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What's Next?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Thanks to all of you who have participated in the discussions during the most recent series. I've seen some great comments and your interaction has been very encouraging and edifying. So, what's next?

We're preparing a series of posts from John's material on the opening chapters of Genesis, dealing with the question of origins. It’s not enough to say, “God is responsible for all that exists, but how it all got here isn’t important.” We’re making the case that how God brought everything into existence is just as important as the bare fact that He did it.

Now, before I lose any of you, let me explain why we think the issue of origins is one of the most important battlegrounds of our day. Hopefully, at the end of the day, you’ll see the significance of the subject, the consequences of the position you take, and your role in defending what God has to say about it.

The question of origins won’t be—indeed, it can’t be—decided by pointy-headed scientists in white lab coats, using beakers and test tubes, microscopes and telescopes. Questions like, “Where did we come from?,” and, “How did the universe come into existence?” are not answered through observation, measurement, hypothesizing, testing, and reporting. This is ultimately a spiritual battle between competing worldviews—we’re dealing with fundamental presuppositions and fighting for the hearts and minds of people created in the image of God.

For Christians in a spiritual battle, we keep Paul’s reminder to the Corinthians front and center:

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. (2 Cor. 10:4-5; you just gotta love the way the KJV renders it!)

Evolution—a philosophy driven by anti-supernaturalistic, materialistic, naturalistic assumptions—is the dominant worldview of our day. At its heart, evolution is atheistic and anti-Christian. It is a stronghold, an imagination, and a high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. Even apart from its demonic theology, the social and cultural effects of evolutionary theory reveal the fingerprints of demons who hate the image of God in men and women.

Sadly, there are many individual Christians and Christian institutions (e.g., para-church ministries, colleges, and seminaries) that compromise with evolution. In fact, it’s not an exaggeration to say some form of evolutionary compromise is the prevailing position in the evangelical movement. Many evangelicals have surrendered serious biblical ground on origins to the secular establishment, hoping for a greater degree of academic respectability, a voice in the marketplace of ideas.

Meanwhile, the giant Evolution batters and smashes with his club, denying biblical authority, devaluing and degrading humanity, and undermining Christian evangelism and the gospel of the cross. It’s time for Christians to wake up and smell the compromise, depose the giant, and take captive“every thought to the obedience of Christ.”

We hope this series of posts will serve that end. We’ll start by looking at the threat of evolution and consider some of its devastating effects. Then we’ll think through some of the limitations of science and see how it has overextended itself, trying to answer questions of theology. And finally, we’ll state and defend a biblical view of origins—that God created the universe by divine fiat in six, literal days.

So, buckle up. It’s going to be a wild and bumpy ride.

Travis Allen
Director of Internet Ministry


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#1  Posted by Michael Bogart  |  Monday, March 22, 2010at 8:09 PM

I LOVE IT! Bring it on! And may God receive ALL the glory! Thank you so much Travis.

#2  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Monday, March 22, 2010at 8:15 PM

I am ready! =)

I listened to Pastor MacArthur's "The Battle for the Beginning" a couple of months ago, it was really interesting and I did check some of the resource he used. I was actually when someone in my church was starting a study using Ken Ham material (videos).

John's series: http://www.gty.org/Shop/Audio+Series/255_The-Battle-for-the-Beginning

I am looking forward to this next topic!

thanks,

God bless you,

E.

#3  Posted by Carmen González  |  Monday, March 22, 2010at 8:55 PM

Awesome!!! Can't wait!!! Blessings!

#4  Posted by Jose Hernandez  |  Monday, March 22, 2010at 11:36 PM

My wife and I would like to express our appreciation to the GTY ministry. We feel blessed to be able to listen to so many sermons here. We live in the Bronx ,N.Y. We have learned so much of God's Word by the Holy Spirit through Pastor John McArthur's sermons. Most importantly, we are learning Truth. We thank God for your internet ministry.

God continue to Bless you all.

Sincerely,

Ofie and Jose Hernandez - Bronx, N.Y.

#5  Posted by Andy Bailey  |  Tuesday, March 23, 2010at 5:07 AM

I am definitely looking forward to it, though I must say that I have been greatly blessed by the studies and discussions on Truth!

#6  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Tuesday, March 23, 2010at 8:06 AM

I am looking forward as well. I have to say though, that theologians have to be careful when talking about science, and vice versa. I listened to the "Battle of the Beginning" sermons again in January and thoroughly enjoyed them. But, as a PhD physicist I heard a flaw. In one of the messages Pastor John talks about the possibility that the speed of light has slowed down over time. This simply has not been established AT ALL and there are many problems with the idea.

First, the graph that Pastor John refers to that shows the speed of light measurements falling off exponentially lacks the most critical piece of information...error bars for each measurement!! When I measure something I have to include an estimate of how accurate the measurement was. Old measurements of c (the speed of light) had enormous error bars... A straight line could be drawn through the data if error bars are included.

Second, if c were larger in the past, then any physical process that depends upon c was faster as well. That includes the energy of light (visible light would quickly become x-rays in energy), nuclear reaction rates would increase...etc...it would be terrible.

So, the basic idea is making the speed of light faster causes more problems then answers, and the data DEFINITELY does NOT suggest c was larger in the past.

#7  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Tuesday, March 23, 2010at 8:26 AM

Mark,

I am not entirely sure what it was John said, but I don't think he is advocating one cosmological model over another.  The idea of a slowing of the speed of light is not novel at all.  Even mainstream, evolutionary astronomers have suggested as much under the righ conditions.  If light comes close to a gravitational force like a black hole, for example, it will certainly slow down. 

Even secular cosmologists have their problems in explaining their understanding of what they observe in the cosmos and how they believe the universe evolved.  There isn't a unified theory, contrary to what proponents of evolutionary cosmology wish to suggest concerning the big bang.  All models offering a particular explaination of the evidence will create more problems that need further explaining. Evolutionists, however, are quick to censor anyone who offers an alternative theory that challenges the core evolutionary constructs of the big bang.  They are just a blindedly commited to their dogmaticism as the say biblical creationists are to theirs. 

See here for example,

http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/arj/v2/n1/history-intolerance-in-cosmology

#9  Posted by Lynda Ochsner  |  Tuesday, March 23, 2010at 9:08 AM

Looking forward to this series of posts! I read the transcripts of the full series of Genesis 1-11, almost two years ago, as my introduction to John MacArthur. People at church had mentioned his name, and then I saw his name mentioned on the Answers in Genesis website. I was greatly impressed with the depth of teaching such as I had never heard or read before, and after that learned a great deal more as I read (and now listen) to more and more of MacArthur's solid Bible teaching.

#10  Posted by Mary Elizabeth Palshan  |  Tuesday, March 23, 2010at 9:45 AM

I cannot wait either!!! However, I used the link that Elaine gave here http://www.gty.org/Shop/Audio+Series/255_The-Battle-for-the-Beginning and nothing comes up. Then I tried going into the sermon archive here at GTY and again I come up empty. Can someone offer a helping hand? I would really appreciate it.

All three moderators are doing an awesome job, and I really like it when you all contribute your thoughts and knowledge.

Thanks to you, too, Elaine, but for some reason the link did not work.

God bless,

Mary

#11  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Tuesday, March 23, 2010at 9:58 AM

Fred, I am talking about the value of the speed of light in a vacuum, and not under gravitational influence like in a black hole. That is what some young earth creationists have said has been slowing down. That is the number 186,000 miles per second that you might remember...My point is that the evidence, which is NOT controversial in any way, suggests this number has been constant, and claims otherwise fail to account for experimental errors, etc...

As for the Answers in Genesis article, it is terribly misleading in all honesty. First, it refers to evidence proposed by Fred Hoyle, Geoffrey Burbidge, et al against the "Big Bang" theory. The problem is the Hoyle et al are ABSOLUTELY not Christian, as you might be led to think. The Quasi-steady state model is for an INFINITE universe that has always existed (ie no creation)...match that up with Genesis. Second, the Big Bang is NOT a theory of how the universe came to be, or of an explosion...it is a theory that says this AND ONLY THIS, that in the past, the universe was smaller and hotter...that is it. The Big Bang theory MAKES NO ATTEMPT to explain how the expansion (not explosion) of the universe came to be, it just observes that the universe is expanding...As for the claim that the evidence for an expanding universe is controversial...wow. How else is light from "distant" galaxies red-shifted???

#12  Posted by Lynda Ochsner  |  Tuesday, March 23, 2010at 10:14 AM

Mary,Go to: http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/scriptureSelect "Genesis" to see all the sermons done on the book of Genesis. All but the last one (Genesis 24) are part of the series that John MacArthur did.

#13  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Tuesday, March 23, 2010at 10:25 AM

#10 - Mary.

When I copy and paste my own link off here, it works for me. I also just searched by the title, and it does come up:

http://www.gty.org/search/the+battle+for+the+beginning

lastly, you can try searching by its code: 255

Hope this helps,

God bless,

E.

#14  Posted by Mary Elizabeth Palshan  |  Tuesday, March 23, 2010at 10:33 AM

Lynda Ochsner, I am glad to see your name pop up again. I was reading through some of the older blogs and was very interested in your comments. I was hoping to see you again. We all share your love for John MacArthur's ministry. I have never seen a blog like this, when the blog first started I was stunned at the continual compliments John Mac was receiving. This just goes to show the hunger that is out there for the preaching of the true Word of God.

God bless,

Mary

#15  Posted by Lynda Ochsner  |  Tuesday, March 23, 2010at 10:43 AM

Comment deleted by user.
#16  Posted by Chrisopher Nelson  |  Tuesday, March 23, 2010at 11:08 AM

For one i'm not sure we can accuratly measure anything with time since time is only relative to the position of the sun with the spin of earth. lol. I'm just kidding but I can't wait for the new series!!!

God Bless All!!!!!

#17  Posted by Leanna Avery  |  Tuesday, March 23, 2010at 11:17 AM

If the bumpy ride leads people to the truth, then bring it on!! I think it's a great topic!

#18  Posted by Gty Guy  |  Tuesday, March 23, 2010at 11:43 AM

I am so glad I checked the GTY website today, This is an issue that has been on my heart and an area of focus for me. Currently I am reading "The Big Three" By Henry M Morris, III. So Lets stand together, on God's Word and may nothing else be exalted in our lives and hearts above the Word of the true and living God.

Thanks and Looking forward to this series

-Isaac-

#19  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Tuesday, March 23, 2010at 12:36 PM

Mark,

I am not saying you are wrong.  In fact the idea that light speed has been decaying is a point of view of a small group of creationists.  Most reject it, including the cosmologists with Answers in Genesis.  I am merely pointing out, however, is that both secular cosmologists, albeit a few,  and certain creationists, albeit a few, have explored the hypothesis that light is decaying.    That is not an unorthodox avenue to explore in order to explain certain phenomena that we observe. It is not an "error" so to speak.

 

As for the article I referenced, I did so to show that among unbelievers, there is a dogged determinism to defend "tradition," in this case, big bang cosmology, to the point of denouncing and censoring individuals who may oppose the accepted consensus.   All the author was doing in that article was reporting on such efforts by the cosmological community.  There was certainly nothing misleading in doing so.  Dr. Halton Arp - who is as far as I know, an unbeliever - is a key example of one who has postulated the red shift phenomena we observe is due to heavy nature of objects rather than the fact they are distant and moving away.  Because he challenged the accepted tradition he was removed from his various posts as a researcher.

 

Science has its limits.  Especially in such a field as cosmology and astronomy.  Fallible men are making interpretations of the evidence based upon certain presuppositions they begin with to make those interpretations.  Because we are observing from a very limited perspective, in our case, earth bound, any amount of dogmaticism about how we think things operate in deep space is a bit arrogant. 

 

A future post or two will explore the reasons for these limitations.

 

Fred

#20  Posted by Shauna Bryant  |  Tuesday, March 23, 2010at 12:39 PM

*Shauna Bryant*

I am very excited for this discussion on the beginning. I do believe that God created in 6 days...literal days. Sometimes people think we need to be able to explain HOW God did it...when actually, we cannot create anything from nothing, so how could we possibly explain how God did it?! His ways are so far above ours! Just because we cannot explain "how" doesn't mean much to me - I take it on faith because I believe God. We have such a delicately balanced world. Those who profess that evolution is compatible with Creation don't seem to understand the nature of God, even if they say they are Christians. I always wonder about that too.....are they actually Christians if they don't ever believe God on this? In order to believe in Jesus Christ, don't we have to know Him as He is and always was and will always be? I know some "old earth-God created by evolutionist-ists" and I asked them....if God created man, for instance, through the process of evolution are they claiming that God was once pond scum or that He evolved, since He explicitly says we are created in His image? While the answer is a resounding NO they can never answer that (with something other than no) and be anywhere close to what scripture teaches. Nonwithstanding all the other obvious frauds and problems with evolution, as the topic says (T.Allen) the battle is one of worldviews and the spiritual battle at stake.

#21  Posted by Lynda Ochsner  |  Tuesday, March 23, 2010at 1:02 PM

Comment deleted by user.
#22  Posted by Todd Domer  |  Tuesday, March 23, 2010at 1:29 PM

Mark,

The following is what NASA says on their website about the big bang theory. They do believe that it is the way the universe came to be along with what you said. The kids in scholls are also being taught the falsehood of the big bang. You cannot put the science of men above the truth of God. Everything in this universe came about from a literal 6 days of creation with a day of rest for 7 total days. See NASA's definition of the big bang:

The Big Bang Model is a broadly accepted theory for the origin and evolution of our universe. It postulates that 12 to 14 billion years ago, the portion of the universe we can see today was only a few millimeters across. It has since expanded from this hot dense state into the vast and much cooler cosmos we currently inhabit. We can see remnants of this hot dense matter as the now very cold cosmic microwave background radiation which still pervades the universe and is visible to microwave detectors as a uniform glow across the entire sky.

#23  Posted by Michial Brown  |  Tuesday, March 23, 2010at 2:17 PM

Can you please spend some in depth time discussing the framework hypothesis, as I think this is where the battle rages within so-called orthodoxy. Many of our conservative reformed brethren hold to this position. Which ironically is a similar argument of the recapitulation theory the reformed use to interpret the book of revelation and rob it of it's simple chronological framework. It is interesting how one who holds to the innerrancy and infallability of the scripture can be deceived into letting the plain text of scripture be robbed of its message all in the name of grammatical frameworks which are nothing less than fancy elitist feats of eisegesis.

#24  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Tuesday, March 23, 2010at 3:19 PM

Michial,

We will probably touch on the framework hypothesis a bit in a later post on this subject.  However, if you want a rather lengthy and indepth evaluation of the framework hypothesis, these two articles from the Detroit Seminary Journal pretty much covers all the issues of why it is flawed:

Part 1 http://www.dbts.edu/journals/2005/McCabe.pdf

Part 2 http://www.dbts.edu/journals/2006/McCabe.pdf

#25  Posted by Randy Johnson  |  Tuesday, March 23, 2010at 4:13 PM

"If God can't make a loaf of bread or a fish out of nothing, how is He going to raise me from the dead?" - Dart Kendall

#26  Posted by Mary Elizabeth Palshan  |  Tuesday, March 23, 2010at 6:20 PM

Dear Lynda and Elaine:

Thank you both so much for the links you provided, it is really appreciated. Me thinks I have some reading to do. :)

God bless,

Mary

#27  Posted by Rick White  |  Tuesday, March 23, 2010at 9:03 PM

What I would like to know is how can scientists study a one time,miraculous,supernatural event in a test tube,microscope,or telescope? The issue all boils down to do we start with the premise of a supernatural creation event as clearly revealed in scripture or do we start with a fallible man-made theory of a long age,materialist point of view? Frankly,I'll start with the record of the One who was there and revealed it to us. Don't get me wrong,I'm all for studying how things work today,but how things work today does not expain how God did things in the past. Man's methods of studying these things are very limited and it is nothing but rank arrogance to say that an understanding of how things work today explains how God did things in the past. The one thing studying the creation does reveal is that there is no way it all happened by chance. So,there is no excuse for the naturalistic,atheistic musings of the evolutionary crowd Romans 1:18-22.

#28  Posted by Lynda Ochsner  |  Wednesday, March 24, 2010at 5:44 AM

Hi Mary,

Yes, I'm still around, as much as possible, and looking forward to this series (and I see that the blog comment posting is working again). It's nice to meet so many others who likewise hunger for the Word and appreciate GTY and good Bible teaching.

God Bless,

Lynda

#29  Posted by Todd Domer  |  Wednesday, March 24, 2010at 6:48 AM

Rick,

You are right on the mark. The created being (man) thinks he can make up his own science to explain better than God (who was there and did the creating) how everything came into being. It is the height of arrogance. As I posted above (sorry for the typo on school), NASA believes that the big bang created the universe. I would rather believe the Creator Who was there and did it and Who also laid down His life to redeem me.

#30  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Wednesday, March 24, 2010at 7:56 AM

Fred & Todd & anyone else who cares,

I probably bit off more than can be chewed here...What I am trying to do is correct a COMMON misconception. The so-called Big Bang theory, strictly speaking, is the observation that the universe is expanding. When it was first observed, the dominant theory was that the universe was static. A proponent of that view heard about the expansion and sarcastically called it the Big Bang...the name stuck to this day.

Nowadays, the term Big Bang is used to describe the ENTIRE cosmological model of modern physics, that is expansion, inflation, cosmic microwave background radiation, how elements other than hydrogen and helium came to be, galaxy formation, dark matter, dark energy, etc...

To be clear, this name "Big Bang" is incorrect. There is no BANG and no explosion, simply expansion. The proper term for this cosmological model is the STANDARD MODEL OF COSMOLOGY...I admit is not as catchy.

To be further clear, modern science MAKES NO ATTEMPT to explain where the energy for the creation of the universe came from or what started the process. That is OUTSIDE the realm of science...if you hear someone claiming to speak scientifically about that, they have drifted over into their opinion/philosophy/religion. Unfortunately, scientists often make this mistake and muddy the waters up...

Whether a person agrees with this modern science or not is irrelevant. If you want to sound like you know what you are talking about, then realize what I have written above and include it in your discussions with people about science, etc...You might say "who am I?" I have a PhD in this field, and teach astronomy/physics at a university and do public outreach. I also believe the Bible to be the infallible word of God, and that the universe was created in 6 literal days by God.

#31  Posted by Todd Domer  |  Wednesday, March 24, 2010at 8:14 AM

Mark,

Thanks for clearing that up. As I said, NASA is attributing the term big bang to the start of the universe and the start of the earth. The public schools also teach that. That is the reason my wife and I send our kids to a Christian school.

#32  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Wednesday, March 24, 2010at 8:55 AM

# 30 - Mark.

I care. =) I am following the discussion with interest. I have nothing whatsoever to add to it (since I am profoundly ignorant of these matters), but I appreciate you and others discussing it.

God bless you,

E.

#33  Posted by Rick White  |  Wednesday, March 24, 2010at 9:06 AM

Mark,

Thanks for the clarification on the "Big Bang". I certainly appreciate your insights especially with your credentials. We do want to make sure we keep our terminology correct when dealing with the people in these fields of study. I think the reason we get confused is because so many of the leading atheists have adopted the term "Big Bang" and combined it with the theory of Evolution and developed it into one big argument against Theism. I also know there are many professors and science teachers that have adopted this same materialistic approach to science and have stepped "OUTSIDE the realm of science". I'm sure you have run into this many times in your line of work. I'm very interested in how you deal with this kind of "philosophy" when you are confronted with it. I'm really looking forward to learning more from you as we progress through this topic.

#34  Posted by Shauna Bryant  |  Wednesday, March 24, 2010at 9:59 AM

*Shauna Bryant*

There are many people who claim that science and God are separate. God is responsible for science, and as such any legitimate "scientific research" is an attempt to explain by what mechanism God created. It is an attempt to explain God to man in terms man understands. God is above even science. Doesn't the Bible teach us that man (even using science) attempting to negate God or not acknowledging God... is a dead man? We need to believe the living God, not dead men-no matter what foolishnes they come up with or how vehemently they proclaim it. As Rick noted above, they are without excuse and have the wrath of God abiding on them.

Mark, my husband is also a scientist (Cardiovascular R&D) who believes God and His literal 6 days of creation and there are many more of you out there who know the truth. Thank you for your explanation above.

#36  Posted by Lynda Ochsner  |  Wednesday, March 24, 2010at 10:26 AM

I've heard that R.C. Sproul used to believe the framework theory, but has since come around to the literal understanding.

What I see also is pastors buying into progressive creation, thinking they know a lot of "science" -- and showing by their words that they really have more faith in what modern "science" has discovered (such as ascribing great origins truth to the findings of the VLBA system) than in what God's word clearly says. But then they won't come out and admit the truth, instead claiming that they believe Genesis, but it's poetry -- only showing their ignorance, that they really do not know how to interpret the Bible.Here I remember MacArthur's statement from last year's Shepherd's Conference:Genesis is not poetry. There are poetical accounts of the creation in the Bible, Psalm 104, certain chapters in Job, and they differ completely from the first chapter of Genesis. Hebrew poetry had certain characteristics, they are NOT found in the first chapter of Genesis, so the claim that Genesis 1 is poetry is no solution to the question.The man who says "I believe that Genesis purports to be a historical account but I do not believe that account" is a better interpreter of the Bible than the one who says I believe Genesis is true but it's poetry.

#37  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Wednesday, March 24, 2010at 11:15 AM

To me, the most powerful truth for reading the creation account in Genesis literally, and by extension the rest of chapters 2 and 3, is that sin caused death. I realize this is clearly spiritual death, but that spiritual separation from God led to physical death. This result of sin necessitated Jesus coming and dying on the cross and being resurrrected to DEFEAT death and the grave. If death existed prior to Adam's sin, then there is no need for Jesus' death, burial and resurrection.

#38  Posted by Carmen González  |  Wednesday, March 24, 2010at 11:22 AM

I'm following this discussion with interest as well. Thank you, Mark for enlightening us! You're providing vital information that should be used to clear up, once and for all, the big bang misconception.

#39  Posted by Lois Dimitre  |  Wednesday, March 24, 2010at 1:58 PM

Thank you to Pastor MacArthur and staff for this discussion. And thank you to Travis Allen, I believe you 'hit the nail on the head' when you wrote:

"Many evangelicals have surrendered serious biblical ground on origins to the secular establishment, hoping for a greater degree of academic respectability, a voice in the marketplace of ideas."

That really is the root of the problem, isn't it?

It's been 30+ years since earning a B.S. in Veterinary Sciences, grad. studies in Biochemistry followed by working in the biomedical/radiopharmaceutical research. Sadly, over those years I saw (and still see, to this day) many fellow Christians compromise their belief in the authority of Scripture just to be accepted amongst their "peers".

Believing in a literal 6-day creation virtually guarantees you being branded as a knuckle-dragger by the atheist evolutionist, and frankly many 'theistic' evolutionists as well :/ No matter! God's Word is of utmost authority and thankful sustains us through those tough times. My heart does so grieve for what children have been - and are being - taught in public 'indoctrination centers' called schools. I've had the opportunity to do "Creation-based" science presentations in grades K-12, both in public and Christian schools and have (unfortunately) found progressive creationism (just another name for theistic evolution) infiltrating many of the latter.

On a different note ~ Fred Butler mentioned Dr. McCabe's work. I highly recommend the following paper of his:

A Defense of the Literal Days in Creation Week - http://www.dbts.edu/journals/2000/mccabe.pdf

It's another indepth analysis on the figurative and literal interpretations of creation. Much of his work talks about the Hebrew language and such (which is Greek to me - pun intended) but I found it so very interesting and revealing of the truth.

One last comment and I'll stop rambling :)

Elaine wrote:

"I am following the discussion with interest. I have nothing whatsoever to add to it (since I am profoundly ignorant of these matters), but I appreciate you [Mark] and others discussing it."

Oh Elaine, let me encourage you that you will indeed have MUCH to add as you believe in "Scripture's perspicuity on this subject" (quote from Dr. McCabe's paper). To me, that's the most important building block for understanding science...or any other subject, for that matter :)

#40  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Wednesday, March 24, 2010at 2:18 PM

A few thoughts...To me as an astrophysicist, many of the measurements of cosmic distances are factual. The nearest star to Earth (other than the Sun) is about 4.5 light years away. The Andromeda galaxy is 2 million ly away (ly = light year). To me this is indisputable. I also accept as proven that the universe is expanding, ie the "Big Bang" as noted above. Arguments used against an expanding universe are thin...very thin.

Now, does that mean the universe is millions or billions of years old? My reading of Genesis and other Scriptures is that it is not the case. How then did light from a galaxy 2 million ly away get to me if the universe is only about 10,000 years old? I have no idea. I don't support some of the argument that comes out of Answers in Genesis for example, in particular "Starlight and Time" by Humphreys (I think that is the author). What I do know is that my reading, and the reading of trained Hebrew scholars that I trust, suggest that literal days are the intent of Genesis, so that trumps anything else...but let me add that does NOT constitute "scientific proof".

#43  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, March 24, 2010at 2:34 PM

Mark,

Thanks for your participation. I look forward to reading your comments in future posts in this series. Regarding your comment on the light from distant stars, the answer to me is quite simple. When God created the "heavens and the earth", he created a mature universe. Not only did God create the distant stars, but he created the light from those stars. This is no different than God creating a man, not an embryo, trees, not seeds, etc.

People always want to answer the question "how long did it take to get from point zero to now?" There was no point zero... At one point there was no universe, then after six days there was a complete universe. It's as simple as that.

What was God's first command? "Let there be light!" So the light came even before the producers of light.

#44  Posted by Todd Domer  |  Wednesday, March 24, 2010at 2:46 PM

The Hebrew word in Genesis where it is talking about the days of creation is"yom". When Yom is used with a number, it refers to a 24 hour day. That is the rule of the Hebrew language. Yom can be an age or ages only when it is not used with a number. Genesis refers to day 1 day 2...etc.

I don't trust in man's science to build my beliefs on, I have faith that what the creator said is true.

Many people trust science that was made after God created the universe and then try to make how everything got here fit into their theories. I will trust what the Bible says about creation, studying in an historical, literal gramatical style. Then, science must fit into that not the other way around. If science finds something that goes against God's word then the science is wrong, not God's word.

Very good points Gabriel.

#45  Posted by Randy Johnson  |  Wednesday, March 24, 2010at 3:07 PM

"If death existed prior to Adam's sin, then there is no need for Jesus' death, burial and resurrection."

Bingo, Mark! And if evolution is able to do all that it claims, there is no need for "theistic" evolution. Secular Humanists are not trying to harmonize the two. They want theism to become extinct. Strip away the need for Christ's atoning death, and Christianity is as dead as a Dodo. It just can't fly.

#46  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Wednesday, March 24, 2010at 3:11 PM

Mark, you stated:

To be further clear, modern science MAKES NO ATTEMPT to explain where the energy for the creation of the universe came from or what started the process. That is OUTSIDE the realm of science...if you hear someone claiming to speak scientifically about that, they have drifted over into their opinion/philosophy/religion. Unfortunately, scientists often make this mistake and muddy the waters up...

I think you are being a bit dismissive of the big bang as a means by which cosmologists use to explain life in the universe.  What you say here, that "modern science MAKES NO ATTEMPT to explain where the energy for the creation of the universe came from or what started the process"  does not play out in many of the searches I did this afternoon after I read your comments.  See for example NASA's WMAP page: http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov/universe/uni_life.html. 

Now I would certainly agree with you that they have drifted over into the realm of opinion and philosophy, but you have to admit they are making some rather dogmatic statements as to what is factual regarding life in the universe.  Carl Sagan, as I remember his PBS special "Cosmos" would certainly disagree with your take on what limitations cosmology has with explaining the universe.  You may not think they are making no attempt to explain how things started, but I can tell you from what I read, they most certainly are making that attempt, and it is done by building a history of origins that is apart from their Creator.

#47  Posted by Rick White  |  Wednesday, March 24, 2010at 4:18 PM

Mark,

I've always been fascinated with astronomy so this topic really interests me. I agree with Gabriel's basic premise in that God created a mature universe,but as you know we're not just talking about the travel of light but actual events such as supernovas. In your last comment you mentioned that you do not support some of the argument coming from Answers In Genesis and specifically Russell Humphreys' "Starlight and Time". I would be interested where you disagree with him. Do you disagree with "time dilation" in general or that the earth is the center of the universe or is there some other flaw that you see in his theory? Just remember that you're explaining this to someone that is not trained in your field of study in any way. Thanks again for your participation here and explaining these complex issues.

#48  Posted by Mike Sexton  |  Wednesday, March 24, 2010at 7:48 PM

I'm probably going to get fussed at over this, but we'll see. I'm not entirely sure how much I'm going to be interested in this one. I'm not entirely sure how important it is that we have a concrete statement of belief about creation/the end of time. At least not beyond stating clearly that scripture teaches that God personally formed and created all things and that the end of all things will come according to His plan, His time and His will. The reason I say that is, there are really good cases to be made for a pre-Adamic creation, for the idea that 7 days weren't necessarily 24 hour days, or for the idea that the end of times is going to play out in clear pattern or order. (And yes, I've heard the opposing arguments too...even made them myself until I stepped back and looked at the whole picture a little more.) Given that God created time, it's entirely feasible that He can manipulate it with regards to the creation schedule. This doesn't mean that evolution is feasible or likely. Scripture is clear that He formed man out of dust. He spoke things into existence as they were. God did it all. Do the particulars really matter beyond that? At least, do they matter enough that we should devote so much time to them?

And how can we even begin to be certain about the order of Revelations given that the historicist perspective presents reasonable historical support that at least some of it was fulfilled in post-Jesus Rome?(I think that's right...could be wrong. Admittedly, I'm not that well versed in historical perspectives outside of scripture.) So much allegory and imagery. I mean, it could be literal and chronological, but who can say?

Just seems that there are so many people who build whole ministries (ie LaHaye, Van Impe etc.) around these things that don't seem to have a very clear, concrete timeline in scripture and all to often they just muddy otherwise clear waters. It's a very slippery slope, but it's entirely possible that this discussion will turn me around on all of this. If it is indeed important then I look forward to being turned around on it. I only want to follow what is true. I definitely don't want to try to make a case supporting a point that I don't see myself...hopefully this will fix that.

in Him

Sola gratia, sola fide, solus Christus, soli Deo gloria, sola scriptura!

#49  Posted by Mike Sexton  |  Wednesday, March 24, 2010at 7:51 PM

PS...be gentle with me. Between reading all of this, and the day that I'm going to spend at the Creation Museum in July, I will most likely grow in my understanding by leaps and bounds! I hope so any way!

in Him,

#50  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Wednesday, March 24, 2010at 8:04 PM

Fred, I'll agree things get fuzzy. I looked at the site you reference. The problem is "Big Bang" is used commonly to mean "all the modern scientific cosmological theories of the origin and evolution of the universe". I am saying that, strictly speaking, the "Big Bang" is simply the observation of the universe expanding...But, the term has morphed since that original reference to become a synonym for all of modern scientific cosmology. Cosmologists, generally speaking, are trying to clean this mess up and reserve "Big Bang" for expansion, and "cosmological model" or "standard model of cosmology" for the whole package.

I am NOT claiming that cosmologists in general are not turning their theory into a philosphical worldview that is based on atheism. That is commonly the case. But, that is NOT physics, but something else. It is in fact common to see it taken that way...Certainly the extremely vast majority of cosmologists are not creationists by any stretch of the imagination.

So, when you read something that says "Big Bang", ask yourself if the use is for cosmology in general, or simply expansion. I note that even creationist sites tend to join the two together.

#51  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Wednesday, March 24, 2010at 8:29 PM

Rick,

The last 2 days I have been looking at the Answers in Genesis site again. I haven't been there in a long time, certainly not since I was in graduate school. As a trained physicist it is interesting to look around. I pretty much have kept to the physics/astronomy information on their site just because that is what I know.

Let me say that I appreciate what they do, trying to defend the Bible. The problem is, what they come up with to my physics eyes appears amateurish, and at times silly. It is hard for me to write that because I don't want to slander, but I have to be honest. I'll try to list a few examples.

First, I noticed that most of the claims are based on some really out-dated information. For example, I saw references and articles on galaxies being organized in concentric circles around the earth (ie quantized redshifts). That is from old (1970s and early 1980s) surveys of galaxies. New survey maps don't show quantization (or rings) of galaxies.

Second, the "papers" have citations that if you follow go to old issues of Astronomy magazine, or worse, Omni magazine, and the like (that is popular science mags, not true journals). If they cite "real" journal articles it is to fringe papers that no one takes seriously (that would be Arp or Hoyle for example), or it is self-citation back to some creationist article that isn't really a scientific result, just an assertion.

Third, they challenge some things that are basic standards of astrophysics and cosmology. For example, that stars aren't being formed, dying etc...I guess this could be simply my perspective but that sounds "kooky". That is fine if they have evidence and solid research to back it up, but I have yet to see ANY research they really do. It is all hand waiving and assertions with almost nothing to back it up. And believe me, claiming new stars aren't forming is a BIG claim.

Well, that is more than you probably wanted, and enough to get me into some hot water around here.

Oh yes, as far as "Starlight and Time", I lost my copy years ago. I remember it being about the idea that somehow we on earth are close to, but exactly at, the center of the universe, so time for us goes slower than for the rest of the universe...This seems doubtful to me for a host of reasons...I really need to get a copy of it again and take a look at it.

Let me say this in conclusion. Physicists in general are a group of secular humanists...Many have Buddhist and the like religious beliefs. That being said, they want to PUBLISH PUBLISH PUBLISH. If there was a shred of evidence that earth could be near the center of the universe, or light speed was decaying, or that stars aren't presently being formed, etc., a paper would have been published about it. I have never perceived a bias against presenting an idea. The question is can you back it up...

#52  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, March 24, 2010at 9:10 PM

Mike,

Let me preempt anyone's response to you by saying that we'll cover why this is important in this series. I think you'll see why this is a very important issue. It's good to hear your openness!

Everyone: let's not get into a discussion on the importance in this comment thread... we'll get to it later.

#53  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Wednesday, March 24, 2010at 9:33 PM

Mark,

Do you mind if I forward along your observations of AiG to some friends I have at that ministry?  I would be curious to get their feed back.  I am not looking for a knock down dragged out debate, just curious if they can answer your charge of being amateurish.  My perspective of their work happens to be the exact opposite of yours.

#54  Posted by Rick White  |  Wednesday, March 24, 2010at 9:53 PM

Mark,

Thanks again for your response. You've definitely given me some things to ponder. I have spent some time on Answers In Genesis and much of the material is helpful,however I spend much more time on creation.com as they do seem to keep a little more up to date on things. I have also found that when I go to their Q&A section the articles are as simplistic or as technical as you want to get. Do you have any suggestions for other websites to research these issues from a creationist viewpoint? One of the reasons that I'm so interested in these things is because I have four teenage sons,one in college and three still in high school so I'm confronted with these kinds of questions quiet frequently. I do want to make sure that my information is not only true but also precise. I would be interested if any of the participants here have any recommendations for places to do this kind of research.

#55  Posted by Don Jordan  |  Thursday, March 25, 2010at 3:20 AM

Mark,

"Third, they challenge some things that are basic standards of astrophysics and cosmology. For example, that stars aren't being formed, dying etc...I guess this could be simply my perspective but that sounds "kooky". That is fine if they have evidence and solid research to back it up, but I have yet to see ANY research they really do. It is all hand waiving and assertions with almost nothing to back it up. And believe me, claiming new stars aren't forming is a BIG claim."

None of the major creationist organizations that I know of, including Answers in Genesis (AiG), have ever said that stars are not dying. If AiG did, then please cite your source.

Since you're up to date on this subject, could you please cite for me where astronomers have actually seen stars form (i.e. a gas cloud condenses into a star and is lit)?

AiG is not a research organization because they concentrate on outreach the general public. If you want to see origianal research then you should check out these publications for starters...

Journal of Creation (this used to be associated with the AiG people): http://creation.com/journal-of-creation-archive-index

Creation Research Society Quarterly: http://www.creationresearch.org/crsq.html

Thanks.

#56  Posted by Don Jordan  |  Thursday, March 25, 2010at 3:44 AM

I tried to post a comment, but apparently the blog software won't let me include links. If This ends up being a double post, then please forgive me.

Mark,

"[T]hey challenge some things that are basic standards of astrophysics and cosmology. For example, that stars aren't being formed, dying etc...I guess this could be simply my perspective but that sounds "kooky". That is fine if they have evidence and solid research to back it up, but I have yet to see ANY research they really do. It is all hand waiving and assertions with almost nothing to back it up. And believe me, claiming new stars aren't forming is a BIG claim."

Answers in Genesis (AiG) is not a research organization; it's an outreach ministry to the general public. If you want to see original research, then I would suggest that you check out: Journal of Creation (founded by many of the AiG people) over at Creation Ministries International and the Creation Research Society Quarterly. I tried to post links to these publications before, but you can find them with Google if you wish.

I have yet to see any major creationist organization (AiG included) claim that stars are not "dying" (e.g. super novas, etc.). Where have you seen this?

Since you're up-to-date on the subject, I am curious to know where have astronomers actually seen a gas cloud collapse into a star and then lit?

I have questions regarding some of the other things you have posted. I am pretty busy at the moment, but if I have time, I'll get into them.

Thanks, Mark.

#57  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Thursday, March 25, 2010at 8:22 AM

As far as Answers in Genesis---I make no claim to have read widely their material. I have simply taken a cursory glance and have reported what I saw. Perhaps AiG does say stars are dying, but I do know they often say there has been no observation of a star's recent creation or "turning on" if you will. I don't want to get into a debate about that, since that is outside what this blog is intended to be about. (not a science blog per se).

Please understand I am not trying to attack them at all...

#58  Posted by Don Jordan  |  Thursday, March 25, 2010at 8:50 AM

Again, please forgive the previous double post. This is my first time on this blog.

Mark,

I did not take anything you said as an "attack" on AiG per se, nor do I have the time for a long debate myself. However, you did imply that one of "the basic standards of astrophysics and cosmology" was that stars are forming and that AiG's denial of that is "kooky." Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Since you are more up to date on the subject, then I would like to know if any emperical evidence of current star formation has come to light in the recent years (no pun intended).

Thanks.

#59  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Thursday, March 25, 2010at 9:15 AM

Don,

I'll have to look into that. Until yesterday I never heard anyone challenge that new stars were forming...that is my honest answer.

#60  Posted by Don Jordan  |  Thursday, March 25, 2010at 11:24 AM

Mark,

No problem. I'm in no hurry. All of the young-earth creationists I am familiar with do not accept gravational collpase (or whatever the formal name for the hypothesis is) as an adequate explaination for the existance of stars. I would suggest that you check out those technical journals some time for the most up to date information on creationist thinking / research. The AiG web site is more of a popular resource. Creation Ministries International has more technical material online.

- Don

#61  Posted by Don Jordan  |  Thursday, March 25, 2010at 11:28 AM

I need to ammend my comment. I should have written: 'All of the young-earth creationists I am familiar with do not accept gravational collpase (or whatever the formal name for the hypothesis is) as an adequate explaination for the formation of stars.'

#62  Posted by Lois Dimitre  |  Thursday, March 25, 2010at 1:20 PM

AIG presents sound science (in my opinion), certainly I can say that with confidence with regards to biochemistry, zoology, genetics, (the 'life sciences') etc. etc. I appreciate the work of AIG's Dr. Georgia Purdom and many others in their ministry. I also appreciate the work of ICR, having followed that ministry since it's inception. There are many other individuals and organizations of which I am aware that present solid, fact-based information while most importantly upholding a 'Biblical view of origins'.

For what it's worth, I've been a student of this 'debate' for many decades. What I've experienced to be the root cause of the disagreement, especially among Christians - is exactly what was suggested in the opening post. That is to say, the compromise of God's Word to accomodate that 'overextension' of science (also mentioned in the opening post).

Believe me, this 'overextension' is VERY evident in the 'life sciences' and has been for over a century within evolutionary circles. It is what allows them to state that 'molecules-to-man' is no longer a theory, but is FACTUAL. (No dissent allowed. It must - and will be - taught as 'science' to our children.) Unfortunately, many theistic evolutionists whom I've encountered (as colleagues) cling more to this overextension than they do the Word of God. And that's where I believe the trouble begins.

By God's grace, I've never doubted the literal Genesis account. His Word sustained me through my studies and work. A Biblical view of origins always made sense to me, especially when studying the life sciences, but also in other required courses like physics, or inorganic chemistry, etc. There is no need to change one 'jot or tittle' in the Bible in order to appreciate and understand God's creation. No need to adopt a 'progressive creationist' point of view.

That's why it is imperative that our 'young ones' are well-grounded in God's Word, especially if they are attending public schools and universities. And pray! Pray for our children to be well-equipped with the full armor of God. They'll need it especially if they choose to pursue science as their career.