Your session will end in  seconds due to inactivity. Click here to continue using this web page.

Compromise
Sometimes Subtle, Always Significant

Sunday, April 25, 2010 | Comments (51)

Much like the philosophical and moral chaos that results from naturalism, all sorts of theological mischief ensues when we reject or compromise the literal truth of the biblical account of creation and the fall of Adam.

I realize, of course, that some old-earth creationists do hold to the literal creation of Adam and affirm that Adam was a historical figure. But their decision to accept the creation of Adam as literal involves an arbitrary hermeneutical shift at Genesis 1:26-27 and then again at Genesis 2:7. If everything around these verses is handled allegorically or symbolically, it is unjustifiable to take those verses in a literal and historical sense. Therefore, the old-earth creationists' method of interpreting the Genesis text actually undermines the historicity of Adam. Having already decided to treat the creation account itself as myth or allegory, they have no grounds to insist (suddenly and arbitrarily, it seems) that the creation of Adam is literal history. Their belief in a historical Adam is simply inconsistent with their own exegesis of the rest of the text.

[That hermeneutical shift is clearly illustrated in this post. Bruce Waltke is willing to dialogue about an evolutionary view of Genesis 1-2; Tremper Longman III is comfortable questioning the historicity of Adam and Eve.)

But it is a necessary inconsistency if one is to affirm an old earth and remain evangelical. Because if Adam was not the literal ancestor of the entire human race, then the Bible's explanation of how sin entered the world is impossible to make sense of. Moreover, if we didn't fall in Adam, we cannot be redeemed in Christ, because Christ's position as the Head of the redeemed race exactly parallels Adam's position as the head of the fallen race: "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive" (1 Corinthians 15:22). "Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous" (Romans 5:18-19). "And so it is written, 'The first man Adam became a living being.' The last Adam became a life-giving spirit" (1 Corinthians 15:45; cf. 1 Timothy 2:13-14; Jude 14).

So in an important sense, everything Scripture says about our salvation through Jesus Christ hinges on the literal truth of what Genesis 1-3 teaches about Adam's creation and fall. There is no more pivotal passage of Scripture.

What "old-earth creationists" (including, to a large degree, even the evangelical ones) are doing with Genesis 1-3 is precisely what religious liberals have always done with all of Scripture—spiritualizing and reinterpreting the text allegorically to make it mean what they want it to mean. It is a dangerous way to handle Scripture. And it involves a perilous and unnecessary capitulation to the religious presuppositions of naturalism—not to mention a serious dishonor to God.

Evangelicals who accept an old-earth interpretation of Genesis have embraced a hermeneutic that is hostile to a high view of Scripture. They are bringing to the opening chapters of Scripture a method of biblical interpretation that has built-in anti-evangelical presuppositions. Those who adopt this approach have already embarked on a process that invariably overthrows faith. Churches and colleges that embrace this view will not remain evangelical long.


Make a Comment

Click here to subscribe to comments without commenting.

You have 3000 characters remaining for your comment. Note: All comments must be approved before being posted.

Submit

#1  Posted by John Adams  |  Sunday, April 25, 2010at 3:44 AM

I'd recommend the works of Denis Lamoureux;

Scientific Predictions of the Christian Positions on Origins - http://www.ualberta.ca/~dlamoure/4_predictions/index.html

Beyond the "Evolution" vs. "Creation" Debate - http://www.ualberta.ca/~dlamoure/1_beyond/index.html

#2  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Sunday, April 25, 2010at 8:08 AM

Perfect examples of COMPROMISE! He rejects “black & white” & seeks to merge man’s understanding with God’s holy word. 2+2 will NEVER = 5! Either the Bible is fully true & accurate, or it is not. It cannot be “partially” true for then it would NOT BE TRUE. (I’m reminded of someone saying a woman cannot be a “little bit” pregnant; she either IS pregnant or she IS NOT.) If the Bible then is not FULLY true, what parts would a person say IS TRUE? The parts HE wants to embrace, but that gives him an out to pitch what he doesn’t embrace. You can’t tear pages out of the Bible! It must be accepted in its entirety. CHRISTIANITY IS A BELIEF & AN ACCEPTANCE OF THE BIBLE (Old & New Testaments,) & of the TEACHINGS OF CHRIST; hence the term Christian. This man says he believes the Bible to be the Holy Spirit-inspired word of God, yet he believes in evolution. Doesn’t he then question why the Holy Spirit DIDN’T DECLARE THAT IN HIS HOLY WORD? What kind of God does he worship? One who would lead him to believe one thing reading the Bible, but discover “for himself” a different truth? Why would God be so confusing? The question here is the true definition of Christianity? Again, many people WANT to lay CLAIMS to being Christians/to Christianity, but NOT the Christianity of the Bible. Paul warned Timothy (1 Tim 6:3) “If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that ACCORDS with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing.” And 1 Tim 1:3-4 “…not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote SPECULATION rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith.” This man has accepted a DIFFERENT RELIGION, NOT TRUE CHRISTIANITY!

#3  Posted by Odessa May Escalona  |  Sunday, April 25, 2010at 4:08 PM

It is then pertinent to have correct Biblical Apologetics to be able to see clearly the nuances of subtle presentations of error. Majority of the so-called preachers and evangelists today (low and high profile ones) insist on being biblical and fundamentalists etc.; however. their presuppositions are so obvious in error if the audience has the right biblical apologetics as a background. We can only thank God for sending His Messengers today (those who uphold the whole bible as wholly the Word of God and represent His Plans and purposes) Romans 10: 15"And how can they preach unless they are sent?" I agree with Carol as well:Amen!

#4  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Sunday, April 25, 2010at 6:00 PM

Sorry for any confusion: #2 was referring to #1 links to the works of Denis Lamoureux.

#5  Posted by Todd Domer  |  Monday, April 26, 2010at 11:02 AM

Thank you Dr. MacArthur for the work you are doing on the creation subject.

It is interesting that many today want to take creation as an allegory or a combination of allegory and literal. The same thing seems to happen with the end of the Bible also. Many want to take the book of Revelation as allegory also. When the beginning and the end of the Bible are allegories in their minds, what happens to the middle sections of the Bible? Do they simply pick and choose which parts are allegory and which are true? As you so well stated, as they make more of the Bible Allagory and not literal, they will not remain Evangelical. Are we seeing that more and more of the Church is becoming non-Evangelical today? How far to apostasy?

#6  Posted by Ken Pulliam  |  Monday, April 26, 2010at 5:47 PM

Did B. B. Warfield have a high view of Scripture? He held to a very old earth. Seems like your thesis just went down the drain

#7  Posted by Rick White  |  Monday, April 26, 2010at 8:21 PM

Ken,

I can't believe you would actually use B B Warfield as a rebuttal. Yes,he personally held to a high view of scripture but look what happened at Princton after his compromise of Genesis 1-3. Once you start allegorizing parts of scripture, and teaching that to your students,the next generation compromises even more and pretty soon you end up with what you have today at Princton. What was once a great evangelical institution is now a bastion of liberalism,agnosticism,and atheism.

#8  Posted by Shauna Bryant  |  Monday, April 26, 2010at 8:24 PM

*Shauna Bryant*

A good many people have pointed out through the years the utter folly of B.B. Warfields thinking. He aimed to approach the Bible from a rationalistic approach, instead of one by faith. In fact, his line of thinking laid the foundation to it's eventual conclusions so evident today by those who have also further compromised God's Word in favor of 'current prevailing philosophies', which just show why we follow Jesus Christ, not a man.

Interesting observation regarding Warfield (link to full articles: http://www.americanpresbyterianchurch.org/b__b__warfield.htm )

1.) Why would a scholar and orthodox believer such as Warfield take such a disastrous position with respect to such a critical issue. The answer most frequently supplied is that it was attempt to reach unbelievers with the truth. The argument goes that it is absurd to reach out to unbelievers with the statement that the Bible is true and ought to be respected and believed and then when answering the question of why we believe it to say “by faith.” They correctly say that the world will scoff at that and consider us religious fools and superstitious religious zealots. So to obtain a hearing for the Bible among the men of the world it is necessary to use arguments that they will respect. They respect logic and reason and with these will compel them to take the Bible seriously. But this position is patently unscriptural. The very Scriptures we are attempting to present to an unbelieving world condemns such an approach. What do the Scriptures say about our approach to the world with God’s truth? To quote the Apostle Paul again, he says “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty to the casting down of strongholds.” Warfield’s approach is exactly the opposite of what Paul’s statement requires. Warfield seeks to use carnal weapons to confront a hostile and unbelieving world with the truth of the Scriptures. How do the Scriptures say we are to convert men to the Christian faith? Is it by rationalistic argument in favor of Christianity? Is it by engaging in logical debate with respect to the benefits of the Christian religion? The answer is none of the above. The Scriptures says that “faith,” faith in Christianity, “comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” It is by proclaiming the word of God as the word of God that God brings his elect to faith in Christ. The Bible makes it clear that men have hearts of stone. The Scriptures clearly teach that natural man has his understanding darkened and that when he is confronted with inescapable testimony to the existence and goodness of God he suppresses it in unrighteousness. As Paul states it, “the natural does not receive the things of God.” So Warfield’s attempt to convince unbelieving men of the truth of Christianity by rational argument is condemned by the Scriptures themselves.

2.) However, if Warfield’s approach is fruitless as far as bringing unbelievers to the Christian religion, it has not been without consequences. It is because of his errors with respect to these issues, because of his departures from the Westminster doctrine of the Scriptures, that meaningful belief in the inspiration and inerrancy of the Scriptures has become progressively extinct in many evangelical denominations and especially in professedly conservative seminaries.

3.) Such is his (Warfield's) reverence of a man (Darwin) whose theories became the basis for both National Socialism, with its planned destruction of inferior races according to the Darwinian doctrine of survival of the fittest, and for Communism with its totalitarian control of the environment to guide the evolution of man into the perfect utopian order. Such were the compromises of B. B. Warfield on this defining issue of our age. May the churches repent of having followed him in his folly.

See where compromise leads..................well, back to the last line of the thesis above: Churches and colleges that embrace this view will not remain evangelical long.

#9  Posted by Ken Pulliam  |  Monday, April 26, 2010at 10:46 PM

The point is that Warfield was able to combine a very high view of Scripture with a very old earth. What others did after him does not change the fact that for him the two positions were compatible. He is of course not the only conservative who has maintained the compatibility.

It is obvious, at least to me, that Genesis 1-3 is not to be understood as literal history. A talking serpent and creating a person from a rib taken from another person ought to make that clear.

If Christians draw a line in the sand here, they may one day be very sorry.

#10  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Tuesday, April 27, 2010at 5:19 AM

Ken wrote,

The point is that Warfield was able to combine a very high view of Scripture with a very old earth. What others did after him does not change the fact that for him the two positions were compatible.

Let's put Warfield in a bit of perspective.  First, he didn't write a whole lot on the age of the earth, at least in any meaningful fashion.  His primary expertise was theology, and at his time (late 19th, early 20th century), Christians were just beginning to address the deep time views of secular geologists like Lyle and others in light of scripture and real history.  Secondly, and this is key, Warfield had what I would call a problematic apologetic methodology.  He held to classic apologetic methodology that postulated that natural evidence stands alone and is self defining in its own terms.  This position actually played heavily in his dialogs with Dutch theologian, Abraham Kuyper, who held to the opposite apologetic methodology.  George Marsden has done a good job of outlining the basic disagreement between the two in his two books on fundamentalism and evangelicalism in America. 

All that to say, Warfield, as much as we admire him for those areas where he was strong, in these areas he was weak and prone to compromise a high view of scripture when it came to understanding Genesis for all the wrong reasons.

Ken also wrote,

It is obvious, at least to me, that Genesis 1-3 is not to be understood as literal history. A talking serpent and creating a person from a rib taken from another person ought to make that clear.

Ken, this is amazing unbelief.  Are the gospels no longer literal history because there are dead people being raised to life, a man walking on the sea, and thousands of people being fed with a basket full of fish?  Is the historical narrative of Exodus no longer history because the Nile is said to have turned to blood and the Red sea split open? If Genesis is not history, did Adam not fall into sin ala' Tremper Longman?

The grammar of Genesis 1-3 demands that it be understood as historical narrative.  This is where a lot of folks arguing against a real, historical understanding of Genesis fail in my mind.  They never deal with the language of the text.  There is no way of getting around this fact and it is either to be believed as God has revealed the creation, or rejected because you choose to show deference to some perceived "authority" you find more compelling. 

If your truly interested in taking a look at the Hebrew language, I can give you some articles to consider.

Fred

#11  Posted by Ken Pulliam  |  Tuesday, April 27, 2010at 6:07 AM

Fred,

Thanks for your reply. Criticizing Warfield's apologetic method because he was not a presuppositionalist, as if that is the only "true" approach to take, is beside the point. The point is that in Warfield's mind, the age of the earth and a verbally inspired Bible were not incompatible. Either you have to say that Warfield was extremely weak in his knowledge of the Hebrew language or that he was not intelligent enough to realize that his position on the age of the earth was incompatible with a high view of Scripture.

With regard to the literary genre of Genesis 1-3. It fits nicely with the idea of a fable or myth. The fact that it is prose and not poetry is irrelevant. A talking animal is characteristic of fables. One can certainly understand the stories of Genesis 1-3 as teaching theology not history or science. To insist that its literal history demands that one bury his head in the sand with regard to science. The church has been notorious about doing this in the past and finally had to admit its error. For example, the case of Galileo and Copernicus. Christians in England in the 18th and 19th century claimed that it was sinful for a woman to use anesthesia during child birth because it was an attempt to circumvent the curse on women with regard to experiencing pain during childbirth.

Its amazing to me that some Christians will accept the conclusions of science when it comes to medical science, meterology, aeronautical science, and so on but when it comes to the age of the earth they reject the multitude of evidence which points to a very old earth. This is obscurantism in my mind.

#12  Posted by Ken Pulliam  |  Tuesday, April 27, 2010at 6:13 AM

Someone mentioned (I can't find the quote now) that Darwinism is what led to the atrocities committed by the Nazis. While it definitely had some influence on their Aryan beliefs, the holocaust cannot be blamed on Darwinism. The greatest influence on Hitler with regard to how to treat the Jews was none other than Martin Luther. Luther's tract written in 1543,On">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Jews_and_Their_Lies">On the Jews and Their Lies, outlines a program of dealing with Jews which was fully implemented by Hitler.

#13  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Tuesday, April 27, 2010at 6:42 AM

Ken,

So was Jesus wrong to take Adam as a literal person? Was Paul wrong to take both Adam and Eve as a literal person? Or were they both just going along with the fable like some parents might use a fairy tale to teach lessons today?

Can you clarify where the fable ends and the real history begins? This is a crucial question. And I'd like to know how you know where one ends and the other begins.

#14  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Tuesday, April 27, 2010at 6:45 AM

Its amazing to me that some Christians will accept the conclusions of science when it comes to medical science, meterology, aeronautical science, and so on but when it comes to the age of the earth they reject the multitude of evidence which points to a very old earth. This is obscurantism in my mind.

It's quite simple. Medical and aeronautical science can be proven by demonstration and repetition. The age of the earth cannot be proven. It cannot be tested, and it cannot be repeated. You may want to go back and read some of the previous posts and discussions because this has been hashed over pretty well in the last few weeks.

#15  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Tuesday, April 27, 2010at 7:18 AM

Ken writes:

Criticizing Warfield's apologetic method because he was not a presuppositionalist, as if that is the only "true" approach to take, is beside the point. The point is that in Warfield's mind, the age of the earth and a verbally inspired Bible were not incompatible. Either you have to say that Warfield was extremely weak in his knowledge of the Hebrew language or that he was not intelligent enough to realize that his position on the age of the earth was incompatible with a high view of Scripture.

I personally believe presuppositionalism IS the only true approach to take, and can prove it if I had time.  But that is neither here nor there at the moment.  Warfield was weak in Hebrew, but he at least understood the text to be real history, not a fable or a myth, so you have that against yourself at the moment.  Warfield was committed to common sense realism as the driving philosophy behind his apologetic methodology.  That led him to be seriously inconsistent, and at times, illogical when he attempted to make the OT and deep time ideas compatible.  This is brought out clearly in his dialogs with Kuyper as Marsden points out.  Our starting points with the authority of God's Word plays heavily in our overall world view and these facts about Warfield's philosophical background must be considered when discussing his inconsistencies.

As to Genesis being a myth and fable, you conveniently skipped over my inquiry.  Do you feel the same about the gospels?  Why or why not?  Gabe's questions regarding Jesus and Paul and their belief in the historicity of Genesis is also relevant here as well. 

You conclude:

Its amazing to me that some Christians will accept the conclusions of science when it comes to medical science, meterology, aeronautical science, and so on but when it comes to the age of the earth they reject the multitude of evidence which points to a very old earth.

The conclusions of medicine, the weather, and the atmosphere are irrelevant to the authority of God's Word when it comes to the historical record of creation. They are irrelevant to the issue of deep time, as well.  There is not piles of evidence for a very old earth.  That "evidence" like all evidence has to be interpreted and will be interpreted according to specific presuppositions brought to bear upon it by the interpreter.  It may be helpful for you to scan the comments in the post previous to this one: https://www.gty.org/Blog/B100422#comments

There is some good discussion as to the nature of evidence for an old earth.

#16  Posted by Todd Domer  |  Tuesday, April 27, 2010at 7:30 AM

Ken,

First of all, Jesus was there at creation - John 1:1.

There is no part of the Bible that is myth. In the New Testament where Jesus is speaking in Parables, it is clearly understoos that they are Parables. If you are going to make chapter 1-3 of Genesis to be myth, why wouldn't you believe that the rest of the book or even the Bible is? Where do you stop? There is no reason by the language that Genesis is written to believe that chapters 1-3 are myth.

#17  Posted by Ken Pulliam  |  Tuesday, April 27, 2010at 8:26 AM

Gabriel,

I think a conservative could argue on of two ways with regard to Jesus' comments about Adam. 1) Jesus was limited in his human knowledge and thus believed as the rest of his culture did. The Bible indicates that as a human he grew in knowledge and there were some things like the timing of his return that he did not know. 2) Jesus' statements about Adam do not demand a historical person.

With regard to a fable, since by definition it includes talking animals then after the story in Gen. 3, we don't see another fable until Num. 22 and Balaam's talking donkey.

With regard to science, the same principles which are used to develop the current knowledge in medical science, aeronautical science, and so on are used with regard to developing the theory of evolution and the age of the earth.

#18  Posted by Ken Pulliam  |  Tuesday, April 27, 2010at 8:31 AM

Fred,

Not to sound unkind but you seem to be pretty sure of yourself. You can "prove" that presuppositionalism is the only true approach to apologetics? That might come as a surprise to William Craig, Gary Habermas, R. C. Sproul, Paul Feinberg, Alvin Plantinga, E.J. Carnell, Norman Geisler and a host of other well known apologists. Its a shame that you haven't put your ideas in print so you could convince these men that they are "all wet."

The only way to conclude that the earth is 10,000 years old or less is to maintain that God deceptively created the universe with the appearance of age and purposely placed fossils in various strata in order to test man's faith. Some have argued for such but it is ludicrous.

#19  Posted by Ken Pulliam  |  Tuesday, April 27, 2010at 8:32 AM

Todd,

You say there are no myths or fables in the Bible? How do you define myth? How do you define fable? How would you know if what you are reading is either a myth or a fable?

#20  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Tuesday, April 27, 2010at 8:37 AM

Ken writes:

Jesus' statements about Adam do not demand a historical person.

So basically you are saying Adam is just a fable?  Like the three bears? So essentially I am a sinner because of something a man in a fable did?  How does this idea play into Romans 5?  You are still dancing around the gospels.  Are the gospels historical or myth?

#21  Posted by Lynda Ochsner  |  Tuesday, April 27, 2010at 8:37 AM

In reference to post #5 above, I agree and see it too -- people who decide to allegorize Genesis 1-3, and continue the same attitude concerning eschatology. They may claim to hold to the rest of the Bible (in between), but often even there they slip into more allegorizing -- and demonstrate overall a very superficial understanding of scripture, lacking depth of study, and a strong naturalistic inclination to ascribe the things of God to mankind. This really isn't surprising, since by its very nature the allegorical approach is contrary to exposition of a text. If the actual words of the text really mean something else, why bother studying the actual words when you can just skim the surface and supposedly "get the gist" of what the text is supposedly saying -- an approach which instead exalts man's own mind and man's own creativity.


One such preacher I know, for instance, skims over the prophets and claims the only idea taught there is the future glorious age of the Church. Then his allegorical mindset looks at the life of King David and focuses on David as a type of Christ, and therefore David as a type of Christ in his humanness (and sinful things), exalting David as somehow less prone to sin than the rest of us, with such claims as that when David decided to go over to the Philistines (1 Samuel 27) it was because he really had no choice -- completely ignoring the obvious understanding that this was human weakness and not trusting in God; and allegorizing the story of David and Abigail to be talking about intercessory prayer (never mind that the person Abigail was supposedly interceding for, Nabal, was subsequently judged by God). The naturalistic, human viewpoint toward narrative accounts in scripture comes out here, as well as when this preacher declares that the judgment plagues in Revelation will really be accomplished by man destroying himself through nuclear and chemical warfare. Again such an approach ignores what scripture actually says -- and shows great inconsistency (the result of sloppy pick-and-choose hermeneutics) by recognizing that the past plagues in Egypt were supernatural, but because of mankind's great technology now, the future judgments really must be accomplished by man.

#22  Posted by Todd Domer  |  Tuesday, April 27, 2010at 8:40 AM

Ken,

Joh 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

#23  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Tuesday, April 27, 2010at 8:46 AM

Ken writes:

Not to sound unkind but you seem to be pretty sure of yourself. You can "prove" that presuppositionalism is the only true approach to apologetics? That might come as a surprise to William Craig, Gary Habermas, R. C. Sproul, Paul Feinberg, Alvin Plantinga, E.J. Carnell, Norman Geisler and a host of other well known apologists. Its a shame that you haven't put your ideas in print so you could convince these men that they are "all wet."

Yes. I am very sure of myself. And all of those men have some serious theological inconsistencies.  William Craig might as well be Roman Catholic and anyone familiar with Geisler and his main students like Frank Turek, understands how ineffectual their apologetic method ultimately is.  The short response to this claim:  The theology that drives our apologetic application is vitally important.

The only way to conclude that the earth is 10,000 years old or less is to maintain that God deceptively created the universe with the appearance of age and purposely placed fossils in various strata in order to test man's faith. Some have argued for such but it is ludicrous.

Really? Who believes this?  Jack Chick? I take it that you have read Andrew Snellings massive two volume work on catastrophism and the Genesis flood? 

#24  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Tuesday, April 27, 2010at 8:56 AM

Ken,

If Genesis 1-3 is fable, how can Genesis 4-5 not be since it speaks of Adam's descendents? Genesis 5 specifically states how long Adam lived in the same section of the birth of Noah. So how can Adam be a fable, but Noah be real? Then there is also 1 Chron 1:1 which clearly puts Adam in the line of historical figures.

How do you handle Genesis 5?

Also, what is the authority that demands that speaking animals means it is a fable?

#25  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Tuesday, April 27, 2010at 9:21 AM

Ken, you asked Todd, "How would you know if what you are reading is either a myth or a fable?"

I know I'm reading a fable when the author who wrote it intended it as a fable and everyone who reads it understands from the get-go that it is a fable. The rest of Scripture treats Genesis 1-3 as history, and it would be odd for God, who cannot lie, to literally lie about how the universe came to be for the purpose of teaching truths which he could have taught in other ways if evolution were actually true.

To compare Genesis 1-3 to other ancient creation myths (which I'm guessing you are comfortable with) is to deny the authority and nature of Scripture.

#26  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Tuesday, April 27, 2010at 9:39 AM

Fred,

I just ordered Andrew Snellings 2 books on catastrophism that you recommended, as well as a book on Thermodynamics and Order. I hope they are good...

#27  Posted by Ken Pulliam  |  Tuesday, April 27, 2010at 9:51 AM

Fred,

Regarding how one might understand Jesus' statements concerning Adam, I am simply giving some legitimate alternatives that a conservative Christian might hold. Regarding Romans 5, as you know the word "adam" means mankind. It could refer to the fact that all of mankind is in a state of rebellion against God and this rebellion is pictured in the story recounted in Genesis. Paul does not have to postulate the historicity of Genesis 3 in order to make his point.

As for my own personal position on these matters, I have refrained from sharing them. Suffice it to say that my position used to be the standard Reformed view. With regard to the details in the gospesl that you keep asking about, my opinion is that there is some historical truth present.

With regard to apologetic method, I would love to debate it with you. I used to hold to Van Tillian presuppositionalism until I realized its really just "begging the question." I think its pretty arrogant (but that is the 6th point of Calvinism) to think one is right about all of his theology and other scholars who disagree are either ignorant or less spiritual (and maybe not even really saved).

No, I have not read Snelling's work but I used to be YEC and I grew up on Henry Morris' books and the other ICR people.

#28  Posted by Todd Domer  |  Tuesday, April 27, 2010at 9:54 AM

Gabriel is exactly correct. A myth is well known to be a myth, God's Word is well known to be truth to those whose eyes of understanding have been made to see by God.

Also Gabriels points on Adam being mentioned after chapter 3 shows that he is a historical figure.

Ken,

Do you believe that we are not sinners due to your thinking that Adam was not real? Romans tells us that sin entered the world by 1 MAN Adam. All people have been born sinners ever since

#29  Posted by Ken Pulliam  |  Tuesday, April 27, 2010at 9:58 AM

Gabriel,

The definition of the literary form called "fable" is that talking animals are involved. Genesis 5 is not a fable but I don't think its literal history. Do you really believe these people lived to be 900 years old?

You are making the false assumption that a fable or a myth is a lie. It is not; it is a literary device. If you insist on taking the early chapters of Genesis as literal history, you are the one who winds up making it a lie because it clearly contradicts what we know about the world.

#30  Posted by Mark A Smith  |  Tuesday, April 27, 2010at 10:24 AM

Ken, do you believe people can rise from the dead? Why?

#31  Posted by Todd Domer  |  Tuesday, April 27, 2010at 10:33 AM

Ken,

The only way we "know" what happened at the time frame Genesis occurred is from the Bible. What do you have from that time frame that says otherwise? Are you trying to say that God is not able to allow someone to live to 900 years old at that time? Are you saying that God could not have made animals speak?

In the time of Christ and the Apostles, those who were authorized by God could do miracles. Are we to believe today that because we cannot actually see these miracles done (they only occurred at that time to validate the messenger of the Gospel, that is why they don't occur today), that they never happened? You seem to want to limit God to what you can see, touch, smell, etc...

God is way above our understanding, that is why he gave us His Word. That is how he revealed Himself to us. If you can only believe what you can see and prove, you will never get a full understanding of who God is and what He has done. All of the Bible including Genesis and Revelation are literally speaking of the history and future of the earth.

#32  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Tuesday, April 27, 2010at 10:58 AM

Ken stated:

As for my own personal position on these matters, I have refrained from sharing them. Suffice it to say that my position used to be the standard Reformed view. With regard to the details in the gospesl that you keep asking about, my opinion is that there is some historical truth present.

I just googled you.  You're an atheist with a Bob Jones background who became an apostate back in 96.  As soon as I saw your profile, I recognized you from TeamPyro and Triablogue sites as being a nit-picky antagonist.  Knowing your affiliation with John Loftus and his crew of radical skeptics, I find your comment  about there being some historical truth present to be a bit disingenuous.

#33  Posted by Todd Domer  |  Tuesday, April 27, 2010at 11:14 AM

Thanks for that Fred. Here is what I found:

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Ken was formerly a blogger here at DC under the name Former_Fundy.

He writes:

"I was "saved"(trusted Christ and Christ alone) at the age of 18 and was baptized in an independent Baptist Church in Georgia. I graduated from Baptist University of America (1981) with a B.A. in Theology. I earned an M.A.(1982)and a Ph.D. (1986) in Theology from Bob Jones University. After graduation, I taught at International Baptist College in Tempe, AZ for 9 years. After a few years of accumulating doubts, my Christian faith evaporated sometime during the course of 1996. I am no longer a believer. If I had to pigeon-hole myself, I would say I am agnostic."

___________________________________________________________________________________
This is his blog:
http://formerfundy.blogspot.com/

#38  Posted by Shauna Bryant  |  Tuesday, April 27, 2010at 1:11 PM

*Shauna Bryant*

Ken, that comment you couldn't find - I found it. It was from one you made when you wrote a 'rather lengthy' 5 star review on amazon (only 2 weeks ago) for The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails. I would say that anyone who states (as you did in your interview on pale blue dot) that they only learned 'pat answers to bible questions from others' and that when you were repeating these pat answers to your students you realized you didn't even believe them in your own heart, shows that you weren't a born again believer in Jesus Christ to begin with. And that is particularly sad as you seemed to think you were a Christian, yet you didn't believe in repentance, the atonement (in particular you condemn the atonement) and you concur that, and I quote, "Jesus of Nazareth is but one in a long list of failed apocalyptic prophets." May you repent of this. Without Christ, there is no hope for you. We will all face the Judge. The Bible is available to us so that we may know for ourselves-that is, those who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The carnal man will not understand, as you clearly don't. Beseech God that He may grant you understanding - your previous reliance on 'pat answers you learned' is not the same as earnestly seeking God and being a born again believer in Jesus Christ. You never believed in the substitutionary atonement (which means you were never a Christian). To quote you on ex-Christian: "one which I could never resolve was the "justice of an innocent person (Christ) being punished in the place of the guilty parties (sinners)") as you freely write and admit in this post where you also say: I am also working on a book which may be entitled: "The Death of Christ for Sinners was both Illegal and Immoral." A book like that could only be written by one who doesn't understand the plain scriptures. Jesus Christ FREELY gave himself for us. I recommend listening to some of the sermons available on this site, because for someone who has a degree in Theology, you do not know the proper gospel and you should at the very least know it before you condemn it, if as you say, truth is what you are really after.

#39  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Tuesday, April 27, 2010at 2:35 PM

From Steve Hays who blogs at http://triablogue.blogspot.com and has tussled with Ken on a few occasions in the past.

Steve remarks:

1. Since Ken is an apostate, he's just playing a little game when he proposes harmonistic strategies to reconcile Gen 1-3 with modern science. Clearly he doesn't think the Bible is true. So he's not persuaded by his own arguments.

He's trying to be "helpful" to Christians the way a con-man is trying to be help a retiree out of his life-savings.

2. Playing the Warfield card means nothing to me. Warfield isn't our pope. At best, that only works for hyper "Confessional Calvinists" who are the Presbyterian equivalent of Roman Catholics. Unfortunately, a certain percentage of Presbyterians fill the bill.

3. Years ago, George Marsden wrote an essay in which he pointed out that Old Princeton was caught off guard by the New Geology and Darwinism. Because they were in an apologetic tradition which had always regarded science as an ally, they were ill-prepared when science seem to turn on them. So you get different 19C reactions.

Ken writes:
"With regard to the literary genre of Genesis 1-3. It fits nicely with the idea of a fable or myth. The fact that it is prose and not poetry is irrelevant. A talking animal is characteristic of fables. One can certainly understand the stories of Genesis 1-3 as teaching theology not history or science. To insist that its literal history demands that one bury his head in the sand with regard to science."

4. Of course, that's incoherent. He's trying to ride two horses at once: take Gen 1-3 figuratively because it's a figurative genre versus take Gen 1-3 figuratively because it would be unscientific to take it literally.

But those two objections don't go together. If it's a question of genre, then that would be a question of original intent. What's the viewpoint of the original author and his target audience?

But if it's a question of what's "scientific," then that reflects the anachronistic viewpoint of a modern reader.

Ken writes:
Christians in England in the 18th and 19th century claimed that it was sinful for a woman to use anesthesia during child birth because it was an attempt to circumvent the curse on women with regard to experiencing pain during childbirth."

5. I believe that Uncommon Descent once did a post exploding the fact that this is an urban legend promoted by infidels.


Steve

#40  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Tuesday, April 27, 2010at 2:46 PM

Ken, you are nothing new under the sun. After reading your list of "credentials" (and why, oh why, apostates feel the need to list their degrees?) I can only think of 1 Cor. 1:27.

Good discussion neverthless!

E.

#41  Posted by Ken Pulliam  |  Tuesday, April 27, 2010at 3:14 PM

Fred,

You and Steve misread my intentions. I have thought through many of these things and since I used to be of your persuasion, I like to point out errors in your thinking. Whether you will acknowledge them or not, is of course dependent on a number of factors. Regarding #1--I am simply saying that conservative Christians, ones who believe in inerrancy have concluded that they could harmonize an old earth with Genesis 1-3. So your insistence that one has to accept a literal 6 day creation or else forsake inerrancy is just simply false. On #2--Warfield is mentioned because he is perhaps the greatest champion of biblical inerrancy in the 19th and 20th centuries. If he, as a champion of inerrancy could hold to an old earth, then your thesis and John MacArthur's is mistaken. Regarding #3--I agree. The problem is that you current fundamentalists are in the same boat but you don't realize it. You think that the Answers in Genesis crowd and the ICR can rescue you but they are a laughingstock among real scientists. Its obvious that they have predetermined that their interpretation of the Bible must be true in spite of science. Thus they will reject science to maintain their belief that Genesis is literal history--Kurt Wise is on record admitting this. Regarding#4, its you and Steve that are incoherent. Any definition of fable states that its a literary genre that makes use of talking animals. Since the serpent is presented as speaking, it has to be a fable. There is no way around it. Regarding #5, may I suggest you look at Anesthesia by James Tayloe Gwathmey, M.D. published in 1918:

the use of anesthetics in obstetrical cases by James Young Simpson met with a vigorous storm of protest. The hostility of the Scotch ecclesiastical authorities to the alleviation of pain in childbirth had its source in an old belief in Scotland. In 1591, for example, a lady of rank, one Eufame Macalyane, was charged with seeking the assistance of Agnes Sampson for the relief of pain at the time of the birth of her two sons, and was accordingly burned alive on the castle hill of Edinburgh; and this view, which stood for nothing kind, merciful, or humane, persisted even to the middle of the nineteenth century (p. 21).

I guess Galileo and Copernicus were urban legends?

#42  Posted by Ken Pulliam  |  Tuesday, April 27, 2010at 3:20 PM

Elaine,

the last time I checked John MacArthur and all of the staff of his church, college and seminary list their degrees. If you take the time to earn degrees, of course you want to list them

#43  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Tuesday, April 27, 2010at 3:30 PM

Ken, what I meant was, why would you, an apostate, feel the need to list your theology degrees?

To support your apostasy, that's all. It's like saying "see, I went through all that and found that there's no truth and no God".

E.

#45  Posted by Augustine Lee  |  Wednesday, April 28, 2010at 1:18 AM

An exerpt from Greg Koukl, president of Stand to Reason:

"My point is simply that we have observational evidence that seems to indicate an ancient universe. And the solution-- the way young-earthers would get around that-- creates an absolutely unacceptable situation in which we'd have to admit that all galactic phenomenon are simply images and illusions created by God. And we have no way of knowing whether things actually exist out there today that somehow correspond with those phenomenon, because we can't see those things yet. It will be a billion years before we actually see those things.

I think that this view leads to an absolutely untenable situation and encourages incredible skepticism. Because if that's the case, and what I see are simply images created in transit, then I have no confidence that there's anything beyond those images. Because, actually, God didn't need anything more than the images. He doesn't need the thing itself, because we won't see the thing itself for a billion years"

This is just one argument for the old earth position that I find compelling. I was just wondering how people here would deal with it.

Link to whole article:

http://www.str.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5639

#46  Posted by Augustine Lee  |  Wednesday, April 28, 2010at 1:42 AM

And Elaine, just on a communication aspect, it is always better to address the ideas raised rather than attacking the character of the person you are addressing. We are not warring against flesh and blood...sdfs

Even if Ken just "trying to be "helpful" to Christians the way a con-man is trying to be help a retiree out of his life-savings" this is an internet forum rather than an intimate conversation so addressing the issues that he raises is helpful for the audience watching/reading the discussion.

What I am saying is this: if you believe you know the motivation behind another's actions, there is no reason to point it out on the open forum. Also, be mindful that a whole host of readers are watching how you address the objections raised so be faithful to them by addressing the said objections with as careful a mind as you possibly can.

#47  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Wednesday, April 28, 2010at 6:55 AM

Ken had written under #11:

Christians in England in the 18th and 19th century claimed that it was sinful for a woman to use anesthesia during child birth because it was an attempt to circumvent the curse on women with regard to experiencing pain during childbirth.

Medical historican, A.D. Farr, did extensive research into this claim and found that it was a total fabrication.  He wrote a journal article on the subject for The Annals of Science.  Here's the brief abstract:

It has frequently been suggested that science and religion are innately in conflict. One example from the history of medicine is the introduction of anaesthesia into obstetrics in 1847, which is commonly said to have stimulated massive religious opposition. Historians have almost unanimously averred that such opposition arose from the belief that obstetric anaesthesia interfered with the primeval curse— 'In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children' (Genesis 3. 16). Despite considerable opposition to obstetric anaesthesia upon medical, physiological, and general moral grounds, evidence of genuine religious opposition in contemporary sources has proved to be virtually non-existent. On examination, this particular 'conflict' appears to be an artifact of historiography based upon a contemporary defence prepared against an attack which never materialized.
Those inclined to pay the thirty dollars, can down load the issue (or go to your local library to see if you can obtain a copy):
http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a751222058~db=all
#48  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Wednesday, April 28, 2010at 7:12 AM

Augustine,

I like Greg and I recommend his ministry, but with a big asterisk.  His main difficulty for me is that he holds to a problematic apologetic methodology.  In fact, if you listen to his discussions on evangelism, he even admits that he doesn't use the Bible and wants to keep the Bible out of the conversation so as to allow the so-called "evidence" to speak for itself.  I find such an approach to be sub-biblical and in a way a bit dishonoring to the Lord.

In relation to Greg Koukl's long earth views, I believe he is speaking as one who is some what ignorant of what creationists believe regarding cosmology.  In fact, I would say he is speaking as someone a bit ignorant of secular cosmology as well.  The way he presents the issue is that the evidence for big bang cosmology is settled and certain and YEC are merely attempting to defend the indefensible when they object to what science knows about the universe.  The reality is that secular scientists are just as clueless about the nature of cosmology, even though I am sure many of them, including one who posts here frequently, will claim otherwise. However, that doesn't change the fact that we are puny humans living in a severely limited place in the universe that gives us a limited perspective for observation.   A person who pontificates on cosomology as if we have it figured out, or even going in the right direction, is arrogance at its finest. 

I have heard creationists press Greg on his objection to YEC, the one you posted above, and I have not heard him respond in a compelling way to those objections.  He rarely, if ever goes into any response to them.  Because he is already biased against biblical creationism, he never has any supporters on his program to talk about it.  And of course, a lot of his reason he dismisses them is that he doesn't believe the age of the earth is a big deal.  I think he is wrong about that and it demonstrates a terrible inconsistency in his overall approach to the Christian faith.

Here's an article I have posted on previous occasions but may be helpful to do again for new comers:

http://www.tms.edu/tmsj/tmsj18d.pdf

You may have to refresh your browser a couple of times.  For some reason the link get hung up.

Fred

#49  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Wednesday, April 28, 2010at 7:23 AM

Augustine, you wrote:

Even if Ken just "trying to be "helpful" to Christians the way a con-man is trying to be help a retiree out of his life-savings" this is an internet forum rather than an intimate conversation so addressing the issues that he raises is helpful for the audience watching/reading the discussion.

What I am saying is this: if you believe you know the motivation behind another's actions, there is no reason to point it out on the open forum. Also, be mindful that a whole host of readers are watching how you address the objections raised so be faithful to them by addressing the said objections with as careful a mind as you possibly can.

Ken came here initially hiding his intentions from us.  He feigned being a theistic evolutionist who believed the Bible, but excepted evolutionary constructs for understanding the creation week.  Over the course of the morning, several commenters attempted to press him as to his commitment to Genesis being a fable, but having an assumed commitment to the gospel narratives.  He kept dodging the inquiries.  After a while, I happened to think of doing a search on him via the internet and came across the information on his blog that is linked above.  I exposed him as the apostate atheist he is.  His picture clicked with me because he has been active on a number of other blogs where I frequent and he has a reputation of being a hostile agitator against Christians.

Ken is a vicious wolf who wants to destroy men's souls with his double speaking rhetoric.  He has left some disdainful comments since we exposed him that we haven't posted just for the sake of protecting the saints. 

All of that to say:  If he were a man seriously raising objections to have an understanding of Christianity, that would be one thing.  But he is a self-professed Christ rejecter who is out to make ship wreck of the faith.  He has established that motivation in writing on several blogs.  So I think with this one, we have every right to question his intentions and to make our interaction with him personal.

Fred

#51  Posted by Augustine Lee  |  Wednesday, April 28, 2010at 3:46 PM

Fred,

After reading the article that you linked and browsing your personal blog, I have to admit, I am not as consistent as I ought to be, and I have not explored the Scriptures in as much depth as I should have. Even so, I think that there is reason that Mr. Koukl's only article referring to his old earth position has to do with star light rather than geology, fossils, and whatever else OEC people use to defend their position. Whereas geology and fossil dating are determined by the interpretations and the "lens" through which those interpretations are examined, the distance of far off galaxies is based off of mathematics - the one science philosophers and lay people alike can get behind.

In an if-then argument, it would look like this:

If we can see galaxies more than 10,000 light years away

Then the universe must be more than 10,000 years old

We can see the event of galaxies forming and being destroyed more than 10,000 light years away

Therefore the universe is more than 10,000 years old

Either the galaxies are much closer than 10,000 light years away (because we currently don't have the capability to measure at such distances), or the galaxies are that far away but we are able to see the light from them because it is another one of God's miracles. And here is Mr. Koukl's point, why would God not only display the light of the distant stars, but also paint the sky with the apparent massive destruction of the stars when those events never actually took place?

#52  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, April 28, 2010at 4:03 PM

Augustine,

I'm not sure it is as simple as you assert. The distance of galaxies is based on much more than simple math. There is a lot of other science that has to be done before applying the math can be done. However, the major sticking point is that simply applying the math of what we do know to what we don't know assumes that we do know what we actually don't know.

Make sense? The reality is we simply don't know the physics that are at play with light travel from other galaxies. Scientists assume a great deal about what we really have no clue about.

Now, let's also make an assumption: let's assume scientists are correct about how far away distant galaxies are. Koukl's rejection of a young earth on the basis that God then deceived us by making the universe look old is a cop-out. God expects us to understand His clearly revealed Word of how He created everything. If the scientist simply starts with acknowledging what God has clearly said, then there is no deception going on because truth is based on God's infallible Word, not man's limited understanding and the appearance of the universe.

Some have asked, "Then how is science supposed to figure out how old the universe/earth is?" That question has already made the assumption that science is a valid method of determining settling the issue. I may as well ask, "How is rolling in mud going to get my clothes clean?" It's not. That's not how you clean your clothes. Science is not a valid method for discovering the age of the universe. That's is not what it's for. Even Ken in the "Naturalism" post made the comment that science studies what is repeatable and testable. Can't do that with the age of the universe.

#53  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, April 28, 2010at 4:16 PM

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/04/ice-on-an-asteroid

This article is a great example of how scientists are not only good at science, but also great at science fiction.

Here's how it goes:

1. They see an astroid.
2. Somehow they know ice/water is on the astroid.
3. They know ice/water is on earth.
4. Therefore, earth must have gotten its oceans from an astroid!

The only science in this article is that they found ice/water on the astroid. Period. End of story. That discovery tells us nothing about how Earth got its oceans. No proof. No evidence. But they have an assertion that now tons of people assume that since it came from "Wired Science", a supposedly reputable media outlet, it must be scientifically proven.

... and people call Christians mindless followers.

#54  Posted by Don Jordan  |  Wednesday, April 28, 2010at 5:26 PM

Regarding starlight and the age of the universe, creationsts have two ways of solving the problem:

1. In the book Starlight and Time: Solving the Puzzle of Distant Starlight in a Young Universe by D. Russell Humphreys, Ph.D. (http://www.amazon.com/dp/0890512027/) presents a creationist "white-hole" cosmology working within conventional physics that allows light from distant galaxies to arrive at the earth within the Genesis time frame.

2. Then we have Barry Setterfield who argues that the speed of light was faster in the past and constructs another cosmology based on that to solve the starlight problem (among other things). Setterfield's material may be found online here: http://www.setterfield.org/.

I have a great deal of respect for both men, but I personally find my thinking in Setterfield's camp. Suffice to say that creationists are not sitting on their hands regarding this issue.

#55  Posted by John Joseph  |  Wednesday, April 28, 2010at 6:19 PM

If I remember correctly Fred once linked this website in a past thread regarding evolution and I found it to be extremely helpful.

http://crev.info

The website helps to wake you up to the complete fabrication of stories, and 'facts' that scientists, astronomers et al. come up with by pointing out the obvious flaws in their reason. I haven't read a scientific article in the same light since.

#56  Posted by Keith Krohn  |  Friday, April 30, 2010at 8:02 AM

Re: Gabriel Powell, "scientists are not only good at science, but also great at science fiction."

I am a fan of science fiction actually, and what some scientists call science these days isn't even that. Their theories are about as plausible as the physics one finds operating in Hanna Barbera's SuperFriends cartoons from the 1970s. For example, in one episode we have a cartoonist drawing an image of a monster for a comic book. There is a rainstorm outside that is rumbling and flashing with thunder and lightning. Suddenly, lightning strikes the power lines outside of the cartoonist's studio. The charge travels through the power line right to the lamp at his desk. *ZAP!* The electric charge interacts "strangely" with the ink on the page he was working on and the cartoonists morphs into the very creature he was drawing for his comic and then goes on a rampage.

That's about it. That's the level of plausibility evolution offers us. Just make it up as you go along. You're "probably right". And as we all know, anything can happen when you throw some electric current and a barrel of some liquid on something or someone. It's how superheroes and monsters are made in cartoons, why not man?

Give me a break.

I think instead of calling it evolutionary science or science fiction we could call it "non science" (which even sounds like the word "nonsense") or "science duh". Maybe even "super science" because they really are beyond true science's scope, or maybe "science fantasy.

#57  Posted by Don Jordan  |  Friday, April 30, 2010at 8:56 AM

When you think about it really, there would be very little science fiction without evolution. Evolution presents a complete mythology with it's own just-so stories. Evolution is the pagan creation myth for modern man.

There was an interesting book published recently called, Scientific Mythologies: How Science and Science Fiction Forge New Religious Beliefs by James A Herrick (http://www.amazon.com/dp/0830825886/). The author explains how modern science is weaving a whole new mythology and sprituality.