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Monday, May 10, 2010 | Comments (31)

Scripture expressly condemns uniformitarianism in 2 Peter 3:4. Peter prophesied that this erroneous view would be adopted in the last days by scoffers—men walking after their own lusts—who imagine that "all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation." The apostle Peter goes on to write, "For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water" (vv. 5–6).

In other words, the plain teaching of Scripture is that this world’s history has not been one of uniform natural and geological processes from the beginning. But according to the Bible, there have been at least two global cataclysmic events: creation itself and a catastrophic worldwide flood in Noah’s time. These would sufficiently explain virtually all the geological and hydrological features of the earth as we know it.

In fact, large–scale catastrophic forces are the only really plausible explanation for some geological features. Not far from where I live is an area known as Vasquez Rocks. It has the appearance of a rugged moonscape (and is a familiar site in science–fiction films, where it is often employed as a setting for scenes depicting exotic planets). Its main features are massive shards of jagged rock strata, broken sharply and thrusting out of the ground to great heights. Whatever force stood those rocks on end was obviously sudden and violent, not slow and gradual. The entire region is filled with similar evidences of catastrophe. Not far away is the notorious San Andreas fault. There, where the roadway has been cut into the hillside, travelers may observe violently twisted rock strata. These features are mute evidence to extraordinary forces that have shaped the topography of Southern California—far exceeding the power of any known earthquake. Such phenomena are what we might expect, given the historicity of the biblical record. Scripture says, for example, that when the Flood began, "all the fountains of the great deep were broken up" (Genesis 7:11). No doubt the Flood was accompanied by volcanic activity, massive geological movements, and the shifting of the earth’s tectonic plates. Such a catastrophe would not only explain twisted and upthrust rock strata, but it would also easily explain why so many of the earth’s mountain ranges give evidence of having once been under the sea. Uniformitarians cannot agree on any feasible explanation for features like these.

A massive flood would also explain the formation of the Grand Canyon. In fact, it would be a better explanation of how the canyon came to be than any uniformitarian hypothesis. The features of the canyon itself (extremely deep gorges with level plateaus at the rims) suggest that it was formed by rapid erosion. A strikingly similar formation is Providence Canyon, near Lumpkin, Georgia—a spectacular canyon that covers more than eleven hundred acres. In the early 1800s the entire area was flat farmland. By the mid 1800s, farmers had completely cleared the area of trees and their root systems, leaving the area susceptible to erosion. In 1846, heavy rainfall began forming small gullies and crevices. These expanded with every successive rainfall. By the 1940s, nearby buildings and towns had to be moved to accommodate the growing canyon. Today the canyon comprises sixteen fingers, some more than one mile in length. At places the distance from the canyon floor to the rim is as high as a fifteen–story building. Today it is a scenic area, lush with trees and wildlife, often called "Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon." Its features are indistinguishable from canyons geologists claim took billions of years to form.

Douglas F. Kelly writes:

The uniformitarian assumption that millions of years of geological work (extrapolating from present, slow, natural processes) would be required to explain structures such as the American Grand Canyon for instance, is called into serious question by the explosion of Mount St. Helens in the state of Washington on the 18 of May 1980. Massive energy equivalent to 20 million tons of TNT destroyed 400 square kilometers of forest in six minutes, changing the face of the mountain and digging out depths of earth and rock, leaving formations not unlike parts of the larger Grand Canyon. Recent studies of the Mount St. Helens phenomenon indicate that if attempts were made to date these structures (which were formed in 1980) on the basis of uniformitarian theory, millions of years of formation time would be necessarily postulated.

Christians who reinterpret the biblical text to try to accommodate the uniformitarians’ old–earth hypotheses do so unnecessarily. To imagine that the earth was formed by natural processes over billions and billions of years through slow and steady evolution is to deny the very essence of what Scripture teaches about the earth’s creation. It is to reject the clear account of God Himself that He created the earth and all its life in six days.


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#1  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Monday, May 10, 2010at 8:10 PM

Just watched part of a documentary on PBS this weekend re: Mt. St. Helens & its comeback. The scientists were amazed at how quickly the vegetation & wildlife have returned to the volcano. Even more so, they seemed to be surprised at the speed of recovery for the adjacent lake, Spirit Lake, which they claimed was completely dead after the volcano spewed so much debris into it that it suffocated the lake & killed all living organisms & removed all oxygen in it. They projected it would take – I think he said 50-60 years – before it could be healed. They were astounded that as the debris sunk to the bottom & the sun shone on the lake, within about 3 years microbial life forms began forming on the bottom & began re-oxygenating the lake, which drew wildlife near to the lake & fishermen re-established schools of fish. I think all this began to take place in only a little over a decade. I’m not doing it justice, but having been participating in this blog, it was heartening & beautiful & analogous to see the death of the lake & the mountain & their resurrection. (I think that was part of the name of the documentary: The Death of Mt. St. Helens/or/Spirit Lake …) Very interesting to watch & glorious to see God at work with His creation – re-creating again! The main point was that lupines & other wildflowers & various wildlife (gophers digging miles of tunnels in the hardened lava – oxygenating the soil) were re-established at a much faster rate than the scientists had thought possible.

#2  Posted by Rick White  |  Tuesday, May 11, 2010at 4:19 AM

We see signs of catastrophe all around us. The Bible tells us about these catastrophic events and they are always a product of God's judgement on mankind. In fact these evidences of catastrophe are constant reminders that God has and always will judge sin. All one has to do is read the book of Revelation and see that there are more catastrophic events as a result of judgement yet to come. Could it be that the unregenerate heart just doesn't want so see these signs of catastrophe because he doesn't want to deal with his sin? I'm always amazed at how man refuses to see what is right in front of him in order to not have to deal with his sin and it's consequences. He will even invent all kinds of incredible theories in order to remain in his self induced darkness.

#3  Posted by Lois Dimitre  |  Tuesday, May 11, 2010at 3:07 PM

Carol G.,

THANK YOU :) for giving us a great synopsis of that PBS documentary on Mt. St. Helen's 'comeback'. I started watching the show, but nodded off after the first half...I think... (not because of the subject matter, mind you...I'll blame it on old age - LOL). So, I appreciate you filling in my blanks. The show was fascinating and revealing, even with the predictable evolutionary slant. But, as you said at least there was admission that the flora and fauna "re-established at a much faster rate than the scientists had thought possible."

On a related note, we were living in a remote area of northern California back in May of 1980 when Mt. St. Helen's blew. Could feel the earth quake (along with the breakfast table and overhead hanging lamp) even that far away. That smoke and ash haze (not the plume or anything like that) remained visible along the sky line even at that distance. The power of Almighty God's creation!

Rick White wrote:

"Could it be that the unregenerate heart just doesn't want so see these signs of catastrophe because he doesn't want to deal with his sin?

Certainly does make you wonder how there could be any doubt of the Creator in the minds of folks who live in places along active fault lines, 'Tornado Alley', hurricane hot spots, etc.!!

#4  Posted by Don Jordan  |  Tuesday, May 11, 2010at 7:42 PM

Carol Gayheart wrote: "gophers digging miles of tunnels in the hardened lava – oxygenating the soil"

We have that here in my fromt yard too. I'd love to donate a few of my gophers to Mt. Helens to help with the recovery!

#5  Posted by Garrett League  |  Wednesday, May 12, 2010at 8:28 AM

"A massive flood would also explain the formation of the Grand Canyon. In fact, it would be a better explanation of how the canyon came to be than any uniformitarian hypothesis." This is not the consensus. A massive flood would create a wide, shallow canyon, not a deep and narrow one. See: "Uniformitarianism & catastrophism in the Grand Canyon" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7mt3ClK7dM and "Dr. Eugenie Scott on creationism in the Grand Canyon" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_J2saTN9Qv0&feature=channel

Also, I have 7 questions (and clarifications) that I would like you all to answer (not necessarily related to this post, but the series overall):

1. Could God have used ordinary providence to create us, or was His only option miracles?

Clarification: I know you think Genesis excludes the former, so please treat this hypothetically. Is creation via evolution, strictly speaking, an impossibility for God? Why or why not? I am assuming many of you are cessasionists. If a lack of miracles doesn't prove that God is not at work, why is it any different here? How does your wider doctrine of miracles even make sense in Genesis?

2. Is it possible for a saved individual to accept evolution?

Clarification: Consistency aside, is it even theoretically possible for a redeemed person to be convinced (and not in some temporary lapse of sin) that evolution is the best explanation of the facts? Will accepting evolution cause him to lose his faith? Would you question whether or not his/her profession was valid in the first place?

3. Do you believe that the overwhelming amount of evidence obviously supports young-earth creationism and that scientists need only put on "biblical glasses" for all of the data to come into perfect focus?

Clarification: I'm trying to see if you think "materialistic/naturalistic" presuppositions (i.e., the "wrong glasses" of uniformitarianism, for example) are the primary reasons the scientific community rejects YEC. Same evidence, different glasses; is it as simple as that?

4. Do you believe that accepting evolution necessitates abandoning the doctrine of biblical inerrancy?

Clarification: I want to know if you think the bible must be 100% accurate in a modern, scientific sense (of course, only when it speaks on "scientific" matters) or else it is in error. What about the firmament/waters above it/ancient astronomy/geography/anatomy in the bible? It seems that you must explain these away as modern concepts that the original author clearly never intended. Where does accommodation to human limits come into this discussion? For example, saying that the sun and moon are the two great lights is scientifically problematic for several reasons. Why don't you consider this an error? And why can't your answer be applied to evolution?

5. Do you believe that accepting evolution necessitates abandoning the gospel?

Clarification: Does evolution undermine the gospel to such an extent that it might as well be discarded? Paul said if Christ is not risen, then our faith is in vain; is the same true if evolution happened?

6. Is it heretical to accept, as modern science indicates (see: "Does Genetics Point to a Single Primal Couple? http://biologos.org/blog/does-genetics-point-to-a-single-primal-couple/) that all people do not descend from just two ANE individuals living about 6,000 years ago?

Clarification: I want to know if you think the fall/transmission of original sin/redemption (i.e., Christ as 2nd Adam) is untenable unless all people who have ever lived can trace their genetic genealogy back to Adam and Eve.

7. What would it take for you to accept creation via evolution?

Clarification: For you to accept evolution, must the bible lay the theory out in broad terms for you to accept it? If evolution happened, is God's act of making Adam from dust devoid of all meaning? Eve from man's side? Since the bible nowhere lays out a modern heliocentric view of our solar system, why then do you not reject Copernicus and Galileo, as Luther and Calvin so vehemently did? How are you not making the very mistake they made? Why can't science correct our interpretations as it did theirs?

Thanks all; I look forward to your responses. For extra credit, replace "evolution" in all of the above questions with "an old-earth."

#6  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Wednesday, May 12, 2010at 11:13 AM

Garrett writes

I have 7 questions (and clarifications) that I would like you all to answer (not necessarily related to this post, but the series overall):

 

I am happy to,

 

1. Could God have used ordinary providence to create us, or was His only option miracles?

Clarification: I know you think Genesis excludes the former, so please treat this hypothetically. Is creation via evolution, strictly speaking, an impossibility for God? Why or why not? I am assuming many of you are cessasionists. If a lack of miracles doesn't prove that God is not at work, why is it any different here? How does your wider doctrine of miracles even make sense in Genesis?

 

If by "ordinary providence" you mean God just set in motion the laws of nature in some unrevealed time in the far away past of 4 billion years or more and allowed them to "do their thing" and directed life to be where it is now as we observe, then no.

 

First, life is just too complex and even giving the supposed billions of years, time is just too short for such complexity of life to evolve in the manner biologists claim it did. You can post as many Youtube videos as you wish attempting to say otherwise, but facts are facts.

 

Second, you seem to separate providence from miracle as if the two are somehow unrelated; or perhaps, one has God's hands directly moving (miracle) and the other is him occasionally pushing events for his purposes (providence). In fact, it would be helpful for you to define these terms as you understand them.

 

Third, you also seem to misunderstand cessationism. Cessationism does not teach God does not do miracles, answers prayer, heal, or whatever. The term has to do with how we understand the charismata (spiritual gifts) in the function of the NT church. Cessationists believe the spiritual gifts fulfilled their functions and once they finished those purposes, they ceased. You seem to be tying the term strictly to the miraculous. That if a person holds to the cessation of the spiritual gifts, that person denies the miraculous, or in our case, we are inconsistent.

 

2. Is it possible for a saved individual to accept evolution?

Clarification: Consistency aside, is it even theoretically possible for a redeemed person to be convinced (and not in some temporary lapse of sin) that evolution is the best explanation of the facts? Will accepting evolution cause him to lose his faith? Would you question whether or not his/her profession was valid in the first place?

 

We covered this already in the comments at this post: http://www.gty.org/Blog/B100401 Individuals can be saved and accept evolution. They do this because they don't know any better. They are under the false notion that science is close to being an infallible process and those in the lab coats have become something of a priest class who determine how we are to think of such matters. But you can't lay aside consistency as you want to do. If one is going to read the Genesis account accurately in the manner that it is meant to be understood, it not being ANE mythos, but real, historical narrative as the language and grammar tells us, then a Christian will be hard pressed to maintain those evolutionary convictions along side of an evolutionary construct of earth's history.

 

3. Do you believe that the overwhelming amount of evidence obviously supports young-earth creationism and that scientists need only put on "biblical glasses" for all of the data to come into perfect focus?

Clarification: I'm trying to see if you think "materialistic/naturalistic" presuppositions (i.e., the "wrong glasses" of uniformitarianism, for example) are the primary reasons the scientific community rejects YEC. Same evidence, different glasses; is it as simple as that?

 

Evidence has to be interpreted. It does not stand on its own, self authenticating terms. There are no brute facts that remain uninterpreted in the world. Everything is interpreted through a person's filter of presuppositions. Even with biblical "glasses" there will still be fuzzy issues to resolve because we are limited as human beings as to our perspective. The point is that one does as Peter exhorts, "but set apart Christ as Lord... (1 Peter 3:15). That means as we grow in the Lord we will understand, ie interpret, the world according to a biblical worldview, one that is shaped by the revelation of scripture. The primary reason the majority of the scientific community rejects YEC, or any creationism for that matter, including theistic evolution, has to do with what the Bible does to inform us about the fallen nature of men. They hate God and want nothing to do with him.

 

4. Do you believe that accepting evolution necessitates abandoning the doctrine of biblical inerrancy?

Clarification: I want to know if you think the bible must be 100% accurate in a modern, scientific sense (of course, only when it speaks on "scientific" matters) or else it is in error. What about the firmament/waters above it/ancient astronomy/geography/anatomy in the bible? It seems that you must explain these away as modern concepts that the original author clearly never intended. Where does accommodation to human limits come into this discussion? For example, saying that the sun and moon are the two great lights is scientifically problematic for several reasons. Why don't you consider this an error? And why can't your answer be applied to evolution?

 

Yes. Accepting evolution as being something to reinterpret how we interpret the Bible is an abandonment of inerrancy. Either the Bible is inerrant, without error in the areas in which it addresses, including our physical world and the history of humanity, or it is not. It is really quite simple. You are basically saying there is another system of philosophy, "scientific Darwinianism" that can be laid upon the Bible to re-read it and interpret it, which means there were two millennia worth of God's people who were in the dark as to God's revelation in these matters. I truly do not believe you have thought through the serious ramifications of your views and how they impact orthodox Christianity.

 

As to accommodating human limits, how exactly is saying the sun and moon are the two great lights scientifically problematic exactly? Because we know of red giants or something? Are you saying science doesn't believe they are great lights? As far as the sun and moon are concerned to humanity on earth, they are the two great lights, the very thing God wished to convey in Genesis. Are you seriously thinking it was an error for Moses to write that the sun and moon are the two great lights? I mean, he goes on to contrast them with the lesser lights, the stars. You seem to be hunting windmills where none exist.

 

5. Do you believe that accepting evolution necessitates abandoning the gospel?

Clarification: Does evolution undermine the gospel to such an extent that it might as well be discarded? Paul said if Christ is not risen, then our faith is in vain; is the same true if evolution happened?

 

Yes. The gospel is dependent upon what we know about the original man, Adam. In Adam, all men fall. His fall does not just impact us spiritually, but also physically, as it does the creation. The Bible is just absolutely clear on this. If we are going to believe as you suggest that we are not genetically linked to Adam, that means there is potentially the existence of individuals unaffected by Adam's sin.

 

6. Is it heretical to accept, as modern science indicates (see: "Does Genetics Point to a Single Primal Couple? http://biologos.org/blog/does-genetics-point-to-a-single-primal-couple/) that all people do not descend from just two ANE individuals living about 6,000 years ago?

Clarification: I want to know if you think the fall/transmission of original sin/redemption (i.e., Christ as 2nd Adam) is untenable unless all people who have ever lived can trace their genetic genealogy back to Adam and Eve.

 

The bios objection would only be relevant if it had been made before the flood. Modern science doesn't take into consideration the genetic differences between Noah, his wife, his three sons and wives, and their offspring. They also don't take into consideration the tower of Babel incident. In other words, all people NOW descend from at least 4 couples and their offspring who spread out over the earth. See here: http://creation.com/noah-and-genetics.

 

7. What would it take for you to accept creation via evolution?

Clarification: For you to accept evolution, must the bible lay the theory out in broad terms for you to accept it? If evolution happened, is God's act of making Adam from dust devoid of all meaning? Eve from man's side? Since the bible nowhere lays out a modern heliocentric view of our solar system, why then do you not reject Copernicus and Galileo, as Luther and Calvin so vehemently did? How are you not making the very mistake they made? Why can't science correct our interpretations as it did theirs?

Thanks all; I look forward to your responses. For extra credit, replace "evolution" in all of the above questions with "an old-earth

 

I'll skip the question and just deal with the clarification that presents a lot of urban legend and misinformation. The Bible doesn't do a lot of things, but it doesn't suggest a geocentric cosmology either. At least anymore than my local weather station telling me when the sun will rise and set for the day. It is just an enlightenment era myth that Christianity had designed and defended a geocentric view of the cosmos from the pages of scripture and Copernicus and Galileo came along, challenged the model, and the church had to sheepishly accept the Bible was wrong. Copernicus didn't do anything uniquely special, nor did Galileo, for that matter. Copernicus built his work upon previous scholastics without citing their influence in his thinking. His work had one or two things right, but the bulk of it was wrong, including the idea of epicycles necessary to explain the variation between his proposed model and the observation of the actual planets. In fact, a previous comment by you along similar lines spurred me to cite from Rodney Stark's work, "For the Glory of God" that can be located at my personal blog here: http://hipandthigh.blogspot.com/2010/05/copernicus-and-his-revolution.html The primary opposition to Copernicus and Galileo came from Ptolemaic academics. It wasn't Christians who had built a geocentric view of the world who opposed them.

 

#7  Posted by Don Jordan  |  Wednesday, May 12, 2010at 2:48 PM

Garrett wrote: "'A massive flood would also explain the formation of the Grand Canyon. In fact, it would be a better explanation of how the canyon came to be than any uniformitarian hypothesis.' This is not the consensus. A massive flood would create a wide, shallow canyon, not a deep and narrow one."

Regarding the Grand Canyon, nobody among the usual suspects on either side of the creation/evolution debate has a good theory on how it formed. In the latest couple of issues of the Creation Research Society Quarterly, Michael J. Oard has been attacking the dam-breach hypothesis. One of the biggest problems with every theory that postulates water carved the Grand Canyon, whether creationist or evolutionist, is the complete absence of the thousands of cubic miles of missing debris that would have collected at the mouth of the Colorado River. At least the creationists have a more believeable way of disposing of the debris with Noah's flood.

I have begun reading up on a plasma theory for the origin of the cosmos. I have yet to make up my mind regarding my position on it. The “electric universe” people believe the Grand Canyon looks just like a giant fractal discharge pattern (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lichtenberg_figure) caused by an equally gigantic electromagnetic discharge. This would account for all the unique features of the canyon that water cannot produce as well as the missing debris. I'll toss this out here because, if anything, it is interesting and provocative:

The Grand Canyon: Part One - http://www.thunderbolts.info/tpod/2008/arch08/080929grandcanyon.htm

The Grand Canyon: Part Two - http://www.thunderbolts.info/tpod/2008/arch08/081001canyon2.htm

#8  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, May 12, 2010at 3:45 PM

Garrett, Fred pretty much answered your questions completely, but for the same of multiple responses, I'll add mine.

(I won't include your questions since both you and Fred listed them)

1. Technically, God can do anything that is not contrary to reason (e.g. it is illogical to ask if God can make a rock heavier than he can lift). Adding to what Fred said, if God did use evolution, He would have had to be involved throughout the process because there are too many areas of complexity that could not have evolved. The question is not "can God", the question is "did God." Even if people answered "yes" to your question, that is irrelevant. God could have created in an instant, in a day, in a year, in ten years, yet He chose to do it in six days. If God had done it differently, we would have a different Scripture because a number of clear passages are based on the 6 days of work and one of rest in which it occurred.

2. Yes. But the consistency issue should not be set aside. As soon as you re-interpret Genesis 1-3, you must re-interpret a large number of passages (starting with Genesis 4, 5; Romans 5; etc. and you have to re-answer a lot of questions that Genesis 1-3 answers. If Adam and Eve are not historical, where did marriage come from? Where did sin come from? How is sin passed down? Why is work hard? Where does death come from? etc. etc. etc.

3. Repeating what Fred said, it's all in the presuppositions. Evidence only leads where your presuppositions allow. If you assume the superiority of man's knowledge, reason, presuppositions, and conclusions, you get evolution. If you assume the superiority of God's revealed word, you get creation.

4. Yes. As Fred said, some things are not scientifically stated, they are stated from the perspective of the reader. The sunrise/sunset example is the best example. No one says, "Boy that's a beautiful earth revolving!"

5. Yes. Though since believers realize this problem they do gymnastics with Scripture to avoid it.

6. Heretical? Only in the sense that you have to reject or allegorize Scripture in order to deal with the fall, transmission of sin, and other issues.

7. In order for me to accept anything other than a 6-day creation God would have to re-write Scripture so that Genesis 1-3 is not historical narrative upon which the rest of Scripture is based.

Final notes:

The Bible makes it plainly clear that God had a specific purpose in creating the world and man. We aren't some science experiment that God is trying out. From eternity past God made a plan that had a beginning (creation), a middle (redemption) and an end (eternity with glorified saints). God's clear description of how he made the world fits neatly into that plan. Science's explanation makes creation look like a high school science experiment. It may work in the end but it is sloppy, messy, and had to be modified throughout.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Science a priori rejects God's Word where He clearly describes His acts as creative miracles, and science seeks to be dogmatic about that which it cannot know for certain. Providing naturalistic answers to the question which God answered miraculously is atheistic. Again I bring up the wine which Jesus created; the loaves and fish; restoring body parts; restoring hearing, sight, and life itself. None of those things can be explained scientifically because they are all supernatural acts. Indeed if science attempted to explain them they would only find real wine, real bread, real fish, normal hands and feet, normal ears and eyes, and a healthy individual. Science would naturally explain how the wine was grown, pressed, and mixed. How the wheat was harvested and baked into loaves, and how the fish had hatched from eggs, grown, been caught and cooked, and how the person had grown up with normal functioning limbs. But science would be wrong in all those cases. Why then to Christian scientists like yourself a priori reject God's miraculous power in creation in favor of an atheistic interpretation of creation? You don't do it with Jesus' miracles, but you feel compelled to with creation.

Interpreting Genesis 1-3 with a grammatical-historical hermeneutic allows one to be consistent with that same hermeneutic throughout Scripture. Once you allegorize that text you immediately have to allegorize a bunch of other Scripture which will end up as purely subjective intrepretation and destroy the doctrine of redemption. The only way that the doctrine of redemption is maintained by you and others is to allegorize Scripture a certain way. But the only boundary on your allegorical interpretation is a personal desire for orthodoxy. If you reject a literal interpretation to Genesis 1-3 anyone can allegorize the rest of Scripture any way they want.

You've asked us questions, here are some for you:

1. If you wouldn't scientifically study the miracles of Jesus which are laid out in normal historical narrative, why are you so compelled to scientifically study creation even though it is a normal historical narrative of God's miraculous power in creation?

2. If God did create a mature universe in 6 days and a mature man and woman in one, would they look old?

3. What was the consequence of the fall, since it wasn't death in your view?

4. How did sin, the universal principle in humanity, come to be?

5. If Adam isn't literal, what about Cain and Abel? Seth? Enosh? At what point in Genesis 5 does fiction end and history begin?

6. What would it take for you to accept a plain grammatical-historical reading of Scripture?
#9  Posted by Don Jordan  |  Wednesday, May 12, 2010at 5:59 PM

BTW - I meant to say, 'HUNDREDS of cubic miles,' not thousands. =^)

#10  Posted by Don Jordan  |  Wednesday, May 12, 2010at 7:26 PM

Garrett, Every time you post something you demonstrate that you know absolutely NOTHING about young-earth creationism.

Regarding the two videos of Dr. Eugenie Scott and company "refuting" creationist’s theories about the formation of the Grand Canyon:

Please note that, from what I could hear (the audio is very bad), Drs. Scott and Gishlick made NO mention of the dam-breach hypothesis, which has been the major creationist hypothesis for the formation of Grand Canyon for nearly 20 years now. Basically, the dam-breach origin for the Grand Canyon says that there were lakes north of where the Grand Canyon is now that formed after the Noachic flood waters receded. The lakes then breeched shortly after the flood and carved the Grand Canyon while the stratum was still soft. Basically, Scott and Gishlick end up refuting a notion that creationists abandoned 20 years ago. Furthermore, when they mention Mt. St. Helens, they say you can’t apply it to the Grand Canyon, but they don’t tell you why. Talk is cheap, prove it Dr. Scott. Finally, there is no mention in any of these videos of anything like “A massive flood would create a wide, shallow canyon, not a deep and narrow one.” This looks like another FAIL.

Of course, Dr. Scott is an atheistic evolutionary propagandist so it is in her best interest to misrepresent creationism. Please read, "Evolutionist: it’s OK to deceive students to believe evolution", http://creation.com/evolutionist-its-ok-to-deceive-students-to-believe-evolution

Here's a nice Answers in Genesis article about the Grand Canyon. This article also explains how events at the Mt. St. Helens eruption gives us clues about how the Grand Canyon might have been formed by catastrophic processes: "The Grand Canyon", http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/cfol/ch3-grand-canyon.asp

Finally, here's CreationWiki's response to Talk Origins' pathetic attempt to refute the rapid erosion evidence from Mt. St. Helens, http://creationwiki.org/Rapid_erosion_on_Mt._St._Helens_shows_Grand_Canyon_could_form_suddenly

#11  Posted by Garrett League  |  Wednesday, May 12, 2010at 9:22 PM

Don #6: Thanks for your thoughtful responses. Just what I was looking for. Wanted to clear a few things up though.

"If by "ordinary providence" you mean God just set in motion the laws of nature in some unrevealed time in the far away past of 4 billion years or more and allowed them to "do their thing" and directed life to be where it is now as we observe, then no."

I'm a Calvinist bro, I most definitely agree with you. No watch winding and vacationing deity. God upholds and sustains all "laws," and none act autonomously.

"They are under the false notion that science is close to being an infallible process and those in the lab coats have become something of a priest class who determine how we are to think of such matters." Close to infallible? Not even close. And this whole secular priesthood analogy is overblown. "it not being ANE mythos, but real, historical narrative as the language and grammar tells us" That's not even what I believe. It isn't merely "mythos." There is an historical element.

"how exactly is saying the sun and moon are the two great lights scientifically problematic exactly?" Yes, in Calvin's day some claimed the bible was false because Jupiter was found to be larger than the moon. Plus, the original text makes no distinction between the sun and moon as light bearers, when we now know that the moon merely reflects sunlight. Like you and I, Calvin said that the bible is simply using plain, naked eye observation language, the language of appearances. I say the same principle, in part, applies to old earth/evolution.

"If we are going to believe as you suggest that we are not genetically linked to Adam, that means there is potentially the existence of individuals unaffected by Adam's sin." Not if all our ancestors fell, like Adam. We are all fallen, hence they all fell.

"They also don't take into consideration the tower of Babel incident. In other words, all people NOW descend from at least 4 couples and their offspring who spread out over the earth." That sort of bottleneck is also ruled out, but I'll check out your article anyways.

"It is just an enlightenment era myth that Christianity had designed and defended a geocentric view of the cosmos from the pages of scripture and Copernicus and Galileo came along, challenged the model, and the church had to sheepishly accept the Bible was wrong" So Luther and Calvin DIDN'T reject Copernicus based on scripture? I can give quotes here.

#8 Gabe: "The question is not "can God", the question is "did God." I 100% agree. I think He can and all evidence says He did. Some, however, claim it's physically impossible in 4.5 billion years, as Don says. I know J.Mac says even God couldn't use evo as a means of creation because evo is scientifically impossible.

"The sunrise/sunset example is the best example. No one says, "Boy that's a beautiful earth revolving!" Yes, my point exactly! So why must the bible be scientifically false if it indicates that man thinks with his guts not brain and that there is a solid firmament with waters above it?

" Science would naturally explain how the wine was grown, pressed, and mixed. How the wheat was harvested and baked into loaves, and how the fish had hatched from eggs, grown, been caught and cooked, and how the person had grown up with normal functioning limbs." See this video for a rebuttal to the wine argument: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyEOdnckKCQ

"If you reject a literal interpretation to Genesis 1-3 anyone can allegorize the rest of Scripture any way they want." You don't really believe that, do you? There are many genres, many books, many styles. You don't read 1 Chronicles like you read Revelation. There are built in safeguards against that slippery slope.

#10 Don: "Garrett, Every time you post something you demonstrate that you know absolutely NOTHING about young-earth creationism." I know plenty about YEC. I know Hovind's material backwards and forwards and I have logged many hrs on AIG. I wouldn't claim you know NOTHING about evolution just because you misrepresent it at times. I was a hardcore YEC for years, very familiar w/ the arguments. I know, for instance, about the dam theory you cite. Those videos aren't exhaustive. Please remember that these back and forths are informal and very limited.

#8 Gabe: Here are my quick responses:

1. If you wouldn't scientifically study the miracles of Jesus which are laid out in normal historical narrative, why are you so compelled to scientifically study creation even though it is a normal historical narrative of God's miraculous power in creation?

Great question! Two points. First, Genesis 1 is not merely "a normal historical narrative." There are symbols, ANE conventions, and mytho-poetic language that simply cannot be ignored. I think the temple text/ANE parallels are compelling. In these regards, I think Waltke/Walton are very insightful. Packer too (http://www.sydneyanglicans.net/media/audio/creation_evolution_problems/). Second, if God did create via miracle, then he did it in the only way (and there were millions of possibilities) that makes sense in the universal tree of life hypothesis. I think that's more than coincidental (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_zDWUguU_Y).

2. If God did create a mature universe in 6 days and a mature man and woman in one, would they look old?

See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyEOdnckKCQ for my take on the appearance of age argument.

3. What was the consequence of the fall, since it wasn't death in your view?

It was death: immediate spiritual and eventual physical. A & E could have died physically before the fall; by sacramentally partaking of the tree of life, they would not have died physically, but would have been immortal. Hence, if they accessed it post-fall, they would have lived forever, but as sinners.

4. How did sin, the universal principle in humanity, come to be?

No clue. The origin of evil is mysterious. Asking how sin "came to be" can be misleading though; sin isn't a something, but a lack of something, namely a lack of perfect righteousness/holiness/obedience that God requires. So it isn't something God made, since all He made was good. What was good then fell, and without any prior disposition to do so. Don't fully know how, just know we wanted to worship the creation rather than the creator because of pride. We were righteous, but not immutably righteous. Augustine I think is insightful here.

5. If Adam isn't literal, what about Cain and Abel? Seth? Enosh? At what point in Genesis 5 does fiction end and history begin?

By literal, I mean "that the Bible must be interpreted according to the manner in which it is written. Literal refers to the literary form of Scripture" (R.C. Sproul, "What is Reformed Theology," p.56). Hence I do believe Adam is "literal." And I do believe Adam clearly refers, at times, to an historic individual. But that does not mean we can ignore literary forms and read the text with a "naive or wooden literalism."

6. What would it take for you to accept a plain grammatical-historical reading of Scripture?

I do. That's what I'm trying to get y'all to see! If you think you don't read genesis in light of modern concepts, then you are only fooling yourself. This is what Carson has called the tabula rasa fallacy. I try to read it in the sandals of an ancient Israelite: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ka_ZXNpTcPU

TO ALL: I want to touch on one last point. When I remove my "naturalistic glasses," why do I have such a hard, up-hill struggle to make sense of data from virtually all fields of science? What am I not seeing that y'all see?

#12  Posted by Don Jordan  |  Wednesday, May 12, 2010at 9:38 PM

I'm sorry I got snarky, Garrett.

#13  Posted by Curtis Swank  |  Thursday, May 13, 2010at 3:59 AM

1. Could God have used ordinary providence to create us, or was His only option miracles? Garrett League its obvious that you are an intellecual man. There have been quotes of others to defend their point of view. I would like as well to quote from someone as well. You might know him but maybe not. First let me quote him this might help you in knowing who this might be. "I aslo found an alter with the inscription, 'TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.' Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. "The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands: nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your poets have said, 'For we also are His children.' "Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. "Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God in now declaring to men that all people everwhere should repent." The Apostle Paul Acts Chapter 17:verses 22b thru 31 Garrett League Jesus once said to a scribe and He is saying it to you. "You are not far from the kingdom of God". Repent and believe Garrett League and know your Creator!

#14  Posted by Mary Kidwell  |  Thursday, May 13, 2010at 4:36 AM

Garrett:"When I remove my "naturalistic glasses," why do I have such a hard, up-hill struggle to make sense of data from virtually all fields of science? What am I not seeing that y'all see?"

Hebrews 11:1 tells us "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Jesus told Thomas in John 20:29 "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

It seems to me you are insisting on walking by sight and not faith in spite of the fact that "the just shall live by faith" (Heb 10:38) and "without faith, it is impossible to please God" (Hebrews 11:6).

The theories of evolution have been introduced and put forth by those who refuse to acknowledge God. The Bible describes them as fools (Psalm 14:1) so why would you put more reliance on their teaching than on the plain teaching of scripture. You seem to be making excuses as to why you don't believe what scripture is plainly saying in order to rationalize your desire to go with the majority of the scientific community. I am reminded of Satan's tactic to confuse Eve "Did God really say". It is still his tactic today, to cause doubt about what God has said. Be careful you do not fall into his trap.

Remember that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.

Humbly seek His wisdom and He will give it to you.

May God guide you to His truth.

#15  Posted by El Amigo De La Playa  |  Thursday, May 13, 2010at 7:45 AM

Brethren,

I really enjoy this discussion !

I am deeply troubled by this new Calvinist trend to be either "Old Earth" or borderline evolutionist...

Garrett here is a good example of a smart guy, Calvinist Christian, ex-Hovind fan... Now an evolutionist... What´s the deal ? Why is Garrett so motivated to post here and defend his new views ?

I also was troubled when I listened to an older Mark Driscoll podcast, one of the first "Doctrine" podcasts, about Genesis & Creation (see Mars Hill Church website). Basically Mark states he is an "Old Earth" guy, and endorses Hugh Ross... That doesn´t sounds right to me...

Made me watch the YouTube videos of that Hovind/Ross debate...

I have to say it, in spite of all his tax problems in his country, Kent Hovind is still the one who makes the most sense out of all the Creation issue, even if he is sitting in jail right now...

I am sure Garrett will come up with a smart post about all the alleged flaws in Hovind´s presentations, as scoffers are very skilled those days. That doesn´t however underestimate the fact that the Bible is to take literally, and when men´s opinions contradict the Word of God, most likely those mens are mislead...

I am glad J.Macarthur is on top of the Young Earth Creation. We need it, we need such a figure to defend good doctrine.

I wish to understand what´s the deal with modern Calvinists trying to be cool, and within the secular scientists logic... No disrespect, as I enjoy M.Driscoll, he is a skilled preacher for the youth... But his Old Earth views are dangerous...

#16  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Thursday, May 13, 2010at 2:11 PM

I have been watching Garrett defend himself, and he does it well. The problem Garret is...

Where is it written that believing in Genesis 1-3 as a literally historical account of what happened REQUIRES it to be "scientifically valid"? You have gone into great detail of how it is an ANE narrative, creation myth, etc that is not intended to be taken literally in the modern sense. Well, flip that over. Why must God's revelation to mankind of how He created the universe stand up to OUR reasonings and blind analysis of the world? I am picturing Job here, standing before God, with God questioning him about the world that He had created...Read the last few chapters of Job my friend.

Second, I watched the youtube video you referenced (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyEOdnckKCQ), and I don't who this guy is, but he is slick, and keep him away from your kids...If this is what you are listening to then no wonder you are confused.

Third, the thing I can't understand is, with all of this talk about mytho-poetic language, ANE creation narratives, etc, why do you accept that Jesus is both God and man. Does that come out under a microscope? Why do you presumably believe that but can't accept a young earth because the "scientific" evidence is so overwhelming against it? What scientific evidence is there that Mary conceived without having sexual relations with a man? What evidence is there that the water turned into wine? What evidence is there that Jesus didn't sin? Or is that more ANE narrative? When does your rational humanistic analysis of the world end and faith in Jesus Christ through the revealed Word of God begin?

#17  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, May 13, 2010at 3:27 PM

Glad to have you back, Mark!

Just to help folks out, here is a brief rebuttle of the Appearance of Age (hereafter AOA) video by Gordon Clover.

1. He makes an analogy of what if God created everything as it is today, yesterday. He says we wouldn't know because we couldn't test it. Well we would know if God told us, just like He did tell us that He made everything mature and complete in 6 days. In this analogy he brings subjective personal memories of the past into the equation which makes the analogy completely different than Genesis 1.

2. He says the AOA doctrine add nothing to our scientific knowledge of the created order. Exactly. Just like Jesus raising someone from the dead adds nothing to our scientific study of life and death. The presupposition is that we should be able to learn about creation scientifically, which is an atheistic presupposition.

3. He says, "There is no pressing 'AOA problem' that needs this theory to solve it." The fact he is making this video, shows that in fact there is.

4. He says the AOA theory is bad science. No one claims it is science. That's the point.

5. Regarding the Wedding in Cana, his explanation is totally deceptive. He compares the paper trail of the wine with the development of the universe, when he should be comparing the development of the wine (grown on a vine, picked, smashed, filtered, aged) with the development of the universe. He is making a comparison between apples and oranges.

6. He adds a deceptive statement, "the scientific community, who take their work very seriously..." as if to say that they are never wrong. Sincerity is not a test of truth.

7. His description of the first day of creation is wrong too. Adam and Eve did not "learn and rehearse" language as if they had memories of speaking it before. They simply knew how to speak it even though they had never spoken before. He said, "Adam appeared to have some experience with..." No. Adam did not have "experience", God simply gave him the intrinsic ability to know what to do. We see this in the world today... we call it intuition.

8. "What if Adam and Eve had detailed memories..." They didn't. The Bible doesn't say they did. This guy made that up to warp your mind.

9. "What if they could tell you exactly where and how they met?" Uh... they could because the Bible records their meeting in Genesis 3:22-25.

10. "As the fabricated illusions become more detailed and more coherent." The only fabricated details are the ones this guys is making up.

11. Why would God fashion the entire cosmos according to scenario A, but make it look like scenario B were true? This question 1) assumes that scenario B is true, which is a huge assumption, 2) this assumes that God didn't tell us how He did it, which He did. So therefore for us to ignore God and assume scenario B is rebellion against God.

12. "By supposedly solving the scientific problem of the AOA [didn't he reject that this was a problem?], we raise difficult theological problems that undermind the character of God." Actually, we raise the issue of authority and submission. Will you submit to God's explanation, or will you submit to man's changing limited naturalistic thinking?

13. "I'd rather not turn God into the creator of unneccessary illusions that serve no other purpose than to turn people away from biblical truth." Sheesh. The only thing turning people away from biblical truth is your atheistic presupposition and rebellion against God's clearly revealed Word.

14. "We must ask ourselves this, What are the dangers of presenting ideas that are overwhelmingly rejected by practicing scientists to our children..." What, you mean like the existence of God, deity of Christ, the resurrection? I mean... those things are clearly overwhelmingly rejected by atheists and non-Christians. What happens when our children go to school and learn from their well educated teachers that Jesus was a myth? What will happen when they realize they have been mislead by their parents who taught them that Jesus really was the Son of God?

15. "Sands of creation science"? As opposed to the unchanging rock of evolution (which I might add is a theory)? Give me a break. This guy has a serious faith commitment to evolution.

16. "What does the Scripture say about causing little ones to stumble?" Uh huh. I'll ask you the same thing Mr. The-Bible-Isn't-True-Just-Believe-Me-Instead.

17. With regard to Church history, those were clear misinterpretations or misunderstanding by the church about how things currently work. We're talking about an issue which science cannot demonstrate or repeat.

Don't be deceived. This guy has put his faith in science and man's reason above Scripture. He believes in the infallibility of science and the need to bow to naturalistic theories lest we cause a little one to stumble (a verse which he misinterprets, by the way).

#18  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Thursday, May 13, 2010at 3:52 PM

Lois/others,

Here's the link to the PBS documentary on Mt. St. Helens: Back from the Dead. The description that this blog intro gives of "main features are massive shards of jagged rock strata, broken sharply and thrusting out of the ground to great heights. Whatever force stood those rocks on end was obviously sudden and violent, not slow and gradual" must be similar to what was witnessed at Mt. St. Helens & documented in video. You could SEE with time-lapsed photography these MASSIVE rocks jutting out of the ground & they said it happened in ONE DAY, then the next day, the surface shape changed again! This took place for days until the volcano became silent/no seismagraphic activity. It really is worth viewing to SEE IT BEFORE YOUR VERY EYES!

http://video.pbs.org/video/1485211138

Just for fun/ I'm curious: the ocean is still awaiting much exploration. I don't know, maybe someone out there does: As we can drill for oil in the ocean beds, have there been core samples taken of the deep & examined for fossil records & having found "unusual fossils" such as land animals that wouldn't belong there? Evidence supporting catastrophic flood? Land shifts? That kind of stuff? Thanks!

#19  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Thursday, May 13, 2010at 8:03 PM

Mary Kidwell: you stole my thunder re: satan’s tactics! :)

I’ve been thinking about Original Sin/The First Sin

I believe it was 2-fold:

1) To Distrust/ Disbelieve/ Reject God’s Word as Absolute Truth => leading to:

2) Action taken upon that Distrust/Rejection = DISOBEDIENCE/SIN

It was satan who planted the seed of temptation asking Eve, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?’” NOTE: he purposely MISQUOTED God! He then says to Eve, “You will surely not die. For God knows…” LIAR, LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE!

But James says (1:14-15) “But each person is tempted when he is lured & enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, & sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”

Perhaps the distrust & disbelief stage is only the temptation stage/not yet physical sin, BUT, IT IS a conscience decision made to NOT Trust or Believe God, which then produces the rejection of God’s Word followed by disobedience.

How is evolutionary “thinking” any different? What mindset does it lead to? If a person allows science to determine his view of the age of the earth or how the first humans were formed, what prevents that person from allowing additional “evidence” to change his view of: sin & the need for salvation? Of Jesus’ sacrificial death & resurrection? Of eternal reward or punishment?

I BELIEVE that evolutionary “thinking” is at a bare minimum a slippery slope into sin. Is even the belief of evolution a sin? I can say that it certainly doesn’t give God the glory for His creation in the same way the Bible does. It doesn’t take God’s word to be true & accurate. It actually removes the establishment of original man, original sin, original fall, original death/punishment for sin, corruption of the earth,… IT JUST DOESN’T LINE UP WITH THE BIBLE!

Visual example: My husband ordered a new trumpet mouthpiece: it is 1/1000” smaller in bore size & about 5/1000” shallower in the cup, and the slope of the bell is sharper (I think) than the one he currently has. Is that minute change enough to make a difference? (I’m sure machinists can appreciate those measurements, but it seems awfully insignificant to me.) However, he has borrowed a very similar mouthpiece & it DID make a BIG difference in sound. Additionally, he showed me on the computer a program which shows each mouthpiece in a schematic diagram - one in red, the other in green - & you can drag one over the other to VISUALLY SEE THE DIFFERENCE. Wow! They are CLEARLY DISTINCT. I keep thinking of that analogy with regard to this creation vs. evolution debate. If you were to “overlay” evolution on top of the Bible’s account of creation, THEY DO NOT MATCH! They are NOT the same/not even close, & therefore, BOTH CAN’T BE ACCURATE. Six days can’t be reinterpreted as 6 billion years! “And there was evening, & there was morning, the first day.”

Garrett said, “I want to get it right, I really do, whether or not that leaves room for my other commitments. In God's mind, science and scripture make PERFECT sense, and the two gloriously harmonious. I want to get a taste of that, esp. regarding evolution. I want truth. If evolution is true, then it must be compatible with God's true word. If evolution is not true, then it is ultimately satanic and I want no part of it.”

HONESTLY, LOGICALLY, FAITHFULLY, I DON’T SEE ANY COMPATIBILITY.

#20  Posted by Garrett League  |  Friday, May 14, 2010at 12:13 PM

#12 Don: "I'm sorry I got snarky, Garrett." I's all good Don; I've been a bit of snark on this blog from time to time as well :)

#13 Curtis: "Repent and believe Garrett League and know your Creator!" I do every day. Thanks for the encouragement Curtis.

#14 Mary: So you're saying I just need more faith? Perhaps. But faith in faith is no faith at all. I want what I believe to be grounded in reality. "The theories of evolution have been introduced and put forth by those who refuse to acknowledge God" That's not entirely accurate. Though even if it were, would that necessarily make it false? No. Motives aside, does the theory itself stand up under scrutiny? That's the question. "Remember that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.Humbly seek His wisdom and He will give it to you. May God guide you to His truth" Thank you, that is excellent counsel.

#15 El Amigo: "What´s the deal ? Why is Garrett so motivated to post here and defend his new views ?" Because they are new. I want to throw them in the fiery furnace of young-earth creationism to either refine them like gold or burn them up like wood and straw. This seemed like a good place to do that. I've already run them by a few close friends/family members and this seemed like a good additional step since I respect J.Mac's view on this (and just about every other) topic. Plus, Al Mohler will be giving a talk at the 2010 Lig. Nat. Conf. entitled "Why does the Universe look so old?" My short answer: because it IS so old! So I've been listening/reading all his YEC material too, since like J.Mac I respect his views tremendously.

" Basically Mark states he is an "Old Earth" guy, and endorses Hugh Ross... That doesn´t sounds right to me..." I've listened to the same podcast, and you're right. Piper also recently said he leans old-earth (http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/AskPastorJohn/ByTopic/99/4534_Do_you_accept_old_earth_and_evolution/) The thing is, this isn't just a new-Calvinist thing, nor is it recent or merely "trying to be cool." It's just that more people are being open now about their problems with YEC. But this isn't all new (See Norm Geisler for a non-Calvinist old-earth supporter and guys like Fran Schaeffer and Wayne Grudem for guys that lean/accept old earth from a reformed standpoint). Even J.I. Packer seems to have no problem w/ big bang and old earth notions, and even endorsed a T.E. book recently (see http://www.amazon.com/Creation-Evolution-Do-Have-Choose/dp/0825462924/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1273863781&sr=8-1)

"Made me watch the YouTube videos of that Hovind/Ross debate.." I've seen it many times; Hovind was outmatched (scientifically) and outnumbered (Ankerberg clearly supported Ross's position). It also didn't help that Hovind lost his composure and started name-calling (getting so bad at one point, that Ankerberg had to intervene and rebuke him for his "cult" accusations, to the applause of the audience). Watch the Ham/Lisle vs. Ross/Kaiser debate on Ankerberg (on Y.T. and AIG for free). It's a far more civil debate, and YEC is better represented in Ham/Lisle's hands.

#16 Mark: "Where is it written that believing in Genesis 1-3 as a literally historical account of what happened REQUIRES it to be "scientifically valid"?" My point precisely. Yet many of my YEC buddies here seem to think that unless Genesis is scientifically accurate in a modern sense, then it's in error and not worthy to be called divine revelation.

"Why must God's revelation to mankind of how He created the universe stand up to OUR reasonings and blind analysis of the world?" Exactly, isn't that a weak standard? I think it must be read in context, as the original audience would have heard it, not filtered through the lens of modern scientific concepts, which are being revised all the time anyways.

"I don't who this guy is, but he is slick, and keep him away from your kids...If this is what you are listening to then no wonder you are confused." He's Gordon J. Glover, author of "Beyond the Firmament," which I highly recommend. He's a nice, thoughtful guy; talk to him yourself (I have), he makes himself very available at his Y.T. page and book site. He's no boogieman, promise.

"why do you accept that Jesus is both God and man. Does that come out under a microscope?" No, I have no Jesus DNA or anything like that. I believe that He is the unique God-man because that's what He claimed to be and He backed it up with a perfectly sinless life, countless miracles, and rising from the dead.

"Why do you presumably believe that but can't accept a young earth because the "scientific" evidence is so overwhelming against it?" Properly speaking, there can be no "scientific evidence" against a miracle. Right? How can you falsify a resurrection using the scientific method? It's epistemologically and methodologically impossible. I accept those because none of the facts make sense without a resurrected Jesus (empty tomb, post-resurrection appearances, witness of the apostles, etc.). Early Christianity makes no sense at all if Jesus is still dead. With YEC, we have a whole different animal. Now we have scientifically testable claims (earth no older than 6,000 years, global flood, pre-flood canopy, etc.) about the material universe. True, God may have miraculously caused the creation of material things or the flood, but nevertheless the events did happen, and their happening can be tested. Look, God may very well have made separate kinds of living things 6,000 years ago. Fine. But looking closely at the evidence, I think we have only 2 options. Either he created all things to look as if they all shared a common ancestor, or they actually DID have a common ancestor and he made them like he knits us together in our mother's wombs; not miraculously, but providentially. I think the latter is more likely.

#17 Gabe: Frankly, I'm a bit disappointed in your response. I don't think you ever really took him seriously. Responses like " Uh huh. I'll ask you the same thing Mr. The-Bible-Isn't-True-Just-Believe-Me-Instead" indicate that you never gave him a fair shot. I think you misrepresent his arguments at numerous points. Oh well, he's got a 16 part series that I think is great if your willing to endure it. I think you would at least have a better appreciation for where he's coming from because I think saying that "This guy has put his faith in science and man's reason above Scripture" is just really missing the point.

#19 Carol: That was a very thoughtful, well articulated response. Your analogy was very insightful. Just a few points of clarification:

"I can say that it certainly doesn’t give God the glory for His creation in the same way the Bible does." It doesn't, in the hand of most evolutionists you are familiar with (think Dawkins). However, it can and should, in my view. Tim Savage, over at the gospel coalition, seems to agree: (http://thegospelcoalition.org/resources/video/Are-all-forms-of-evolution-unbiblical).

"It doesn’t take God’s word to be true & accurate." Wait a minute. What is the "it" you refer to? Evolution is a scientific theory and has no say on scripture. It has been twisted by some that way, but that is a distortion of what science can and cannot say. Even many evolutionists agree with that clear limitation.

"It actually removes the establishment of original man, original sin, original fall, original death/punishment for sin, corruption of the earth,… IT JUST DOESN’T LINE UP WITH THE BIBLE!" You like intelligent design right? Well, most leading I.D.er's find YEC to be untenable (see Philip Johnson, the father of I.D., repudiate YEC publicly at minute 4:17 here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvwhIG2DZyI). So how do they deal with theodicy? Well, good ol' Bill Dembski (who used to teach at the institution I currently attend, and now teaches at another institution that I highly respect and have informal ties to) recently released a book called "The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil World" (http://www.amazon.com/End-Christianity-Finding-Good-World/dp/0805427430). He has a flat-out fascinating explanation for the problem of death and suffering before the fall. AND this dude is orthodox (he's at SWBTS!). He's legit. He doesn't like all of evolution. But, he's an old-earther and an I.D.er. Plus, even theistic evolutionists are praising his new book (http://biologos.org/blog/the-end-of-christianity/). The problem of evil is a problem, not just for T.E.'s. I think it's not an insurmountable problem for T.E.s though (see C.S. Lewis's "The Problem of Pain.")

"If you were to “overlay” evolution on top of the Bible’s account of creation, THEY DO NOT MATCH!" You are ABSOLUTELY RIGHT! Carol, by now you should know that I do NOT endorse the position that says we must "'overlay' evolution on top if the Bible's account of creation." I am NOT a concordist! I am an accommodationist. If you're not familiar with that distinction, see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrSYSmxuwj0

"Six days can’t be reinterpreted as 6 billion years! “And there was evening, & there was morning, the first day.” I agree. Those days have always been best understood as 6 normal, 24hr solar days. I'm not a day-ager because, again, I don't think we must twist scripture or science to make them artificially fit. As I just said, I go with accommodationist interpretations, which can be seminally found in some of Calvin's writings.

******TO ALL****** I want to reiterate something I brought up w/ Carol. What do you think of the fact that the leading Intelligent Design advocates avoid YEC like the plague and try to distance themselves from it at all costs? Philip Johnson thinks YEC is very problematic (see 4:17 on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvwhIG2DZyI), William Dembski is an old-eather and explains theodicy in light of death before sin in this new book (http://www.amazon.com/End-Christianity-Finding-Good-World/dp/0805427430 and http://biologos.org/blog/the-end-of-christianity/)and Michael "Darwin's Black Box" Behe accepts common ancestry. Why do you cite people that so consistently throw your YEC position under the bus? Is Dembski wrong in trying to explain theodicy in light of animal death before humans? Was C.S. Lewis wrong for doing the very same thing in "The Problem of Pain"? Is Dembski wrong for saying "the theodicy developed in this book is certainly compatible with a literal Adam and Eve. But it does not require a literal Adam and Eve"? Should he be allowed to teach at SWBTS? LET ME KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS!

#21  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Friday, May 14, 2010at 12:40 PM

Garrett, please explain this to me:

(1) How is creation different from any other miracle?

(2) How is Genesis 1-3 accommodation if God was telling the Israelites something they've never heard before? What was God accommodating?

(3) If we can't take Genesis 1-3 literally, what does it mean (you should have a 1-2 sentence explanation)?

You mentioned that science can't validate miracles. That is true, but it would be more accurate to say that the field/study of science denies the reality of miracles as a presupposition. You know science couldn't validate Jesus feeding five thousand people with one lunch because you believe that it was a miracle. Your problem is not the evidence for evolution, your problem is you don't believe Genesis 1-2 is miraculous. If you didn't believe that Jesus' feeding was a miracle you would simply find another explanation (as other have).

As to ID folks, the goal of ID is not to be biblical (other religions participate in the ID camp). ID is a generic term for multiple theories of evolution with a god at the front. I don't agree with them at all.

#22  Posted by Mary Kidwell  |  Friday, May 14, 2010at 5:44 PM

Garrett,

No, I don’t advocate having faith in faith. Hebrews 11 goes on in verse 3 to say “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” Our faith is in God who gave us His Word and through it He revealed Himself to us as the Creator. The word “framed” in this verse means (according to Strong’s) “to render (i.e. to fit) sound, complete.”

God tells us ten times us in His written word, in Genesis 1, that He made things according to their kind. He also states in 1 Corinthians 15:39 that “All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another.”

The plain reading of these verses clearly contradicts evolution.

You said you used to believe in a young earth, but that the evidence led you away from it, and you said you want what you believe to be grounded in reality. As I stated before, many (if not most) of the proponents of evolution don’t acknowledge God and I believe the reason the Bible refers to those who do not acknowledge God as fools is because they will never be grounded in reality as long as they deny the existence of God. They don’t even have the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). Many of those who work in the field of science and who are proponents of evolution view themselves as scientists as if they were objectively studying the data and following the evidence to whatever conclusion it might lead. But is it scientific to deny from the start the possibility that God had a role? I believe these “scientists” are either too foolish to see their own lack of objectivity or they are just dishonest. You ask does that make the theory false. If God is excluded, and His Word contradicted, then it is not grounded in reality, so how could it be true?

#23  Posted by Garrett League  |  Friday, May 14, 2010at 5:47 PM

#21 Gabriel: "(1) How is creation different from any other miracle?" That is a loaded question, but a good one. First, what do you mean by creation? When bara is used God is always the subject. What does God bara? All types of things, none which have anything to do with materials. Most people therefore assume, "Ah, must be creation ex nihilo." But what does that assume? That bara has to do with the creation of material stuff, when contextually it is probably closer to bringing, not matter, but order, purpose, and function into existence. This is I think the best way to understand creation (bara) in Genesis one. See John Walton's lecture at (http://www.wheaton.edu/physics/research/symposia/conferences03/Sci_Sym.swf). Second, what exactly constitutes a miracle? According to Grudem, it's a "less common kind of God's activity in which he arouses people's awe and wonder and bears witness to himself" (Sys.Theol. p.355). In that sense, I suppose only the initial creation event (that is, creation ex nihilo) partially fits that definition. I say partially, because his definition rightly states that God performs miracles in order to arouse "peoples awe and wonder." In other words, there is a clear anthropocentric aspect to miracles; they're done for our sakes, that God might be glorified among us. That's exactly why Jesus raised Lazarus, for example: "So then he told them plainly, 'Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him'" (John 11:14). So I don't think miracles really even make sense in Genesis one, since there was no awe to inspire in human witnesses. The purpose of miracles are to, according to Grudem, "authenticate the message of the gospel...bear witness to the fact that the kingdom of God has come...help those who are in need...remove hindrance's to people's ministries...to bring glory to God" (p.359-361). So while all miracles serve to fulfill the last purpose, none of the other biblical reasons fit in the creation context. And given that none of the creation acts in Genesis 1 involve the bringing of material things into existence, but rather the bringing of order and purpose out of disorder and purposelessness (i.e., the original state of creation was a watery chaos that was without form, and void, meaning unformed and unfilled, not non-existent)it seems that miracles are foreign to the context. Moses' miracles set the gold-standard for me. They were granted as credentials for Moses, that the people would KNOW that God sent him. So given that all evidence from the biological/geological/astronomical sciences point to the fact that God created providentially rather than miraculously (or, should I say, through ordinary rather than extraordinary providence) I see no reason to take the creation events in Genesis one miraculously. It doesn't fit the biblical pattern of miracles and nothing in nature indicates otherwise. If you think I'll be explaining the resurrection or red sea crossing naturally, then I haven't done my job. Those were indeed miraculous, and the context won't let us say otherwise.

"(2) How is Genesis 1-3 accommodation if God was telling the Israelites something they've never heard before? What was God accommodating?" Excellent question. God was, in fact, using what they had heard before (watery chaos, solid firmament, waters above firmament, sun moon and stars in firmament, man from dust, etc.) to communicate a message they had never even imagined. One theologian said that the Israelites notion of ethical monotheism, that God made it all, by decree, without having to fight his way up the ranks in a cosmic battle against other gods, would have been as absurd and radical as someone today claiming, with a straight face, that the Greek gods are real and are responsible for creating and sustaining the cosmic functions. So God accommodated this radical, true version of creation in terms that made sense to ANE people. This helps explain the pagan parallels without resorting to mere plagiarism. God set up the basis of time (day one), the basis of weather (day two) and the basis of agriculture (day three). Then, after establishing the cosmic functions (similar to other ANE accounts), he established functionaries, with his image bearers being the climax of the created order. This is radical, but it is nevertheless culturally situated. Mankind was made to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, not to be the god's slaves, providing food for them via sacrifices. Compare the different flood accounts from the ANE. The bible is head and shoulders above it. BUT, that doesn't mean it doesn't share common elements/themes of the day. Otherwise, it would have been nearly unintelligible.

"(3) If we can't take Genesis 1-3 literally, what does it mean (you should have a 1-2 sentence explanation)?" We CAN take Genesis literally (I believe you take it literalistically, not literally). Again, by literal I mean "that the Bible must be interpreted according to the manner in which it is written. Literal refers to the literary form of Scripture"; I think you ignore the literary form and so does J.I. Packer and he probably doesn't even accept evolution (check this out please: http://www.sydneyanglicans.net/media/audio/creation_evolution_problems/).

"That is true, but it would be more accurate to say that the field/study of science denies the reality of miracles as a presupposition." Yes and no. You're conflating experimental/methodological naturalism with philosophical/metaphysical naturalism. Yes, methodological naturalism (basically, in science experiments, you only look for material causes for material effects, which means you can't publish a paper if you cite a miracle as the reason why your protein expression was X and not Y) necessarily excludes the supernatural because you can't hold God constant as a variable. He's God (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GViS6Z2Y7L0) But this methodological assumption in no way necessitates a broader commitment to philosophical materialism, which can't be proven scientifically.

#24  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Friday, May 14, 2010at 6:36 PM

Garrett,

(1) You are confusing the purpose of the miracles of Jesus with the fact of miracles in general. A miracle, by definition, is "an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause." The issue here is not the purpose of the miracle, but the fact of the miracle. When God said, "Let there be light" and there was light, that was a miracle by definition. There is no natural explanation for light coming into existence. I could go on, but suffice it to say that none of the acts of God in Genesis 1-2 are anything short of miraculous. You are correct that the Hebrew term "bara" does not mean ex nihilo on its own, but the context does indicate it. Additionally, Hebrews 11:1-2 tells us that God indeed did create ex nihilo.

"I see no reason to take the creation events in Genesis one miraculously." Using the text of Genesis 1, can you explain any of the verbs in Genesis 1 naturally?

John Walton's interpretation of "the heavens and the earth" is pure allegory. The words do not mean function or order. It is wholesale eisegesis because that concept is brought in from outside the text and outside Scripture.

I'm off to Bible study... I'll respond to your other answers later.

#25  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Friday, May 14, 2010at 8:36 PM

Garrett, Caution! Watch yourself! “contextually it is PROBABLY…” “I THINK the best way to understand creation” = doesn’t sound confident enough! :0

And Gabe didn’t ask what Grudem’s definition was of what constitutes a miracle? What’s YOUR definition - without you quoting someone else?

You said, “…his definition RIGHTLY STATES that God performs miracles in order to arouse peoples awe and wonder” & “to bring glory to God" (p.359-361). So while all miracles serve to fulfill the last purpose, none of the other biblical reasons fit in the creation context.”

Here I disagree! God performs miracles because HE CAN, & THAT displays His power & majesty! And yes, that brings Him glory, but with regard to creation, we are talking about a ONE TIME EVENT! Like your birth. It can’t happen again. And just because HUMANS weren’t there to observe the first 5 days of creation doesn’t nullify creation being miraculous simply because it doesn’t fit “Grudem’s criteria of a miracle.”

I had a thought last night-a question to ask you: How old are you & where were you born? NOW DON’T ANSWER THAT! But think about it --- YOU don’t remember do you? YOU have to rely on people who CLAIM to be your parents & CLAIM to have been there when it happened, & on documentation by people working in a hospital who you must assume are telling the accurate truth, but the point is…YOU CAN’T PROVE HOW OLD YOU ARE OR WHERE YOU WERE BORN. YOU can’t do that. You MUST rely on the testimony of others. As a Christian, I rely on the testimony of God to tell me about creation, (not on men) because HE WAS THERE.

You’ve commented about the “context” of the first 2 chapters of Genesis not being literal. I keep TRYING to picture God dictating the Pentateuch to Moses but purposely hiding the “REAL” story of creation, (& preventing mankind from the truth until 150 years ago!) or Him telling Moses & not expecting Moses to take just that section literally. satan is the deceiver, he’s the one who misquoted God when he tempted Eve, he is the liar & the accuser & the one who seeks to draw us away from God & to draw power & glory away from God & unto himself! Remember, he wants to be god – he is a usurper! What better way than to discredit God’s glorious & miraculous creation by claiming it “just happened providentially”? I can’t buy the evolutionary theory, Garrett. Never will. I’m praying you’ll give it up! :)

(Just read Gabe’s definition & I agree with his.)

Hey Mary K - you seem like a kindred spirit! I like your thinking!

#26  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Friday, May 14, 2010at 11:36 PM

(2) "One theologian said that the Israelites notion..." Now did he get that from the Bible? Because the Bible doesn't say that the Israelites thought that way. Scholars take what they find in other cultures and superimpose that thinking onto Israel and therefore make an assumption about how they would interpret Genesis 1. That is called eisegesis. You don't get the interpretation of that theologian from the text or anywhere in Scripture. That interpretation is based on some extra-biblical knowledge and a lot of assumptions about ANE thinking and culture which is superimposed on Israel. Remember: Scripture is not ANE literature. It is a God-breathed document that transcends time and culture.

(3) The interpretation of Genesis 1-3 that you accept is not literal or literary--it is allegorical. The literary form is historical narrative (read this: http://www.icr.org/article/statistical-determination-genre-biblical). I have personally translated the Hebrew several times and it is amazingly similar to translating a historical text from 1 Chronicles. Israel, like all cultures, understand historical narrative. If Genesis 1-3 isn't historical narrative, then why is there no linguistic break between that and Genesis 4? Jesus took Genesis 1 literally. Paul took Genesis 1 literally. If Genesis 1 means what you think it means, can you tell me where that is borne out in the rest of Scripture. I challenge you to do that.

Regarding experimental vs. philosophical naturalism. Let me ask one question: in the act of doing science, is there a difference? I understand that many Christians, like yourself, study and practice the field of science. The rest of us are huge beneficiaries of that in many ways (technology, medicine, etc.). So I'm not saying that you can't do science and believe in God at the same time. What I am saying is that in the act of doing science, you essentially have to assume naturalism because there is no "God" in the Periodic Chart of the Elements. Now this is fine for the most part, but when God said "It was created by my word," and you say, "I found a naturalistic explanation," you've just put man's reason above God's Word.

Many passages refer to Genesis 1-2 as God's act of creating matter in history, not just God creating order. See Genesis 6:7, Deuteronomy 4:32; Isaiah 40:26, 42:5, 45:8, 12, 18; Colossians 1:16, Revelation 10:6. How does the argument in Hebrews 4 make any sense unless Genesis 1 is a literal 6-day creation with one day of rest? By your interpretation the author of Hebrews completely missed the point of Genesis 1! In Mark 10:6 Jesus references Genesis 2 at a historical point in time.

Once you remove Genesis 1-3 from history you immediately open the flood gates for any interpretation of that text.

I know you have a lot of people interacting with you, so if you lack time and aren't able to answer my various questions above, just please give me an example that tells us that Israel interpreted Genesis 1-3 the way John Walton (or anyone else, for that matter) says they did. Give at least one example where Genesis 1-3 is not taken literally as historical narrative.

#27  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Saturday, May 15, 2010at 10:01 AM

Amigo writes,

Garrett here is a good example of a smart guy, Calvinist Christian, ex-Hovind fan... Now an evolutionist... What´s the deal ? Why is Garrett so motivated to post here and defend his new views?

Just so we are clear, it has nothing to do with Calvinism per se, or at least not the doctrines of Grace.

A lot of it is the Origenistic allegorical hermeneutics that many modern Reformed brethren have re-defined as "literal" or "historic redemptive" or whatever, that drives their re-interpretation of the Bible. Obviously it starts with prophetic literature where they smuggle into the discussion this notion that all prophetic literature has to be treated differently than other portions of the Bible. They call it apocalyptic literature, for example, and argue it must be handled in a way that allegorizes the text, and even claim this is reading the text "literally." Eventually, they will take that approach and apply it to the origins debate, where they re-interpret Genesis as some ANE creation story from a Jewish perspective, rather than an historical document that the language of Genesis clearly indicates that it is.

Also, I think a lot of these restless, young Calvinists, of which Garrett is probably one, are over reacting to their fundamentalist background when they were a new Christian. Many of these individuals were saved and trained in independent fundamentalist churches where regrettably, the Word of God is honored, but not necessarily taught in depth. If their background is anything like mine was as a new Christian my church taught me how to hand out gospel tracts, do fun activities, fill out quarterlies that gave me a very shallow understanding of the Bible, and to be a legalist with regards to so-called worldliness. Hence their approach is shaped by their negative experiences with this up bringing. Because those kinds of churches are rightly YEC, but don't teach it well, when those kids come into contact with individuals who they respect more than their preachers in church and can explain away the creationist understanding of the evidence to their satisfaction, they abandon a biblical view of Genesis.

Garrett asks,

What do you think of the fact that the leading Intelligent Design advocates avoid YEC like the plague and try to distance themselves from it at all costs? Philip Johnson thinks YEC is very problematic ... William Dembski is an old-eather and explains theodicy in light of death before sin in this new book ... and Michael "Darwin's Black Box" Behe accepts common ancestry. Why do you cite people that so consistently throw your YEC position under the bus?

Gabe hit on this, but to expand upon his answer a bit. ID has never claimed to be a biblical movement. In a way it is a bit pagan, or at best, deistic. They merely appeal to "evidence" for their proposition that life has the appearance intelligence behind it. Critics are wrong when they accuse ID proponents as being stealth creationists, for the certainly are not. Additionally, none of the individuals who claim to be Christians, like Stephen Myer or Phillip Johnson for that matter, see the Bible, let alone the doctrines of inerrancy and infallibility as being instrumental to their argument. They seek to distance themselves from the Bible and God because they want to argue based upon the "evidence." Of the men you mentioned, like Bill Dembski and Johnson, they probably don't take those doctrines of scripture seriously, or are of the mistaken notion that those doctrines are only relevant in discussions of religious matters. Behe, as far as I know, is a lapsed Catholic who would deny inerrancy.

Is Dembski wrong in trying to explain theodicy in light of animal death before humans? Was C.S. Lewis wrong for doing the very same thing in "The Problem of Pain"? Is Dembski wrong for saying "the theodicy developed in this book is certainly compatible with a literal Adam and Eve. But it does not require a literal Adam and Eve"? Should he be allowed to teach at SWBTS? LET ME KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS!

Yes, Dembski's theodicy he has made up is sub-biblical and extremely problematic. Two reviews for your consideration (if you will seriously read them, but this is more for others stopping by here):

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2009/10/finding-good-god-in-evil-world.html

http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/arj/v2/n1/dembskis-theodicy-refuted

I can't speak for SBTS, but there was a reason why he left Southern: Al Mohler is a YEC.

#28  Posted by Garrett League  |  Saturday, May 15, 2010at 11:52 PM

#24 Gabriel: "When God said, "Let there be light" and there was light, that was a miracle by definition. There is no natural explanation for light coming into existence."

When we think, "Let there be light" we think photons, light as a substance, a thing. But that is a modern concept and it's not what Genesis is saying. Let's work in reverse. It says in verse 5 that "God called the light 'day,' and the darkness he called 'night.'" So this is metonymy and light means "day," or a period of light, not physicist's light. Go back to verse 4: "God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness." You cannot physically separate light from darkness because darkness is simply the absence of light. So carry the meaning from verse 5 back to 4; God separated the period of light (day) from the period of darkness (night). Now go back to verse 3: "And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light." What happened there? God said "Let there be a period of light (day)." That's what verses 4 and 5 logically demand. The verse is not talking about the miraculous creation of what we modern, scientific folks think of as light, but rather God is creating a period of light (day) in verse 3, separating it from the period of darkness (night) in verse 4, and giving the period of light and darkness names, day and night respectively, in verse 5. So on the first day, God created the basis for time (a period of light followed by a period of darkness) through separation and naming. That's how ancient cosmogonies worked. Creation through separation, ordering, and naming.

"John Walton's interpretation of "the heavens and the earth" is pure allegory. The words do not mean function or order. It is wholesale eisegesis because that concept is brought in from outside the text and outside Scripture."

I get the impression that you have not read "The Lost World of Genesis 1," because if you had you would have known of his word studies and exegesis. You may disagree with his conclusions, but given your sweeping accusations, I don't think you've even taken the time to familiarize yourself with his methods. He flat out rejects (and assiduously avoids) precisely what you're accusing him of.

#25 Carol: "What’s YOUR definition - without you quoting someone else?"

Well, since I agree with Grudem's definition that seems a bit superfluous.

"but with regard to creation, we are talking about a ONE TIME EVENT! Like your birth. It can’t happen again."

That's exactly my point. If those were in fact miracles, then they go against the grain of the biblical pattern and purpose of miracles and are therefore an exception to the rule. I just take it one step further and ask "why make this an exception to the rule if contextually Genesis 1 isn't even about the creation ex nihilo of material things, but rather God's bringing function, order, and purpose (cosmos) out of chaos (i.e., the formless and void waters)?

"You’ve commented about the “context” of the first 2 chapters of Genesis not being literal."

I read Genesis literally (that is, according to it's literary genre). You read it literalistically. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. I don't advocate a "non-literal" or purely mythical, allegorical reading of Genesis 1-11. I read the bible according to the sensus literalis and the analogia fidei, whereby texts are read according to the type of literary genre the belong to and scripture interprets scripture. I think if you do that, Genesis one read differently than YEC's take it. Don't reduce my position as merely "non-literal" since that is a loaded term.

"purposely hiding the “REAL” story of creation"

Moses understood the "'REAL' story." So do you, in essence. So have virtually all Christians and Jews, in essence. God made a good world and we are responsible for everything that's evil because we sinned. The "REAL" story isn't evolution. The truly important stuff lies in the who and why of creation, not in the how and when. The latter two are important, but the former two can only be known if they are revealed by the creator, and are far more important than the material how and when.

"What better way than to discredit God’s glorious & miraculous creation by claiming it “just happened providentially”?"

"Just happened" providentially is an oxymoron. Nothing "just happens." That's what providence is all about! And is God any less responsible when He accomplishes His will providentially and not miraculously (which is nothing more than extra-ordinary providence, or God doing something in a way He doesn't normally do it)? Maybe if you're an Enlightenment thinker. God clothes you and feeds you just like He clothes the lilies and feeds the birds, right? Does God cloth lilies with a coat of many colors or feed birds with manna from heaven? No, he clothes and feeds them the same way he clothes and feeds us; providentially. You can't say "I'm not giving thanks for this food; God didn't give it to me, I earned it myself!" That's divorcing ends from means. God knit you together in you Mom's womb, right? How many miracles did it take to turn one cell (the zygote) into a baby? None. Is God any less of a knitter? Not at all! Psalm 135:7 says that God "makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; he sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses." Does that mean your local meteorologist is a godless pagan for using science to predict weather patterns and "naturally" explain lightning and wind? Of course not! He's just explaining how God does what Psalm 135:7 says He does. Does developmental biology (one of my favorite undergrad courses) kick God out of the womb because it explains how he knits? Nope. You can see where I'm going with this and you don't want to go there, but consistency says you must. So I'll go there with you; is God any less responsible for making mankind through ordinary providence rather than extra-ordinary providence (miracle)? Only if dev. bio. and meteorology rob God of His glory in knitting babies and sending lightening.

#26 Gabe: "Scholars take what they find in other cultures and superimpose that thinking onto Israel and therefore make an assumption about how they would interpret Genesis 1."

You're right. Those scholars are wasting there time; who needs to know anything about ancient culture and modes of thought? The bible is revealed from God right? Therefore it "transcends time and culture" in a way that negates any need to familiarize ourselves with the ancient world of the inspired authors, since that has no bearing on understanding the meaning of any text and would only lead to eisegesis. Good point.

"If Genesis 1 means what you think it means, can you tell me where that is borne out in the rest of Scripture. I challenge you to do that."

Honestly, I can't meet that challenge, at least not here and now. Waltke (yes, I grow weary of citing him too) has a great discussion of Genesis as historical narrative. It is, but it is not only. Check out his "God's Gift of the Cosmos" section. He deals with H. Morris and his claim that it's just plain old, cut a dry history. It is more than that. Also, read his "Genesis: a Commentary" where he discuses the genre of Genesis. What you say is correct, but you need to say more.

"Scripture is not ANE literature."

Or, scripture is not MERELY ANE literature. Go to the White Horse Inn website and listen to their talk on inspiration. Your leaning towards a docetic view of inspiration that denies any human, cultural element. You don't have to.

"Let me ask one question: in the act of doing science, is there a difference?"

No.

"What I am saying is that in the act of doing science, you essentially have to assume naturalism because there is no "God" in the Periodic Chart of the Elements"

No. Science is strictly agnostic. It cannot say that there is or is no God in the elements. How could it? Methodological naturalism is a necessary assumption because God normally does things via ordinary providence, and in experiments you must not invoke extra-ordinary providence (miracle) since science, by definition, can't deal with that (you can't repeat the miracle since you cannot reduce God to a mere experimental variable that one can hold constant, so your experiment is not falsifiable). For the best explanation of this I know of, see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b52Hbx73aPM&feature=PlayList&p=EDC8C53FD52A1C73&playnext_from=PL&playnext=1&index=1

"Once you remove Genesis 1-3 from history you immediately open the flood gates for any interpretation of that text."

I agree, so I won't divorce them. There was a real fall. God really did make us. And yes, there really was a flood. Estoy de acuerdo.

"just please give me an example that tells us that Israel interpreted Genesis 1-3 the way John Walton (or anyone else, for that matter) says they did."

First, read his new book "Lost World of Genesis 1" for tons of examples. Here's just one; I say Genesis isn't about making matter out of nothing but rather about bringing order and function out of disorder. Here's why I think the Israelites also thought this; Genesis starts out with a watery chaos (formless, void, darkness on the face of the deep) and doesn't tell us specifically how it got there. It's just there. If Genesis is about creation of matter out of nothing, then we would expect it to, you know, talk about the creation of matter out of nothing. But it doesn't. It starts with disorder and ends in order, not with non-matter, then matter. If you want a short version that gives a lot of evidence for thinking that Walton is getting at what the Hebrews were thinkings, just click on Walton's head and listen to his lecture on Genesis 1 (complete with ppt. presentation!): http://www.wheaton.edu/physics/research/symposia/conferences03/Sci_Sym.swf

"Give at least one example where Genesis 1-3 is not taken literally as historical narrative."

First, I don't advocate "non-literalism," nor do I deny the element of historical narrative. It's not as if they said "Now I know it says God made a solid firmament and put waters above it, but we know better don't we? After all, the windows of heaven are merely allegorical" (although it seems that you know better, at least in those instances, since you don't accept a solid firmament, see: http://biologos.org/blog/the-firmament-of-genesis-1-is-solid-but-thats-not-the-point/). So no, I can't cite Paul saying Adam and Eve are non-historical. That's because he didn't. So sorry to disappoint (maybe you're not disappointed!), but you're asking me to do what I don't even claim the bible does. I haven't said enough, but it's late and I can't think straight, so let's return to this question in more detail later, shall we? It's a good one. I have thought on it, believe it or not!

#27 Fred: "Just so we are clear, it has nothing to do with Calvinism per se, or at least not the doctrines of Grace."

Yes, per se.

"They call it apocalyptic literature, for example, and argue it must be handled in a way that allegorizes the text, and even claim this is reading the text "literally.""

You mind reader you! Yes, I dare say you've hit the nail on the head; I am a "spiritualizing" amillinarian, a la Kim Riddlebarger, Mike Horton, Bob Strimple, Dennis Johnson, etc. Those are the modern dudes that have most persuaded me, among others (D.A. Carson and G.K. Beale helped too). But this blog is NOT about eschatology. Suffice it to say, I am high-five'n Riddlebarger's response to J.Mac's "You Can't be a Calvinist and Not be a Dispensationalist" message at the Shep. Conf. a while back. That conclusion is a bit odd, since amil. was the historic protestant position, but I digress.

"Also, I think a lot of these restless, young Calvinists, of which Garrett is probably one"

Young? Check. Restless? Obviously. Reformed? Sort of (Reformed Baptist!). Hey, what do you know, Colin Hansen was right.

"are over reacting to their fundamentalist background when they were a new Christian. Many of these individuals were saved and trained in independent fundamentalist churches where regrettably, the Word of God is honored, but not necessarily taught in depth."

That's an interesting theory. Not sure it fully applies to my sich, but I do see some truth in that. So my background is interesting; I was raised in the thick of the third wave charismatic signs and wonders movement in SoCal. Cut my teeth in sunday school at the Anaheim Vineyard. So, indep. fundamentalist? Not quite. I think that better fits MacArthur, though I would obviously not accuse him of lacking depth (he taught the book of Luke for, what, 50 years?). Though there is some truth in the depth part; I was never given rich, expository teaching. While the folks were seeing visions and dreams, the bible was mostly mined for quotes to justify the newer revelations. So in that sense, your critique is on point. However, legalism in my background was mostly of a corinthian, rather than a moralistic sort, and I was never taught YEC until I was about to enter h.s. And even after I rejected the indep. baptist, fundamentalist, KJV-only rantings of Dr. Dino (bless his heart, I thank God for his evangelism), I was a big Ham fanboy for quite some time. So my transition was not as simplistic as the one you outline. Neither was my transition out of dispensational eschatology, or arminianism. After all, I swung hard right for a while after reading "Charismatic Chaos" and Warfield and pretty much embraced cessationism (to the disappointment of ma and pa), but I've recently swung in the other direction some. So, even if I've been overly reactionary on some issues (like the sign gifts), I am at least aware of the tendency.

"Yes, Dembski's theodicy he has made up is sub-biblical and extremely problematic."

I still need to read the book to pass judgement either way. Tom Nettles' review has given me pause, and his response to David Allen's review of his review also makes me hesitant. But, I still need to give it a fair shot. Thanks 4 the links.

"I can't speak for SBTS, but there was a reason why he left Southern: Al Mohler is a YEC."

Indeed. Can't wait to hear his talk at the Lig. Nat. Conf. on why the universe looks so old.

#29  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Sunday, May 16, 2010at 3:09 PM

Garrett,

I have already have listened to that exact lecture (someone else referenced it previously in this series of posts). I have listened to it before and went through it rather quickly again. I remain utterly unconvinced that his intrepretation is the result of sound exegesis and hermeneutics.

A quote from one of the slides that he has is, "It is fruitless to ask what 'things' God created on any given day, for the text is not concerned about the existence of matter or formational history." A simple reading of Genesis 1 clearly is concerned with a sequential progressive creation where activities are divided up into six days. Just because he says it isn't, doesn't make it so.

With regard to "bara", though it absolutely necessary to look at usages, the primary determiner of meanings of word is context. Further, it is critical ot understand that all words have a range of meaning. A word does not mean the exact same thing in every case. It may be nuanced or it may have a completely different meaning. Context is king. Walton makes the mistake of looking at all the usages, establishing an overarching general meaning which he then specifically places onto Genesis 1. If you think about his interpretation logically, creating function and order is not the meaning of bara, it is the result. Walton is taking the result of the act of bara and turning it into its meaning. Of course in order to come to this conclusion, Walton has to ignore Genesis 1 and gives only examples that support his theory. Walton comes up with his means from everywhere else and then imposes that meaning on Genesis 1 without regard to the fact that in Genesis 1 there was no pre-existing material to work with. Take Genesis 1:21, for example. God bara'd the great sea creatures and every living thing. Exodus 34:10 and Numbers 16:30 are other examples that doesn't meet Walton's criteria. In Psalm 51:10, what is the function or purpose being created there? If you use a concordance or Bible software to look up all the usages of "bara", you will quickly see that Walton is ignoring many usages. John Walton takes the result of bara in some contexts and makes that into the meaning in Genesis 1. That is not good hermeneutics or exegesis.

With regard to his interpretation of the creation of light. Notice first of all that the command is "Let there be light", and the result was "and there was light." I'm not sure how "and there was a period of time" fits into that equation. One of his slides says, "physicist's light cannot be seperated from darkness." Well, a physicist may not be able to seperate light from darkness, but I wouldn't put it past God. Additionally the word for "seperate" can also mean "distinguish" which is exactly what we see God doing by calling one day and the other night. Now when the light sources are created, then there is a kind of seperation.

In this lecture (and another one I have heard) Walton merely states how the ANE universally thought without exception, but he doesn't back it up with other examples. In his discussion of "raqia" (expanse), he again asserts that it always and only refers to something solid, therefore that is what it must mean here. Well that isn't what it means in Psalm 19:1, or Daniel 12:3. John Walton doesn't mention those references in his lecture.

In his discussion of Day 3, he states that God doesn't create anything. That assertion is true only in his interpretation. From the creationist perspective God creates vegetation (there were none prior).

He quotes from Enuma Elish as a creation myth that fits his intrepretation. What he doesn't mention is that Enuma Elish is written far later than Genesis 1. Is it possible that they borrowed from the Hebrew Scriptures? Quite possibly. Before that he referenced Inanna and Enki and had a slide of a bunch of things that he refers to as "functions". I wish he would have explained that more because it didn't make sense to me.

At the end there is a Q&A where someone challenges him with Exodus 20:11. Walton didn't answer the question other than to say "I don't think it contradicts my proposal." He had a perfect opportunity to explain how his interpretation of Genesis 1 is seen in that passage, he couldn't because he can't. Nowhere in Scripture do we see his interpretation of Genesis 1 verified or replicated. Everywhere in Scripture a literal material creation is referenced.

In the end, the reality is that Walton's interpretation does not negate a literal material creation. He focuses on the purpose as if God said those things but didn't do them. God very well could have been explaining function and purpose, but that isn't mutually exclusive to material creation.

You already know that a great many places in Scripture point back to God's act of creation, even quoting Genesis 2 as a historical event. In order to sustain Walton (or anyone else's) view, you/they must show how that interpretation is affirmed anywhere else in Scripture.

You don't need to exegete any texts, just please show us where a non-material creation interpretation is exemplified by someone in Scripture.

#30  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Sunday, May 16, 2010at 5:30 PM

As I think about how John Walton tries to explain that "bara" means to bring order and function, he seems to forget that God actually created. He gives examples of what God "bara's": Jerusalem, male and female, nations, etc. And he proclaims "these are all functions and order!" What he neglects is that they are still things God created.

In other words, his explanation does nothing to explain how his interpretation is exclusive to the literal meaning. Everything God created, perhaps did indeed bring function and order, and perhaps possibly that was the communicative intent, but God still created those things--material or not.

Walton repeatedly states that materialistic creation is simply not the concern in the text, but rather function and order. Well it may not be the primary concern, but it is the necessary foundation for function and order. This is restating what I said in my previous post that his interpretation, even if true, is not exclusive. He claimed it to be, but didn't show how.

You tried to defend against my charge that his interpretation is not allegory. Well I stand by that charge because he claims his interpretation to be exclusive to the literal historical narrative of the text. Since his interpretation is not borne out of the linguistic character of the text but rather the philosophical mileu of the times, I don't yet see how it isn't allegory.

BTW, I can't read his book at this point, nor would I go out and buy it just to respond to you. If you have it on hand, please give us an example of how other portions of Scripture interpret Genesis exclusively the way he does, and in reality he/you must show how a literal historical material creation interpretation is non-existent in the rest of Scripture.

Also, you said Genesis doesn't say anything about creation ex nihilo. What about Genesis 1:1? Some claim it is an introduction/summary of the chapter, but that is interpretation. I don't see what that couldn't be Step 1. It is linguistically possibly that verse 2 is a paranthesis that describes the state that existed as a result of verse 1. Whether or not you accept it, it is a viable option.

Realize that Walton's interpretation and definition of terms are not universally accepted. In fact, I'm quite certain they are a tiny minority. Just because he says it doesn't make it true. Obviously to some extent we all need to trust somebody, but we should, if we can, study the Scripture ourselves and then see the various viewpoints. One book I'd encourage you to read is Coming to Grips with Genesis: Biblical Authority and the Age of the Earth.

#31  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Sunday, May 16, 2010at 5:42 PM

Garrett said “That's exactly my point. IF those were IN FACT miracles, then they go against the grain of the biblical pattern and purpose of miracles and are therefore an exception to the rule.

I just take it one step further and ask "WHY make this an exception to the rule IF CONTEXTUALLY Genesis 1 ISN’T EVEN ABOUT about the creation ex nihilo of material things, but rather God's bringing function, order, and purpose (cosmos) out of chaos (i.e., the formless and void waters)?

So you are questioning the miracles? THAT’S DANGEROUS! 1st you ask “IF – in fact miracles” as if they weren’t, then you say they go “against the grain” - WHOSE GRAIN? Grudem’s? Then you ask “Why make this an exception” (again, Exception to WHOSE RULE? Grudem’s?) – I’m not making an exception because I don’t agree with your definition for rules & criteria for miracles.

And I think it is clearly DANGEROUS to “take it one step further” if YOUR 1st step is in error!

I said God performs miracles because HE CAN, & THAT displays His power & majesty!” Garrett, I think you are putting God “in a box” so that you can understand Him & all His ways. WE CAN’T! (Rom 11:34) I think it is presumptuous of men to presume to know all there is to know about God. He does disclose Himself to us in His word. His power & intellect are displayed in His creation. His love is displayed in giving His Son as a sacrifice for our sins. His patience is displayed in the fact that He didn’t put Adam & Eve to death, (or any of us for that matter) the moment they (we) sinned. But His justice is displayed in that He DID carry out the consequences for sins by bringing death to the earth. (His word says this is a consequence of sin; therefore death did not enter the world until Eve & Adam sinned, hence NO EVOLUTIONARY PROCESS which requires death for billions of years first.) His desire to draw us near to Him is evidenced in this book we call the Bible, in which He pours out His plans & desires for us, BUT for now. (1 Cor 13:12) “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” We will not have all of the answers this side of heaven or hell. We must accept that.

Back to: “I just take it one step further and ask "why make this an exception to the rule if contextually Genesis 1 isn't even about the creation ex nihilo of material things, but rather God's bringing function, order, and purpose (cosmos) out of chaos (i.e., the formless and void waters)?”

Again, Who said it ISN’T? That is YOUR assumption (& those you follow) that it’s not about creation ex nihilo but rather function, order, purpose,…

I disagree, Garrett. Genesis starts out with “In the beginning, God created the heavens & the earth.” YOU as a scientist might WISH for, or expect that it would better describe the creation of matter out of nothing, but as a non-scientist I see that it does: “God created,” and “God said,…”

(What would you have thought or done had you been born before the printing press or the internet?!!)

God was not giving a science lesson in Gen 1-3! He was giving a history lesson! Just because YOU study things scientifically, doesn’t mean THAT was how God wrote it out. In fact, can you show me anywhere in the Bible where God IS giving a science lesson? That’s not the Bible’s purpose.

You say I read my Bible literalistically. If that’s what you want to call it, I don’t care. Yes I understand that I was “knit in my mother’s womb” but not with knitting needles. Some phrases are OBVIOUSLY analogy, others are OBVIOUSLY not. I still don’t believe God hid or coded critical information from us. He DOES allow us to discover more about Him & the world we live in. In fact we live at a time of technological advances that is fascinating for us to be able to explain some of the workings of God, but we are FAR FROM KNOWING EVERYTHING! I do know this however, that when I am called before His throne one day, I will not have to pass any science tests on biology, chemistry, astronomy, physics, or of calculus, linguistics, or any other study of man. I will however be required to demonstrate my knowledge of God through a personal relationship with His Son, Jesus, my redeemer. (Mt 7:22-23) That is my life’s goal, to KNOW HIM & worship Him, not to know HOW He did things. Rom 11:36 “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen.”

I still value God's opinion of man far above man's opinon of God.