mammals) and men. A comparison of this description to Genesis 1 shows exactly the same terminology" (1990a, pp 163-164).
Let us note that John believes that in addition to the groups mentioned above, all other life forms (i.e., warm-blooded) "evolved" from the four basic kinds mentioned in I Corinthians 15:39. Whereas the hardcore theistic evolutionist contends that all organic life has evolved from a single source (or a very few sources), and that by direction of God, John Clayton teaches virtually the same thing. All cold-blooded life was created before the creation week (or evolved since then), and all warm-blooded creatures (except man) have evolved from four basic originally-created kinds. That is theistic evolution.
Since, as we have established, brother Clayton believes that the Earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old (1990a, p 130)-the standard evolutionary estimate-he must, in some fashion, accommodate the Genesis creation account to this concept. Accordingly, John has invented what is now commonly known as the "Modified Gap Theory" (see: Thompson, 1977, pp 192-197; McIver, 1988, p 22). Here is basically how this unusual twist on the standard Gap Theory works. John imagines that:
Genesis 1:1 is an undated verse. No time element is given and no details of what the Earth looked like are included. It could have taken place in no time at all, or God may have used eons of time to accomplish his objectives. I suggest that all geological phenomena except the creation of warm-blooded life were accomplished during this time. There was no way God could have described amoebas, bacteria, viris [sic.], or dinosaurs to the ancient Hebrew, and yet these forms of life were vital to the coal, oil and gas God knew man would need. Thus God created these things but did not describe them just as He did not describe a majority of the million species of life on this planet. Changes took place in the Earth (but no gap destruction) until God began the formation of man's world with birds, whales, cattle and man in the literal days of Genesis (1976a, pp 147-148).
John has worked on this concept for well over twenty years. As he has done so, he has modified it in order to make it fit whatever data happen to be in vogue at the time. In lesson number nine of his 1990 Does God Exist? Correspondence Course, John elaborates on what all of this means.
"Not only does the first verse give us the creation of celestial objects, but of a functional earth itself .... By the end of Genesis 1:1 there was a functional, living, working earth. If you had stood upon the earth at this point in time, you would have recognized it. Let us once again remind you that how long God chose to use to accomplish this creation is not revealed in this passage .... It is very possible that a living ecosystem operated in Genesis 1:1 to produce the earth. Bacteria may have swarmed in the oceans and giant plants may have lived in great swamps. Dinosaurs may have roamed freely accomplishing their purpose in being. The purpose of all of this would have been to prepare the earth for man. This living ecosystem would have produced the coal, oil, gas, and the like, as well as providing the basis of man's ultimate food supply!" (1990g, pp 3,4).
Thus, in capsule form, John is saying that when the Bible says God created, what it really means is that God, over eons of time, "prepared" an Earth for man. And He didn't create everything to exist on that "first" Earth. For example, there were no warm-blooded creatures, according to John's Modified Gap Theory. And, since man is warm-blooded, naturally, he wasn't there either. John says: I submit to you that Genesis 1: 1 is not a summary verse. It is a record of God's action which produced an Earth ready for man's use. I further submit for your consideration that some time may be involved in this verse and that natural processes may have been used as well as miraculous ones to prepare the Earth for man" (1982c, p 5).
Brother Clayton also explains why man wasn't a part of this original creation, according to his theory: "The week described in Exodus refers to the week described in Genesis 1:5-31. The week in Genesis 1:5-31 describes the creation of man and a few forms with which man is familiar, but it is not a total description of every living thing that does or ever has existed on earth" (1976c pp 5-6)
"God came into being before time began", (The origin of Satan, Evidences of God Vol. 1, 1977e, p154)
"If evolution were true it would reduce the Bible to being non-literal but it would not reflect upon the word of God" (Letter to editor, Rocky Mountain Christian, March, 1979c, p3)
"I do not contend that it can be conclusively proven to 20th century American that the Bible is inspired, because the Bible writings have been written over a period of 4000 years in at least three languages and several cultures. This variability of background leads to cultural and linguistic difficulties that allow differences of opinion to creep in. There are countless examples of such difficulties." (The source, Eternal Design or Infinite accident? 1976a, p89; reprinted also in The source, 1978b, p79)
"How is God going to send the innocent native of Africa or India who never had the opportunity to hear the gospel to eternal Hell?" (The Logic of heaven and Hell, Does God exist? May/June, 1985a p9.)
John reviewed a book, "Miracles-from God or Man?" By Jimmy Jividen and said, "the only weakness of the book is in the dealing with individual relationships to God in asking God's miraculous help in individual lives...leaving it a little open may be the best way to handle it." (Book reviews, Does God Exist? May/June 1987a, p21)
Of Fudges book, "The fire that consumes" which supports annihilation Clayton said, "I think if you could prove what he is attempting to prove, it would be a tremendous help in the Christian evidences area." (Personal letter to David Hinds, Sept. 1990n, p1.)
In reference to Eric Von Daniken's view that life on earth originated from UFO's in "Chariots of the Gods" Clayton said, "Whether the ideas suggested by these individuals are true or false, the whole subject is of no consequence to our problem" (The source, Eternal design or infinite accident? 1976a, p33)
"The amazing thing about this newest concept of evolution...is that it agrees beautifully with the description given in the Bible." (Does God Exist? Christian evidences Intermediate course teachers guide, 1990a pp163-164)
"evolution and the Bible show amazing agreement on almost all issues", (Does God Exist? Christian evidences Intermediate course teachers guide, 1990a, p135)
"In many areas we find that the Bible and the beliefs of those who hold that man is solely a product of evolution are identical" (correspondence course lesson on "History of man on planet Earth" 1968e, p2)
"Let's stop confusing creation with the creationist position...I always wince a little when someone asks me if I am a creationist" (Lets Stop Confusing Creation with the creationist position, Does God Exist? Feb, 1982a, p2)
"I am not a member of the creationist movement", (Letters to the editor, Creation/Evolution, 1982b, 3:48)
commenting on the origin of man, "There are countless books on this subject, but we strongly suggest you stay away from these that are produced by the creationist groups. The thrust of their materials is different than ours...I would avoid creationist vocabulary in this lesson." (Christian evidences intermediate course teachers guide 1991)
"If someone wants to believe in a theistic evolutionary position, I would suggest you sluff it off as a possibility and wait for them to mature in their belief when they have studied more of the evidence." (Christian evidences intermediate course teachers guide 1991a, p29)
"To suggest that evolution is false, devious, and opposed to the Bible is equally extreme" (The Source, Eternal design or infinite accident, 1990, p135)
"Links do exist between fish and other forms-that's right. We have walking catfish, we have fish that can aestivate, we have fish in South America that can climb trees..." (A response to evolutionary Creationism, taped lecture, 1980a)
"At one time in your life you had a tail. At one time in your life you had what essentially were gill slits...Hair in our country, for the most part, is purely decorative...Hair is essentially vestigial" (taped lecture, Evolution's proof of God)
"the mammals have come about from one source." (Misconceptions about the theory of evolution, Does God Exist? Correspondence course, Lesson 5, 1968d, p2) [Webmasters note: John Clayton believes in his own unique view of theistic evolution, where the 4 kinds of flesh in 1 Cor 15 (bird, fish, animal, man) indicate that there were four original pairs of creatures made. From these four pairs all species evolved. For example, Clayton believes that dogs, elephants, mice and monkeys all evolved from the same original pair.]
"The tree shrew, his ancestors and relatives" are "known to be the first sure mammals on this planet" (The new evolutionary concept: Warm blooded dinosaurs, Does God Exist? July, 1976b p3)
"The bible does not positively maintain that there was a worldwide flood." (Questions & Answers #1 taped message)
"I believe you have a copy of the teacher's guide, and if you will notice in that guide that we did not espouse either the day-age theory or the gap theory. We did point out that those theories are more consistent with the record (Bible) than other theories denominations have advanced...and have simply tried to get people to realize that the Genesis account is not a detailed historical account." (Personal letter to his elders at Donmoyer Ave. Church of Christ, South Bend IN. Sept 5, 1975, p1)
"There is no way geologically of supporting the idea that there was a worldwide flood...On the North American continent, for example, there is no place, no real conclusive evidence that there has ever been a flood over this continent...You cannot go to geology and find evidence to support the idea of the world-wide flood...The Bible does not maintain positively maintain that this was a worldwide flood...It seems possible the flood was confined to the known earth at that time." (Taped lecture, Questions & Answers: #1)
"Man has been in a constant state of evolution" (The Source, Eternal design or Infinite accident? 1976a p133)
"This writer sees no need to view Adam as a highly advanced and sophisticated individual. God had to make the first clothes man wore so he wasn't very advanced." (Book of the month, Does God exist? April, 1978f, p2)
"Probably the most convincing argument for dating methods is that they do work." (Does God Exist? Christian evidences Intermediate course teachers guide, 1990a pp130,131)
"We would encourage you to stay away from various creationist material in this lesson, as that material has a vested interest in proving the earth to be young...a huge percentage of creationists are of a millennial theological view." (Does God Exist? Christian evidences Intermediate course teachers guide, 1991a pp32-33)
"It is my personal conviction that probably the earth is very, very old-much older than the 6-10,000 years that some would like to attribute to it." (Questions & answers #1 tape)
"It is possible to calculate how long the sun has been involved in its present kind of thermonuclear reaction...this figure turns out to be just over 4.5 billion years-another indication of the age of our system." (Does God Exist? Christian evidences Intermediate course teachers guide, 1991a, p130)
"Man is a very recent newcomer to this planet." (The history of man on planet earth, Does God Exist? Correspondence course, lesson 8, 1968e p2)
"Birds mammals, and man are mentioned; and all of these are recent additions to the Earth geologically." (Dinosaurs and the Bible, Evidences of God Vol. 1, 1977g p 151)
"Clearly man has become the dominant form of life on the earth only in modern time." (Does God Exist? Correspondence course teacher's manual, 1968b p35)
"Placental mammals, like us, are relative newcomers to the earth compared to marsupials." (Design's proof of God, tape)
"It would be our suggestion that the most accurate understanding of the days (of Genesis) is that Gen verses 1-3 are untimed and undated and could contain the whole pre-history of the earth, and that the creation week is a literal week but deals only with man and his world." (Does God Exist? Christian evidences Intermediate course teachers guide, 1991a p37)
"Genesis 2 is not a historical account" (Letter to editor, Rocky Mountain Christian, March 1979c p3)
"Genesis 1:1 is an undated verse. No time element is given and no details of what the earth looked like are included...I suggest that all geological phenomena except the creation of warm blooded life were accomplished during this time." (The Source, Eternal Design or Indefinite Accident? 1976a pp147-148)
"Not only does the first verse give us the creation of celestial objects, but of a functional earth itself...By the end of Genesis 1:1 there was a functional, living, working earth...It is very possible that a living ecosystem operated in Genesis 1:1 to produce the earth. Bacteria may have swarmed in the oceans, giant plants may have live in great swamps. Dinosaurs may have roamed freely...The purpose of all of this would have been to prepare the earth for man. This living ecosystem would have produced coal, oil, gas and the like, as well as providing for the basis of man's ultimate food supply." (History of earth, Does God Exist? Correspondence course Lesson 9, 1990g pp3-4)
"In Genesis 1:2 I'm told by the Hebrew scholars that the most accurate reading is that the earth "became without form and void" and some have suggested that maybe a tremendous number of years passed between the first part of Gen 1:1 and Gen 1:2." (Evolution's proof of God, tape)
"The view that the entire creation week took place within 6 days...is a shallow conclusion...and...is inconsistent with the Genesis record as well as other parts of the Bible" (Flat earth Bible study techniques, Does God Exist? Oct. 1976c p5)
"There is no need to force dinosaurs into the creations week" (Dinosaurs, Does God Exist? Sept/Oct 1990j p16)
"All available scientific evidence indicates that dinosaurs lived long before Adam" (Modes of creation, Does God Exist? June 1977h p 9-10)
"It is ludicrous to suggest that man cohabited with the dinosaurs...Man could not have lived in a world full of dinosaurs." (Does God Exist? Christian evidences Intermediate course Teachers manual 1991a p37.)
"Man could not have lived in a world full of dinosaurs, so by the time God created Adam the dinosaurs were gone." (Dinosaurs- One of God's more interesting and Useful creations, children's book 1990k p14)
"If dinosaurs existed 200 million years before Adam and Eve, it does not present any problem to a literal understanding of the Genesis record." (Does God Exist? Correspondence Course Teachers manual 1968b p16)
"The rejection of the Bible and the denial of the existence of God are strong beliefs in Australia. During our discussions with nonbelieving Australians, it was obvious that they were really rejecting the denominational creationists and their man-made theologies, not God nor the Bible. Over and over, we heard comments about the impossibility of believing that humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time, that the earth was 6,000 years old, that God created the cosmos full-grown with fossils buried in the ground, etc. When we were able to get them to read Genesis and look at what it really said and what it did not say, we were able to change their whole approach to their relationship to God. Australia has a lot to teach us-both in terms of what we can see in the creation and also in terms of how important it is that we get away from human traditions and theologies and just listen to what God has to say and what He does not say. -JNC" [Does God Exist? vol 23, num 6 Nov/Dec, page 12. Note: Clayton rejects that "humans and dinosaurs living at same time" (he believes dinosaurs were created 40 million years before the "first day" of creation in Genesis 1.) Clayton also rejects that the earth is only "6000 years old" (in fact he believes that the earth is the same age as the athistic evolutionists, and he defends such)]
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