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Sunday, June 06, 2010 | Comments (90)

First, listen to this 9-minute clip:

Launch Player  |  Download  |  Full Sermon

Here's the topic for today's discussion:

The straightforward, literal reading of Genesis 1-3 has proven to be a stubborn obstacle for those who embrace the "millions and billions of years ago" myth. To get around it, some evangelicals try to change the rules of interpretation in the first chapters of Genesis. After all, if the biblical creation account wasn't meant to be taken literally, then those who insist upon a literal, six-day creation aren't just wrong, they are doing violence to authorial intent.

Here's their simple (yet clever) tactic: they start by saying Genesis 1-11, especially the first three chapters, is Hebrew poetry. Some go further, saying it's allegory—the words aren't important; they're just a literary device God used to teach deeper, hidden truths. Liberals deny the supernatural elements altogether, claiming the biblical creation account is nothing but an elaborate myth. The point is, by changing authorial intent, they believe they can change the rules of interpretation too. In plain language, anything goes. Scripture becomes soft clay in the hands of the interpreter, to be molded according to his personal bias.

Is Genesis 1-3 poetry? Is it allegory? How would a poetic or allegorical view of the early chapters of Genesis harmonize with how the rest of Scripture treats the creation account, especially in the New Testament?

Listen to John’s sermon excerpt, then reflect on the following scenario for the comment thread: Consider two different interpreters of the creation account—the first believes Genesis to be purely a historical account, but does not believe it. The second believes Genesis 1 and 2 are completely true, but were written as poetry or allegory. Which approach has more integrity, and why?


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#1  Posted by Paul Tucker  |  Sunday, June 06, 2010at 11:12 PM

Hi Folks: I'm definitely with JM on this one. After reading R.K. Harrison's tome on "Introduction to the Old Testament" where he alludes to P.J. Wiseman's theory of transmission, I've been right there. I had problems when I was in H.S. Biology, but since then... And not that I am an expert, but I recall a paper done in the Life of David course in college. Ken Fredrick's taught the course, the poetry we learned about is not what you see in the first chapters of Genesis. I guess tat the only way you could say it is poetry is to press modern poetic practice into Genesis. We pretty much have left of any sort of form. Just a thought.

#2  Posted by Sarah Osterstock  |  Monday, June 07, 2010at 12:28 AM

This makes me so annoyed, If people aren't going to take Genesis literally and they dont believe that God did create the world in a literal 6 days, what else are they going to refute in the Bible? is the resurrection to hard to believe? what about the miracles?

If you dont believe that God created the heaven and the earth in 6 literal days does that make God a liar??

there are at least 45 passages in the Bible that talks about God being the creator of the world.

If you think that its impossible for God to create the world in 6 days (which is probably what their arguments come down to, because its too hard for peole to believe...are we taking away from Gods omnipotence?? my God is all powerful, how about the God you believe in?

thanks John for being so passionate about the Bible's truths, too many churches today are watering down the Bible's truths!! God bless!

#3  Posted by Greg Smith  |  Monday, June 07, 2010at 5:48 AM

I love Pastor MacArthur dearly. His sermons have done a lot to keep me and to guide me on my christian walk.

But .....................

God created science and curiosity. Scientists use techniques that show that the earth is not 6,000 years old. It is billions of years old. (And this is not global warming folks. This is real science without opinion.)

I pray that to god a day is a thousand years, from the psalms and quoted by peter. Genesis uses 'days', because mankind can not contemplate the miracle of creation and how god did it.

I pray that believers will not be obsessed, as pastor macarthur appears to be. I also pray that non believers, seeking the truth and salvation, will read genesis for what it is, a description of the glory of god. And then move on past the first page of scripture to repentence and forgiveness of sins.

#4  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Monday, June 07, 2010at 5:58 AM

History or Just Poetry?

Where would we be

Without history?

How could we be sure of our past?

We’d never know

Which way we should go

Without knowing from where we’ve been cast.

God gave us His Word

But as you have heard

Many reject Its accuracy.

They doubt what they read

And continue to plead

It’s just poetry or allegory.

Now I must confess

That when I address

God’s meaning from what He has said,

I take it as true

And create nothing new;

Just a literal meaning instead.

If He said, “6 days.”

Then may God be praised

For His power and ability;

And may we just trust

His Word as we must

Allowing our FAITH to cause us to see…

That God is the Lord

And explained in His Word

Is the beginning of our history.

He owed us nothing

But gave us everything!

Oh, what a blessing to you and to me!

Sorry! But thanks for the indulgence.

I just can't pick & choose which parts of God's Word are literal & true, & which parts I can twist to accomodate some modern thinking. Women have rebelled against God's Word & done this through pushing certain women's rights; children & slaves too, yet read Ephesian 5-6. We are all called to serve God's purposes, not our own. We are to bring glory & honor to Him, not ourselves. I can't find honor in questioning His Word! I do see honoring Him in studying the sciences & seeking to UNDERSTAND HIM more, but when those things we seem to "discover" reject Him, then we are treading on thin ice & I believe we are being led astray by the adversary! I love God & am so thankful to Him for all He has done for me! I would be lost in sin & heading to hell if He had not stepped in to rescue me! How could I EVER doubt His Word?! He didn't owe us a description of HOW He created things...but He DID CHOOSE to tell us in His Word. What right do we have to question His "context" & "meaning"?? (But I believe the motive of questioning His Word is to justify OWR OWN wants & desires: OUR AGENDA, NOT HIS! GOD FORGIVE US!)

#5  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Monday, June 07, 2010at 7:39 AM

Greg,

Have you been tracking with the series (and subsequent comments?). There has been significant debate with several people who hold your position. If you haven't already, you might do yourself a favor and go back through the articles (first) and then see the interaction Fred, myself, and a couple other people had with other evolutionists.

If there is something we haven't discussed, feel free to bring it up! But saying that evolution is a fact without some kind of support at this point shows that you aren't engaged and are just taking a shot in the dark.

#6  Posted by Landon Lehman  |  Monday, June 07, 2010at 8:11 AM

Gabriel,

I have been following the series recently. I am wondering why you assume that Greg is an "evolutionist." He just expressed a belief that the earth is old. Is acceptance of the evidence for an old earth equatable with a belief in modern evolutionary theory?

I for one believe that the two are separable.

What are your thoughts?

#7  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Monday, June 07, 2010at 8:29 AM

Landon,

Like Gabe stated to Greg, we have been going over these things for sometime, so if you haven't been tracking with the previous posts or reading through the comments, it would be helpful to go over what has been discussed here previously. That said, I understand how spending an hour getting caught up may be difficult because of time constraints, so one article I would recommend printing off and reading through is Terry Mortenson's article he wrote for the Master's Seminary Journal back in the spring of 2004.

http://www.tms.edu/tmsj/tmsj15d.pdf

He addresses the theological problems the acceptance of long ages and death before Adam has upon our theology of scripture.

Another article worth the read is Fred Van Dyke's article on the Problems with Theistic Evolution.

http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/1986/JASA3-86VanDyke.html

Pay particular attention to his first section outlining the Bible's view of death. OEC claims death is a good thing just like the theistic evolutionists. I have heard Hugh Ross claim this, as well as OEC apologists like Greg Koukl of "Stand to Reason." But the Bible declares all death, disease, and the competition for resources, mechanisms evolutionists say are essential for natural selection to occur, as being a wicked intrusion into God's original creation.

If you hold to OEC of any sort, you have to believe in death before Adam, and the Bible doesn't limit "death" to merely being spiritual separation from God.

Fred

#8  Posted by Landon Lehman  |  Monday, June 07, 2010at 8:33 AM

Fred,

Thanks for the links. I will look them up!

#9  Posted by Landon Lehman  |  Monday, June 07, 2010at 9:07 AM

I finished Mortenson's article. I disagree with his philosophy of science. I hold to the position that science is not just a cultural or philosophical exercise, but that it is able to discover actual truths about reality. In that sense I am a scientific realist. I also realize that science is a human, and thus fallible, effort. Granted, Mortenson does not explicitly state that he believes science is just an outworking of the observer's beliefs, but he comes close with his quote from Kuhn on page 80.

Mortenson seems to believe that someone working in the historical sciences cannot discover actual truth unless they start with his (Mortenson's) presuppositions. I disagree. I believe that in "doing science" the scientist is actually encountering physical reality and discovering truths about that reality.

Most of the early European "geologists" who discovered such things as the principle of faunal succession, etc., were devout Christians (as noted by Mortenson). They believed in a rational and ordered universe that was created by God, and they discovered truths about the world through their investigations.

Here is a link to some of the early evidences of an old earth that were encountered by these geologists:

http://67.199.69.61/origins/downloads/Origins_chap05_art04_centuries.pdf

One of the evidences from the link...

"Volcanic cones were discovered under grasslands in south central

France. Since no human record or legend tells of volcanoes in that

area, the last volcanic eruption must have been before human history.Upon close inspection, geologists were able to map multiple layers of lava flows, showing that the volcanoes in that area had erupted repeatedly, hardening after each eruption and forming additional structures. Evidence also shows significant water erosion taking place between the various volcanic eruptions. This area tells of a longer and more dynamic history than could be fit into a few thousand years, even with a flood."

What do you think, Fred? I would assume you hold to a different philosophy of science than do I. Do you agree with Mortenson? How would you treat the evidences in the link above if you were one of the early geologists?

#10  Posted by Landon Lehman  |  Monday, June 07, 2010at 9:11 AM

From Mortenson's article..."But Geisler is not the only evangelical philosopher who is highly trained to spot philosophical naturalism and yet has missed it in the issue of the earth’s age. I am not aware of any leading evangelical philosopher who is a convinced YEC. If

our greatest Bible-believing and Bible-defending philosophers cannot see naturalism’s control of geology and astronomy, how will the rest of the church see it?"

So Mortenson concludes that the philosophers have been brainwashed in his next paragraph. Always a convenient fall-back :).

#11  Posted by James Radford  |  Monday, June 07, 2010at 9:20 AM

I have to say that to believe that Genesis is an allegory is to say that God is relative and faith is what you make of it. No, I believe in the literal interpretation of the Genesis creation account. But I also believe that God hasn't revealed everything to us as to how He created the earth. Look at the questions that He asked Job. I believe that there is a room for what some have named the

"Gap" theory. I believe that between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 could be a gap in time. Not that there was any "evolution" was happening during this time, more like "revolution". I believe that this is where Satan fell and was cast out of Heaven and he was banished to the earth. I believe that Satan has some limited power to create and he tried to create beings but all he could muster up was the caotic world of the dinosaurs. Beings with brains the size of peas. Was there order during this time period? I doubt it. I believe that God allowed this to continue and then covered the earth with water and then at His appointed time He began His work of creation in six literal days.

#12  Posted by Paul Tucker  |  Monday, June 07, 2010at 10:20 AM

Hi Greg: It seems to me that if the "techniques" of science were so convincing, we would have no room for debate. I think that if evolution were really true the amount of skepticism from Bible believing Christians would be small, and the opposition to evolution would be smaller - limited to folks on the fringe of things. Christians still do "Science", as a matter of fact modern science was based upon a biblical framework not Atheism. And I might point out, again, that if the doctrine of evolution were true it would be taught in scripture. It is only when we try an force it where it does not belong that we have problems. The bible states that God did everything regarding our salvation "before the foundation of the world". This would have included the writing of scripture. The assumption that Moshe (Moses) would not have understood it is simply a load of bunk. Have you read some of the fantastic creation myths? The biblical account is simpler and to the point. Besides,the issue "Biblicists" call into question is the "groundform" of evolutionary science and how these scientist manipulate data to conform to their particular belief. Just a thought.

{And a note of apology is warranted here as we are talking about the subject of truth, a real mistake was made on my part earlier in this discussion, I gave Marvin Lubenow several degrees and honors he did not earn, they were in fact Dr Michael Charney's honors - sorry bout that "my bad". Dr Lubenow earned a Master of Theology from DTS, and a Masters of Science in anthropology from Eastern Michigan University. He has an Honorary Doctorate. It's a good thing I'm not God- we'd be in terrible shape.)

#13  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Monday, June 07, 2010at 10:40 AM

Landon, RC Sproul is a leading evangelical philosopher who is YEC. He has recently within the last couple years switched to YEC, which tells me that he hasn't blindly believed it, but brought all his theological and philosophical understanding to bear on the issue.

#14  Posted by Landon Lehman  |  Monday, June 07, 2010at 10:42 AM

Hi Paul,

"And I might point out, again, that if the doctrine of evolution were true it would be taught in scripture."

Why do you think this? Are all truths taught in Scripture? (not that I do think evolution is true, just asking about the general principle).

#15  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Monday, June 07, 2010at 10:44 AM

Landon, you write,

I hold to the position that science is not just a cultural or philosophical exercise, but that it is able to discover actual truths about reality... Mortenson seems to believe that someone working in the historical sciences cannot discover actual truth unless they start with his (Mortenson's) presuppositions. I disagree. I believe that in "doing science" the scientist is actually encountering physical reality and discovering truths about that reality.

Well, if you understand "discovering" truths about reality involves such things as understanding the function of gravity, or at what temperature steel melts, or how lift works on an airplane wing, or how penicillin effects polo, everyone agrees with you. Nothing with what Mortenson writes disagrees with the historical sciences. But we are not talking about the historical sciences in those respects. We are talking about folks speculating about what happened in the past, and in the case of evolutionists, the "deep" time past. Moreover, they are speculating about the formation of life and its development on earth and that doesn't fall into the kind of "historical" science you are advocating here. In that case, you do have presuppositions coming into play. One's understanding of philosophical naturalism, as Mortenson points out, plays radically in how you interpret the evidence.

One of the evidences from the link... "Volcanic cones were discovered under grasslands in south central France. Since no human record or legend tells of volcanoes in that

area, the last volcanic eruption must have been before human history.Upon close inspection, geologists were able to map multiple layers of lava flows, showing that the volcanoes in that area had erupted repeatedly, hardening after each eruption and forming additional structures. Evidence also shows significant water erosion taking place between the various volcanic eruptions. This area tells of a longer and more dynamic history than could be fit into a few thousand years, even with a flood."

Or so they claim. The thing that catastrophism has shown is that things can and do happen rapidly. It doesn't take millions of years. Volcanic activity certainly happened frequently after the flood before men occupied those places in France. No one is disputing that fact. However, when the person says "the area tells of a longer and more dynamic history than can be fitted into a few thousand years, even with a flood" this is an interpretation that is being born, not by the naked evidence speaking by itself, but by the interpretation of the evidence that functions from one's presuppositions about what we are to expect from the evidence.

What do you think, Fred? I would assume you hold to a different philosophy of science than do I.

I believe when it comes to the repeatable, experimental science that takes place in today's world, we are the same page. But when it comes to extrapolating our interpretations of the so-called distant past where no one saw anything take place and build an entire historical narrative upon those interpretations, then we certainly differ.

So Mortenson concludes that the philosophers have been brainwashed in his next paragraph. Always a convenient fall-back :)

You may think it is a convenient fall back, but it is also biblical. Our fall into sin effects more than just our separation from God and our need for salvation, but it also effects our thinking. What would be the noetic effects of the fall. Men love darkness rather than light, and as Paul notes in Romans 1, they suppress the truth in unrighteousness. One of the means they suppress the truth is by developing clever ways to interpret the world so that it provides them excuse to justify their rejection of God. So in that sense, Mortenson is correct. The consensus of philosophers, brainwashed by their darkened minds, reject the truth and thus interpret the world according to that rebellion.

#16  Posted by Landon Lehman  |  Monday, June 07, 2010at 10:45 AM

Gabriel,

I was just pointing out that stating that those who disagree with you are "brainwashed" is an easy way out. I never said that anyone "blindly believes" in a young earth either.

#17  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Monday, June 07, 2010at 10:46 AM

Landon,

Paul can answer for himself, but to me Scripture not only doesn't teache evolution, but explicitly and pervasively teaches the contrary. As as I have interacted with evolutionists, not only do they do hermeneutical gymanstics to re-interpret Genesis 1-11, but they also completely misinterpret a host of Old and New Testament passages that are intricately related to the historical account of Genesis 1-11.

#18  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Monday, June 07, 2010at 10:50 AM

Landon,

No worries, I didn't think you were saying that, I was just making the point that a leading philosphical theologian has come to the YEC position after many years of argueing against it (though actually I don't know if he argued against it... at the very least he didn't believe it).

#19  Posted by Landon Lehman  |  Monday, June 07, 2010at 10:59 AM

Hi Fred,

Thanks for the response.

"Nothing with what Mortenson writes disagrees with the historical sciences. But we are not talking about the historical sciences in those respects. We are talking about folks speculating about what happened in the past, and in the case of evolutionists, the "deep" time past. Moreover, they are speculating about the formation of life and its development on earth and that doesn't fall into the kind of "historical" science you are advocating here."

Maybe we should more carefully define "historical science." I was just operating under a rather simplistic defintion of "historical science" as "science that deals with things that happened in the past and that we cannot currently observe directly." How would your definition differ from mine? I am sure mine can be improved :). And clarification of "historical science" would help me understand why you seem to take a more postmodern view of science when you are talking about historical science, like this statement, "One's understanding of philosophical naturalism, as Mortenson points out, plays radically in how you interpret the evidence."

"But when it comes to extrapolating our interpretations of the so-called distant past where no one saw anything take place and build an entire historical narrative upon those interpretations, then we certainly differ."

How exactly do we differ? Is there some point at which historical science is no longer a valid method? If so (and I think you will say there is), then who decides where that point is and why must historical science be no longer valid at that point? Where (when, more accurately) would you say that point is?

"Our fall into sin effects more than just our separation from God and our need for salvation, but it also effects our thinking."

I agree with you. I believe that our thinking is not perfect when it comes to science and when it comes to our interpretation of God's revealed Word. Might you have a "brainwashed mind" as well? I am quick to say that I am not accusing you of this - I don't want to be offensive - just saying that the possibility of having a "brainwashed mind" is not just in the realm of "the philosophers" but in your mind and in my mind as well, correct?

#20  Posted by Landon Lehman  |  Monday, June 07, 2010at 11:02 AM

I would like to reiterate that I do not want to come across as offensive or insulting in what I say. I have seen young-earth creationism treated as "stupid" before, and I do not believe that it is. So if someone thinks I am being insulting towards those with whom I disagree, please let me know. I wish this to be a conversation that reflects the love of God among fellow believers.

#21  Posted by Lynda Ochsner  |  Monday, June 07, 2010at 11:47 AM

I absolutely agree with MacArthur, that those who admit the truth of Genesis' claims (but not believing it) at least are being honest. It is the deceit and hypocrisy of the other side that I have a much bigger problem with -- they want to say they believe the Bible and uphold inerrancy and full inspiration of the Bible, but re-interpret the Bible to "agree" with their own unbiblical ideas.

Indeed it is true (as post #17 above) that those who take an inconsistent hermeneutic with regard to Genesis 1-2, carry out that same pattern with many other scriptures, a pick-and-choose attitude to distort scripture to justify their own ideas. To justify their view of Genesis they will claim that Hebrews 4 teaches an unending seventh day (and thus by extension all the other days were not ordinary days either), when it plainly says nothing of the sort and simply says that the seventh day ended. Often they simply can't stop allegorizing at creation, but bring forth the same allegorizing to unrelated areas of scripture: the future (prophecy), and even to understanding other narrative accounts, such as allegorizing stories from the life of David to mean something other than what faithful exposition of the text teaches.

To the notion that OECs are different from evolutionists and don't believe evolution:

Then why is it that OECs hold to the same background presuppositions as theistic as well as atheistic Evolution, especially the notion that man in ancient times was more primitive and stupid, incapable of understanding "higher level" science (therefore God had to explain creation "poetically") and thought the the world was flat? (Never mind that the truth is the exact opposite, that early man was extremely intelligent as shown in many archeological discoveries and writings.) The same assumptions about mankind progressing, from primitive ape-type thought to modern man, is behind Old Earth creationist thought, even if they want to expressly deny evolution, per se. This in addition to the OEC idea regarding physical death, same idea as evolutionists.

#22  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Monday, June 07, 2010at 12:11 PM

Hey again Landon,

To start, I appreciate the challenges. No offense is taken by anything you have written. We're just clarifying and my goal is to point back to the scripture.

Maybe we should more carefully define "historical science." I was just operating under a rather simplistic defintion of "historical science" as "science that deals with things that happened in the past and that we cannot currently observe directly." How would your definition differ from mine? of "historical science" would help me understand why you seem to take a more postmodern view of science when you are talking about historical science

I was thinking you were saying historical science in what we would know as the sciences, like chemistry, physics, etc. Let's keep you definition.

I would distinguish your understanding of "historical" science from what I would call "operational" science. Those are thing we see and do in the present. That would include anything from cancer research, engineering and construction, to the use of medicine and pharmaceuticals. Those sciences deal with things that are repeatable and experimental. Historical science, at least according to your definition as I understand how you are defining the term, is much more philosophical in nature, because it is offering speculations at to what happened in the distant past where no one experienced anything. Historical science attempts to explain why life is the way it is on our world. It attempts to build an entire history of our origins and where man came from. None of those things are science in the operational sense, but more along the lines of philosophies. That is where men get into trouble.

How I am distinguishing between the two isn't post modern as you assert. Post modernism would argue no truth is absolutely knowable and we cannot gain any true information from the facts we observe. I reject this notion. Instead, I am merely pointing out that all men begin with presuppositions through which they filter their interpretations. The vast majority of the scientists dismiss out of hand any divinely revealed record of man's origin or past. So they dismiss the biblical record of God creating Adam and Eve, or a fall into sin that impacts the entire world, or a global flood. Rather than saying no truth is knowable, I believe it is, but I begin with the biblical record informing my understanding of the historical data and attempt to know truth.

Might you have a "brainwashed mind" as well?

I am quick to say I am brainwashed. As a saved man who has experienced spiritual regeneration, I want to think God's thoughts after Him. This is what the scriptures call, "renewing our mind."

#23  Posted by Landon Lehman  |  Monday, June 07, 2010at 12:30 PM

Fred,

"Historical science, at least according to your definition as I understand how you are defining the term, is much more philosophical in nature, because it is offering speculations at to what happened in the distant past where no one experienced anything. Historical science attempts to explain why life is the way it is on our world. It attempts to build an entire history of our origins and where man came from. None of those things are science in the operational sense, but more along the lines of philosophies."

I was thinking of historical science including things like stratigraphy and paleontology. These disciplines are not just "speculations" but are based on careful reasoning and study of past events. The academic discipline of history itself might also be included as a historical science. Is that a consistent definition?

"Rather than saying no truth is knowable, I believe it is, but I begin with the biblical record informing my understanding of the historical data and attempt to know truth."

I have a small adjustment to make. I believe it would be more accurate to say "I begin with [my interpretation of] the biblical record." You then apply your interpretation of the biblical record to the scientific interpretation of data. What gives your interpretation a "higher ground" than the interpretation of a scientist?

Also, as humans we have the ability to reason and evaluate arguments. We can thus make judgements about the comparative worth of different interpretations, correct? Some interpretations fit the data "better" than others do. If one interpretation requires a distortion of the data or cannot explain the majority of the data, and a competing interpretation does explain the data, we can realize that and use our God-given minds to judge between those two interpretations.

#24  Posted by A S  |  Monday, June 07, 2010at 7:21 PM

(1) Exodus 20:11 unequivocally places Genesis 1:1 within the six days of Creation --> then by a straightforward reading of the passage, Genesis 1:1 falls within the 1st day of Creation.

Thus, no GAP THEORY is Scripturally valid.

(2) Each day of Creation is unequivocally defined by an evening and a morning: evening + morning = day 1/2/3/4/5/6.

Thus, nothing but a day with an evening and morning is Scripturally valid. (The day could have been more/less than 24 hrs depending on the earth's rotational velocity at the time, but I seriously doubt it could have been much different from what it is today)

#25  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 4:19 AM

#9 Many Geologists deny or downplay the biblical account of the Noachian flood, and are therefore not able to see there is an elephant in the room.

When concluding the "evidence" is somewhat undeniable, you are concluding that no one is able to give another explanation to falsify that hypothesis. This is not the case. There is YEC Geologist out there publishing Technical Papers dealing with those views.

www.icr.org

www.answersingenesis.org

For layman curios about the thinking processes involved, I would recommend starting with this one: http://www.detectingdesign.com/geologiccolumn.html

#26  Posted by William Stinson  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 7:43 AM

I love Jesus, and because of that completly trust Him why do so many Christians, or so called Christians far more educated then me constantly argue about points in the Bible (not like the Brehens)is it wanting to be a expositor, pride or am I missing something.

Ten years ago I was Born Again, 24 years ago in 1986 my life was a train wreak, drunk lying on a mattress, in a unfurnished house I cried out to GOD to take over my life, He did, and things got so good I took control back then He chastened me I got the message the rest is history and thats my point, I have been so blessed that I do not question the Bible. I started my education with Chuck Smith a great teacher but now listen to Johns teaching and read the Bible 5-6 hrs a day for the last 8 years, normally go to Church Calvary Chapel 3 times a week, but have been in Israel for the last 3 months and maybe that the real reason I am blogging I miss you guys so much. GOD BLESS US AND KEEP US all the answers are right around the corner.

#27  Posted by William Stinson  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 8:34 AM

I know this may not seem on topic, but I read yours and in the past many, many other debates about the interpretation of the Bible and to me, It means what its says and the Holy Spirit takes care of the rest. To debate with a non-believer is not only pointless, but unbiblical. I site Titus 3:9

PRAYER:

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,

Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!

What more can He say than to you He hath said,

You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled.

In every condition, in sickness, in health;

In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;

At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,

As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,

For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;

I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand

Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,

My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;

The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design

Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,

I will not, I will not desert to its foes;

That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,

I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.

Amen.

“How Firm a Foundation” by John Rippon, 1787. Public domain.

#28  Posted by Aaron Schultz  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 9:10 AM

There is no dispute here. Genesis is the literal truth. The whole foundation of our faith rests on the word of Christ being true. The word of Christ is the Bible. He is the Word.

He is the Elohim Of Genesis 1. He existed before creation. He references His own scripture and His own word when He walked among us. He did not use science as He did not need it. He was there. He made the light on day 1 and placed the sun, moon, and stars on day 4. He made the sky and waters on day 2 populating them on day 5. He made the lands on day 3 and populated them on day 6.

He seperated a rib from Adam to create woman. She did not evolve from Adam, but was of him.

The devil tempted man and he fell. If you think this is poetry you support such false movements as Universalism. They who deny the inevitable seperation of sinful unrepentant man from God eternally. You remove the words, "Ye shall surely not die!"

It is not a matter of scientific debate as some suppose. It is a matter of calling The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit a liar. All three existed in verse 1. All three created in verse 1. The Father glorified the Son who spoke His words true to the glory of the Father. Not one sinner recieves the Holy Spirit unless He repents and believes on the Son. Deny their truths and you walk a perilous tightrope that so many fall off of.

There is a reason it is called a stumbling block. The Jews wanted miracles the Gentiles wanted wisdom, both of which they could see and touch. Faith is not something seen and touched, such as one would do using science, it is something accepted and is so much the greater for those who have not seen and believed. Jesus is calling and His word stands true.

#29  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 9:34 AM

My comments really carry over from the previous thread...

In the previous thread the discussion of Genesis 1-11 being intricately tied to the plan of redemption was/is my position. To add to that notion here is Dr Al Mohler's words regarding the subject:

"...the Christian doctrine of creation is directly connected to the doctrine of redemption. For this reason, a failure to affirm the biblical doctrine of creation leads to inevitable compromise on the doctrine of redemption. In reality, we simply cannot minimize the importance of this doctrine, nor can we surrender biblical truth in the face of modern denials. We must get it right from the beginning."

Full article here (great read)

http://www.albertmohler.com/2006/03/24/getting-it-right-from-the-beginning-part-one/

#30  Posted by Michael Riccardi  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 9:39 AM

I'm not sure if anyone has said this throughout the series, but I believe this to be the best question anyone can ask a non-YEC: "If there was a scientific discovery that unequivocally disproved the idea of an old earth, but yielded definitive data that supported that the earth was 6,000-10,000 years old, would you change your position on Genesis 1-3?"

If you answer no to that question, then I commend you for your consistent stand upon the Word of God, even if I disagree with your conclusions and interpretations.

But if the answer to that question is yes, science, not Scripture, is your authority. For those who profess to be disciples of Christ and students of God's Word, that is absolutely inconsistent with their profession. There is absolutely nothing "Christian" about that worldview.

#31  Posted by Landon Lehman  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 10:52 AM

Hi Michael,

No, I would not change my position on Genesis 1 if there was definitive data that the earth was 6,000-10,000 years old.

What do you do with the definitive data that the earth is indeed very old?

"But if the answer to that question is yes, science, not Scripture, is your authority."

If my answer was yes, the above would still not be true. Science can be used to call into question a certain interpretation of Scripture, for example as in the interpretation of verses that seem to indicate a geocentric universe. I do not think that science can provide a positive interpretation of Scripture, only that it can cause us to reconsider an interpretation.

Can someone tell me how to put italicized text in my posts? Thanks!

Anyone know where Fred is? I was having an interesting discussion with him yesterday that I would like to continue.

#32  Posted by Aaron Schultz  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 11:12 AM

Thank you Keith Farmer for the article link. This is exactly what I intended to mean in my post, but with a much better response.

One can not argue creation and still have the biblical concept of redemption. It is a comprimise we can not make.

The same basic idea applies to the concepts of Open Theology. If we say that God Himself can not know all or see all actions of the future, our Theology Proper falls apart. As such the concepts of Christology, Pneumatology and all fall as well.

If we redefine God and His word, we redefine all of what we know as Absolute Truth. We must not fail or submit to this movement. These are slippery slopes Christians must not accept.

#33  Posted by Scott Christensen  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 11:15 AM

Michael Riccardi,

Good point. I think it is important to note that any so-called scientific fact needs to be accepted only in a provisional way. The old so-called facts are always being revised or replaced by some new "discovery." Of course many things come with a high level of certainty and there is little question as to its truth.

Some might say the same holds true for the interpetation of scripture. And for the most part I agree. We must not ever take the attitude that our interpretations are infallible. If we did, we would never grow in knowledge and understanding. Yet, there are a number of interpretive realities that have such a high level of certainty that it is foolhardy to treat them with a provisional status. I think one of those certainties is the literal nature of Genesis 1-3.

With that in mind, I would revise your statement. I would commend such a person for their consistency to their worldview if they answered no to your question, but I have serious doubts as to whether that worldview is based upon their "consistent stand on the Word of God." I think your third paragraph makes it clear that such a person has no consistent stand on the Word of God because in my mind Gen. 1-3 is so clear and certain as to its meaning.

#34  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 11:18 AM

#24 The real issue about the flood, is why it happened.

#35  Posted by Scott Christensen  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 11:38 AM

Landon said:

"Science can be used to call into question a certain interpretation of Scripture." I wonder whether it is possible for you to believe the opposite. Could scripture ever call into question an intepretation of science?

This leads to another point. I think everyone along the spectrum of this debate can agree that they would like to see science and scripture be harmonised in as far as that is possible. But I think they way that happens means all the difference in the world. If science is more authoritative than scripture, then one will always seek to harmonize the scripture to the 'so-called' findings of science (as we see with Theistic Evolutionists). If scripture is regarded as more authoritative, then the findings of science must harmonize with scripture (e.g. as we see in the work of YEC flood geologists).

#36  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 11:44 AM

The #24 reference in #34 was a misspelling.

#37  Posted by William Stinson  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 11:45 AM

Hi Landon,

What do you do with the definitive data that the earth is indeed very old?

Well someone said maybe John M., Adam was not born a infant. And did he have a navel? In looking at the GOD's other supernatural mircles maybe the Earth was predated.

#38  Posted by Paul Neil  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 12:06 PM

Its quite simple, God is either true or he is a liar. Since Christ quotes from Gensis regarding Adam and Eve, if the creation account is not correct then the Messiah is a liar, therefore Christ couldnt be the Messiah, therefore we are still in our sins. If that is true.

One must make their minds up, evolution or scripture? they cannot be reconciled without unjustly distorting Gods word. God forbid that a professing Christian would dare do that. Thats frigtening as you are either adding or taking away from Gods word.

Rev 22

18And I solemnly declare to everyone who hears the words of prophecy written in this book: If anyone adds anything to what is written here, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book. 19And if anyone removes any of the words from this book of prophecy, God will remove that person’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city that are described in this book.

I like the NLT of this verse

Romans 3:4 - Even if everyone else is a liar, God is true. As the Scriptures say about him, "You will be proved right in what you say, and you will win your case in court."

Faith in Christ is not for the weak, I can tell you that, as you will be looked upon as a fool in this world. I pray for the double minded that you would stand in the face of the attacks on Gods word.

I like this scripture also

1 Corinthians 3:18 (message)

Don't fool yourself. Don't think that you can be wise merely by being up-to-date with the times. Be God's fool—that's the path to true wisdom. What the world calls smart, God calls stupid.

Blessings on you all!

#39  Posted by Don Laffere  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 12:28 PM

As time goes by Man finally catches up with what God already said and finds out it was true all along. Why go against God? Psssssssssst. He's God and we are not. Sit back and just enjoy His glory! See below on age of the earth and carbon dating;

A less-common form of the carbon atom, carbon-14, is used today by scientists as a method to date once-living organisms. Many people believe that carbon dating disproves the Biblical time scale of history. However, because of the difficulties with current C14 dating techniques, the dates produced have been shown to be faulty.

Carbon-14 is produced in the upper atmosphere by action of cosmic rays. Once the C 14 has been formed, by converting nitrogen-14 into carbon-14, it behaves like ordinary carbon-12, combining with oxygen to give carbon dioxide, and freely cycling through the cells of all plants and animals. Carbon-14 is used for a dating material because once it has been formed, C14 begins to decay radioactively back to nitrogen-14, at a rate of change that can be measured. As soon as an organism dies, the C14 atoms which decay are no longer replaced by new ones through respiration. Consequently, the ratio of C14 to C12 in that once-living organism decreases as time goes on.

The problem with the carbon dating method is—scientists can not be sure of what the C14/C12 ratio was when the organism died. Carbon dating assumes that the ratio has remained constant; however, events, such as the industrial revolution, are known to have raised C12 levels. Other possible factors, such as the presence of a water canopy, would have lowered the amount of C14 in the pre-Flood world. Because pre-Flood specimens had so little carbon-14 in them, some might appear to have been decaying for tens of thousands of years.

Also, the decay of the earth’s magnetic field would have direct effects on C14 level, again, giving artificially old ages the farther you go back in time. Finally, carbon dating has been shown untrustworthy with some present day aquatic specimens that were concluded to be thousands of years old.

For example, the shells of living snails’ were carbon dated and showed that the snails had died 27,000 years ago. Other specimens have been carbon dated more than once, each time producing a different date varying by thousands of years.

In overview, we see that the radiocarbon dating method is certainly no embarrassment to the Biblical creationist who believes in a young earth. In fact, when all data, such as the decay of the magnetic field and the canopy, is taken into accord, carbon dating seems to support a young earth.

www.creationevidence.org

#40  Posted by Rene'e Anderson  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 12:29 PM

William Stinson, I agree with you your post on Tuesday June 8, about how sin blinds us. But I have to also say I'm very greatful God has pointed out spirtual leaders to speak his bibical trurh as John Macarthur and others have. If just one person chooses to hear the truth, and repent for their sins, and ask God for forgiveness that is God's glory.

#41  Posted by Landon Lehman  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 1:58 PM

Scott,

"Could scripture ever call into question an intepretation of science?"

Definitely. But I am sure you mean [an interpretation of] scripture, right? You see, God created the universe, and He inspired the Bible. Hence, the two will probably both give us truth about reality. If they don't seem to line up, we should examine both to see what we are missing.

"If science is more authoritative than scripture, then one will always seek to harmonize the scripture to the 'so-called' findings of science (as we see with Theistic Evolutionists). If scripture is regarded as more authoritative, then the findings of science must harmonize with scripture (e.g. as we see in the work of YEC flood geologists)."

Why do you label scientific findings as "so-called" without providing any evidence for that statement? A fundamental issue here is the question of whether or not science is the study of reality, something that actually exists. I believe that it is, that scientists actually discover truths about reality through their work.

I do not believe that science is more authoritative than Scripture. But science can cause us to reconsider an interpretation of Scripture. These are two distinct positions, they are not the same.

Part of the reason that the work of YEC flood geologists is not accepted by the mainstream scientific community is because what they are doing is not science. They are starting with their conclusion already decided, so they look for facts to support that conclusion (read up on the RATE project for examples).

#42  Posted by Landon Lehman  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 2:01 PM

William,

I am fairly certain (correct me if I am wrong), that most young-earth creationists do not like the Omphalos hypothesis (also known as Last Thursdayism) for theological reasons.

#43  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 2:09 PM

Landon,

Evolutionists love to add "your interpretation of" in front of Scripture. The truth is we are trying to tell you that your interpretation of the evidence is wrong. Scientific discoveries are interpretations. Sometimes scientific discoveries are obvious (the moon does project its own light), other times they are not (what happened billions of years ago).

If believing scientists would first acknowledge that creation was miraculous (as is obvious from the text), then they would know that science cannot study it. Therefore to come to an old earth interpretation of the evidence means that you have a priori rejects Scripture's clear meaning.

In other words, you've started with science (as your primary authority) and interpret Scripture in light of science (which requires impossible interpretations of Scripture). What you should do is start with Scripture (as your primary authority) and interpret the evidence in light of the clear meaning of Scripture.

#44  Posted by Landon Lehman  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 2:17 PM

Gabriel,

"Scientific discoveries are interpretations."

How is this not postmodernism? I have thought for some time that the YEC approach to science closely mirrors that of postmodernists.

"What you should do is start with Scripture (as your primary authority) and interpret the evidence in light of the clear meaning of Scripture."

It is necessary to distort and ignore real evidence in order to force a YEC interpretation of scientific data. I do not believe this is intellectually honest. Even if I adhered to a YEC interpretation of Genesis 1, I would still examine the scientific evidence on such subjects as the age of the earth on its own terms, because of my prior belief that God created the entire universe and He does not lie.

#45  Posted by Landon Lehman  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 2:29 PM

Gabriel,

"Evolutionists love to add "your interpretation of" in front of Scripture. "

Was Augustine an evolutionist? He wrote the following in his book The Literal Meaning of Genesis book 1, chapter 18...

"...in matters that are obscure and far beyond our vision, even in such as we may find treated in Holy Scripture, different interpretations are sometimes possible without prejudice to the faith we have received. In such a case, we should not rush in headlong and so firmly take our stand on one side that, if further progresses in the search of truth justly undermines this position, we too fall with it. That would be to battle not for the teaching of Holy Scripture but for our own, wishing its teaching to conform to ours, whereas we ought to wish ours to conform to that of Sacred Scripture.”

#46  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 2:32 PM

Scientists use methods and criteria to interpret material data.

Theologians use methods and criteria to interpret Scripture.

Scientists have extremely limited data to work with. Like archeologists, scientists can only interpret the data in front of them. They cannot make dogmatic statements based on lack of evidence (like the historicity of David in archeology). Nor can science make absolutely positive statements because later data may conflict with former theories. When pressed, scientists acknowledge this, but for some reason scientists are religious about evolution.

On the other hand, theologians have complete data to work with. We have one book that has been read and studied to the hilt for several thousand years. We know the Greek and Hebrew languages. We understand linguistics and literary characteristics. We have multiple attestation of beliefs throughout Scripture (meaning, the NT often refers to the OT, and later OT refers to earlier OT).

The problem for theologians is being consistent in applying sound hermeneutics and exegesis, but even then most theologians can admit when certain rules are applied, certain conclusions are inevitable. Another problem is that the text can be over-interpreted, like forcing geocentrism as a doctrine when that isn't the point of the text.

In the case of creation, it is extremely clear what the point of the text is. The language, literary style, grammar, structure, etc. are exactly parallel to historical narratives like 1 Chronicles.

For evolutionists to reject that is as reasonable as rejecting what they learned in 5th grade English class.

#47  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 2:39 PM

Landon, quoting Augustine is unhelpful to your cause. He believed in an instantaneous creation, not evolution. If you have studied church history at all, you would know that the early church fathers believed a lot of things (not heretical) that no one today would believe.

"How is this not postmodernism? I have thought for some time that the YEC approach to science closely mirrors that of postmodernists."

Unless you are prepared to say that science is absolutely neutral, free from presuppositions, and infallible, I'd like to hear you explain what you mean.

#48  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 2:44 PM

"It is necessary to distort and ignore real evidence in order to force a YEC interpretation of scientific data. I do not believe this is intellectually honest."

I see. But it is not intellectually dishonest to claim an orthodox belief in Scripture (which you haven't done, but I assume you do), and then reject sound hermeneutics and exegesis on the basis of a lesser authority?

Remember: evidence are facts, conclusions are interpretations. Just because a rock/fish/formation/star/galaxie looks old, doesn't mean it is old. The wine, fish, and bread that Jesus made looked "old" and had all the properties of their "old" counterparts. But they were brand new when He created them.

#49  Posted by Landon Lehman  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 2:55 PM

Gabriel

"When pressed, scientists acknowledge this, but for some reason scientists are religious about evolution."

I acknowledge that as well, but I am not religious about evolution. And those statements do not mean that science is not a method to discover reality.

"Another problem is that the text can be over-interpreted, like forcing geocentrism as a doctrine when that isn't the point of the text."

Or forcing a young earth as a doctrine when that isn't the point of the text.

"Landon, quoting Augustine is unhelpful to your cause. He believed in an instantaneous creation, not evolution. If you have studied church history at all, you would know that the early church fathers believed a lot of things (not heretical) that no one today would believe."

I have studied some church history. I don't agree with everything Augustine said. But he was a deep thinker and wrestled honestly with the text of Genesis and wrote the piece I quoted as part of his most mature work on Genesis.

"Unless you are prepared to say that science is absolutely neutral, free from presuppositions, and infallible, I'd like to hear you explain what you mean."

What I mean is...I do acknowedge that science is not absolutely neutral, that it is not infallible...but that does not in the slightest mean that scientists are not interacting with reality in their work...that they are not discovering actual truths about an actual physical reality. This is a point of contention between myself and postmodernists. Science is not just about interpretations. There is such a thing as judging between competing interpretations using the minds that God has given us. If you don't agree with these statements, please tell me why.

"But it is not intellectually dishonest to claim an orthodox belief in Scripture (which you haven't done, but I assume you do), and then reject sound hermeneutics and exegesis on the basis of a lesser authority?"

I do hold to an orthodox view of Scripture. How am I rejecting sound hermeneutics?

"Remember: evidence are facts, conclusions are interpretations."

Again, this sounds exactly like some postmodern philosophers whom I have read.

"Just because a rock/fish/formation/star/galaxie looks old, doesn't mean it is old. The wine, fish, and bread that Jesus made looked "old" and had all the properties of their "old" counterparts. But they were brand new when He created them."

So you hold to the Omphalos hypothesis?

#50  Posted by Landon Lehman  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 2:58 PM

Gabriel,

Some questions that may help me understand your approach to science:

Is science inherently atheistic?

Does God reveal Himself in nature, even to unbelievers?

How many science classes have you taken? (Not meant to be insulting, its just that many Christians disparage solid scientific research based on God's creation without understanding what they are discounting.)

#51  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 3:13 PM

Why not just stick to the real definition of science. Repeatable, then fine. If not - every ones opinion seems to be taken as valid, but is not real science. Science have limitations. Just accept that fact. Gods Word is always sure, pure and fact.

#52  Posted by Scott Christensen  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 3:13 PM

Landon,

You assume that evolutionary science functions in a neutral and objective way similar to the way most 'operational' science functions. What you are not recognizing is that when science starts asking questions about origins they are delving into questions of ultimate meaning and purpose. Once this happens, then philosophical and meta-physical presuppositions abound and affects the way data is intepreted so as to fit the naturalistic/ materialistic foundations of the evolutionary worldview. IOW, the noetic effects of sin are magnified when questions of ultimate importance are raised. That usually doesn't happen when for example an engineer is seeking to apply the principles of physics to load diagrams/ equations when designing a building foundation.

In the naturalistic/ materialistic worldview it is impossible to admit to extraordinary divine providence in the case of origins or any other historic event that may have no scientific explanation (i.e. miracles). Furthermore, because divine revelation is rejected one usually cannot pretend to study an ordinary providential event like a global flood (not withstanding perhaps some extrordinary components here) because this impinges upon the non-revalatory nature of the naturalistic/ materialistic foundation. Lastly, to admit something like what we discover from divine revelation puts the evolutionary scientist in the position of accepting the rest of divine revelation and that simply won't fly as Romans 1 makes clear.

#53  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 3:20 PM

I'll answer the questions first:

Is science inherently atheistic? Yes. Science does not promote atheism, it assumes atheism. It has to. There is no God particle that can be measured as part of the scientific process. Now don't get me wrong; I don't mean that Christians can't do science. What I mean is that in the act of studying the natural world, the supernatural is not considered.

Does God reveal Himself in nature, even to unbelievers? Only in the most generic way that Scripture describes. Scripture says that the heaven declares the glory of God, and that God's divine attributes and power are clearly seen by what has been made. That is essentially it. General revelation (the better term), is just that: general. It is available to anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear. Scientific discoveries are, obviously, discoveries--not revelations. If you disagree, can you show me in Scripture where we are to take man's scientific discoveries and give them authority over God's written revelation?

How many science classes have you taken? Tell you what... I won't answer this and I won't ask you how many theology classes you've taken. Deal?

Some questions for you:

What hermeneutical principles do you use to arrive at a non-6-day creation interpretation of Genesis 1?

"And those statements do not mean that science is not a method to discover reality."

Exactly. Science discovers reality (how things are), not history (how things came to be).

"But he was a deep thinker and wrestled honestly with the text of Genesis and wrote the piece I quoted as part of his most mature work on Genesis."

So do you regularly employ allegory on the biblical text? How do you decide what is allegory and what is history?

"Science is not just about interpretations. There is such a thing as judging between competing interpretations using the minds that God has given us."

I disagree with the first part (what is science if not coming up with theoretical explanations of reality?), and agree with the second part. We should use our minds, submitted to God's revelation (the only source of absolute truth), to judge between God's wisdom and man's wisdom.

"How am I rejecting sound hermeneutics?"

By not using them. Again, what hermeneutics are you using in your interpretation of Genesis 1?

"So you hold to the Omphalos hypothesis?"

Had to look it up, so I don't know enough about that specific theory to comment on it. I prefer to say that I hold to the normal sense of the text that clearly says that upon the completion of creation at the end of day six, the entire cosmos was complete and mature (mature is assumed by the word "complete"); having the appearance of age but not being aged.

Did Adam and Eve have navels? It would be pure speculation. Did the trees in the garden have rings? It would be pure speculation. But what isn't speculation is that God created a mature man and woman who would speak intelligently (poetry was the first recorded saying), though Adam spoke before that since he named the animals and talked with God.

#54  Posted by Landon Lehman  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 3:22 PM

Scott,

I have not once said I am talking about evolution. I am talking about issues like the age of the earth, not the ultimate origin of the earth. Please don't equate what I am talking about with modern evolutionary theory.

"That usually doesn't happen when for example an engineer is seeking to apply the principles of physics to load diagrams/ equations when designing a building foundation."

It is the principles of physics that lead scientists to accept the evidence that the earth is very old.

This whole discussion is somewhat meaningless if the majority here believe the Omphalos hypothesis. Then the reasons scientists believe in an old earth would be obvious to YECs.

#55  Posted by Landon Lehman  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 3:36 PM

Gabriel,

"I don't mean that Christians can't do science. What I mean is that in the act of studying the natural world, the supernatural is not considered."

I agree with you 100% here. This viewpoint is also known as methodological naturalism.

"General revelation (the better term), is just that: general. It is available to anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear."

And it thus assumes a coherent and orderly universe. That's all I'm saying from Romans 1. I do not believe that scientific discoveries should be given authority over God's revealed Word.

"I won't answer this and I won't ask you how many theology classes you've taken. Deal?"

I am perfectly willing to reveal my lack of knowledge of theology (relative to you) if you will reveal how many science classes you have taken. I'm assuming classes beyond high school?

"What hermeneutical principles do you use to arrive at a non-6-day creation interpretation of Genesis 1?"

To start with, the principle that we should discover first of all what Scripture meant to its original readers before we try to figure out what it means to us today. I'm not sure of the technical name for that, but it came from a book on interpreting Scripture by R.C. Sproul (I can go look up the name if you want to know).

"Exactly. Science discovers reality (how things are), not history (how things came to be)."

Is history not reality? Did history really happen? Or all we all in some sort of matrix in which our perceptions of past events are not accurate?

"I disagree with the first part (what is science if not coming up with theoretical explanations of reality?)."

If you really believe that science is just coming up with theoretical explanations of reality, what would it take to change that belief? Again, I am using the same arguments with you that I would use with a postmodernist.

"I prefer to say that I hold to the normal sense of the text that clearly says that upon the completion of creation at the end of day six, the entire cosmos was complete and mature (mature is assumed by the word "complete"); having the appearance of age but not being aged."

If you believe this than I have no arguments with you on a scientific level. On a theological level, perhaps, but that would be starting a different discussion. If you believe this, than surely you can see why scientists believe the earth is old (because it looks old, right?).

#56  Posted by Landon Lehman  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 5:18 PM

Some things to consider...

First, from http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/update-on-the-creation-wars, "If certain groups of Christians doubt that the evidence leads to the almost universally accepted conclusions of the scientific community, I suggest that we should be encouraging believers to pursue scientific vocations, to gain credibility by practicing honest accountable research, to do the hard work of coming up with compelling alternative models, and to make their case in the public arena."

Second, from http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/how-to-lose-a-young-mind-1-with-a-few-thoughts-on-dawkins, "Let me be simple: if we can’t discuss evidence, but are simply playing gorilla warfare with worldview weapons, then our young people aren’t coming to conclusions. They are simply deciding whether to stay on our team and play the game.

You are going to lose hundreds of thousands of bright evangelicals with that approach. You better homeschool them till they are 40 and keep the television firmly under parental control if you are going to pull this off. You’ll need lots of propaganda and manipulative tactics to keep your kids motivated against those evil scientists and their distortions."

And third, read http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/niki-made-her-choice-and-apparently-so-did-we.

You will find me with Niki.

#57  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 5:21 PM

#55 That is a presumption, not a fact

http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2009/05/12/how-old-does-earth-look

#58  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 8:19 PM

Landon,

"That's all I'm saying from Romans 1."

It seems like you're saying a lot more; that evolution is God's revealing Himself. Are you not saying that?

Yes, I'm college educated, so the basic courses apply. I remember rolling my eyes in high school at the fiction my biology teacher taught us.

"To start with, the principle that we should discover first of all what Scripture meant to its original readers before we try to figure out what it means to us today."

Fantastic. There is zero exegetical evidence that the original hearers and anyone in Scripture believed anything but the historical nature of Genesis 1-3. Everyone in the Old Testament and New Testament that ever said anything about creation, Adam and Eve, Noah, or the flood took it all as historical.

"Is history not reality?"

History is past reality. You can't observe and repeat history scientifically. A fossil doesn't sit up and tell you how it got there; scientists invent stories of how they got there. Scripture gives us the historical record in the flood.

"If you really believe that science is just coming up with theoretical explanations of reality, what would it take to change that belief?"

Well, for starters you could explain it to me.

Regarding your last point: Correct, scientific discussion is meaningless because creation was a miracle. If you have theological issues then we should discuss those. I do indeed see why scientists (particularly unbelieving scientists) see an old earth.

I don't know about other YEC folks, but personally I am not intent on converting the world to YEC. That would be equivalent to converting the world to believe the Bible. That would only happen if everyone became a true believer (which all of us would rejoice in, but our theology indicates that won't happen). I understand that YEC is the super-super--super-minority position in the world. Well, so is believing in the inerrant Scripture and many other things we believe.

What I want to do is convince Bible believing Christians to be consistent in their interpretation and apply the Lordship of Christ to science by giving His account (He was there and did it, so He should know) abundantly more authority than scientific theories.

#59  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 8:22 PM

Final thought for tonight: the only way you will convince me and many others in this blog is if you can demonstrate how our application of standard hermeneutical principles and exegesis fails to properly interpret the text.

You might be interested in reading this article on the genre of the Hebrew text.

#60  Posted by William Stinson  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 9:28 PM

Gabriel Powell

I'll answer the questions first:

Is science inherently atheistic? Yes. Science does not promote atheism, it assumes atheism. It has to.

I think everyone here knows that our Universities were all established

by Christian Church's and that in reading the Psalms there is overwelming evidence of a round earth, a understanding of rain fall, the Earth rotating around the Sun etc. BUT I need some help here years ago I read something about science discovering s sub-atomic particle they call a "quark' that has a positive charge yet they are not repelled from each other the only thing that they could come up with I am sure it was tongue in cheek that they were held together by GOD'S Glue and if that glue disappeared the whole universe would explode. Anyone give more clarity to this.

#61  Posted by Garrett League  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 10:31 PM

A few things that caught my eye:

#6 Landon: "Is acceptance of the evidence for an old earth equatable with a belief in modern evolutionary theory?"

No, strictly speaking, but it might as well be. If you grant an OE you might as well grant evolution. You're like a 4 point Calvinist that just needs a nudge in the right direction to be fully consistent, because in my mind, if the earth is old then evolution is a no-brainer. If your going to get wet, why not swim? Most YECs tar OECs with that claim and I hate to agree with them, but on this point they've got a point. Either God progressively created in a way that looks just like descent with modification, or He was a bit more consistent and created via ordinary providence, the same way He made the heavens and the earth. OEC is a very precarious place to be, and I personally didn't last long in that position. But more power to you if you can. Why do you personally have a problem with evolution if the earth is 4.5 byo? Time is clearly not an issue.

#13 Gabriel: "Landon, RC Sproul is a leading evangelical philosopher who is YEC."

I guarantee Sproul's about face was not caused by a fresh evaluation of the geological evidence. I think his exposition of the Westminster Confession is where he first came out as YEC. Mohler will be giving a talk at his Lig Conference on why the earth looks so old. My guess is the answer won't be "because it is."

#44 Landon: "How is this not postmodernism? I have thought for some time that the YEC approach to science closely mirrors that of postmodernists"

I made that exact point in an earlier post. There are clear parallels aren't there? Everything is a wash with them when it comes to interpreting the evidence. We are slaves to presuppositions and biases. They have to be ultra-presuppositional, because it's the only way they can rationalize their sweeping rejections of so much of modern science without any significant empirical justification for doing so. "Well, that's just their atheistic INTERPRETATION of the evidence. Put on some bible glasses man!" It's a pillar of YEC argumentation and a handy escape hatch when faced with compelling "atheistic" interpretations of the facts.

The blog post:

"Is Genesis 1-3 poetry? Is it allegory?"

No, not merely poetry or allegory, since that clearly was not how the original audience understood it.

"Consider two different interpreters of the creation account—the first believes Genesis to be purely a historical account, but does not believe it. The second believes Genesis 1 and 2 are completely true, but were written as poetry or allegory. Which approach has more integrity, and why?"

The first is honest but wrong since Genesis isn't "purely a historical account." Sure, it's based on real historical events, grounded in things that really occurred, but it's clearly re-told in a creative, rhetorical fashion, so not all of the details have a 1:1 correspondence with chronological, material history.

The second approach may not lack integrity (maybe that person honestly thinks that is the case?), but it's also misguided since it rightly recognizes some figurative elements but wrongly leaps to a purely figurative reading without recognizing some basic historicity.

I don't think either necessarily lacks integrity. Both are logically coherent, but the premises are false, so the conclusions aren't sound. I don't fault the 100% cut a dry history folks too much, nor do I fault the literary framework folks. Both have an element of truth, but neither realizes the validity of the other's points. It's both. Raw historical data re-presented creatively and rhetorically to make theological points. In other words, creative license is taken in retelling historical events (how could you NOT use creative license in describing how God made us in his image?). The text itself says so. It doesn't pretend to be strictly chronological, exhaustive, straight forward, cut and dry history. There's more to it than that. We must not be reductionistic in identifying the genre here! Both of the above positions make that mistake. They unnecessarily make a "both, and" situation an "either, or."

#62  Posted by William Stinson  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 10:46 PM

I found it "QUARKS GODS GLUE" Everyone is going to love this article.It is Science proving Creation.

Five minute talk about the relation of my work as a physicist ...

... particles together: the so-called "quarks" which are bound together by "gluons." (The name "gluon" comes from the word "glue.") I am also a Christian: I believe in the God of the ...

gideon.eas.asu.edu/bvds/vita/talk.htmlten by a Christian Nuclear Scientist.

#63  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Tuesday, June 08, 2010at 10:47 PM

Garrett, a fuller response will come tomorrow, but just one question for now:

"The text itself says so. It doesn't pretend to be strictly chronological, exhaustive, straight forward, cut and dry history."

Where does it say that that it isn't just history?

#64  Posted by Landon Lehman  |  Wednesday, June 09, 2010at 4:16 AM

Garrett said "We are slaves to presuppositions and biases. They have to be ultra-presuppositional, because it's the only way they can rationalize their sweeping rejections of so much of modern science without any significant empirical justification for doing so. "Well, that's just their atheistic INTERPRETATION of the evidence. Put on some bible glasses man!" It's a pillar of YEC argumentation and a handy escape hatch when faced with compelling "atheistic" interpretations of the facts."

Right on, Garrett! Let me re-quote from my post above:

"Let me be simple: if we can’t discuss evidence, but are simply playing gorilla warfare with worldview weapons, then our young people aren’t coming to conclusions. They are simply deciding whether to stay on our team and play the game."

Evidence matters! I will write a longer post later today and respond to Gabriel - I'm in a hurry right now.

#65  Posted by Garrett League  |  Wednesday, June 09, 2010at 8:08 AM

Gabriel #63: "Where does it say that that it isn't just history?"

When I said "The text itself says so" I didn't mean for you to take it literally! Jk :) I was referring to all of the ANE conventions that the text adheres to. Do you want me to rehash all my arguments from a few posts back? No, that won't help, unless you've changed your mind (I haven't). I'll try this angle; how do you deal with the conventional ANE elements and parallels? Why call it "just history, no frills, no fuss" and not "history, creatively crafted to set Yahweh apart from the other gods by adopting traditional ANE conventions and turning them against the deities/myths they were created to propagate." All the literary tools, techniques, and conventions in the text favor that view, rather than a reductionistic, blanket genre of "history pure and simple" which excludes aspects of ANE cosmogony that they wouldn't dare to exclude from their origins account. The bible uses literature of the day (ANE cosmogony) to establish ethical monotheism in terms that were clear as day in the cognitive environment of the ANE. Thus, recounting history with a 1:1 correspondence to reality wasn't the point, and chronology, material mechanisms, etc. were subordinated to higher purposes. They are there to some extent, but they serve as means to a a greater end and all of the details of what actually went down shouldn't be expected to line up perfectly with the account since it wasn't trying to do that, as Carson pointed out. If you disagree, that's ok, but I think your not taking the account on its own terms.

#64 Landon: ""Let me be simple: if we can’t discuss evidence, but are simply playing gorilla warfare with worldview weapons, then our young people aren’t coming to conclusions. They are simply deciding whether to stay on our team and play the game."

Well put, couldn't have said it better myself. It is a diversionary tactic at times, taking us away from the uncomfortable evidence to the cozy world of almost subconscious, non-rational world view preference. It's like the truth/falsity of evolution merely depends on your personal taste, like our preference for certain flavors of ice cream. Heaven forbid that the evidence itself actually paint a coherent picture or at least point in a non-neutral direction! Nope, it's "same evidence, different glasses. You wear Jesus-hating pagan glasses, and evolution makes sense to you. I wear biblical glasses and when I look at the evidence assuming young-earth, no evolution, wouldn't you know it, all the evidence makes perfect sense to me! See, it's really all about starting points." This is a major theme at the creation museum. It's debilitating! I thank God that they don't treat the bible this way! "Oh, the text doesn't speak for itself you know. It just sits there, silently waiting for us to put our world view spins on it, and the text itself doesn't point in any particular direction. Disagree with me on Genesis 1? Well, that's just YOUR interpretation." That would be essentially the same sort of paralyzing post-modern hermeneutic that has given rise to the emerging church disaster! And plus, as you point out, deep time and old earth concepts arose out of a distinctly christian, young earth environment! The scriptural geologists finally just had to give up in the face of all the evidence against their position! YEC was largely abandoned by christians at turn of the century, even by fundamentalists!

One last thing Landon, could you address why you accept OE but not evolution? What's tripping you up?

#66  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Wednesday, June 09, 2010at 8:46 AM

Garrett asks,

I'll try this angle; how do you deal with the conventional ANE elements and parallels? Why call it "just history, no frills, no fuss" and not "history, creatively crafted to set Yahweh apart from the other gods by adopting traditional ANE conventions and turning them against the deities/myths they were created to propagate."

Have you read any of the articles we have linked addressing this? The parallels are contrived and exaggerated. Similar to how atheists currently argue that the details of Jesus' life and work came from parallel accounts of ancient pagan gods like Mithras. It is essentially the same technique being used for the narrative of Genesis being compared to ANE myths. Here's another article to consider: http://faculty.gordon.edu/hu/bi/Ted_Hildebrandt/OTeSources/01-Genesis/Text/Articles-Books/Hasel_Cosmology_AUSS.pdf

Garrett asserts.

The scriptural geologists finally just had to give up in the face of all the evidence against their position! YEC was largely abandoned by christians at turn of the century, even by fundamentalists!

Can you document that assertion?

Garrett asks,

One last thing Landon, could you address why you accept OE but not evolution? What's tripping you up?

Maybe it's that infallible/inerrancy problem you took umbrage with Kenton Sparks over his article denying inerrancy at the stealth atheist site, BioLogos. You can't separate inspiration, a doctrine BioLogos claims to confirm, and from the vital doctrines of infallibility and inerrancy. They stand or fall together because they are tied to God's character. Certainly you don't believe, as Sparks responded to you, that scripture is warped with human errors? Which is code word for, science trumps the Bible always. If you are going to claim the clear, exegesis of the scriptures is to be bent toward the conclusions of evolutionary dogma, seems like you are in the very boat with Sparks on an errant Bible in spite of your opinion otherwise. I wrote about this theistic evolutionist conundrum at my personal website this week, http://hipandthigh.blogspot.com/2010/06/hard-truths-for-theistic-evolutionists.html

#67  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, June 09, 2010at 9:04 AM

Garrett,

In addition to what Fred said, it amazes me how some interpreters are so quick to eisegetically use overt pagan mythology to interpret Scripture. I also find it interesting that it seems as though some conservative interpreters only use pagan mythology when Scripture is at odds with modern science (creation and the flood).

Why not use pagan myths to interpret all other other miracles ands supernatural activities in Scripture?

#68  Posted by Landon Lehman  |  Wednesday, June 09, 2010at 9:52 AM

Gabriel,

"A fossil doesn't sit up and tell you how it got there; scientists invent stories of how they got there. Scripture gives us the historical record in the flood."

Why do you insist on viewing science in such a negative light? What evidence do you have that "scientists invent stories of how they got there"? Do you understand the work that goes into a science like paleontology? Do you understand how science is has built-in "safety mechanisms" that exist to prevent the "invention of stories"?

"Well, for starters you could explain it to me."

Its the same point I have been trying to make for a few posts. Science deals with an objective and "real" reality. Scientists discover actual facts about this reality through their research. Science is not an exercise in interpretation or just the observer interacting with his own thoughts. I don't know how to make this clear other than to say "Evidence is REAL"! I hold these positions very strongly because I am a Christian.

"It seems like you're saying a lot more; that evolution is God's revealing Himself. Are you not saying that?"

I am not necessarily saying that. I am just saying that God's creation is orderly and able to be understood to some extent by us humans. I do not believe that our perceptions of an objective reality are false and that we live in some sort of matrix.

#69  Posted by Landon Lehman  |  Wednesday, June 09, 2010at 9:56 AM

Garrett,

"One last thing Landon, could you address why you accept OE but not evolution? What's tripping you up?"

Before I say I "accept" something in the sense that I argue for that point of view, I like to be able to adequately defend that viewpoint from most objections. I feel like I am adequately able to answer most common scientific objections that pop up in response to an old earth. I do not feel at this time like I am able to do that with evolution. I am currently reading and studying up on evolutionary theory in order to see if it can stand up to the objections. So I am still undecided.

Is that the kind of explanation you were looking for? Any more questions, just ask :).

#70  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Wednesday, June 09, 2010at 12:02 PM

Landon asks,

Why do you insist on viewing science in such a negative light? What evidence do you have that "scientists invent stories of how they got there"? Do you understand the work that goes into a science like paleontology? Do you understand how science is has built-in "safety mechanisms" that exist to prevent the "invention of stories"?

That's a bit overstated and certainly a naïve acceptance of the various 'conclusions' by the proponents in the fields of study. The very fact that bone fragments are collected and then an artist renders a picture of an 'ape-man' complete with weapon in hand, is a good example of what Gabe is describing as making up stories. But more to the point, fraud happens a lot in these disciplines especially paleontology. Fraud that goes undetected for years. The recent man-made global warming scandal is a good example of wide spread fraud that was ignored by the consensus of climatologists. See here for what I mean:

http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/arj/v2/n1/controversy-in-anthropology

#71  Posted by Landon Lehman  |  Wednesday, June 09, 2010at 12:10 PM

Fred,

"The recent man-made global warming scandal is a good example of wide spread fraud that was ignored by the consensus of climatologists."

Can you point me to some solid evidence for a global-warming "scandal"? You are just proving my point - you view all science in a very negative way and assume that science is not dealing with an objective reality.

Have you read any works on paleoanthropology that were not authored by YECs? Have you read any books that are actually used in the field? Or does your only knowledge of science come from YEC people? I am trying to figure out where this negative view of science originates.

The fact that you put "conclusions" in quotes proves my point in and of itself.

#72  Posted by A S  |  Wednesday, June 09, 2010at 12:27 PM

Continuing from post #24:

So, a "GAP theory" is Scripturally invalid. The only other "theory" for an old earth is that each day was not 24 hours (as we measure them today). For those of you who subscribe to this, what is your reasoning that the earth must have been spinning at a drastically different velocity "back then"? Or are you interpreting "evening" and "morning" as something that does not correspond to our "evening" and "morning"?

{btw, If you are going to claim something about "science" backing you up, please present original research articles, so that the evidence can be evaluated. . .that's how "science" is "done." Everything "science" claims must be evaluated as whole -- with the relevant Assumptions, Observations, and Interpretations, because every experiment comprises these aspects, whether they are reported or not}

#73  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Wednesday, June 09, 2010at 12:35 PM

Landon asks,

Can you point me to some solid evidence for a global-warming "scandal"? You are just proving my point - you view all science in a very negative way and assume that science is not dealing with an objective reality.

Where were you last November when this all broke?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1250872/Climategate-U-turn-Astonishment-scientist-centre-global-warming-email-row-admits-data-organised.html

http://bedejournal.blogspot.com/2009/12/linkfest-on-climategate.html

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703630404575053781465774008.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_sections_opinion

And for the really hard core geek,

http://www.probeinternational.org/UPennCross.pdf

Landon asks,

Have you read any works on paleoanthropology that were not authored by YECs? Have you read any books that are actually used in the field? Or does your only knowledge of science come from YEC people?

If that article isn't good enough for you (I sure hope you read it in spite of it being tainted by the bias of YEC), see also,

"Betrayers of Truth: Fraud and Deceit in the Halls of Science" Broad and Wade

"False Prophets: Fraud and Error in Medicine and Science" Kohn

I am trying to figure out where this negative view of science originates. The fact that you put "conclusions" in quotes proves my point in and of itself.

I don't have a negative view of science. I love science. Discovery Channel is one of my favorite networks to watch. What animates me is the use of science apart from the Glory of God that attempts to explain life on earth with out God involved. That is what evolution is attempting to do.

#74  Posted by Landon Lehman  |  Wednesday, June 09, 2010at 1:46 PM

Fred,

I know all about Climategate. The media pretty much ignored the actual science and misunderstood what the scientists were trying to say. If you want to debate global warming I can link to just as many articles as you can.

I skimmed the article you linked to. I only skimmed it because I already knew what its conclusion was going to be, because it was a YEC article. I have had enough experience with YEC writings to know that if I asked a mainstream scientist who worked in that field about the article, he or she would point out many misrepresentations.

Do you have a similar article about geology or physics or chemistry that you could link to if you want to discuss specifics? I have much more knowledge in those areas (I am working on evolutionary biology now, and human evolution is my next project :).

Let me ask a question in the interest of bringing this somewhat endless debate to some kind of conclusion - Could any scientific evidence convince you that the earth is old?

#75  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Wednesday, June 09, 2010at 3:58 PM

Oh! Oh! Oh! Mr. Kotter! Please let me answer!

Landon asks, "Could any scientific evidence convince you that the earth is old?"

NO! Why? Because the Bible, the absolute authority for the Christian (not science), gives a clear description of the creation account taking place in 6 days, Adam's creation on the 6th day, & the geneologies since Adam. Old earth just doesn't add up in Scripture. NOWHERE in SCRIPTURE can old earth or evolution even be found. It must be "extrapolated" through what appears to be alphabet soup!! "paleogeologicalanthropologicalcosmogonyevolutionarytheisticANEmythologicalOmphalos...!"

"I am working on evolutionary biology now, and human evolution is my next project."

If you would would spend as much time in BIBLE STUDY, & prayerful meditation as you do reading the research & conclusions of fallible men, you might find the faith to believe exactly what God has said. God did not establish a system whereby someone must have multiple degrees to understand His creation, nor to accept His salvation. I don't need to know HOW God created the rainbow (yes it might be very intersted to study from a scientific point of view) but it's purpose is to establish God's covenant with man to never again destroy the earth by water. (Next time, He'll use a different element!)

His 10 simple commandments cover every aspect of our lives, yet the White House cook book has 26 pages for a brownie recipe! That's the world we now live in!

"In the Beginning was the Word, & the Word was with God, & the Word was God. He was in the Beginning with God. All things were made through Him, & without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life, & the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness & the darkness has not overcome it." John 1:1-5

God doesn't need to elaborate on what is clearly stated: Simply read Gen 1 to a child & ask them HOW God created? It is so simple a child can understand, but man complicates God, becoming his own god, in order feel more important? to elevate himself? to validate his quest for knowledge?

I know this, my thirst is for God's word, for His knowledge & His wisdom.

And thank you William S, #27 for reminding my why I love old hymns so much! God's blessing to you in Israel!

Thanks Lynda O, #21 - I fully agree with your comments.

#28 Aaron S - excellent gospel message, (are you also AS #24? I also agree with you.)

Conclusion: Would I believe the Bible (God's authoritative word for the Christian) if IT said Old earth/billions of years? Yes; but It doesn't, so I don't.

#76  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, June 09, 2010at 4:07 PM

Landon,

Global warming? Everyone knows global warming is an ancient theory. What we should really be concerned about is climate change.

On a more serious level...

This isn't a scientific issue. That's what the cumulation of blog posts has been trying to demonstrate. Science is insufficient and incapable of determining origins. The only way to know with absolute certainty how the universe (and we) got here is by Someone who was there telling us how it happened.

What biblical evidence would it take to convince you that what God said happened as He said it did?

#77  Posted by Jon C  |  Wednesday, June 09, 2010at 9:21 PM

It saddens me to see how many Christians are willing to hotly debate this issue without apparently realizing that "all truth is God's truth", and that there are at several main interpretations of Genesis (at least) that claim to be "Christian", most of which have not been treated kindly by the secular materialists, nor by the American media:

1) Young-Earth Creationism (YEC), which generally claims that the universe is 5,000 - 10,000 years old, and was created in 6 days of approx. 24 hours each, and that the "fossil record" was laid down rapidly by a global (world-wide) flood. They use the term "catastrophism" to indicate that the world was shaped rapidly by rather violent mechanisms, and argue against "uniformitarianism" (the idea that gradual, unchanging processes and laws of nature have been in place since the initial creation of the universe). From this camp, I've mainly read Morris and Whitcomb, and Richard Milton, and John MacArthur quotes Morris approvingly in this audio blog. Ken Ham is also popular. R.C. Sproul recently switched over to YEC, convinced by Doug Kelly's book, Creation and Change. I believe that YEC proponents often agree with some form of microevolution (in which natural selection can account for some variations at the species or perhaps even family level), but not macroevolution (in which all living things share a common ancestry).

2) Old-Earth Creationism, Theistic Evolution (OEC-TE?), which generally agrees with the atheists' account of WHAT happened (the universe came into being 20-some billion years ago and bacteria evolved into animals, culminating with true humans perhaps 50,000 to 100,000 years ago), but agree with other Christians that God is HOW it all came about, not random chance. The universe, and life in particular, show too muh design to have come about by chance in a mere 20 billion year. I've not really read much from this perspective. OEC-TE believes in macroevolution, and (of course) microevolution as well. Again, I've not read much, but I think Michael Behe is probably a good representative and makes some good points.

3) Old-Earth Creationism, Special Creation (OEC-SC?) or Progressive Creation or "Day Age". As with theistic evolutionists, they would generally hold to uniformitarianism (that the speed of light, magnetism, the rate at which atoms decay, etc., haven't drastically changed over the course of the universe's history), and would agree to a 20-some-billion-year-old universe. However, they believe only in microevolution, not macroevolution, claiming that the fossil record has more missing links than it does extant links, and so God specially created the creatures listed in Genesis 1 over the course of six "day ages". (They like to quote early church fathers and Genesis 2:4 in order to show that a day need not be 24 hours, and they claim that Genesis is "literal history", though it must not be interpreted too simplistically.) They would certainly not want to be lumped into any of the other camps. BTW, they recognize the need to corroborate, say, carbon-14 dating by using other independent methods. (Perhaps camp 2 does as well?) From this camp, I've mainly read Hugh Ross. I've also read William Dembski and a bit of Michael Denton and J.P. Moreland, and seem to recall that they are of this camp too.

4) The Gap Theory (Gap) tries to fit millions of years (at least) in between verses 1 and 2 of Genesis 1. I'll not say more about it here other than that I don't think it's getting much press these days.

5) The "Framework Theory" apparently claims that Genesis chapters 1-11 are poetry or mythology or allegory rather than literal history. I don't know much about this view but it seems implausible to me, and to John MacArthur as well.

Phillip E. Johnson apparently has not yet taken a specific position, other than to reject macroevolution.

My own rough impression is that:

- camp 1, YEC, strongly prefers a straightforward interpretation of Genesis to one that is tweaked in any way to conform to the claims of atheistic scientists. They do not seem to believe that God simplified anything when he described the creation process in Genesis. Their science can get rather creative but is interesting. (For example, their canopy theory may explain why humans lived longer before the flood, and perhaps why pterodactyls could fly.)

- camp 2, OEC-TE, tends to interpret the Scriptures more loosely to conform to the claims of atheistic scientists. They seem to consider science to be more reliable sometimes than the Scriptures.

- camp 3, OEC-SC, tends to bring some assumptions from both sides to the table and try to find a way to adequately explain the conclusions of each. Their intention is not to compromise the truth, but that is always a risk, of course.

- camps 4 and 5 don't strike me as particularly viable.

I've appreciate the tone with which Landon Lehman has approached this dialogue. He seems to be trying to decide between camps 2 and 3, if I understand him correctly. Hopefully he'll have a chance to read several of the main authors from camps 1-3 before deciding. And we should all dialogue with him graciously even if he does end up in, say, camp 2. That wouldn't mean that he is deliberately rejecting God and God's Word, although I for one do have the impression that camp 2's position doesn't interpret either the fossil record or Genesis 1-2 very well.

Note that I'm only a lay theologian and only dabble in reading scientific stuff. Still, unfortunately, it seems that most of the real experts have axes to grind and therefore do not readily acknowledge the weak points of their own positions and the strong points of the others'. So, the rest of us need to carefully read both sides and decide for ourselves what to think. We should probably also read things by secular evolutionists in order to better understand and respond to them.

Personally, I'd like to read Three Views on Creation and Evolution (http://www.amazon.com/Three-Creation-Evolution-Porter-Moreland/dp/0310220173) next, and perhaps also Doug Kelly's book, Creation and Change.

May the Lord give us all wisdom, grace, and a healthy degree of openness as we seek his Truth.

-Jon

#78  Posted by William Stinson  |  Wednesday, June 09, 2010at 11:39 PM

Is the creation of the universe to be considered a miracle.

John M. definition: Now a miracle must be understood. A miracle by definition is an act or event that is entirely supernatural...it is an act or event that is entirely supernatural. It is contrary to natural law. It is explained only by divine intervention. It's very important for you to understand that. A miracle is an act or event that is entirely supernatural. It cannot be explained by natural law or by human reason but only by divine intervention. A miracle is when God halts the normal human processes and intervenes supernaturally.

#79  Posted by Landon Lehman  |  Thursday, June 10, 2010at 5:43 AM

To all,

"Landon asks, "Could any scientific evidence convince you that the earth is old?"

NO!"

If this is the position, than I have nothing more to say. Further discussion is useless.

"What biblical evidence would it take to convince you that what God said happened as He said it did?"

I do believe that what God said happened as He said it did.

I'm out of this one...I'll be with Niki.

Peace.

#80  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Thursday, June 10, 2010at 5:51 AM

Jon C -#77

Thanks for your concise summaries of the varying views on Creation/Origins.

I agree with most of what you said, but I must advise CAUTION: you said, "So, the rest of us need to carefully read both sides and decide for ourselves what to think. We should probably also read things by secular evolutionists in order to better understand and respond to them."

John MacArthur's book FOOL'S GOLD is excellent at pointing out that we are to shun evil (I Thess 5:22) & the concept of RECOGNIZING FALSE TEACHING by being well-grounded in TRUTH. His example that "Federal Agents don't learn to spot counterfeit money by studying the counterfeits. They study genuine bills until they master the look of the real thing." (pg 31) He likens this to us not studying false doctrines & error in order to recognize it, but instead studying God's Word, His Truth, & being so well-grounded in it that we recognize the false doctrines & errors because they don't match God's Word. I have found this to be true. While it may be useful to understand where someone else is "coming from" (ie. your listing of the different views on Creation/Origins), it is MORE USEFUL to KNOW SCRIPTURE as when the false doctrines arise, the Holy Spirit brings to your mind what you've studied in His Word & you can refute it with Scripture, NOT another man's viewpoint. Hope that makes sense.

#81  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Thursday, June 10, 2010at 5:58 AM

Landon,

The questions could be reversed and asked of you. "What evidence would convince you the earth is young?"

You write, I do believe that what God said happened as He said it did Really? And yet you seem to suggest under #69 that you are willing to entertain the possibility (after a full study) that Darwinian evolution is how God did it? Darwinian evolution with all of its talk of common ancestors, humanity being akin to primates, death and disease driving the fight for survival that led to ape men evolving over millions of years to the exact point where God would "breathe a soul" into a chosen individual we call "Adam." There seems to be lots to discuss if one is going to take seriously the Bible as a revelation from God who told us how He created.

#82  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Thursday, June 10, 2010at 6:23 AM

Landon,

I'm sorry you feel that way. If you think you're going to come to a YEC website & convince a lot of us in OEC by throwing scientific data at us, you're mistaken. Speaking for myself, No amount of scientific data is going to alter my view of Holy Scripture. I know how long scientific data stands...until some new discovery is made. But God's Word is Truth. Jesus, Our LORD, our Savior, the One we worship & adore, said, "Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth." John 17:17. And God said in Malachi 3:6, "For I the Lord do not change..."

I pray that you will continue to study God's Word & allow His Spirit to mold & renew your mind (Roms 12:1-2) so that you may discern the will of God for your life & come to understand what is good & acceptable & perfect, in accordance with His Word.

#83  Posted by Michael Riccardi  |  Thursday, June 10, 2010at 9:23 AM

Those who tout "All truth is God's truth" as a way to put scientific observation of creation on equal footing with Scripture simply do not realize the inherent difference in glory and authority between general revelation and special revelation.

Even though the heavens are declaring the glory of God (Ps 19:1) such that men are without excuse (Rom 1:20), general revelation cannot free man from the corruption that even it is enslaved to (Rom 8:20-23). Only special revelation can do that; that is, the Word of God which is perfect, restoring the soul (Ps 19:7), able to make us wise unto salvation (2Tim 3:15).

So all truth may be God's truth, but not all words are God's Word. God's decisive, sufficient, perfect Word surpasses even His good, yet corrupted, creation in both glory and authority. That needs to drive our epistemology.

#84  Posted by Garrett League  |  Thursday, June 10, 2010at 3:57 PM

#66 Fred: "Garrett asks,

"The parallels are contrived and exaggerated. Similar to how atheists currently argue that the details of Jesus' life and work came from parallel accounts of ancient pagan gods like Mithras."

That's a poor analogy. The Jesus pagan parallels are either absurdly superficial or entirely fabricated. No scholar takes them seriously. The parallels between Genesis and Atrahasis, Gilgamesh, and Enuma Elish are legitimate and no scholar (not even the one who wrote the article you linked) denies them. They are NOT merely contrived (at least not most of them, unlike the Jesus parallels). Exaggerated, yes, at times (Genesis is unique, not just one myth among many; it stands out like a sore thumb). But the question is not whether clear and relevant parallels actually exist (they do), but rather how deep they go and what to make of them. THAT is where the debate lies.

I read the article you linked and found it mostly top notch, despite the fact that it was written by a 7th Day Adventist scholar. I have no major beefs with it. In fact, I was amening almost all of it. His conclusion is that Genesis is, in a sense, a conscious anti-myth, a polemic against pagan cosmogonies that "employs certain terms and motifs, partly taken from...ideologically incompatible predecessors and partly chosen in contrast to comparable concepts in ancient Near Eastern cosmogonies, and fills them...with new meaning consonant with his aim and world-view." That's what I've been saying all along!

In fact, the article was carried by Ted Hildebrandt at Gordon College, where Karl Giberson teaches. Hildebrandt's O.T. resource page (where the article was linked from) has a ton of excellent links, including articles from many OEC's and T.E.'s like Waltke, Davis Young, Van Til, Seely, Kline, Ross, Keith Miller, etc. Lots of good stuff.

"The scriptural geologists finally just had to give up in the face of all the evidence against their position! YEC was largely abandoned by christians at turn of the century, even by fundamentalists!

Can you document that assertion?"

Don't have to since Ron Numbers has already done that for me. Check out his book "The Creationists" for lots of documentation on both of those assertions. Most of the fundamentalists held to the gap theory (popularized through the notes of the Scofield ref. bible) or some version of day age (less popular). As for the scriptural geologists, I am not too familiar with them. I know Mortenson has lots of material on them (though it seems to be highly criticized as you would expect) and I would guess that Davis Young would have written quite a bit on them as well.

"Maybe it's that infallible/inerrancy problem you took umbrage with Kenton Sparks over his article denying inerrancy at the stealth atheist site, BioLogos."

Now you're hitting below the belt. I by no means endorse everything on Biologos, but to call it a "stealth atheist site" is just uncalled for. No more potshots please.

As for Sparks, wow, when I first read your comment I looked over my shoulder. We frequent the same sites you and I! Yes, I did indeed take umbrage. Truthfully, that issue is a deal breaker for me and I was VERY disappointed (though not entirely surprised) that Biologos allowed those posts, even if it doesn't represent the views of all associated. At least there is a ton of debate in the comment thread.

"You can't separate inspiration, a doctrine BioLogos claims to confirm, and from the vital doctrines of infallibility and inerrancy. They stand or fall together because they are tied to God's character."

Yes, I agree entirely. That's basically how I responded to Mr. Sparks.

"Certainly you don't believe, as Sparks responded to you, that scripture is warped with human errors?"

No, not at all. I believe God providentially used warped human sinners to write an unwarped book. Spark's view is lame. The words contained in the bible cannot be God-breathed and warped with human error at the same time. His view on inspiration must be quirky to the max. I responded to him with Warfield's saying that the bible's words are God's words, not God's words warped by human error. I didn't even find his examples of contradiction to be any good so he basically said to me "these posts aren't for you; you haven't arrived yet." The nerve!

"If you are going to claim the clear, exegesis of the scriptures is to be bent toward the conclusions of evolutionary dogma"

I don't believe that, claim that, and, in practice, try not to do that. I honestly don't think Walton/Waltke do that either, but you'd probably disagree.

"I wrote about this theistic evolutionist conundrum at my personal website this week, http://hipandthigh.blogspot.com/2010/06/hard-truths-for-theistic-evolutionists.html"

Believe it or not, I've been to your website before! I recognized it right when I saw your address. I'm about 99% sure I found it via the link on TeamPyro's blog. I'll check out your post a try to comment later!

#69 Landon: "I am currently reading and studying up on evolutionary theory in order to see if it can stand up to the objections. So I am still undecided.

Is that the kind of explanation you were looking for? Any more questions, just ask :)."

Say no more; I was in those very same shoes about 12 months ago! I could make some recommendations that helped me during that phase if you'd like, just let me know. God bless.

#85  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Thursday, June 10, 2010at 4:17 PM

I found this very interesting:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0NZ2eI_Nb4&feature=related

E.

#86  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Thursday, June 10, 2010at 8:32 PM

Jon, #77 Thank you for your concise summaries of the various camps/views of Creation/Origins. I agree with some of what you said. However, I would advise CAUTION:

You said, “So, the rest of us need to carefully read both sides and decide for ourselves what to think. We should probably also read things by secular evolutionists in order to better understand and respond to them.”

I believe we are all susceptible to the adversary’s temptations to fall & would have faired no better had we been placed in the Garden instead of Adam & Eve.

I agree with John MacArthur’s comments made in his book, FOOL’S GOLD, in which he points out that “Error is to be shunned” and Christians should not seek to be experts in those areas. He specifically points out that “Federal Agents don’t learn to spot counterfeit money by studying the counterfeits. They study the genuine bills until they master the look of the real thing.” (page 31.) THIS is how we recognize false doctrine/false teachings – we must be fully grounded in God’s Word. The more we study IT, the easier it is to recognize the false doctrines & teachings when they arise. So while it may be valid to have somewhat of an understanding of what these other beliefs entail - to help us better argue & debate those positions which are erroneous - our time is better spent studying God’s Word & seeking His Wisdom & the guidance of His Holy Spirit in truth.

So rather than invest my time in studying what I know doesn’t match or “look like the genuine thing” of Scripture, & that which might distort my view of God’s truth & cause me to slip into erroneous beliefs or false teachings, I will invest my time in drawing near to God, My Creator, & allowing Him to grant me understanding where He will, and accept that I will never understand it all this side of Heaven. If He doesn’t disclose it to me here, He has his reasons. I can accept that; I am not Him, I am not God.

Also, I don’t think it is up to me “to decide what to think.” I believe it is up to me to believe God’s Word, whether I understand it all or not. I try to respond in obedience rather than as a child who keeps asking, “Why? Because why?”, or “Why not” & who doesn’t accept “No” for an answer.

Well said Michael, #83!

#87  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Friday, June 11, 2010at 5:19 AM

Elaine, #85 Thanks for the link - it takes me back. I was at one of those "old" conferences years ago & that information has stuck with me because it is so true! (Real truth does not change with passing time or new discoveries!) & what he says about losing kids is clearly evident, but I would add that we're losing adults for the same reason, many preachers are "preaching simple Sunday School lessons" with no meat to cling to when the world bombards them with satan's lies & they are totally unable to defend their position, because they are not grounded! So like the foolish man in Mt 7:26 who builds his house on the sand, his house (his position) is washed away for his foundation is shakeable. That's what I love about Pastor John who consistently defends God's word & feeds his flock (which reaches through radio!) the foundational truths of God! Blessings to you!

#88  Posted by Mark Brooks  |  Friday, June 11, 2010at 6:20 AM

I'm curious as to what Pastor MacArthur's view is on the work on John H. Walton in this area.

Walton has written a couple of books on applying comparative studies of the writings and cultural concepts of the peoples of the ancient Near East, and while his work isn't limited to the Genesis creation account, he does deal with it.

His position is that the account is indeed supposed to be read according to its plain meaning, but Western translators and readers have tended to bring the concepts of Greco-Roman materialism to the text rather than the contemporaneous Near Eastern concepts. In essence, the text is intended to be read as a description of how Yahweh, being fully independent of man and the world (unlike the other gods of the Near East) assigned a human function and purpose to everything man would need, even before Man was made, and thus created a world ordered for human habitation.

'BARA' is thus to be seen as creation in the sense of ordering and appointment (like 'making' someone a bishop or a king), not creation necessarily out of nothing. Walton points out that ancient accounts of creation didn't imply in any sense something about the physical world (Egyptians didn't really believe they were digging into Geb, or that if they went far enough in a given direction they would stumble over Nut's toes) but about the right ordering of the world. God's physical creation of all that is is implicit in the text, but what is being revealed by God is his control, and his ordering of things for man, his final creation. It also makes it easier to understand the importance of God 'resting' on the seventh -- not in the sense of his ceasing to do anything, as a Deist might argue from a materialist reading, but because in the ancient Near East, a god was seen as 'resting' in that which contained them, and preserving the order of it by their rest. God rested in the universe that he made, and so preserved all that he made, because his existence in the universe was necessary to it's continued orderly function. Literally, nothing could happen without God.

Walton's approach seems consistent with the historical-grammatical exegetical approach, and respects the text as special revelation, so I am comfortable with it even as I try to understand it better.

I don't know if the Pastor ever reads the comments on these blogs, but if so, as I said, I'd like his opinion after he's had a chance to familiarize himself with the materials.

#89  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Friday, June 11, 2010at 10:34 AM

I wrote,

"The parallels are contrived and exaggerated. Similar to how atheists currently argue that the details of Jesus' life and work came from parallel accounts of ancient pagan gods like Mithras."

Garrett responds,

That's a poor analogy. The Jesus pagan parallels are either absurdly superficial or entirely fabricated. No scholar takes them seriously. The parallels between Genesis and Atrahasis, Gilgamesh, and Enuma Elish are legitimate and no scholar (not even the one who wrote the article you linked) denies them.

No, actually the "Jesus=Mithras" parallel is a very good example, because it demonstrates the appeal to dissimilarities against similarities. This is what Walton and others are doing. The dissimilarities between the Genesis narrative and ANE cosmologies are far greater than the similarities. For example, in the Enuma Elish of the 6 tablets composed of roughly 938 lines of text, there is only one possible parallel with Marduk hanging up half of Tiamat's body to be the sky. Maybe two if you count the first 44 lines of tablet 6 when Marduk makes humans out of mud and the blood of a monster. So the parallels are not as legitimate as you think they are. They are exaggerated and contrived.

Garrett writes,

I read the article you linked ... His conclusion is that Genesis is, in a sense, a conscious anti-myth, a polemic against pagan cosmogonies that "employs certain terms and motifs, partly taken from...ideologically incompatible predecessors and partly chosen in contrast to comparable concepts in ancient Near Eastern cosmogonies, and fills them...with new meaning consonant with his aim and world-view." That's what I've been saying all along!

No, that is not what you have been "saying" all along. We agree with you that the creation in Genesis is a polemic against the creation myths of ANE societies, but the very reason it is a polemic is because what Genesis records is the real history of how God created. You reject that notion. If you had read Hasel's article more carefully, that is what he concluded when he writes,

Gn cosmology as presented in Gn 1:1-2:4a appears thus basically different from the mythological cosmologies of the ancient Near East. It represents not only a "complete break" with the ancient Near Eastern mythological cosmologies but represents a parting of the spiritual ways which meant an undermining of the prevailing mythological cosmologies. This was brought about by the conscious and deliberate antimythical polemic that runs as a red thread through the entire Gn cosmology. The antimythical polemic has its roots in the Hebrew understanding of reality which is fundamentally opposed to the mythological one. [emphasis mine]

In a final article Hasel wrote before his untimely death, he goes into exegetical and grammatical why Genesis has to be taken as real, literal history.

http://ldolphin.org/haseldays.html

#90  Posted by Garrett League  |  Saturday, June 12, 2010at 10:01 AM

"No, actually the "Jesus=Mithras" parallel is a very good example, because it demonstrates the appeal to dissimilarities against similarities. This is what Walton and others are doing"

You see any Jesus/Mithras books being published and endorsed by credible scholars? http://www.amazon.com/Ancient-Near-Eastern-Thought-Testament/dp/0801027500/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_a No, because the Genesis parallels actually exist. The Mithras ones do not. It's a false analogy, even if A FEW of the Genesis/ANE parallels are a bit of a stretch, most are perfectly valid and well documented. Can you document any valid Jesus/Mithras parallels? Nope.

"No, that is not what you have been "saying" all along."

I can quote old posts you know! In post #54 from "Evolution is False Religion," I said to you: "We moderns are shocked at the similarities, but as one scholar said, an ancient pagan would have been stunned by the differences, which overwhelm the similarities like the sun outshines the stars" and in #62 of the same blog I said "I see it as ANE cosmology which re-presents raw historical data creatively and rhetorically for theological purposes." And, in post #65 of this very blog post, I said that Genesis 1-11 contains "history, creatively crafted to set Yahweh apart from the other gods by adopting traditional ANE conventions and turning them against the deities/myths they were created to propagate." I.e., polemical uses of ANE conventions. I HAVE been saying that all along! And if I hadn't, I certainly held that position all along. I even agree with Hasel's quote that you reproduce. I still don't think you get my position. And trust me, it IS gettable.

"he goes into exegetical and grammatical why Genesis has to be taken as real, literal history."

Can you even articulate my position on the historicity of Genesis? I've stated it a dozen times here. Let me know what you think it is, and I'll quote a previous blog post of mine and see if you've represented it correctly. I want to see if that's possible, since in your responses to my posts on your blog, you repeatedly jump to the worst, most uncharitable take on my position, not giving me the benefit of the doubt in the slightest. I say you err in saying Genesis is scientifically accurate in a modern sense because that's an anachronistic standard that brings false expectations to the text, and you say "Oh, you mean God lied?" I say you unnecessarily create people like Kenton Sparks by your understanding of how science relates to ANE cosmology, and you say, "Oh, you think the evangelical view of infallibility and inerrancy is intellectually untenable and must be abandoned?" when in that very same thread, I stated the exact opposite! Here's a question for you; if the flood was universal in its geological extent, as the bible so clearly states in your mind, then can an OEC, who believes in death before sin, millions of years, and a local flood (or non-catastrophic global), consistently hold to the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy? If not, then how do you explain the fact that many of the men behind the statement itself were OEC, think Norm Geisler, J. I. Packer, Francis Schaeffer, R. C. Sproul (at the time an OEC), and undoubtedly others as well? Norm said on article 22: "The article left open the question of the age of the earth on which there is no unanimity among evangelicals and which was beyond the purview of this conference." Any thoughts?