• Ten Short Videos
    Dating Methods
    Ape to Man?
  • Origin of Life
    Noah's Flood
    Fossils and Rocks
    Natural Selection
    Creation Apologetics
  • Old Earth Creationism
    Bill Nye Video
Q & A
Questions are received via email, at our LSI display during conferences, and online. 
Some questions were forwarded to LSI from the Q&A at WELS.net.

Answers represent the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily the position of LSI

Please help expand this page by asking your question.
TEACHERS: Have your science or religion class submit a class question.
    How did coal, oil, and natural gas form?
  • A third and fourth grade teachers asked in December 2023, “Modern science teaches that natural resources - oil, coal, gas - were formed over millions of years. What would be a biblical address to this problem?”
    Under just the right conditions, oil, coal, and natural gas (commonly called “fossil fuels”) can form from decomposing plants.  These plants must be buried, compressed, and heated.  Decomposing trees produce coal, while decomposing bacteria and algae produce oil.  Natural gas (methane) can also form.    (https://ocean.si.edu/conservation/gulf-oil-spill/what-are-fossil-fuels#:~:text=III.-,FOSSIL%20FUELS%20FORM,wells%20on%20land%20and%20offshore.)   (https://www.e-education.psu.edu/earth104/node/584)
    Christians who believe what God reveals about a recent 6-day creation (creationists) commonly answer your question in one of two ways.
    1. Most creationists think it most likely that oil, coal, and natural gas are the remains of plants that were buried during Noah’s Flood, thousands of years ago (Flood Geology Apologetic). 
    2. Some creationists think it most likely that God placed oil, coal, and natural gas into the ground.  They are not decomposed plants, but they simply look like that way (Created Fossil Apologetic). 
    Both of these apologetic positions are advanced in our church body (WELS).  An article compares these views and shows that the Created Fossil Apologetic has several Scriptural problems, while the Flood Geology Apologetic does not.  See pages 5-39 in the winter 2023 LSI Journal at www.LutheranScience.org/2023winter.  Pages 6-7 compare these two apologetic views.  Your students may be interested in the dinosaurs discussed on pages 10-20 (images on page 2). 
    Evolutionists (including Christians who think God used millions of years to create) also think that oil, coal, and gas are the remains of plants and creatures, but that these were buried millions of years ago.  They often claim that it takes millions of years of heat and pressure to make fossil fuels.  Yet articles published by evolutionists in a major science journal (Organic Geochemistry) show that coal-like substances can be produced in a laboratory in a few months under simulated real-world conditions.  An article at Answers-In-Genesis states the following:  
    “Converting Vegetation to Coal: Once buried, how quickly could this vegetation be compacted and converted to coal?  Laboratory experiments have successfully produced coal-like materials rapidly, under conditions intended to simulate the conditions when actual coal beds accumulated.  A research team at the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois made material resembling coal by heating plant materials with clay minerals at 302°F (150°C) for two to eight months in the absence of oxygen. After a series of such experiments, the team concluded that coal can be produced directly from plant materials via thermal reactions speeded up by the clay minerals in only one to four months. Other experiments have also confirmed that clay particles act as chemical catalysts in a rapid coal-forming process.  It is thus significant that clay minerals often account for up to 80 percent of the non-plant matter in actual coal.  Subsequent experiments have more closely simulated natural geologic conditions, with temperatures of only 257°F (125°C) and lower pressures (equivalent to burial under 5,905 feet [1,800 meters] of wet sediments).  After only 75 days, the original plant and wood materials still transformed into coal material, comparable chemically to coal from the same area of Indonesia.  Because these experiments simulated natural conditions, we can be confident that the coal-forming process is rapid and requires only months.  So there is no reason to insist that coal formation requires millions of years.”  https://answersingenesis.org/biology/plants/how-did-we-get-all-this-coal/ 

    How did the Stone Age, Iron Age and Bronze Age - all copiously supported by thousands of discoveries plus the many ice ages plus continental drift as evidenced by coal and fossils being found in Antarctica all occur since 4000 BC?
  • This question was asked online in August 2019.  It is answered by Mark Bergemann.

    The Bible does not reveal the exact age of the universe (including the earth).  It may be several thousand years older than the date of 4,000 BC you mention.
    There really was a “Stone Age, Iron Age and Bronze Age.”   It seems that North America really was covered by massive ice sheets that sculpted the landscape.  It also seems that there originally was only one continent which split apart to form our current continents, which are still moving on tectonic plates.  None of this is contrary to Scripture. 
    Evolutionists and creationists disagree on the time scales involved with these events.  Evolutionists and creationists are led to differing conclusions based on their respective unprovable assumptions.  You can read about this in the article “Assumptions of Evolutionists” on pages 7-16 in fall 2017 LSI Journal.  Especially note “Greenland Ice Dating” on page 11 and “Rock Layer Dating” on page 12. 
    Various dating methods are used to set dates for these historical periods and events.  For a very detailed discussion of carbon dating and other dating methods, including many links to supporting scientific papers written by evolutionists, see pages 8-32 in the summer 2019 LSI Journal.  

    Does radiometric dating of rocks from recent lava flows show flaws in this dating method? Secondly, I wonder how unstable elements could have originated other than by creation.
  • This question was asked online in April, 2018.  Mark Bergemann responds.

    Radioactive sub-atomic particles and radioactive elements are made by smashing elements and/or particles together.  Some radioactive particles can be made by scientists using particle accelerators such as those at Fermilab and CERN.  This also happens naturally.  Radioactive carbon-14 is made daily in the earth’s atmosphere when cosmic rays smash neutrons into stable nitrogen-14, which produces radioactive (unstable) carbon-14.  As far as we know, some radioactive elements are not being made here on earth.  Scientists calculate that some of those, such as uranium-238, can be made when a star explodes in a supernova. 


    Since evolutionists assume that the earth was made from the remnants of supernovas, they conclude that the U-238 in the earth was made in supernovas more than 4.5 billion years ago.  As Christians who believe God’s Word, the Bible, we know that God made the earth from nothing during creation week (at the beginning of time, thousands of years ago).  Therefore, we assume that God placed U-238 in the earth during creation week.   


    Estimating how long ago a lava flow solidified into rock is done by comparing the amount of parent radioactive material in the rock to the amount of daughter material in the rock.  These dating estimates are based on several unproven assumptions, including how much parent and daughter particles were in the rock as it solidified.  Evolutionists generally assume that there was no daughter material in the lava when it solidified.  Recent lava flows show this assumption is wrong, as some daughter material is present in solidified rock from many recent lava flows, including flows tested right after they solidified.  Many rocks from recent lava flows (with known ages of a few years) have been dated at hundreds of thousands of years and even many millions of years. 
    A HS science teacher in my church is struggling to see past evolution. He's open to listening to well-thought-out apologetics as a starting point.
  • A pastor asked (spring 2017) “A HS science teacher in my church is struggling to see past evolution.  He's open to listening to well-thought-out apologetics as a starting point, which I hope to accompany with Bible study. Thanks for your input!”
    You may wish to share the following with the high school science teacher who is tempted by millions of years. 
    1)   Did God Use Evolution To Create?  This paper includes many Bible passages for a Bible study. 
    2)   Natural Selection. LSI Journal, 30(4), pages 25-31. "The evolution story is a mixture of reality and fabrication.  Natural selection is a great example of this truth."
    3)   Evolutionists Say Amazing Things –We Do Not Know. LSI Journal, 31(1), pages 23-24.  World renowned evolutionist Paul Davies writes in Scientific American, "We do not know the process that transformed a mishmash of chemicals into a living cell, with all its staggering complexity.  …We are almost as much in the dark today about the pathway from nonlife to life as Charles Darwin."

    Does LSI have an evaluation of the “Reason to Believe” website?
  • This question was aksed online in spring 2017. 

    Reasons to Believe (RTB) claims that God used billions of years of death and suffering to create.  RTB rejects the creation account taught in Scripture.  See LSI Journal article, “A Case Study:  The Creationism of Hugh Ross and Reasons to Believe.” 

    Is the idea of an expanding universe something a WELS Pastor can subscribe to in any way?
  • This January 2017 online question is answered by Mark Bergemann.

    Scripture does not support or oppose an expanding universe, so the Christian is free to make his own conclusions in that regard.  The Bible does indeed reveal that God stretches out the heavens, “God is enthroned above the circle of the earth; its inhabitants are like grasshoppers.  He stretches out the heavens like thin cloth and spreads them out like a tent to live in.” (Isaiah 40:22, HCSB).  [There are many others including Job 9:8, Psalm 104:2, Isaiah 42:5, 44:24, 45:12, 48:13, 51:13, Jeremiah 10:12, 51:15, Zechariah 12:1.]  In some of these passages the spreading of the heavens clearly depicts creation week.  Some people have claimed a few of these passages may support the concept that space is expanding today, but that is only conjecture at best.

    I assume that the universe is indeed expanding, possibly due to the effect of dark energy.  The LSI Journal article “God or No God?” briefly discusses an expanding universe and how a Christian can accept that as true or as false.  See pages 8-9 of the Fall 2016 LSI Journal
    In my slide presentation, Did God Use Evolution to Create?, I made the following points:  Some parts of the evolution story are true.  Much of modern science has been woven into the evolution story.   None of the following conflict with Scripture or a young universe: 
    supernova    -   We have watched stars go supernova.
    rising mountains   -   Mountains increase and decrease in height.  
    tectonic plates  -   Continents seem to be moving on tectonic plates.  
    extinctions -   Many animals (such as dinosaurs) have gone extinct.  
    dark matter -   It may be that most of the universe is made of dark matter.  
    new species -   Natural selection produces new species (but not new kinds).  
    one continent -   There may have been only one continent on earth in the past.  
    dark energy -   Dark energy may exist, pushing our universe ever larger in size. 
    black holes -   There may be a super massive black hole at the center of every galaxy.
    ice sheets -   Massive ice sheets probably sculpted the North American landscape.
    Even though parts of the evolution story are true, much of the evolution story goes against Scripture. We can be CERTAIN that the parts of evolution which go against Scripture are FALSE, because we know that the Bible is true.


    Does Hebrews 11:3 tells us that coal isn't from plants seen before the Flood? Coal could have been created ex nihilo (out of nothing) during creation week.
  • This question was submitted online in January, 2017.  Mark Bergemann answers.
       Hebrews 11:1-3 (HSCB) “Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.  For our ancestors won God’s approval by it.  By faith we understand that the universe was created by God’s command, so that what is seen has been made from things that are not visible.”
      Hebrews 11:3 gives a general example of faith.  By faith we believe God created.  By faith we believe all other articles of faith too, including the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.  
       The person submitting this question has contacted me many times advancing the apologetic that God created fossils during creation week.  For a discussion of created fossils see the Q&A, “Could God have made the fossils during creation week?”  More recently he began to suggest that Hebrews 11:3 supports created coal and created fossils.  His submission to this Q&A gives me the opportunity to share this topic. 
       When Hebrews 11:3 states, “The universe was created by God’s command, so that what is seen has been made from things that are not visible,” it is not implying that everything we see was directly created out of nothing (ex nihilo). 
       We know from Genesis 1:1 that God created the heavens and the earth out of nothing on Day 1.  We know from Genesis 2:19 that on Day 6 God formed the birds and wild animals “out of the ground,” not out of nothing.  When Adam and Eve looked at birds on Day 6 they saw something made from ground, not made from nothing.  The same goes for dry land, which God made on Day 3, but not from nothing (Genesis 1:9-10).  For Adam and Eve, and for us today, the birds, wild animals, and land we see were NOT created directly out of nothing.  So from Scripture we can conclude that Hebrews 11:3 means that everything (the entire universe) originally came from nothing, but some things have not remained in their original created form. 
       Our observations also confirm that things we see are no longer in the same form that God originally created.  Over a dozen new volcanic islands have formed in the past 100 years.  One is a 1,640 foot wide and 820 foot high South Seas island which appeared near Tonga in December 2015.  We can see that island, yet we know that it was not created directly from nothing.    
       Adam and Eve saw the first birds, and those birds were not made directly from nothing.  Some things we see today, like some volcanic islands, were not made directly from nothing.  So Hebrews 11:3 cannot be used to support the idea that God created coal, oil, or fossils during creation week.  Nor can Hebrews 11:3 be used to claim that the Noachic Flood was tranquil and did not make extensive changes to the earth. 
       In my opinion, creation apologetics deserve wide-spread discussion in our church body (WELS).  This would include a discussion of created fossils.  In a 2015 survey, 7% of WELS pastors and 16% of WELS teachers agreed or somewhat agreed with the statement, “It is likely that God placed dinosaur bones in rock layers during creation week.”  See pages 18-19 of the survey report for quotes from those who support and those who oppose the created fossil apologetic.

    Could God have made the fossils during creation week?
  • This question was asked in June 2015 at our LSI display table at the WELS National School Leadership Conference.  Mark Bergemann answered verbally at that time and later wrote this answer.


    Some Christians propose that fossils and the sedimentary rock layers containing them were created by God during creation week.  Some further claim that God created these fossils as a witness to Adam and Eve (and potentially to their sinless children if the Fall Into Sin had not happened) that if they sinned they too would die.  They assert that these rock layers and fossils were preserved during the Noachic Flood.  They also claim that dinosaurs, trilobites, and other creatures never existed as live creatures, that they are only found in the fossils God created.  Many also claim that coal and oil were also created by God during creation week.   


    I see Scriptural and logical problems with the idea of created fossils.  That said, I do not see created fossils as unscriptural, so if some find that the idea of created fossils helps them to blunt the temptation of evolution, then let them continue to believe it. 


    Those advancing created fossils often reject the possibility that the Noachic Flood produced sedimentary rock layers containing fossils.  This makes no sense to me.  Earth’s vast quantities of fossils, deposits of coal and oil, and continental-sized sedimentary rock layers are what would be expected from a flood which covered the entire earth. Dead ocean creatures are buried by the trillions all over the earth and on the tallest mountains.


    Those advancing created fossils propose a tranquil Noachic Flood.  This makes no sense to me.  Moving water causes tremendous damage.  A planet wide flood would rearrange the entire planet surface, first as the waters accumulated, then as the waters had tidal action due to the sun and moon, then as the waters receded.  Clearly God could miraculously preserve the creation week rocks and fossils during the Flood, but the adherents of created fossils whom I have encountered think that was unnecessary.  They propose a calm global flood.  


    I do not see any reason why God would show any example of death to the not yet fallen Adam and Eve (or to their sinless decedents had the Fall Into Sin not occurred).  I think the Tree Of The Knowledge Of Good and Evil is all they needed.  As Luther put it, that tree was an alter at which to worship God by not eating of the fruit.  The unfallen Adam and Eve had a very complete understanding of God’s will.  They did not have a corrupted conscience as we have.  They trusted God.  They did not have a sinful nature prodding them to sin.  This is why I see no need for any additional law statements (examples of death) beyond God’s simple directive to not eat of that one tree. 


    Why did God include fossils of types of creatures who never lived such as dinosaurs, trilobites, orthoceras, ammonites, and hundreds of other kinds of creatures?  Nearly every creature alive today is in the fossil record.  Why would God add imaginary creatures to the fossil record?  Would not fossils of actual creatures be a better example of death to Adam, Eve, and their descendants, than imaginary creatures who never lived and whom Adam and Eve never saw? 

    See the 2020 article:
    Did Dinosaurs Roam the Earth?


    How are we to understand Psalm 104 in general, and verses 6-9 specifically? Does verse 9 refer to the flood?
  • This question was asked in June 2016 on our LSI website.  Mark Bergemann answers.

    Psalm 103 and 104 are twin Psalms.  Both begin with a shared theme, “My soul, praise Yahweh!” (HCSB).  Psalm 103 praises God for redeeming us.  Psalm 104 praises God for creating the world and everything in it. 
    Psalm 104 emphasizes the Creator, not what was created.  It praises our Creator for his great power and wisdom, and also shows how he cares for his creation today.  Psalm 104 follows the days of creation as described in Genesis 1.  Brug (in the People’s Bible commentary Psalms 73-150,  available at www.nph.net) divides this psalm as follows:
    Introduction, verse 1.
    Day 1, verse 2a.
    Day 2, verses 2b – 4.
    Day 3, verses 5-18.
    Day 4, verses 19-23.
    Days 5-6, verses 24-30.
    Closing, verses 31-35.
    On Day 3 God separated the water and the dry land (Gen 1:9-10).  Verses 5-9 of Psalm 104 seem to describe this same Day 3 creation event, as do Job 38:8-11 and Proverbs 8:27-29.  On Day 3 God set boundaries for the seas.  During the Noachic Flood God removed those boundaries, but then he again set boundaries for the seas.  The words of Psalm 104:9b (HCSB), “They [waters] will never cover the earth again,” remind us of God’s certain promise that he will never again destroy all life by a planetary flood (Gen 9:8-17).  Psalm 104 describes both the creation event and how God cares for his creation today.  One way God cares for us today is by enforcing boundaries for the seas.

    What studies have been conducted into genetically-altered [engineered] humans? How up-to-date are our theologians watching this endeavor? Are we addressing this issue?
  • This question was asked on WELS.net and forwarded to LSI in March 2015.  Upon receiving his answer, this person joined LSI as a Subscriber.  Dr. Bruce Holman answers.

    Your questions are excellent and timely.  The last three can be answered succinctly.  Generally our theologians are not informed about, or watching developments in genetic research.   However, it is hoped that they make use of organizations such as the Lutheran Science Institute, and Lutherans for Life which have people who are informed about the technology and are watching it.  An article may appear in our LSI Journal on this very subject in the future.  The issue is one which does not require immediate attention, but monitoring efforts need to continue as technological, political, and social conditions could change.  The answer to your first question and an assessment of the socio-political environment of today forms the basis of this conclusion.

    The idea of genetically-altered humans evokes an image of people being manufactured to order.  We ought to be alarmed at such a prospect, but it is just not going to happen in our lifetimes.  The human genome is much more complex than we ever thought possible only a few decades ago.  The information which our bodies use to do what they need to is stored not only as a linear code within the DNA, but as a three dimensional superstructure that includes not only the sequence of the DNA itself, but on the complex structure of protein and nucleic bio-chemicals that interpret it.  As a result any genomic change however slight runs the risk of considerable unintended consequences.  Scientists working in the area understand this idea, and the general public is beginning to appreciate these difficulties as evident from the strong opposition to genetically modified food.  The FDA and similar regulatory agencies around the world place high standards for safety on all medical products and procedures.  All that being said there are hundreds of genetic diseases which can only be addressed by just such modifications, and the public encourages such endeavors.  

    If you are interested in further information, I encourage you to obtain a copies of our upcoming journals, to monitor our blog, and to support our organization by becoming a member.

    Is the star light travel time difficulty removed if Gen 1:1-2 represents long ages? Maybe God later remodeled the planet in 7 normal days and created life.
  • This question was asked in June 2015 on our LSI website by the webmaster for a non-Lutheran ministry.  Mark Bergemann answers.


    You are correct in stating (in explaining your question, not printed above) that we should take God at His Word, even when our sin darkened human reason tells us that God is wrong.  Creation was a supernatural event, which by very definition means we may not have a naturalistic explanation of that supernatural event.  That said, the amazing thing about creation, is that the world around us is very much as would be expected for a young universe and a planet wide flood at the time of Noah.   While the evolution story has many major scientific problems, creation has by comparison relatively few.


    Starlight travel time is one issue that at first seems to contradict a young universe.  How can we see distant star light which appears to have taken billions of years to reach earth?  This question has been addressed in multiple ways by young earth creationists. 


    --- A traditional explanation is that God made the star light “in transit.”  I prefer other explanations.  Why would God have us watch a video of stars, some of which never existed?  We have seen stars explode, so those stars would only be in the video God created and did not really exist. 


    --- The speed of light may have been much faster in the past.  This is not as impossible as it may sound, since we recently found that other “universal constants” such as radiation decay are faster or slower under certain conditions.  We have also been able to slow down the speed of light in the laboratory.


    --- The speed of light may be much faster in one direction than the other.  We can only measure the time it takes for a round trip of light from the source to a reflector and back.  Maybe it goes faster from the source and slower upon reflection.


    --- God may have started the universe in a white hole and then expanded it (all during creation week).  This could result in us seeing light today from now distant stars.  This complex calculation has been advanced by Dr. Russell Humphreys and others. 


    -- There are other explanations in addition to the above.


    Starlight travel time is NOT a strong argument against creation, since the alternative to creation, evolution, has a similar light travel problem called the horizon problem.  The evolution story claims the universe is 13.7 billion years old, but that is not enough time for starlight to travel across the universe and equalize the ambient temperature (which we observe to be equalized across the entire universe).  Evolutionists have proposed multiple explanations for their starlight travel problem, but even those explanations (like inflation) have their own problems and do not satisfy all evolutionists. 


    God is clear in his revealed Word (the Bible) that everything which was created (all matter, time, space, and angels) was created in 7 days.  In the beginning (of time) God created the heavens (space) and the earth (matter).  The “first day” (Gen 1:5) really was the first day of time.   To insert billions of years into the creation would be trampling on many Bible passages. 


    God created everything in six days and rested on the seventh as an example to us: “But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.  For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”  Exodus 20:10-11

    Young Earth Creationists (YEC) propose 6, 10, or even 25 thousand years as the age of the universe. Are there gaps in the Biblical genealogies?
  • This question was asked in June 2015 on our LSI website by a person who had just joined LSI as a Subscriber.  Mark Bergemann answers.

    We do not know the exact age of the universe, but God reveals in Scripture that the universe is thousands of years old, not millions or billions (evolution claims 13.7 billion years).  Many YEC hold to Ussher’s Chronology, which places creation at 4004 BC.  Ussher’s Chronology (published 1,650 AD) assumes that the Biblical genealogies omit no names and that the Biblical periods of time listed in Scripture are consecutive.  Professor John Jeske of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary states that about Ussher’s Chronology, shows where Biblical genealogies skipped generations, and then quotes a source implying that creation is probably between 5,000 and 8,200 BC.  www.LutheranScience.org/OTchronology


    YEC who wish to have the date of creation fit into secular history sometimes go to a creation date as old as 20,000 BC or slightly older.  The earliest large civilizations seem to have been in a propaganda war of who had the oldest civilization.  Some dating of early history due to that culture war is suspect.  Everyone wanted to be the oldest civilization. 


    Whether creation was 4,004 BC or 20,000 BC, we know for a fact that creation was not millions or billions of years ago.  The evolution story requires billions of years, and even then it has so many major scientific problems.  The evolution story is also based on unchristian assumptions such as no Creator God and no global flood.




Various blogs, websites, and publications occasionally
publish LSI articles (or articles written by LSI Board members). 
Some of these are listed below.

Publication in WLQ

An article by LSI president Mark Bergemann, "The Narrow Lutheran Middle Road for Creation," has been published in the summer 2016 issue of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary's theological journal (Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly - WLQ). 


The Martin Luther College (MLC) Graduate Studies Blog, "Issues In Lutheran Education," requested that LSI president Mark Bergemann write a blog expressing his thoughts on teaching about evolution. It was posted on September 1, 2015 and quickly became one of the most viewed blogs on that site.

WELS Schools Must Teach Evolution

KingdomWorkers.com  asked for a creation apologetics series for their website.  Mark Bergemann responded with the following. 

Witnessing In A World Where Evolution Claims There Is No God.
     Part 1: Why Confront Evolution In Your Witness?

     Part 2: Handling Evolution In Your Witness
     Part 3: Evolution/Creation: Two Starting Points. 
     Part 4: Evolution is Incompatible with the Christian Faith. 

As published on LSI website:  All 4 Parts