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The Chicken or the Egg?

Tuesday, July 06, 2010 | Comments (98)

When God created the earth, it was fully functional in every way. Adam and Eve walked into a complete and mature garden, with “no assembly required.” Trees were producing fruit, animals were full-grown and ready to reproduce, and the earth was thriving with life. Everything was ready for the habitation and rule by God’s vice-regents.

Adam and Eve didn’t need to wait on creation to “catch up.” When God declared His creation was very good, that affirmation included completion and maturity—a maturity marked by the appearance of age. John MacArthur explains . . .

Read John’s article, then visit the comment thread to post your thoughts.

One rather obvious fact ignored by many is that the universe was mature when it was created. God created it with the appearance of age. When He created trees and animals, for example, He created them as mature, fully developed organisms. According to the biblical account, He did not create just seeds and cells. He certainly did not plant a single cell programmed to evolve itself into a variety of creatures. He made trees with already-mature fruit (Genesis 1:11). He didn't merely create an egg; He made chickens already full grown. (Thus Genesis 1:21 plainly answers the familiar conundrum.) He created Adam full grown and fully capable of marriage and procreation.

Did Adam have a navel? It's worth noting that some modern creationists, including Ken Ham (whose work I have the utmost respect for), believe the answer is no, because the navel is a scar left from the umbilical cord, and a created being would have no use for such a scar. (see Answers in Genesis)

The question of whether Adam had a navel may sound frivolous, but in medieval and renaissance times it was often the subject of intense debate. Artists who depicted Adam and Eve in the garden were faced with a theological dilemma: Should our first parents be portrayed with navels, or not? Not a few artists solved the problem by painting fig leaves large enough to extend above where the navel would be. But in his famous painting that is the centerpiece of the Sistine Chapel's ceiling, Michelangelo gave Adam an impressive belly-button. And he was fiercely criticized for it by some of the sterner theologians of his day.

But is it really so far-fetched to think that God would have created Adam with a navel? After all, the navel is an integral part of normal human anatomy. The structure of our abdominal muscles and vascular system is designed to accommodate the navel. I know of no necessary theological or biblical reason to insist that Adam and Eve could not have had them. Our first parents surely appeared like normal adults in every respect. They were probably given calluses to protect the soles of their feet like any normal adult, and the edges of their teeth were no doubt smooth, as if from normal use, rather than sharp, as if they had never been used.

Of course, the whole question of whether Adam and Eve had belly-buttons (or calluses or smooth edges on their teeth) is purely speculative. Scripture simply does not ad­dress the issue. So while the question itself is intriguing, there's no need to revive a trivial debate with Medieval intensity.

But the fact remains that Adam certainly had many features associated with maturity. He wasn't created as an embryo or an infant. He was a fully-grown man. There is no reason to doubt that he had normal adult features; he certainly would have had fully developed muscles; and we know he was created with enough knowledge to tend the garden, name the animals, and talk with God. Without any growth, history, or experience, he was still a mature adult man.

Suppose a modern scientist could travel back in time and arrive in the garden moments after Adam's creation. If he examined Adam, he would see adult features (perhaps a navel, calluses, or smooth edges on his teeth—or at the very least, an adult frame and musculature). If he could converse with Adam, he would find a man with adult knowledge and fully-formed language skills. But if he interpreted those things as conclusive proof that Adam was more than one hour old, he would simply be wrong. When we're dealing with things created ex nihilo, evidences of maturity or signs of age do not constitute proof of antiquity.

And what if that same time-travelling scientist did a botanical study of a newly-created oak tree? He would observe the size of the tree, note the tree's fruit (acorns) and probably conclude that the tree itself was many years old. What if he cut down one of the trees to examine its growth rings? Would he find growth rings inside, indicating that the tree had been there for many seasons? Why not? Those rings of xylem and phloem are not only signs of the tree's age, but they also compose the tree's vascular system. They are essential to the strength of a large tree as well. But if our imaginary scientist concluded on the basis of tree rings that the tree was 90 years old, he would be wrong again. The garden itself was created mature, fully functional, and therefore with the appearance of age.

The garden was no doubt filled with creatures that had every appearance of age. On day seven, when the Lord rested from His labor, everything was fully mature and fully functional. The eagles soaring overhead might appear to be 30 years old, but they were less than a week old. Elephants roaming around might have had full tusks and appeared to be 50 years old, but they were merely one day old. Any mountains, rivers, or other geological features probably also appeared to have been there for some time. There were no doubt beautiful waterfalls and canyons, and other features that the typical geologist would surmise had been formed by several ages of wind and water or volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. But the fact is that they were all made in one day. And when Adam looked up into the heavens and saw that incredible expanse with millions of bright stars, he was seeing light from millions of light years away—even though those stars had all had been there less than four days. The light he saw was itself part of God's creation (Genesis 1:3).

All those marks of age and maturity are part of every creative miracle. When Jesus turned water to wine, for example, He utterly bypassed the fermentation and aging process. He made wine instantly from water, and those who tasted it testified that it was the best wine of all (John 2:10)—meaning it was mature and well-seasoned already, even though it was an instantaneous creation. When He multiplied the loaves and fishes, He created bread and fish that were already cooked and ready to eat.

We certainly expect people who reject Scripture and despise God to accept the notion that the universe has existed for aeons and aeons. For obvious reasons, they want to eliminate every supernatural explanation for the origin of humanity. They don't want any binding moral law or omnipotent Judge to whom they must be accountable. So of course they embrace the naturalistic theories of evolution and an ancient earth with great enthusiasm.

But it is shocking and disturbing to see how the idea that the earth is billions of years old has begun to dominate even the evangelical Christian community. In recent years a number of leading evangelical theologians, Bible commentators, and apologists have begun arguing that it is now necessary to go beyond the plain meaning of the creation account in Genesis and try to adapt our understanding of creation as closely as possible to the theories currently in vogue in secular science. If we insist on a literal six-day creation and a young age for the universe, they claim, we will sacrifice our academic credibility and weaken our testimony to those educated in the theory of evolution.


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#1  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Tuesday, July 06, 2010at 1:29 AM

They just don't want to give you all the Glory Jesus.

But you shall have all my love and praise.

#2  Posted by Steve Gentry  |  Tuesday, July 06, 2010at 5:22 AM

Karl Giberson at BioLogos responded to Al Mohler on essentially this same subject. You read it here (assuming I get my html right this time).

I agree with Karl on this one.

#3  Posted by Mike Sexton  |  Tuesday, July 06, 2010at 5:48 AM

I honestly don't see how anyone who claims to be a believer of both a supernatural God and human reason could argue with this. It perfectly fits with both scripture and logic, as far as logic can apply to the Infinite God of the universe. It affirms the literal account of creation in Scripture and satisfies my curiosity on the matter, further nailing the coffin lid shut on any lingering OEC ideology that might still have been kicking around my brain. Thanks for the post and glory be to the Most High God!

#4  Posted by Paul Tucker  |  Tuesday, July 06, 2010at 8:42 AM

Hi Steve:

I guess we are at it again, he he. I looked at Karl's website at biologos, not really impressed (not that it was his intent). He makes all the same "tired" assumptions that have been answered before,(from my point of view).

If you were not steeped in your fundamental belief of evolution, and were to pick up the Bible, I dare say that you would have assumed a young earth. (I know this because prior to Darwinism that was the general view of most people who heard or read the Scriptures) The fact is that the theologic viewpoint is not metaphorical it is historical narrative, as pointed out by Steve McCabe's reference to the WAW consecutive.

Radiometric dating methods are used based upon assumptions of age prior to testing. Much like having a metric caliper with only one jaw, and assuming the missing one based upon a prior assumption. It does not matter whither the item is young or old, assumptions will not give a true measurement. And while not all assumptions are false- such as the assumption that "If I jump off a large 10 story building, I will die." may be true, and the conditions of the fall also being assumed- "no net" may be true; yet they may be false based upon conditions I do not foresee. Experience is my guide in these matters, and my prior knowledge tells me a fall of this nature is a really bad idea. But this is not the case for evolutionary suppositions. We have no experience to back up these assumptions. The only eye witness we have gives us a different story- the biblical one. (Just a thought)

#5  Posted by Garrett League  |  Tuesday, July 06, 2010at 9:47 AM

Have to agree with Steve and Karl as well; the critiques of the appearance of age doctrine are decisive. Dr. MacArthur mentions tree rings; but, according to the PCA geologists, the trees in Eden would have more than just rings (an altogether necessary appearance of age): "A miraculously created tree might well appear mature, but apparent age arguments suggest that if Adam cut down several of these trees, he may have found 50 growth rings with matching patterns of variable growth and burn marks at rings 21 and 43. These data represent not just maturity or age but history--a history that never actually occurred." YECs fail to distinguish between necessary (tree rings, Adam's height, etc.) and completely unnecessary and deceptive appearance of age. It would be like Jesus, in addition to turning water into wine, also making a pile of empty wine skins and a receipt from the local winery. Sure, the perfectly aged wine makes sense, but if it was made via miracle, why all the other totally unnecessary indicators of natural origin? Hate to say it guys, but Gordon Glover, in my opinion, put this argument to rest for good: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyEOdnckKCQ

As for MacArthur's old post, where he says the speed of light may have been faster in the past, even AiG categorizes that argument as one that "should be avoided (because further research is still needed, new research has invalided aspects of it, or biblical implications may discount it)" (see: http://www.answersingenesis.org/get-answers/topic/arguments-we-dont-use). Giberson said "Another argument advanced by your fellow Young Earth creationists is that the speed of light was much greater in the past: if light went faster in the past then it would reach the earth sooner and the universe would not need to be so old for the light to have traveled to earth. The Australian creationist Barry Setterfield has made this claim but his argument has been analyzed and found to contain serious statistical errors. These errors are so great that even his fellow creationists reject his work." This is partly why I became so disillusioned with YEC; no matter how debunked their arguments are, they still get circulated, even by respectable men like Dr. MacArthur and Dr. Mohler. Can you please interact with arguments that invalidate the appearance of age arguments? In fact, I've even heard some creationists propose what seems eerily like a biological counterpart to the geological and astronomical appearance of age argument: an appearance of common ancestry argument for DNA. Am I the only one who finds that ridiculous? Why can't "apparent age" and "apparent common ancestry" be REAL age and REAL common ancestry? God could have made the world and life a bajillion ways (redundancy in the triplet codons coding amino acids, the so-called "wobble position"), so why did He make it in a way that appears to look like the only way it could have been made via ordinary providence?

Can I be really blunt? The appearance of age argument only satisfies those who have little to no idea of the nature of the evidence that they're up against (i.e., most young people and laypeople with unrelated vocations). And it is NOT because they are dumb! It is because they are not familiar with all the evidence in the fields they are trying to make sense of in a YEC framework and they don't have to face the awkward data in all its detail on a daily basis. The appearance of age argument, in short, barely even works on a superficial level, but falls apart once yo get down to the nitty gritty. Geologists and astrophysicists, even believing ones, know how hollow the argument really is. God makes tree rings in a 1 day old tree. Fine. But what about the burn marks at rings 21 and 43? What's the point of including those if no fires actually occurred! The PCA geologists are right: "Young-earth advocates counter that Creation had to have the appearance of age, without deception, because Adam, mature forests, and even flowing rivers would all of necessity have the appearance of age. This confuses maturity with history" (see: http://www.modernreformation.org/default.php?page=articledisplay&var1=ArtRead&var2=1137&var3=issuedisplay&var4=IssRead&var5=112). How long will we dismiss these Christian geologists with arguments they KNOW to be utterly inadequate to account for the data? Maturity I get. False and grossly misleading history I don't. THAT is why people say this argument makes God deceptive. NOT because of any necessary, completely understandable appearance of age. Necessary marks of maturity does NOT equal wholly unnecessary false history. So for me, this argument is a tacit admission that the earth does look old. Dr. Mohler, amazingly, never questions the premise of the question his lecture was based on, namely, "Why Does the Universe Look So Old?" He didn't say "Wait a minute, DOES it look so old?" and then follow with typical indicators of a young earth. He simply said God made it whole and sin has ravaged it. Note that the talk wasn't entitled "Does the Universe Look Old?" and for obvious reasons.

#6  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Tuesday, July 06, 2010at 10:16 AM

#5 Garrett League

God commanded us to live by faith.

How did you ever get the idea that God has to follow scientific rules?

Is God a deciever? NO - He told us everything. But did you listen?

#7  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Tuesday, July 06, 2010at 10:47 AM

#5 Romans 1:25

#8  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Tuesday, July 06, 2010at 10:50 AM

#6 - Rudi, I feel your pain.

"Is God a deciever?"

it's the old and never ending tactic, try to conform God (and His Wisdom and all that pertains to HIS glory) to our (man) ideas, knowledge, worldviews.

God is not a deceiver, God does not lie. TE/OE think that God HAS to explain everything to us or else His Word doesn't mean what It says. The appeal to "evidence" and saying that people only believe YEC because they (we) are not educated enough is just sad. At the same time just shows how blind the willfully blind are. Ultimately it all comes down to pride, and last I heard those won't enter the Kingdom.

E.

#9  Posted by Garrett League  |  Tuesday, July 06, 2010at 10:55 AM

Rudi #6: "God commanded us to live by faith."

In other words, you can't defend your position or interact with my arguments, so I just have to take the leap of faith? That's what your response communicates. Certainly GTY wouldn't leave it at that. Is that the kind of faith Jesus commanded? No way! He said if you can't take me for my word, at least believe me for the sake of the works I do (i.e., bajillions of undeniable miracles). Ken Ham constantly says "Don't just tell your friends 'You've just gotta have faith!' That's not good enough! Give them real scientific answers!'"

"How did you ever get the idea that God has to follow scientific rules?"

The Westminster Confession says that "God, in his ordinary providence, maketh use of means, yet is free to work without, above, and against them, at his pleasure." In other words, God doesn't HAVE to follow scientific rules, though he ordinarily does, but more than that, they aren't science's rules to begin with; they are HIS rules! Gravity describes how God ordinarily governs the way an apple fall from a tree. Gravity is NOT some autonomous "law" that God "set up" to "work on its own." You need a bigger view of God's sovereignty. If He made the earth/us the same way he clothes the lilies of the field and feeds the birds of the air, that is, providentially, he would be no less responsible for making us than if he did it through extraordinary providence (i.e., a miracle).

#10  Posted by Mike Sexton  |  Tuesday, July 06, 2010at 11:22 AM

Ah how I love the scripture that says, "Faith is for those without scientific education. For it is verily said that God cannot be rightly known, nor scripture understood nor believed without advanced training in physics and geology. Blessed is the man who either studies these things, or blindly accepts the way scientists interpret scripture to fit their evidence, instead of listening to those poor uneducated souls called according to the purpose of exegetical Bible preaching." That's in book...ummm...verse umm...wait...what?

If this doesn't get posted because of the sarcasm, I understand. However the implication of comment #5 is that if we are satisfied by what we feel to be a logical interpretation of scripture without digging into the latest university textbooks, our knowledge of God and His miraculous work is somehow inferior or lacking.

#11  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Tuesday, July 06, 2010at 11:39 AM

#9 - Garrett. How long have you been around this blog? Quite sometime eh? Can you honestly say that the only answer that has been given to you is "take the leap of faith"?

You are not new to this discussion. "You" need a bigger (and proper) view of God's sovereignty. And you do need faith.

E.

#12  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Tuesday, July 06, 2010at 11:40 AM

Of course we are now living according to laws. I was talking about the creation.

Yes I must defend my case by the word of God.

#13  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Tuesday, July 06, 2010at 12:10 PM

Garrett/Steve:

To discuss the biblical account of creation from a scriptural standpoint is one thing...to try and discuss these topics with you guys who try to mesh scripture with atheistic evolutionism and old earth principles just so you can suppress the truth is tiresome and a total waste of time. There are plenty of resources that are available for you guys where the truth can be known...the best recommendation I have is for you to start a fresh read of God's Word asking humbly for God to reveal His truths to you.

One thing that I found fascinating over the weekend: I saw this picture for the first time:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123614938&ps=cprs

Looking at this scene can anyone really begin to fathom the awesomeness of our Creator? Can anyone doubt that He could make the earth in any form He so desired?!

#14  Posted by Cliff Gould  |  Tuesday, July 06, 2010at 1:19 PM

The speed of light was faster, in fact it was instantaneous at creation; bang!light everywhere!

Trees and rocks bang! No rings at all, no "appearance" of age but fully formed, not "aged" (whatever that means).

Remember that first formation was pretty much completely distroyed by the Flood.

A Christians God is not big enough if they cannot imagine "His" good purpose for all the things we see, and reconcile it to what he has revealed in his Word. If a Christian cannot fill in the gaps of what he sees with a good all-powerful, all-knowing God that has NO limits to his abilities, then maybe he has another god. I don't know about others but I always give the people I love the benifit of the doubt.

This whole discussion of a "devious" god? If the evidence tells someone that God is devious, who is he fooling? What would be his motives in this for these persons. He wouldn't be fooling all of the Christians out there that have a high inerrant view of scripture would he. If this so called evidence is fooling someone maybe it eminates from somewhere other than God.

#15  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Tuesday, July 06, 2010at 3:12 PM

#13 Yes we are undeserved beloved.

What about this one?

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/09/photogalleries/2008-best-science-photos/photo6.html

How do we do a sum up of all this?

Is it really God versus science?

No. It is God against sin.

And that is not to believe God. (That’s faith for clarity).

It must start with the source of Truth - God’s Word.

What is the problem with science? - Nothing. The real issue is mans sinfulness.

All God created is mindboggling complex.

The universe.

The Earth.

Life.

To make it even harder to decode with science, is that we don't have any idea of the start conditions. How was the Geography/Geology/Atmosphere and so on in the old world before the Flood?

To obscure it further, God destroyed it all, and cursed the creation. What is that? Changing of laws?

So if we should start from scratch with science, where would we begin? Geology? – Then why not at the bottom. What about the Great Unconformity? – What kind of forces is required to explain that? How do we apply science to that?

The problem is that even if we manage to make a good explanation, is it then the truth? What about all the other complexes?

After a while, we got a much skewed picture, because we can’t even with our very best be sure to find the whole truth. But because we think it is the truth, we conforms our behavior to that picture. And then to make it worse, sin steps in and obscures both the supplied data and the interpretations.

And who am I? – Nobody. I’m just dependent on all of these data and interpretations given by sinful man.

That’s why I live by the Word of God. He is sure, pure and true.

#16  Posted by Jack Wellman  |  Tuesday, July 06, 2010at 5:08 PM

This is why evolution and creation are incompatible. God created man in His own image, and I don't think God resembles a single-celled orgainism. He created them after His own image, not after the Amoeba kind. Why wouldn't He create it fully mature and already developed? That's why trying to carbon date the earth in billions of years does not work. It was created in maturity, already. He spoke, it existed, its recorded, that settles it. That's enough for me.

#17  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Tuesday, July 06, 2010at 5:42 PM

Garrett #9,

You are so good as to constantly provide us with every “youtube” & “biologos” (& any other) link that you think will validate your position, yet you failed to provide the Biblical link to what you claim Jesus, (My Lord) said. You said Jesus said, “…if you can't take me for my word, at least believe me for the sake of the works I do.” I don’t recognize that verse. Please provide a Scripture reference.

-Your personal prayer warrior, Carol :)

#18  Posted by Micah Lewter  |  Tuesday, July 06, 2010at 6:27 PM

Praise God for the truth Pastor John reveals. God's Word will be true, no matter who says otherwise.

Carol, I think the verse he has in mind is in John's Gospel, where Jesus is talking to the Pharisees. I can't look it up right now, but He basically says that the signs He does justify His claims, and they should provide enough evidence.

#19  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Tuesday, July 06, 2010at 7:27 PM

Mike #10, Well said!

#20  Posted by Garrett League  |  Tuesday, July 06, 2010at 8:01 PM

So far, nobody has responded to the substance of my arguments and that's disappointing. My salvation has been questioned and I've been charged with intellectual snobbery, but no response to the meat of my objections. Here's what I've got so far:

#8 Elaine: "The appeal to "evidence" and saying that people only believe YEC because they (we) are not educated enough is just sad. At the same time just shows how blind the willfully blind are. Ultimately it all comes down to pride, and last I heard those won't enter the Kingdom."

Elaine, like it or not, the appearance of age argument is scientifically and philosophically naive. It is unconvincing to those who know the data best and if we keep parading it before the secular world in the name of biblical inerrancy we are doing the authority of the bible no favor at all. It is "last thursdayism" with a vengeance (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_Thursdayism#Other_formulations). I am not trained in geology, yet even I find it unconvincing. Same for the "same genes, same designer" argument, which I know more about. The fact is, the more you know about the actual data, the less convincing this argument is. That's a fact. I'm not questioning anyone's intelligence, just their ability to discern the fine points of geological data. Heck, I can't do that! But those who CAN (even Christians! See my link above) know that the appearance of age argument is bankrupt. It's just a lousy argument that needs SERIOUS revision. I think it's beyond saving. The deception it requires on God's part is remarkable, but most people don't realize it. It's as bad as those who say fossils were planted in the earth so that God could test our faith, but they were never living, breathing organisms. It's that bad. Not trying to be mean, just honest. I'm sick of hearing the same old arguments. Make some adjustments! Change it up a bit! We can do better than this!

#10 Mike: ""Faith is for those without scientific education. For it is verily said that God cannot be rightly known, nor scripture understood nor believed without advanced training in physics and geology. Blessed is the man who either studies these things, or blindly accepts the way scientists interpret scripture to fit their evidence, instead of listening to those poor uneducated souls called according to the purpose of exegetical Bible preaching." That's in book...ummm...verse umm...wait...what?

If this doesn't get posted because of the sarcasm, I understand. However the implication of comment #5 is that if we are satisfied by what we feel to be a logical interpretation of scripture without digging into the latest university textbooks, our knowledge of God and His miraculous work is somehow inferior or lacking."

So you're pulling the intellectual elitism card? Not sure if you're familiar with Phil Johnson's critique of Dave Hunt, but this is exactly what Mr. Hunt does; unless we have Thm's in theology and accept the esoteric doctrines of Calvinism, we don't understand the gospel. Nonsense! Westminster says: "All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all: yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them." I'm not questioning the perspicuity of scripture. I'm simply pointing out the shortcomings of a doctrine unnecessarily drawn from it and why it will always be an inadequate cop out. At least Henry Morris had the chutzpah to claim that the scientific evidence points to a young-earth rather than admitting "Yea, it looks old, but it isn't." TRUST ME, it's only a matter of time until this argument is applied to genetics: "Yea, it looks like we all descended from a common ancestor, but we didn't." Do you find that satisfying? If so, I think you're too easily satisfied.

#13 Keith: "Garrett/Steve:

To discuss the biblical account of creation from a scriptural standpoint is one thing...to try and discuss these topics with you guys who try to mesh scripture with atheistic evolutionism and old earth principles just so you can suppress the truth is tiresome and a total waste of time. There are plenty of resources that are available for you guys where the truth can be known...the best recommendation I have is for you to start a fresh read of God's Word asking humbly for God to reveal His truths to you.

One thing that I found fascinating over the weekend: I saw this picture for the first time:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123614938&ps=cprs

Looking at this scene can anyone really begin to fathom the awesomeness of our Creator? Can anyone doubt that He could make the earth in any form He so desired?!"

If it's wrong for me to equate young-earth creationism with flat-earthism, then why is it ok to equate old earth/evolution with atheism? You're playing right into Dawkins' hand! Many people said Newton's theory of gravitation kicked God out of the solar system; but didn't Newton merely describe how God ordinarily does things? As Edwards said: "God has established the laws of nature, and he maintains them by his continual influence… When we see the sun shine, we see God’s present operation and that which is the effect of his former operation but that is from his immediate influence every moment... Whenever there are any natural actions or motions in things with life or without life, then God is present by his operation…" If God made us via evolutionary processes, how does that take credit from him, since nothing even EXISTS without his CONSTANT upholding power? And of course, God could have made the universe any way he pleased. He could have made trees with burn marks at certain rings, even though the fires never took place. No question. He could have made the whole universe 10 minutes ago just as easily as 10,000 years ago. But when the data is consistent with old earth/evolution, it begs the question: if God could have done it any way he pleased via miracle, then why did he do it in the one way that makes it look AS IF he did it via natural processes? My answer: because he did it via natural processes. Your answer: the history is just an illusion. Since it would have to be an elaborate and unnecessary one, I think that position is lacking.

#17 Carol: "You are so good as to constantly provide us with every “youtube” & “biologos” (& any other) link that you think will validate your position, yet you failed to provide the Biblical link to what you claim Jesus, (My Lord) said. You said Jesus said, “…if you can't take me for my word, at least believe me for the sake of the works I do.” I don’t recognize that verse. Please provide a Scripture reference.

-Your personal prayer warrior, Carol :)"

Thanks Carol. I don't deserve it, but thanks. I've discussed these matters with my pastor (see here http://faceofdeep.blogspot.com/2010/06/gospel-centered-local-church-oriented_30.html and here he is preaching with Paul Washer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWROkQ1EccQ) and family, so I'm getting lots of solid prayer and counsel. Here's the reference: John 14:11 (NIV): "Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves."

#21  Posted by Mary Kidwell  |  Tuesday, July 06, 2010at 8:29 PM

Garrett,

I believe you are referring to John 10:38 but remember that Jesus told Thomas in John 20:29, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” In addition Hebrews 11:1 states “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." I have faith in God's written Word, whether or not the majority of today's scientists agree or disagree. I know that their opinions will change but God's Word is true forever.

#22  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Tuesday, July 06, 2010at 9:07 PM

Garrett,

Your primary question is "why did God do it this way?" None of us will be able to provide an adequate answer to your question. I appreciate Travis' blog post "Creation Series - A La Cart" where he emphasized the phrase "mature creation" rather than "appearance of age". The latter phrase is more commonly used and understood but it implies a level of deception on God's part. God did not create in such a way to deceive anyone; He created a mature universe wholly and completely in one week.

Did a tree in the garden have burn marks on certain rings? Maybe. Are there other artifacts that uniformitarians interpret as historical events? Maybe. Who cares? If one simply puts primary trust in God's Word then none of those things should be an issue. The capacity for curiosity isn't a license for investigating what God has already revealed as a miracle.

Because of your training you want to know all the answers to the evidence. God wants you to trust His Word more than what professors and BioLogos tell you. What I find so disturbing about your qualified support of BioLogos if you are supporting an organization that you admit rejects crucial biblical doctrines. Doesn't their willingness to warp Scripture make you hesitant to trust them in anything?

After all is said and done, Garrett, you still have the God-breathed inerrant and authoritative text to deal with. I can't remember now if you latch on to Walton's view or someone else's, but you need to take your lab coat off and do some serious study of the Scripture. You need to apply consistent hermeneutics to Genesis 1, 3, 6, 12, 15, and 45. There is no exegetical reason for using a different set of hermeneutical principles throughout all those passages. From Genesis 1:1 to Genesis 50:26 it is a book of history written in Hebrew narrative. Whatever higher Waltonian meaning might be there does not negate the literal meaning of the text. Believe what you want regarding science, but you better apply the same effort, if not more, in understanding the text. Anything less is putting man's thoughts over God's thoughts.

What keeps me as a YEC is not creation science, it's not every word that comes from the mouth of Ken Ham, or John MacArthur. I simply cannot escape the clear meaning of the text; that is the meaning affirmed throughout the Old Testament, it is the meaning affirmed by Jesus, and it is the meaning affirmed by Paul.

In my book inspired authors and God Himself are more trustworthy than pagan myths, ancient Jewish commentators, and even church leaders through history who had a number of things wrong in their thinking. There is manifold authoritative witness to the literal truth of Genesis 1-11 and there is no man-made theory that can over turn that.

#23  Posted by Jorge Alvarado  |  Tuesday, July 06, 2010at 9:19 PM

Hello, this is from wikipedia:

"A leap of faith, in its most commonly used meaning, is the act of believing in or accepting something intangible or unprovable, or without empirical evidence. It is an act commonly associated with religious belief as many religions consider faith to be an essential element of piety, AS WELL AS SCIENTISTS who take a great leap of faith when a new Idea is thought of, as well as the believing in the unprovable and the theoretical."

Very well put. This just to say people will look at "evidence" in different ways. We should not believe we'll convince people no matter how many sources we can provide. No amount of youtube links will satisfy everyone.

We christians believe the bible. Everyone else doesn't.

I can only hope those who call themselves of the faith and have trouble coming to grips with the idea that maybe the bible has it wrong when it comes to creation will truthfully ask God for direction.

The bible has it right. There will never be agreement on this issue (christians believe the bible as a whole, not just on this issue) . It's much too important for satan to just stop pushing this. To keep alive the idea that scientists are smart and christians are not has to be one his most successful lies.

oh, the answer to the question? the chicken.

#24  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Tuesday, July 06, 2010at 10:04 PM

“If we insist on a literal six-day creation and a young age for the universe, they [‘some’ in the evangelical Christian community] claim, we will sacrifice our academic credibility and weaken our testimony to those educated in the theory of evolution.”

Just what kind of credibility does the Christian community have amongst the unbelieving anyway?

We believe a snake spoke to Eve, the entire earth was covered by a judgmental flood with only 8 people spared, a donkey spoke to Balaam, a million-plus Israelites crossed the Red Sea on dry land, the fortified walls of Jericho came tumbling down after the Israelites marched around it seven times, a 9’ Goliath was killed by a boy throwing a rock, ravens fed Elijah – who then raised the widow’s son after telling her that her jars of oil & flour would never be empty until the drought was ended – and it was so, Jonah was swallowed by a great fish & survived, Haman was somehow hung on the gallows he created for the Jews, Namaan was cured of his leprosy by dipping himself in the river seven times, & I haven’t even gotten to ANY of the miracles in the New Testament. (Think John 21:25.)

Please note: while we are focused on “reaching” or “seeking credibility” from the academic community, we are “dis-ing” those of “other” communities, such as those “educated” in other religions: ie. Buddist, Hindu, Muslim, or Atheist (oops, that was already mentioned with the academics, right?)

The point is NOT TO START WHERE THEY ARE, but PRESENT TO THEM THE HOLY SCRIPTURES which points out that we are ALL sinners – ALL in need of a Savior. I’ve seen this attempted on a smaller scale within churches (with the same failed outcome) of trying to “cater to” or “single out” certain groups in the way the gospel is presented. The problem is that when you cater to one group, (be it based on age, or ethnic background, or position in life, or profession, or worship/music style, …) you will always “step on” or offend another group. So the choice becomes, “Who do you offend?” Those mentioned above seem to fear offending the academic community more than anyone, but have no problem offending God & His flock!

Jn 12: 42) Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in Him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; 43) for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.”

You see, WE ARE CALLED TO OBEDIENCE, not to make the world love us or even our Lord. That is His responsibility. Our responsibility is to OBEY.

Hebrews 11 lists numerous historical Bible characters noted for their faith in God. I don’t believe however that there is one chapter which similarly lists those in the Bible who were OBEDIENT to God, so please indulge me while I list some of them here:

NOAH OBEYED GOD & spent 100 years building an ark miles from any major bodies of water & under certain ridicule.

ABRAHAM OBEYED GOD & left his homeland to go to an unknown land which God had promised to him.

MOSES OBEYED GOD & went before Pharaoh to plead God’s case to let the Israelites go even though he felt insecure in his speaking abilities.

JOSHUA OBEYED GOD’s direction & marched the people around the walls of Jericho to bring about its destruction.

SAMUEL OBEYED GOD & anointed David to be king, though he feared Saul would kill him for doing so.

ELIJAH OBEYED GOD by going before Ahab & challenging the priests of Baal & praying for rain.

DANIEL & 3 OTHERS OBEYED GOD’s dietary laws rather than defile themselves by eating the king’s food & yet all were found to be healthier than those who did yield & ate the king’s food.

SHADRACH, MESHACH & ABEDNEGO OBEYED GOD & wouldn’t compromise by bowing in worship to the golden image of the king though that meant the firey furnace for them!

DANIEL OBEYED GOD by praying only to God & not capitulating to accommodate man’s laws to pray only to the king though that meant the lions’ den for him!

JONAH OBEYED GOD by delivering God’s message of judgment to the Ninevites (after his detour), which brought about repentance of the Ninevites.

JOSEPH OBEYED GOD’s word sent through the angel to take Mary as his wife & later to take the mother & her child to Egypt.

JOHN THE BAPTIST OBEYED GOD’s decree to live a Nazarite vow.

King Saul lost his kingship for disobedience. Samuel said to him (1 Sam 15:22-24: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. 23) For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and PRESUMPTION is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have REJECTED THE WORD OF THE LORD, He has also rejected you from being king. 24) Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord & your words, BECAUSE I FEARED THE PEOPLE & OBEYED THEIR VOICE.”

Just as Jonah presented a message to the Ninevites of their impending judgment, we are called to do the same to a world separated from God because of its unbelief. Will they respond as the Ninevites did? Only God knows, but that is not our concern – our concern is to be faithful & obedient to our Lord’s word & His will.

CONCLUSION:

Capitulating & Appeasing will never bring about credibility or respect.

Additionally, I do not have the authority to negotiate God’s word for the sake of “academic credibility!”

#25  Posted by Carol Gayheart  |  Tuesday, July 06, 2010at 10:16 PM

Garrett #20

Are you sure you want to thank me? You KNOW I AM NOT praying for you to be vindicated in your OEC beliefs! :) But somehow I believe I have adopted you spiritually because I want to see you TRULY KNOW THE FATHER & TRUST HIS WORD COMPLETELY. To be honest though, it's late & your babblings are hurting my head. :) Please Garrett, STUDY GOD'S WORD. You call yourself His follower, then GET TO KNOW HIM THROUGH His word. You will never find Him in all of your scientific studies! I would hate to see you get an A in Biology or even a Ph.D. & yet fail the real test which grants you to spend eternity with our Creator!

#26  Posted by Paul Tucker  |  Tuesday, July 06, 2010at 10:30 PM

Hi Jorge (#23): I agree, it would have been a much greater miracle though if God had used another egg bearing species to produce the first chicken egg- I think the snake was the first to volunteer, if things didn't work out..., and who said that there is no "free lunch". And the snake would have the perfect alibi, "Well Lord I only wanted to keep it warm, oops, I forgot ya can't do it that way... and I know I'm cold blooded, sorry." May be we would be eating "Snake- Fil- A" now if God didn't build the chicken first, he he ugh. (just a thought) Maybe that is why God didn't use a one celled organism to create everything, prey would have been eaten before they could reproduce.

#27  Posted by Tim Boan  |  Tuesday, July 06, 2010at 10:46 PM

These discussions really concern me. It is very difficult for many of us to stick to the basics. We seem to get caught up on emotional responses, and lash out with right or wrong intentions. It really bothers me when men will not answer this question: "Do you believe the Bible is Inerrant?" --> It is inerrant. Not "infallible".

The inerrancy or Scripture means that Scripture in the original manuscripts does not affirm any thing that is contrary to fact.

Ps. 12:6: The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.

Prov. 30:5: Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.

Num. 23:19: God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

This definition does not mean that the Bible tells us every fact there is to know about

any one subject, but it affirms that what it does say about any subject is true.

Interpretation is wrong for many, namely Ken.--> There is only one meaning for each text (though there are many

applications). 1 Cor. 5:9; Gal. 3:16; Matt. 5:21-48; see Westminster

Confession of Faith 1.9

Creation, from what Scripture says leaves room for questions, but not doubt. I lean towards a young earth, created so that it would be ready for man to inhabit, our understandings of why it was created so mature will come in due time, i believe it needed to be this mature for everything to work correctly for us.

Here is a strong scripture for the old-earthers, what do you do with Ex.20:11--> For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Ex.31:17-->It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.

#28  Posted by Garrett League  |  Tuesday, July 06, 2010at 10:48 PM

#21 Mary: Yea, John 10:38 is closer to what I quoted.

#22 Gabriel: "Did a tree in the garden have burn marks on certain rings? Maybe. Are there other artifacts that uniformitarians interpret as historical events? Maybe. Who cares?"

Well, at least you're honest. But don't those false histories, elaborate and pervasive as they are, give you even the slightest pause? Giberson lists a bunch. Don't those cause you to at least re-examine your understanding of the biblical text?

"What I find so disturbing about your qualified support of BioLogos if you are supporting an organization that you admit rejects crucial biblical doctrines. Doesn't their willingness to warp Scripture make you hesitant to trust them in anything?"

Yes! That's why my support has a huge asterisk next to it. I affirm inerrancy and Adam's historicity and Biologos doesn't. I'm a Reformed Baptist, and Falk and Giberson are Nazarenes. But at least they allow blog posts from people who disagree. When solid guys like Bruce Waltke, Tim Keller, and Os Guinness participate in their discussions, that gives me license to at least chew the meat and spit out the bones. I'm a regular listener of the White Horse Inn, and Os Guinness recently was a guest on the program. The topic was "The Quest for Relevance." This man is no compromiser! He recalls the quote "He who marries the spirit of the age soon becomes a widower." Listen to the program here: http://www.whitehorseinn.org/ And yet even he can see the problems with the culture war approach of groups like AiG and he thinks we need to move on. Watch his videos here: http://biologos.org/resources/conversations/ So I think guys like Fred Butler are uncharitable for calling Biologos a "stealth atheist" site, even given some of their poor doctrinal stances, which many posting on that site and participating in their forum disagree with.

"After all is said and done, Garrett, you still have the God-breathed inerrant and authoritative text to deal with. I can't remember now if you latch on to Walton's view or someone else's, but you need to take your lab coat off and do some serious study of the Scripture."

I lean towards most of Walton's positions. But you're right, I need to do more work. You want to know what keeps me up at night as someone who is currently leaning towards a TE position? Adam. I can't get around the fact that current theological reflection from the TE side seems to lack in the area of how Adam's sin affects us. If we aren't all descended from him, as genetics seems to prove, then how did his actions affect us/others living at that time, and those who came before? Frankly, I haven't a clue, and that sort of speculation gives me great pause. I need to read more on that because I think Adam/original sin are the Achilles heel of any TE position. If I can't find a biblical, reformed, God-honoring solution to that, then I have really got some re-evaluating to do.

"I simply cannot escape the clear meaning of the text; that is the meaning affirmed throughout the Old Testament, it is the meaning affirmed by Jesus, and it is the meaning affirmed by Paul."

I know, I know. But here is what I can't escape: not just the scientific evidence, but the biblical evidence that the cosmos, as understood by the Hebrew people and as laid out in the bible, looks like this: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_2OR8by61ykM/R6vl2yFrvpI/AAAAAAAAAD0/bigS7P0-SGs/s1600-h/ANE+Cosmology.jpg

I brought this up with Phil Johnson (whom I have a ton of respect for) and he said this:

"Well, the Genesis account is a (somewhat ambiguous) description without any graphics. The chart may indeed reflect one of the ways the Hebrews imagined the universe. Is that precisely what the text itself describes? I think not. No believer today would envision that from the data in the text. And the book of Job contains imagery that's much more mysterious yet, but Job clearly believed the earth is hung on nothing (Job 26:7).

Also, it's an unwarranted assumption to claim that the "firmament" was "apparently solid." I've heard four or more different explanations of what the "firmament" and "the waters above" meant. Jody Dillow wrote a book with that title (The Waters Above) arguing that both expressions describe a vapor canopy that protected the earth in the antediluvian era.

What if Dillow is wrong (as he clearly is seriously wrong in other things he teaches)? Or what if a large majority of the ancient Hebrews misunderstood the meaning of firmament? That doesn't disprove the biblical record. Lots of ancient Hebrews misunderstood a lot of the OT's true meaning. That's clear from the NT book of Hebrews.

As I said here earlier and today at your blog, the fact that there are many possible interpretations doesn't mean all interpretations are equally valid. Always there is one true interpretation and all interpretations that contradict the true one are necessarily wrong. The salient question for us is: What is the supreme authority by which we measure the rightness or wrongness of any proposition or interpretation? And the Christian answer is Scripture itself.

Faith often (usually? always?) comes before understanding. And the question that troubles me is not whether the ancient Hebrews correctly understood what the firmament was, but, What does the biblical text truly mean? That's the proper perspective for a Christian. We don't doubt the authority of God's word just because we find out someone's interpretation was incorrect, of just because all the details in the text aren't perfectly clear to us."

I just don't find that convincing. In fact, he seems to concede that the Hebrews may have understood it that way, but we don't since that is just one of many possible readings. For me, since the bible says nothing to the contrary and the Hebrews were no more scientifically advanced than their neighbors, they most definitely read it that way. Seems like Phil wants to ignore that, say it was a misreading, and then try and fit modern concepts back into the text to make it fit with our current understanding. It seems like the 1st audience read it that way. And if they did, then Luther was right in saying that we must not "wickedly deny" the presence of the upper waters in conformity to modern astronomy. THAT is what holds me back from your reading; I don't think you really do take it literally. I've read Fred's post on the firmament, his links, and his discussion of the three tiered universe, and find them all to be explaining away the literal meaning based on what we know to be true from modern science. Oh well, I'll keep on looking into it. My conundrum is really simply; elements of YEC seems necessary for an orthodox view of original sin, but the science apologetics it produces stink. Big time. And plus, they seem to explain away what the bible says about the firmament and upper waters. I know we've beaten that dead horse a bunch of times, but it still trips me up.

#29  Posted by Ken Wolgemuth  |  Tuesday, July 06, 2010at 11:04 PM

The first paragraph of John MacArthur's article says that God created the universe with the appearance of age. So does that mean he recognizes that what hundreds (possibly thousands) of Christian geologists find from the study of the earth that radioactive decay timers indicate the earth has the appearance of 4.5 billion years?(And for astronomers, the universe has the appearance of age of 13.7 billion years. 40 years ago when I was in grad school this was 10 to 20 billion years) If so, then for us as Christian geologists, is it just fine with John MacArthur that we say the earth is 4.5 billion years old - correct? And for Christians who are not scientists, the earth is 6,000 years old? According to John MacArthur, that is when God did it, and He created it with the appearance of age - 4.5 billion years, from the data I have seen, studied and understand. This is from a Christian worldview, with God as the Creator, and the One who sustains the universe with His providential care.

Garrett: #5 and others postings: Thank you so very much for recognizing that trees created mature with age, do show a history - 12,400 years for European oaks, with collaborating evidence of radiocarbon - also created by God. Indeed, for those of us as Christian geologists who are followers of Jesus Christ, we do see the data of that history every day. All we ask is for the opportunity to inform you about the data, and logical scientific interpretations. Tree ring growth and radioactive decay are not rocket science, but common sense. We want you to be aware that there are hundreds of Christian geologists out in the workplace, seeking to let their light shine for Jesus, and studying what He created.

Garrett, you worded it so politely: "How long will we dismiss these Christian geologists with arguments they KNOW to be utterly inadequate to account for the data?"

Thank you so very much.

I do need the help from all of you to reach the leadership of AiG and ICR. What advice can you offer? wolgemuth2@aol.com

I will be seeing and hearing Ken Ham this weeked here in Oklahoma. Please pray for me that I go that AiG conference with GGHP - Gentleness, Grace, Humility, and Patience. That is my prayer.

Your brother in Christ,

Ken

#30  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Wednesday, July 07, 2010at 2:49 AM

#20 Garrett - Listen to yourself. Put your own words in the mouth of Adam:

The appearance of age argument is scientifically and philosophically naive. It is unconvincing to those who know the data best. Come on God - Do you really think I was born yesterday?

#31  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Wednesday, July 07, 2010at 4:11 AM

#15 - Garrett

There is no doubt in my heart that you are a sincere truth seeker. What about salvation? Do you believe the Gospel? – Do you pass the test of your heart? – Then you are saved.

But you are looking the wrong place for the truth. Man is rotten to the core. We trust in data and interpretations that for the most are as far from the Truth as east are from west.

Ever heard about the Dark Sucker Theory? Its fun to play with logic that way, but even much of nowadays science is like that.

Why is God giving the gift to unwise, poor and sinners? - Because knowledge apart from the one and only Truth - Jesus, leads to the opposite direction. Look at the evidence told by the Apostle Paul in Romans 1: 18-36.

Given up, and left to our own futile mind? Isn’t that scaring?

To be born again, is to abandon this entire world, and trust that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Now you are a scandal, and totally dependent on God. How long will your faith last in these conditions, knowing you are to defend your faith. A sheep among wolves, without valid data, obstructed data or even falsified data?

And you are unwise, poor and uneducated?

They’ll shred you to pieces and crucify you. But do you know what? Let them go ahead and take their shot. I got Jesus.

#32  Posted by Mike Sexton  |  Wednesday, July 07, 2010at 4:27 AM

Garrett,

1. Call it what you will, but you were the person who first elevated evidence over faith. To demand signs (aka evidence) over faith is to fall prey to the reason of the Pharisees in Mark 8:11,12 and also of Thomas in John 20:28,29. It could be that no one has dealt with the meat of your response because we've read it all a hundred times before in the past 8 or 10 discussions on here. Some of us just don't want to keep spinning the wheel.

2. I could care less what Phil Johnson and Dave Hunt said when they debate. It changes neither our topic, nor my point. Flood me with words to muddy the discussion if you must though.

3. What in the world does Calvinism have to do with anything?!?! Deflection much?

4. This is not a "doctrine unnecessarily drawn from [scripture]". This is a literal interpretation of a passage that is not obviously intended as a poetry or parable.

5. You could bring me certifiable evidence that I could clearly see with my own eyes tomorrow that we share a common ancestor with apes and that the earth is billions of years old, or even that God doesn't exist**, and I would still eagerly, and happily reject it. The Bible is to be our complete source of truth. All other claims are measured against it and if they cannot match up without having to re-write scripture then they, not it, are to be done away with.

(**Not saying that you are questioning the existence of God, nor am I questioning your salvation, merely giving an example to illustrate the strength of my conviction. on this.)

6. Yes it does look old...but it isn't and yes it does look like we share a common ancestor with apes...but we don't. A child could tell you why I am satisfied with these explanations. The Bible tells me so. And if that answer is too simple for you, then you are too easily satisfied by the wisdom (philosophy, logic, reason) of man.

My brother, please don't think I am questioning your salvation, nor that I am not praying for you. I'm just trying to warn you of the folly of too much trust in the teaching of men. 1 Corinthians 2:4-6 says, "and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away."

To try to reconcile the work and word of a supernatural, sovereign God with the finite understanding and "evidence" of our highest and best science is to try to pour the ocean into a thimble. Men and their reason will pass away. Their deepest truths are as frail as a spider's web. It must be enough for us to say "God did it exactly as His Word says." because saying otherwise is an attempt at dragging Him from His throne and fitting Him into our tiny skulls...which is an effort in futility. At the very least, if you must see your reason as higher than mine, be kind enough not to gloat over your lower brother who has neither the time, money, nor desire to attain the knowledge you have and who prefers simple answers and simple faith. (And that was the implication of your first statement...that faith is inferior unless it is founded upon discovery and evidence rather than the hope for that which is unseen.)

#33  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Wednesday, July 07, 2010at 6:03 AM

"then why is it ok to equate old earth/evolution with atheism?"

Because that is where those false doctrines arose...

"My answer: because he did it via natural processes. Your answer: the history is just an illusion."

God created via supernatural divine fiat...not natural processes. The scriptures bear this out...that is why we must rely on special revelation rather than general revelation and empirical science to have an understanding of true history in terms of origin. Science cannot reveal anything about the creation acts of God. Those acts were miraculous and beyond the scope of any scientific inquiry.

Your strawman argument that I am proposing history is an illusion is not accurate of me or anyone else here I would dare say. History is real but divine origin is a totally separate issue.

#34  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Wednesday, July 07, 2010at 6:31 AM

Let me add one thing regarding the concept that God COULD have created anyway He wanted to. While that is most certainly true of a sovereign God that does not give license to the deviant conjurings of OE'ism, evolutionism, etc as a possibility as to how He actually did create.

We have His direct testimony in scripture detailing how He did it...by divine fiat: "and God said let there be..." He did it whole, mature, functioning, and fully inhabited by mature creatures.

#35  Posted by Paul Tucker  |  Wednesday, July 07, 2010at 6:31 AM

How happy are those

who walk not in the purpose of the wicked

or takes his stand on the way of sinners

or sits where those hostile to God sit!

Their delight

is in the LORD's ,(the Everlasting One's), Instruction (Torah)

on his instruction(Torah)they meditate

day and night

They are like trees planted by the streams of waters

they bear their fruit in season

their leaves never wither

everything they do prospers (Psa. 1:1-2)(Paul's paraphrase)

#36  Posted by Steve Gentry  |  Wednesday, July 07, 2010at 7:14 AM

Some of what I see in these comments results from the natural tension that comes when what one believes by “faith” doesn’t match the reality that one has to face in the real world. You see the choice as either denying reality or denying faith. You’ve chosen faith over reality and because humans have no choice but to live in some reality, you’ve created an alternate reality called “Young Earth Creationism” (YEC).

What Garrett and I have been suggesting to you is that true faith is not incompatible with the reality of conventional science. Accepting science does not mean science trumps Scripture, but rather complements it. Scripture should be interpreted and understood using all the knowledge we have at our disposal. Fred Butler was kind enough to provide a link to a Jack Lewis article which provides an overview of the interpretive techniques over the ages.

The conclusion of the article stated, Our survey shows that Bible readers have never been of one mind concerning the nature of the days of Genesis. The interpretation given has never been in isolation from the general approach to Scripture of the individual interpreter. As with many other parts of the Bible, eisegesis has been as common as exegesis.

Most of you hold to a rigid, literal interpretation of Genesis and dismiss any other other interpretative methods as “compromising” or “unfaithful” to God’s true word and intent. Keith Farmer pointed me to an article by Robert McCabe which defended the “literal” interpretive method against the “framework” method. I can find papers that defend literal, framework, and analogous days methods of interpretation. There are Godly, faithful men on both sides of this issue.

Many of you will say the other methods only came into vogue to accommodate science. I don’t believe that’s a bad thing. We should use all of the knowledge available to us when we interpret Scripture. Science doesn't disprove Scripture. It may however, disprove your favorite interpretation of Scripture. Your positions here are doing exactly what Augustine warned us about centuries ago:

In matters that are so obscure and far beyond our vision, we find in Holy Scripture passages which can be interpreted in very different ways without prejudice to the faith we have received. In such cases, we should not rush in headlong and so firmly take our stand on one side that, if further progress 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.

As Garrett pointed out in post #20, just because God did something through natural causes, doesn’t take away the credit from God.

Ard Louis wrote a paper which provides excellent insight into the tension that exists between science and the Bible. I recommend you take the time to read it carefully. The link is here.

Mary Kidwell posted comment #121 under the post Indications of a Young Earth and says:

I have great concerns that the presentation of an old earth and evolution as settled science is causing many to see God’s Word as unreliable or untrustworthy. The daughter of a friend of mine is one of so many who have gone away to a “Christian” college and were taught that evolution and the Bible are compatible. She came home still believing that God exists but no longer believing much else that the Bible teaches. I don’t believe that problem was that she had been taught creation as a child. I believe her “Christian” professors, in essence, taught against the authority of God’s Word and she trusted in their wisdom over that of scripture.

This is exactly why I have great concerns about teaching YEC and pushing a literal translation of Genesis 1 & 2, and attempting to discredit all other interpretative techniques. When you’re finally faced with the fact that reality doesn’t square with what you’ve been taught, something has to give. Either your faith suffers or you deny reality and seek an alternate reality. For most of you, no matter how compelling the evidence, no matter how convincing the data, you are going to reject the evidence and stick with what you’ve been taught concerning a literal translation of Genesis because you feel that that is being “faithful” to God’s word and not compromising with the world.

Lawson stone wrote an article on Hindenburg Theology which sums this up quite well. The link is here.

I think it would be far better to show a little humility in teaching our children and admit that we don’t have all of the answers and our interpretations of Scripture are not infallible. As most of you are quick to point out, the data in science is interpreted by fallen humanity. May I point out to you that Scripture is also interpreted by fallen humanity. Being “saved” and having “God’s Spirit” doesn’t erase the effects of our fallenness.

#37  Posted by Mike Sexton  |  Wednesday, July 07, 2010at 8:36 AM

Well Steve, it might be that for some of us, faith is reality and the two are not separate ideas. What good is believing in a supernatural God if your definition of reality is only what you can naturally see, taste, touch, hear, etc.? If God is limited by natural evidence in creation then He's limited in every other respect as well. If He is not a divine, sovereign God who did the miraculous works we see in scripture then what good is He? You would make Him no more than a man who is limited by the same observable laws of nature that limit you. If you want to make a convincing case to someone who truly believes that the Bible is God's word...quote God's word instead of throwing out the names of a bunch of faceless speculators. You can't, because your case is built on man and man alone. It's funny how atheists (and no I'm not saying you are one) want to debate and will refuse to allow Christians to use scripture....oh wait, that does sound strangely similar to what you guys are doing.

#38  Posted by Mary Kidwell  |  Wednesday, July 07, 2010at 9:23 AM

I suspect that those who feel they can’t trust in the plain reading of scripture don’t understand what faith is. Have you not read Hebrews 11? How many heroes of faith had to trust in what God had told them and overlook the evidence around them? You keep stressing that the overwhelming evidence is against the obvious teaching of scripture. Well, the odds were overwhelmingly against David but he trusted in God against Goliath. The chance of Abraham and Sarah having a child at their advanced age were pretty slim but Abraham trusted what God had told him. Of the ten Hebrew spies sent into Canaan, eight felt the odds were overwhelming but two had faith in God and rightly so.

I am not swayed by claims of overwhelming evidence against a young earth because I know what God has said.

#39  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, July 07, 2010at 10:11 AM

Garrett,

But at least they allow blog posts from people who disagree.

They only allow blog posts from people who disagree among themselves about what Scripture means, and only if none of them think Scripture should be understood literally. They don't have any posts by anyone who disagrees with their scientific conclusions, nor do they have posts by those who take a literal interpretation of Scripture. They claim to be open-minded, but they are only open-minded about what Scripture means. It's even worse than that--they are close minded to a literal interpretation. So they are only open minded to any interpretation of Scripture as long as it isn't taken literally. But they'll entertain heresy and welcome a number of different of gospels into their crowd. Whether or not the leaders of the organization are true believers is not the issue--the issue is that they have established an apostate organization that welcomes [some] believers and [all] unbelievers.

I can't escape... the cosmos, as understood by the Hebrew people and as laid out in the bible, looks like this

Here is a challenge for you that I think will be fruitful for all of us. Tie each part of that graphic with a biblical passage. The point of this exercise is this: in order to make that graphic the artist had to draw from a number of disconnected passages, some likely being poetic texts. This is like drawing the description of the woman in Song of Solomon, but worse. At least the woman is described is one context that is clearly poetic and no one actually thinks the historical woman looked like that. But that image is conjured up from a spread of unrelated passages, some of which are poetic, and claims to be the scientific understanding of the day. That is simply hogwash.

Seems like Phil wants to ignore that, say it was a misreading, and then try and fit modern concepts back into the text to make it fit with our current understanding.

Phil isn't ignoring that at all. We do the same thing when we look to the Old Testament for information about the Messiah. The Israelites totally missed much of God's revelation regarding who the Messiah would be and what He would do. But Jesus went through the entire Old Testament telling people that His life accurately reflected what God revealed and the people missed. The same can be true about creation. Did the original Israelites understand exactly what God was saying? First of all God revealed something very distinct from what they had heard before so in that sense Israel had more truth about creation than the other nations. But did they understand it 100% the way we would? Maybe, maybe not. But their lack of scientific sophistication doesn't negate God's revelation. Why? Because God wasn't giving a scientifically sophisticated explanation of creation; He gave a miraculous explanation of creation. Whether they understood it completely, or whether we understand it completely, doesn't make creation less miraculous. So we can have the debate about the "waters above", but quite frankly, there is no absolute and authoritative answer to what that was and whether we should be able to find it now. But the fact remains that God miraculously seperated the waters and we don't necessarily know scientifically what that means.

It seems like the 1st audience read it that way.

Realize that the first audience frequently missed the truth. Think of Jesus' ministry; it wasn't until much later that what He taught was actually understood. The original hearers, including the disciples, were often confused and turned away from Jesus because of what He said. Did Israel hear and understand the words of the prophets? Maybe, but whatever they understood didn't result in repentance. It is true that Scripture cannot mean today what it has never meant, but that is different than saying that it must mean today what the original hearers understood--otherwise we'd have to make some serious theological shifts.

Your problem with a literal interpretation is you want to know the scientific explanation of what everything is and means--that is simply the wrong way to approach it. As advanced as we are scienitifically, we still have an infinite amount of knowledge to learn, so it should be no suprise that we may not know what the waters above refers to.

Miracles don't lend themselves to scientific apologetics, as you desire. Jesus' resurrection produces a "stinky" science apologetic. Israel walking through the Red Sea on dry land produces a "stinky" science apologetic. Man made from dust produces a "stinky" science apologetic. Who says that creation must provide a science apologetic? It seems to me 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 precludes the idea that there even should be any kind of apologetic other than the gospel.

#40  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, July 07, 2010at 11:02 AM

Ken,

I do need the help from all of you to reach the leadership of AiG and ICR. What advice can you offer?

Here is my advice: develop a solid exegetical interpretation of Genesis 1-11 that is consistent with the rest of Scripture. You do that, and perhaps they'll listen.

Also, stop harboring heretics at BioLogos (you know, those who deny inerrancy like Kenton Sparks, those who reject an orthodox understanding of justification like N.T. Wright, and those who deny God's omniscience like Greg Boyd). If BioLogos wants to claim to be Christian, it will need to actually back that up with orthodox commitments to Christian doctrines. Who you’ve chosen to befriend, and who you’ve chosen to oppose, challenge, and contradict, speaks louder than your thin claim to inerrancy.

BioLogos is between a rock and a hard place. Having made so many non-Christian friends, a return to orthodoxy would destroy the organization. So, for the sake of integrity, you should remove the name Christian from your organization and call it what it is—a theistic or religious group.

#41  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, July 07, 2010at 1:25 PM

Steve,

In the previous blog post you stated "McCabe represents a fundamentalism that I find unnecessary to true Christianity."

In light of that statement it would be helpful to know where exactly you are coming from. Can you be specific about what aspects of fundamentalism you reject--particularly as it relates to Scripture? For example, do you hold to inerrancy?

Some of what I see in these comments results from the natural tension that comes when what one believes by “faith” doesn’t match the reality that one has to face in the real world.

You have stated that YEC is an alternate reality, yet we claim that YEC is the result of a consistent application of evangelical hermeneutics. Either evangelical hermeneutics are false, giving us a false reality entirely, or the hermeneutics of evolutionary science are false, giving us a false history.

Who said faith doesn't have to match reality? We know that science does not have to match reality; it only has to match our understanding of reality. Evolutionary science of years past matched understood reality at the time, but it doesn't today. Today's evolutionary science may match understood reality now, but it may not ten years from now. The issue isn't which reality one is going to accept, but rather whose reality one is going to accept.

YEC accepts reality as described in Scripture, the only authoritative source for truth, laid out by God who created the universe. TE/OEC accepts reality laid out by men who are working with extremely limited data, using anti-supernatural presuppositions, making numerous assumptions, dogmatically asserting tentative conclusions.

Who's the one creating an alternate reality? It seems to me God should be the ultimate determiner of reality, not science.

Many of you will say the other methods only came into vogue to accommodate science. I don’t believe that’s a bad thing. We should use all of the knowledge available to us when we interpret Scripture.

There is a significant difference between accommodating Scripture to science, and science illuminating Scripture. For example, because of science we know that the earth rotates and orbits the sun. Beyond observations made on earth that demonstrate this, we have now been to space where this has been objectively verified. That prevents us from taking "sunrise" in Scripture as a cosmological statement.

That is significantly different than taking indemonstrable, unprovable, unobservable, unrepeatable, and changeable historical science based on anti-biblical presuppositions and reinterpreting the first 11 chapters of Genesis which form the foundation for the rest of Scripture.

just because God did something through natural causes, doesn’t take away the credit from God.

... unless God said He didn't use natural causes but rather performed the work through the power of His Word. It certainly does take credit away from God to attribute His work to natural causes when He said there were supernatural causes.

#42  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Wednesday, July 07, 2010at 2:21 PM

When someone rejects God's Word over and over again it accomplishes only one dangerous result...a hardening of the heart. For you guys who consistently reject His Word in favor of empirical science and satisfy yourself by propping up folks such as the guys at Biologos to give credence to your choices I must sound an alarm as the writer of Hebrews did: "...Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion..." (Hebrews 3:7-8)

I urge you to study the reasons why Jesus stopped teaching the rejectors of His day in straight forward language and taught only in parables.

Finally, do not continue down the road of rejecting God's Word lest you be found in the number mentioned in Romans 1:28...God gave them over to a reprobate mind!

C.S. Lewis noted this in his book The Problem of Pain: "The lost enjoy forever the horrible freedom they have demanded and are therefore self-enslaved...".

#43  Posted by Jorge Alvarado  |  Wednesday, July 07, 2010at 3:34 PM

Hi, Paul ( # 26 )

That's interesting. I think some scientists believe that actually the first chicken egg was laid by a "chicken like" evolving being that hasn't been found yet (chickensaurus ???). As a side note, I think it's funny that the chicken would be one of the fittest creatures (oops, I meant animal, plain animal) that survived.

As a side note. Does anyone have any references to what the world became like after the universal flood ?. Remember that the waters above are no more. Now there are rains all over the world. The continents have separated, so I guess the rays of the sun beat up pretty hard on the earth. What did that do to the "new" dried up earth? how would the change affect all living things, including Noah's family ??. Also remember that man's days were shortened by God. How would living 930 years like Adam compare to the now 120 years decreed by God (genesis 6:3) change humankind?. Remember God wiped out all people and most animals. Just how did Noah deal with it??

Never thought of that before. I know someone must have.

Maybe when we all come in agreement about genesis chapter 1 we can get into this. Bye for now.

#44  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, July 07, 2010at 3:46 PM

Steve,

I read the article by Ard Luis, here are some thoughts.

This doesn't impact the general purpose of the article, but Ard demonstrated a lack of careful use of Scripture when he put Joshua 3:14-17 as a type "i" miracle referring to God's providential use of nature. The portion of the text he used may fit his designation, but he neglected to remark that the priests stood, and Israel walked, on solid dry ground. He also neglects to say that the river returned to its former state the moment the priests stepped out of the Jordan. The natural explanation is conjecture at best. Whatever indicators exist for a natural explanation, there are also indicators of a supernatural explanation (exact timing of the river stopping, the dry ground, the exact time of the river returning, etc).

This kind of careless use of Scripture is representative of BioLogos contributors.

In his conclusion he states, "God could, of course, have regularly used miracles to create throughout the time-span of natural history. He is free. But whether he did so in natural history is fundamentally a question of Biblical interpretation."

He is exactly correct that it is a fundamentally a question of biblical interpretation.

I believe the biblical text allows itself to be interpreted in this way, that sentient beings arose primarily through the ordinary “customs of the Creator,” and that moreover it glorifies God to seek to understand these patterns.

The text does not allow this interpretation at all. The only way to come to this conclusion is to presuppose that the text has nothing to say about creation and thus we must come up with our own explanations.

When it comes to creation, the question isn't "could God have done it this way or that?" nor is it "did do it this way or that?" Instead, the right question is, "what did God say about how He did it?"

If we should not seek a scientific understanding of Jesus' resurrection or His creation of bread and wine, why should we seek scientific explanation for creation? All these activities are portrayed as nothing less than miracles. Jesus demonstrated He was God by doing what God did, namely, creating something from nothing.

If creation is fundamentally an issue of biblical interpretation, what exegetical reasons are there to reject a miraculous interpretation?

#45  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Wednesday, July 07, 2010at 4:00 PM

Stephen writes,

What Garrett and I have been suggesting to you is that true faith is not incompatible with the reality of conventional science.

Certainly. And we would agree with you, but Darwinian evolutionary theory that attempts to build a history of the universe, life on earth including humanity, doesn't really fall into the category of "conventional" science. That's a misnomer on your part.

Stephen continues,

Fred Butler was kind enough to provide a link to a Jack Lewis article which provides an overview of the interpretive techniques over the ages. ... The conclusion of the article stated, ...

You need to cite the entire conclusion, not just the last paragraph Lewis wrote

The purpose of this paper has been to give an historical survey of interpretation of the six days rather than to purpose a definitive solution. The excesses of the allegorists of past history caution against acceptance of their methods. Our survey shows that Bible readers have never been of one mind concerning the nature of the days of Genesis. The interpretation given has never been in isolation from the general approach to Scripture of the individual interpreter. As with many other parts of the Bible, eisegesis has been as common as exegesis.

Note some important things Lewis states: First, he doesn't suggest anywhere that the Genesis record is unclear or that people have been arguing over what it clearly states. He talks about this fact in early portions of the article. What he does say is one's hermeneutic is often shaped by outside influence, like for example scientists claiming the earth is millions of years old. He highlights this notion when he states about the "excesses of the allegorists of past history," which would include Origenistic philosophy that impacted Augustine's thinking up to and including the Reformers and to us now. Interestingly, and against your position, they all held to a young history for the world.

Additionally Lewis writes that readers of scripture have "never been of one mind" because the "interpretation given has never been in isolation from the general approach to Scripture of the individual." In other words, the person's presuppositions he brings to interpreting the text. Eisegesis (the reading into Scripture) has been as common as "exegesis" (the reading out of Scripture). If one starts with the working assumption that our view of ancient history with deep time and evolutionary constructs is infallible and true, then of course one will seek to re-read the Bible eisegetically.

Stephen continues,

Most of you hold to a rigid, literal interpretation of Genesis and dismiss any other other interpretative methods as "compromising" or "unfaithful" to God's true word and intent.

Well, that is because those other interpretive methods are compromising and unfaithful which I believe has been demonstrated time and again. IF anything they have been developed within the last 200 years to mesh the Bible with Enlightenment era skepticism of the Bible as it relates to what the secular world says about the history of the world. The "framework theory" that you criticize Dr. McCabe for critiquing was developed in the 1920s. It doesn't matter if Meredith Kline or any other godly man adopted and developed it, the system is a modern construct outlined initially by an unbeliever to "lend God a hand" in light of what is misunderstood as "overwhelming evidence" for earth's history. That alone should give you serious pause if you believe the Bible is a Divine revelation infallible and inerrant.

#46  Posted by Tim Helble  |  Wednesday, July 07, 2010at 4:44 PM

Keith (#42),

C.S. Lewis also wrote “He (the devil) always sends errors into the world in pairs–pairs of opposites. And he always encourages us to spend a lot of time thinking which is the worse. You see why, of course? He relies on your extra dislike of the one error to draw you gradually into the opposite one. But do not let us be fooled. We have to keep our eyes on the goal and go straight between both errors. We have no other concern than that with either of them.”

Mere Christianity, Book 4, Chapter 6

#47  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Wednesday, July 07, 2010at 5:00 PM

"But do not let us be fooled. We have to keep our eyes on the goal and go straight between both errors. We have no other concern than that with either of them.”

Tim...that is the best post you have made since you started here :-)

That notion is central to the age-old battle between libertinism and legalism...both are major problems.

I suppose, however, that you are trying to draw a comparison between what some are doing here by defending God's Word and others who have abandoned God's Word for empiricism? If that is your stab then I don't buy it. I will stand firm for God's Word and stay focused on His Word alone.

By the way...what is the goal Tim? What is your goal?

#48  Posted by Michael Mercer  |  Wednesday, July 07, 2010at 5:13 PM

Here's my challenge to those who say that the teaching of Genesis 1 is simple and straightforward. Answer this question—

What is the relationship of Genesis 1:1 to verse 2 and the rest of the text?

Once you deal with that simple question, I don't think anyone can legitimately hold the standard YEC view.

#49  Posted by Peter Heffner  |  Wednesday, July 07, 2010at 5:31 PM

Some of what I see in these comments results from the cognitive dissonance that comes when what one believes from “peer pressure” doesn’t match the reality that one has to face in the real world. We mere creatures see the choice as losing respectability or denying reality. We choose "respectability" over reality, and because man has no choice but to live in some reality, many of us have capitulated to an alternate reality called “Old Earth Creationism” (OEC).

However, true believers in the Creator suggest that bowing the knee to respectability is incompatible with faith in the one, true, loving God. Accepting the ideas pushed by "respectable" people over Scripture makes faith hard and if taken seriously, makes salvation impossible. Scripture must be exegeted and understood by setting aside the ego, what "everybody else thinks," and personal needs to feel smart. Humbly as ever, Fred Butler was kind enough to provide a link to an article by someone else, in this case, Jack Lewis, that provides an overview of the hermeneutics of Genesis in the early church.

Sadly, as the the article notes, when men give in to peer pressure, they may take up absurd ideas, such as the shepherds' view that the earth is flat or the Thomist view that God created the substance of light apart from its accidents; "Our survey shows that Bible readers have never been of one mind concerning the nature of the days of Genesis. The interpretation given has never been in isolation from the general approach to Scripture of the individual interpreter. As with many other parts of the Bible, eisegesis has been as common as exegesis."

Most people hold rigidly to what they think will get them ahead, keep them out of trouble, and keep them respectable. So they dismiss any other other interpretative methods as “stupid” or “unscientific” because that is what respectable people say. Keith Farmer points us to an article by Robert McCabe which defended the plain reading of Scripture against the Framework Hypothesis. But this runs against the tide of the world; one can find papers that enforce Framework, and open-ended "days" eisegesis and anything else. There are many fallen men chipping away at many sides of the truth.

Many believers talk about presuppositions that prejudice us against truth. Some may even say that respectable views only came into vogue to bind truth to the dictates of the powers that be. Sadly, some believe it's a bad thing that everyone should use all of the ideology pushed on us in order to interpret Scripture.

However, that ideology cannot doesn't disprove Scripture. It may however, prevent a seeker from ever coming to faith. The positions of some to place their personal views and secular dogma over what the clearly Bible says are doing exactly what Augustine warned us about centuries ago:

In matters that are so obscure and far beyond our vision, we find in Holy Scripture passages which can be interpreted in very different ways without prejudice to the faith we have received. In such cases, we should not rush in headlong and so firmly take our stand on one side that, if further progress 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.

Even worse, as Garrett pointed out in post #20, if God must follow the rules laid out by "experts" of the secular dogma, then who is God?

So one believer, Mary Kidwell, posted comment #121 under the article "Indications of a Young Earth" and said:

I have great concerns that the presentation of an old earth and evolution as settled science is causing many to see God’s Word as unreliable or untrustworthy. The daughter of a friend of mine is one of so many who have gone away to a “Christian” college and were taught that evolution and the Bible are compatible. She came home still believing that God exists but no longer believing much else that the Bible teaches. I don’t believe that problem was that she had been taught creation as a child. I believe her “Christian” professors, in essence, taught against the authority of God’s Word and she trusted in their wisdom over that of scripture.

She is right. Would true believers in Jesus Christ want their children to fear Big Brother more than Almighty God? This is exactly why believers have great concerns about teaching OEC — enforcing rigid obedience to secular ideology — while attempting to discredit all else, especially universal truth.

And when you’re finally faced with the fact that reality doesn’t square with what you’ve been taught, something has to give. Your ego suffers incredible pain, and to avoid that pain you will deny reality, unless God gave you faith. Until then, most of us, no matter how compelling the truth, no matter how convincingly straightforward the logic, we are going to reject the truth and stick with what we've been taught — an appalling capitulation to Political Correctness — because we feel that that is the way to be “respectable" and more like the "successful" and powerful people of the world.

On the other hand, I think it would be far better to show a little humility in teaching our children and admit that we cannot answer Scripture, we cannot talk back to God. Such attempts to force our personal interpretations onto Scripture is wicked. Yet it is easy to see why. As many can point out, the ideology of the world is enforced by fallen humanity through peer pressure, denial of tenure, job loss, and what few talk about openly, vicious persecution. The enforcers of dogma are not nice people once you get to know them.

However, may I point out to you that Scripture is true regardless what fallen man thinks. Being “respectable" and "successful" don't erase truth and reality. God is no respecter of persons. Only true faith in Jesus Christ as revealed in infallible Scripture, and repentance for living the lie, saves sinners. God created the world and only He has the power to redeem us from it.

Those who have respect and success have their reward.

#50  Posted by Peter Heffner  |  Wednesday, July 07, 2010at 5:38 PM

Great quote, Tim Helble! Thanks!

#51  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Wednesday, July 07, 2010at 6:10 PM

Mike writes,

What is the relationship of Genesis 1:1 to verse 2 and the rest of the text?

Once you deal with that simple question, I don't think anyone can legitimately hold the standard YEC view.

I am very well aware of the relationship between these two verses and there is nothing present in the grammar of the text to warrant the abandonment of the standard, biblical YEC view of Genesis. Would you care to elaborate on your point?

#52  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, July 07, 2010at 6:22 PM

Michael,

Genesis 1:1 is step 1 in creation. Verse two begins with a waw + noun which means it is a disjunctive clause. Verse two is a parenthetical clause presenting the initial state of the planet that resulted from the action verb in verse one. Verse three begins with a waw consecutive which means that it is picking up consecutively/chronologically where verse one left off. And so it continues through the rest of the chapter with a number of waw consecutives indicating a clear sequence day after day.

A decent translation would be, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 (Now the earth was without form and empty, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.) 3 Then God said...

Some people think that Genesis 1:1 is a title or summary of the chapter, but that doesn't make sense in light of the fact that verse two is a disjunctive clause followed by a waw consecutive (compare this to other Hebrew books).

You'll need to explain how this doesn't permit a YEC view. My guess is you're going to have a different interpretation, but if you do, please ground it in the Hebrew grammar.

#53  Posted by Tim Helble  |  Wednesday, July 07, 2010at 6:57 PM

#47 Keith,

My Goal? 1 Cor 15:1-7, but really the whole chapter sums it up.

#54  Posted by Michael Mercer  |  Wednesday, July 07, 2010at 7:08 PM

Gabriel: So, if I understand you correctly, Genesis 1:1 is the first step in creation.

If this is so, what are the six days about?

If God created the heavens in verse 1, what did he do on the second day?

#55  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, July 07, 2010at 7:16 PM

Michael,

Genesis 1:1-5 encompass day one. Day two is described in 1:6-8. Is it that complicated? You're going to need to explain where you think we're all confused.

#56  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, July 07, 2010at 7:20 PM

Michael,

I see what you're getting at. You're saying the "heaven" in 1:1 is the same as "heaven" in 1:8. I gotta run right now... I'll respond later this evening.

#57  Posted by Peter Heffner  |  Wednesday, July 07, 2010at 7:44 PM

Michael,

May I interrupt?

Day One refers to the second heaven. The firmament or expanse is the first heaven.

The firmament is particularly important, for it is the seat of the clouds which are a symbol of God’s lofty reign in the eternal third heaven. In God’s glory-cloud he reveals himself in the most direct ways throughout Scripture, as the pillar when the Lord delivered the people of God through the Red Sea and as they journeyed through the wilderness, and in the glory-cloud which filled the temple at its finishing. But what exactly is meant by “firmament?” We know from an initial reading that it seems to be the sky, separating water below from water above, and that God calls it Heaven. Sometimes, however, writers have described the firmament as being something other than the sky. Tracing the word’s history does not at first shed much light. We know that firmament is a word loaned from Latin, which translated the word from Greek, which LXX uses to translate the Hebrew.

But the key to the word is how it is used in Scripture. The Hebrew word for firmament, raqiya, by my count (using a website) used seventeen times in the Old Testament. Each time it is used, it refers to the sky. Many of the uses clearly mean something that shines brightly, clearly pointing to God’s glory. Raqiya comes from the verb raqa, used eleven times. This is used in three different ways: (1) four times, to gild or plate with metal (presumably by stamping out) (2) five times, in reference to the sky or heavens; and (3) three times, to stamp the feet. Each reference to the heavens is consistent with gilding, because the sky shines. For example, Isa 40:19 (NASB), uses raqa for to “plate:” “As for the idol, a craftsman casts it, A goldsmith plates it with gold.” Consistent with that use, God in Job 37:181 asks, “Can you, with Him, spread out the skies, strong as a molten mirror?” Perhaps this might also read, “Can you, with Him, gild the skies, strong as a molten mirror?” Note that this is one instance where the verb raqa (the root of raqiya, ‘firmament’) is used specifically for the skies — the first heaven — and not the second heaven where the stars are.

So in Genesis 1:14-20, where stars are mentioned, they are not in “the firmament,” but in the firmament of heaven; that is, the sky of heaven. Also, in Daniel: "Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever" (Dan 12:3). Furthermore, in an Apocryphal book, the firmament of the Creation Week is specifically defined as air (2 Esd 4:7, 6:4, 6:41). Of course, Gen 1:20 has the birds flying in “the firmament,” which can only be the sky.

Therefore, raqiya, neatly corresponds to “sky” in English. Because the sky shines, Hebrew took its word for sky from another meaning “plate with metal” to describe the sky as shining like gold or silver, or as Job says, “a molten mirror.” In other words, “firmament” or “expanse” does not represent anything strange or unknown in the universe; it just means sky – and with a strong hint of God’s shining glory.

It is interesting that "plate" seems to fit neatly with our modern knowledge that the atmosphere keeps out damaging radiation while keeping in heat.

Now supporting the fact that the waters of the firmament were divided by being spread or stretched out, Ps 104:2-3 reads,

Covering Yourself with light as with a cloak,

Stretching out heaven like a tent curtain.

He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters;

He makes the clouds His chariot;

He walks upon the wings of the wind.

Just what happened in Second Day? God lifted up the sky, raising the air and the water in it as clouds, while leaving the rest of the water below as fog and seas (Umberto Cassuto).

To summarize Creation Week so far, in Day One, the big event, the first thing God called “good” was light. Now in Second Day, God has made the bright sky, through which the light of the heavens shines down to earth. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork” (Ps 19:1 AV).

#58  Posted by Marisa Adrales  |  Wednesday, July 07, 2010at 9:26 PM

My question is, could there be a possibility that Adam and Eve stayed in the garden for a very, very long time? Adam lived 800 years but I believe that these years were accounted after Eden. What about the time spend in Eden? How long could he and his wife stayed before they were sent away?

#59  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Wednesday, July 07, 2010at 9:31 PM

Thank you, Peter, for that thorough explanation. Certainly more thorough than I would have been.

#60  Posted by Paul Tucker  |  Wednesday, July 07, 2010at 10:22 PM

Hi folks, great insights

#61  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Wednesday, July 07, 2010at 10:35 PM

Thanks for your question Marisa:

God's explicit verbal command to both Adam and Eve is found in Genesis 1:28, "God blessed them; and God said to them, “​Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the ​sky and over every living thing that ​​moves on the earth.”

Translation: Procreate, make babies, populate and rule over the earth. From Scripture, we can be certain Adam and Eve did not disobey any of God's commands until they chose to partake of the forbidden fruit, hence theologians estimate the time between God's command to Adam's transgression was relatively short. I hope that helps.

#62  Posted by Marisa Adrales  |  Wednesday, July 07, 2010at 10:47 PM

Thanks Tommy... I believe that is right and surely makes a lot of sense. I enjoyed Pastor John study on the topic of creation especially the timeline part, and the time in Eden was the only question I had on my mind. So, thanks so much for answering my question.

Marisa

#63  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Thursday, July 08, 2010at 5:23 AM

Tim

Your posting of 1 Corinthians 15:1-7 raises a few questions:

1)-What exactly is the "goal" in the verses you cited?

2)-How are you "...holding firmly to the Word..." by tossing the bible aside and heading to empirical science...science that can only reveal data about a cursed, fallen world...not the perfect world God originally created.?

3)-What is your definition of the Gospel?

#64  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Thursday, July 08, 2010at 5:31 AM

This should, must, be the goal for Christians 9note that both reveal that the Christian's goal is to become and be like Christ...Christlikeness):

1)-To be conformed into the image of Christ Romans 8:29

2)-The Goal of Life (Philippians 3)

1 Finally, my brethren, (A)rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.

2 Beware of the (B)dogs, beware of the (C)evil workers, beware of the false circumcision;

3 for (D)we are the true circumcision, who (E)worship in the Spirit of God and (F)glory in (G)Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,

4 although (H)I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more:

5 (I)circumcised the eighth day, of the (J)nation of Israel, of the (K)tribe of Benjamin, a (L)Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, (M)a Pharisee;

6 as to zeal, (N)a persecutor of the church; as to the (O)righteousness which is in the Law, found (P)blameless.

7 But (Q)whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.

8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of (R)knowing (S)Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,

9 and may be found in Him, not having (T)a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, (U)the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,

10 that I may (V)know Him and (W)the power of His resurrection and (X)the fellowship of His sufferings, being (Y)conformed to His death;

11 in order that I may (Z)attain to the resurrection from the dead.

12 Not that I have already (AA)obtained it or have already (AB)become perfect, but I press on so that I may (AC)lay hold of that for which also I (AD)was laid hold of by (AE)Christ Jesus.

13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: (AF)forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,

14 I (AG)press on toward the goal for the prize of the (AH)upward call of God in (AI)Christ Jesus.

15 Let us therefore, as many as are (AJ)perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a (AK)different attitude, (AL)God will reveal that also to you;

16 however, let us keep (AM)living by that same standard to which we have attained.

17 Brethren, (AN)join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the (AO)pattern you have in us.

18 For (AP)many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even (AQ)weeping, that they are enemies of (AR)the cross of Christ,

19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their (AS)appetite, and whose (AT)glory is in their shame, who (AU)set their minds on earthly things.

20 For (AV)our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly (AW)wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;

21 who will (AX)transform the body of our humble state into (AY)conformity with the (AZ)body of His glory, (BA)by the exertion of the power that He has even to (BB)subject all things to Himself.

#65  Posted by Steve Gentry  |  Thursday, July 08, 2010at 6:01 AM

I noticed my comment #36 had some broken links. The links expand on what I've said in my comment.

Here they are again for anyone interested.

The Jack Lewis article is here.

The Ard Louis article is here.

The Lawson Stone article is here.

I will respond to the questions directed my way throughout the day, as time permits.

#66  Posted by Michael Mercer  |  Thursday, July 08, 2010at 6:12 AM

Peter, I don't buy it. Genesis 1 is phenomenological. 1:1 should be translated, "In the beginning, God created the skies and the land." You miss the fact that in verse 8 God called the raqiya "sky." There is no emphasis whatsoever in Genesis 1 about a "heaven" beyond the sky.

You are also avoiding the obvious ANE cosmology represented here. The Hebrews called the sky "firmament" because in their pre-scientific understanding, there was a solid dome over the earth, in which the birds flew, the clouds floated, the stars shone, and the sun and moon were "hung." The raqiya had "windows" through which the waters above the raqiya fell upon earth when they were opened. The sun (in their view, literally) "rose" in one end of the raqiya and made its course across a track in the dome, "setting" on the other side. Scripture regularly refers to these aspects of the creation because that is exactly how the world looks to the pre-scientific eye.

When we say the sun rises and sets, we are using a convention, but we know better scientifically. They were describing what they saw, and considered it to be reality.

God is so good to condescend to us where we are in our scientific knowledge and speak to us in a language we can understand.

#67  Posted by Michael Mercer  |  Thursday, July 08, 2010at 6:23 AM

Peter, one more thing. If you are going to quote Cassuto, realize that he takes verse 1 as a sort of title for Genesis 1. In that case, "the heavens" there would be the same as the heavens in verse 8 for him.

#68  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Thursday, July 08, 2010at 7:20 AM

Michael wrote,

You are also avoiding the obvious ANE cosmology represented here. The Hebrews called the sky "firmament" because in their pre-scientific understanding, there was a solid dome over the earth, in which the birds flew, the clouds floated, the stars shone, and the sun and moon were "hung." The raqiya had "windows" through which the waters above the raqiya fell upon earth when they were opened. The sun (in their view, literally) "rose" in one end of the raqiya and made its course across a track in the dome, "setting" on the other side. Scripture regularly refers to these aspects of the creation because that is exactly how the world looks to the pre-scientific eye.

Mike, you're coming in a bit late to the discussion I know, but we have already discussed the erroneous comparison of ANE cosmology with the Genesis narrative. Genesis is a polemic against ANE and is in no way like it. This is something of a novel view of John Walton who got it from biblio-skeptic, Paul Seely. I have responded more fully in the comments under these posts:

https://www.gty.org/Blog/B100602#comments (comment #14)

and

https://www.gty.org/Blog/B100606#comments (comment #89)

You can also read Garrett's responses to the material (he agrees with you), but in a end there is virtually no relationship between ANE cosmology and the historical narrative of Genesis.

#69  Posted by Peter Heffner  |  Thursday, July 08, 2010at 8:45 AM

Michael,

You have to use some common sense. English for these words is phenomenological, too. Verse eight can read, "And God called the sky Heaven." It's really simple.

And as I showed above, Scripture is actually more precise than modern English; when it uses "expanse" (sky) for heaven, the text reads the "expanse of heaven;" that is, sky of heaven. It is as if Moses knew what you were going to say, and headed you off.


Take another example, in English we say the "fish under the sea." Do we mean that fish swim in the earth's crust? Could it be that when we say the "fish swim under the sea," everyone, even small children, know that they swim in the sea? In English we also can say the "clouds spread above the sky." Does anyone really think that the clouds are floating somewhere in outer space by Alpha Centauri?

The problem with the scholars who claim to understand the "ANE" (Ancient Near East) is that they are actually still reading from their stance in the third millennium, but they they do not see it. From their comments it is unmistakable that they believe that ancients were idiots. One may call this "intellectual provincialism."

There are a few more glaring errors here.

One is that these provincial scholars have not done their work. They should have read similar mythologies, such as that written in Old Norse to get a flavor of how other peoples of the world, who were still mythological, wrote about cosmology. The key is that it is poetry and not history.

That means a couple things. One is that the ancients were not so stupid that they took all their own poetry literally. In other words, the provincial scholars failed to tell apart what was poetry and what was real. Let's take the Old Norse, for example, which lay outside the ANE, for grins and giggles. Our forefathers, like most pagans, believed in evolution of some kind. Even the gods evolved. Who was father of Allfather Woden? Borr, the "Child." Who begot him? Buri, the Bearer/Buried. Whence came he? A cow licked salty blocks of ice and out he came! Clearly, the story-teller infinitely regressed as far as he could up the evolutionary chain, so he ended with a joke! This is typical of mythology. It is poetry, not history.

Provincial scholars have failed to understand what they are reading from the ANE point of you.

Another error is that they failed to tell apart the language of religion from the religion itself. Chesterton, for example, wrote about this. By failing to recognize what was the language of religion, the provincial scholars then imposed pagan religious views from sundry quarters of the ANE onto the Bible. This is particularly embarrassing, since any middle school Bible student could tell you that much of the Old Testament is spent fighting off followers of these same religious views and executing them.

Another error is inconsistency. The provincials may recognize that mythology is poetry, but thinking that ancients are far more stupid than they are, they infer that they took it all literally. Then when they come to Genesis one, they see the language of religion, claim it is poetry, and so preach that the Bible is not to be taken literally. Let me rephrase that. The people of the ANE were dumb, so they took all their mythology literally; therefore, they say, to read the Bible from the standpoint of the ANE, we must not take it literally. That's inconsistent.

The last error to point out is one that everyone here has repeated over and over again. Genesis One is poetic. Genesis One is history. It is to be taken literally. This means that Moses (or whichever imaginary person the provincials currently claim wrote the Pentateuch), was no idiot. If anyone truly understood the writing style common to mythology of the ANE and elsewhere, he would understand how laconic it is, and how much information is loaded in few words. Since Genesis, unlike myths of the pagan ANE, is history, the style is even more tight.

It turns out that the ancients knew much more about the universe than we give them credit. Of what survives, educated ancient contemporaries knew something about molecules, the solar system, outer space, roughly how the stars burned. Moses was brought up in the house of a great king; he got the best education the world could give. And by using the phenomenological language all of us use, Moses wrote in a way that would not stumble the untaught shepherd of the hills while writing accurately enough about the world to satisfy the best educated thinker of his day and even us today (thanks to the Holy Spirit).

The lesson of the ANE is this. Its mythology shares enough with truth for one to conclude that truth and myth each descended from a common source. The Bible explains this as that we all descend from Noah's sons. If you read ANE mythology closely it becomes clear that the mechanism that corrupted truth into myth was its telling. Over time, myth-tellers clad the stories in poetry. Concepts such as the Trinity were simplified into God being three brothers, for example. Metaphors were expanded. Metaphors were mistaken for the real thing. Angels became gods. To keep audiences captives, gods were given vices such as jealousy and pettiness. Demons became gods. In the end, truth was without form and void.

Poetry is the means by which the memory of truth is lost.

So by changing the Bible from history to poetry, one speeds up the natural process whereby truth is forgotten. And a loving God seems far away. Redemption of man, a dream.

On the other hand, to receive truth, God wants us to do the work. Do the tight exegesis, as Gabriel says above. Start from the standpoint that the Bible is true. What is the text actually saying?

Can you hear His voice?

#70  Posted by Steve Gentry  |  Thursday, July 08, 2010at 9:59 AM

Mike #37 and Mary #38. I think we’re talking past each other and you’re reading more into what I said than what I actually said. Faith isn’t a “blind leap” in the dark.

Mark 16:17-18 says “And these signs will accompany those who believe: they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well."

People die in churches every year because a few diehards still insist in practicing snake handling. I don’t really know you, but I don’t think you would endorse this practice. Those that do would accuse you of a lack of faith. You’ve adopted a hermeneutic that allows you to reject this practice without rejecting faith.

I’ve adopted a hermeneutic that allows me to reconcile science with Scripture without rejecting faith. You don’t have to adopt my hermeneutic but don’t tell me I don’t have faith because I don’t see everything as you do.

Mike, I suggest you read the article by Ard Louis. The link works now at comment 65. It addresses some of your remarks about miracles.

#71  Posted by Michael Mercer  |  Thursday, July 08, 2010at 11:34 AM

Peter and others, I did not say Genesis reflects ANE mythology (although there are some ways in which it does). It reflects the prescientific cosmology of the people in the Ancient Near East. Yes, it is a polemic against the mythology, however, the Hebrew people did not have a more advanced scientific view than their neighbors! Don't mistake the two.

As for the charge that I am calling the ancients idiots, nothing could be further from the truth. I'm merely recognizing the state of precise scientific understanding in their day. If I say Ptolemy was wrong, it is not because I think he was stupid, it's because scientific knowledge has advanced exponentially since his day.

One thing I think you fail to realize is that no matter when the Bible would have been given, as long as it reflects the natural world we live in, it would be written in light of the scientific understanding of the day. If God were inspiring the Bible now, certain things would be communicated to us that in 100 or 500 years would probably be recognized as scientifically inaccurate. It's not because God is lying to us. It's because he condescends to speak with us in our language, in our culture, and according to the state of our knowledge. The state of science is ever-changing and we are always learning new things that replace the older understandings.

Just because the Bible asserts over and over again that the earth is fixed and flat, doesn't mean it's so, though people in the day it was written would have looked at the world that way.

#72  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, July 08, 2010at 11:48 AM

Michael,

The Bible does not make the scientific claim that the earth is fixed and flat.

Scientists too often read scientific language into Scripture to make it mean more than what it says. The Bible uses the word "sunrise" a number of times, but it is not making a scientific statement about the movement of the sun. It is merely speaking phenomenologically, just like we continue to do today.

You speak as if the Hebrew people wrote Genesis based on their own limited understanding. That is definitely not the case. God wrote Genesis through Moses revealing what actually happened.

Genesis 1 is speaking scientifically as much as the Gospels do in relating the miracles of Jesus. It is not a scientific explanation. You can't explain a miracle scientifically. So the Hebrews were not writing based on their limited scientific knowledge, nor was God giving them a science lesson.

If God were inspiring the Bible now, certain things would be communicated to us that in 100 or 500 years would probably be recognized as scientifically inaccurate.

For the sake of knowing where you are coming from, do you hold to inerrancy, infallibility, and inspiration?

#73  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Thursday, July 08, 2010at 2:32 PM

"You’ve adopted a hermeneutic that allows you to reject this practice without rejecting faith."

The problem with your reference is that the folks you cite have perverted the true meaning of the text cited and built a religion out of TEMPTING God. They are doing the same thing you are doing...they are reading the text the way they desire so as to establish their own religion. Jesus upheld the Word during His battle with Satan that man shall not tempt God...the people you cite as "snake handlers" do just that!

Mark 16:17-18 is an expansion/parallel of the text in Isaiah 43:2 where God promises protection for His people. That fact has been demonstrated by the events in the lives of the Israelites and the individual lives of people like Noah, Moses, David, Jonah, Job, Peter, Paul, John, etc. That same protection will further be seen in the two witnesses as well as the 144,000 Jewish evangelists of Revelation. God will protect the people He has raised up until the work of those people is complete. He will also do the same for you and me when we operate in His will fulfilling His calling for our lives.

Are you trying to say that we who believe in a literal reading of Genesis are to be equated with backwoods uneducated God-tempting religious fanatics? Oh yeah, the folks you use as your source have already said as much:

"...if the data is overwhelmingly in favor of evolution, to deny that reality will make us a cult…some odd group that is not really interacting with the world. And rightly so, because we are not using our gifts and trusting God’s Providence that brought us to this point of our awareness."

http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctliveblog/archives/2010/04/ot_scholar_bruc.html

#74  Posted by Michael Mercer  |  Thursday, July 08, 2010at 3:05 PM

Gabriel, yes I hold to those doctrines. But probably in a different way than you. I happen to think the way many fundamentalists hold them amounts to Biblical docetism.

The Bible is a divine-human book, and God deigned to communicate its words to people, through people, using the elements of their own culture, including their scientific understanding.

As for your comment that "The Bible does not make the scientific claim that the earth is fixed and flat," this was not exactly my point. I don't happen to think the Bible makes ANY "scientific" claims. That is not what it is about. The Bible makes theological claims in the context of life in this world.

Genesis 1, for example, really has nothing to do with "science," per se. It was written to pre-scientific people! Its message has to do with God giving a good land to his people, from which his glory was to fill all the earth (the message of the Sinai Covenant, which is the context of the Torah Moses gave Israel). It was also given, as one commenter rightly pointed out, in the context of competing mythologies, and serves as a polemic against those. The one true and living God who chose his people created the skies and the land, and no one else! The forces of chaos and the great sea monsters that were such a part of ANE mythologies in Gen 1 are mere footnotes, such is the awesome power of God. The sun and moon, worshiped by their neighbors, are mere "lamps" hung in the dome of heaven as the lamps in the tabernacle. And so on.

God, in the words of the Bible, does inspire its authors to describe the world in terms that the people who first received it would understand.

#75  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Thursday, July 08, 2010at 3:30 PM

Michael,

In your previous comment you said, "Just because the Bible asserts over and over again that the earth is fixed and flat, doesn't mean it's so." It sounds like you meant the Bible asserts those as a scientific claims. That is what I was responding to.

Regarding inerrancy and infallibility, you can't change the definition of the terms just so you can claim to still believe in them. Based on what you've said you take "inerrancy" to mean that the Bible doesn't err in what it says according to the culture of the time; is that right? If that is correct, can you explain how that isn't relativism?

I happen to think the way many fundamentalists hold them amounts to Biblical docetism.

You're going to have to explain that one since it is relevant to the discussion and has vast implications for biblical interpretation.

God, in the words of the Bible, does inspire its authors to describe the world in terms that the people who first received it would understand.

One thing I've noticed among those who want to deny a literal interpretation is they want to reject Authorial intent and in its place put a form of reader response theory. In most cases in Scripture there is a strong correlation between what the the author meant to communicate and what the original audience understood, but that is not a necessary correlation. Take the OT prophetic texts as an example. From what we can tell none of the original readers/hearers, and sometimes not even the writers, understood God's revelation.

There is a difference between saying "it can't mean today what it didn't mean then" (which is true), and saying "it must mean to us what it meant to them." The former views truth as absolute and objective, the latter views truth as absolute but subjective, relative to the original audience.

That is not to say that the original readers/hearers completely misunderstood God's revelation of His acts in creation, and perhaps they did understand them according to their current level of cosmological knowledge. But it is not necessary, in fact it is dangerous, to assume that the extent of the authorial intent is limited by what the original readers would understand. This is the case, if for no other reason, because the vast majority of the original readers were not regenerated by the Holy Spirit, had hearts of stone, and were darkened in their understanding.

The message you explained for Genesis 1 is so general that it completely ignores the text itself, and how the text of Genesis 1 is used throughout Scripture. There may be truth to the meaning you assigned, but that is more of an application or implication of what the text actually means. In fact, if the literal text of the meaning is wrong, then your meaning is based on a lie.

#76  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Thursday, July 08, 2010at 4:07 PM

"God, in the words of the Bible, does inspire its authors to describe the world in terms that the people who first received it would understand."

Do you have scripture that says that...just the way you wrote it?

"It was written to pre-scientific people!"

Do you even understand what science means? By definition the word science means knowledge. Expaned it means a systematic enterprise of gathering knowledge about the world and organizing and condensing that knowledge into testable laws and theories.

By your definition "early man" was ignorant without knowledge...much as evolution would have one to believe. However, Adam represented mankind perfectly when he fell into sin. In fact, I would argue, and would be in very good company with many theologians, that Adam was more intelligent and closer to God than anyone since the fall. God created Adam with abilities that you and I do not possess, that is why he can be the federal head for all of mankind...he was the best of the best of creation; yet he rebelled.

Here is a sample of what God gave Adam abilities to do:

1)- Genesis 1:26 "...and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth."

2)-Genesis 2:19 "Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name."

Now, if Adam was to have dominion over all creatures he must have had comprehensive knowledge of every living creature that existed...else he could not have exhibited dominion.

Also, if Adam was responsible for naming every living creature he was certainly knowledgable enough to accomplish the task else God would not have orchestrated such an event.

Promoters of evolution and mythology have consistently derided God's creation which He called VERY good. To agree with that assessment by stating that Genesis was written to pre-knowledgable people is ridiculous!

#77  Posted by Michael Mercer  |  Thursday, July 08, 2010at 4:19 PM

Keith, with all due respect, your response is ridiculous. Of course, pre-scientific does not imply "without knowledge." Just a different kind of knowledge, knowledge of the world that was primarily phenomenological. They had no sophisticated instruments or theories for analyzing the natural world.

And, by the way, my comments have not been about evolution, in case you haven't been following them. They are about how to read the text.

#78  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Thursday, July 08, 2010at 4:39 PM

"Keith, with all due respect, your response is ridiculous."

Really :-) Pre-scientific does imply that God created people without knowledge...or at least prior to the existence of the all knowing abilities of empirical science does it not?

So, Michael, what I hear you saying is that one needs sophisticated instruments or theories to properly read Genesis? That is precisely the same drift I get from Biologos.

Men like Paul, who wrote most of the NT did not have such sophisticated instruments...was he ignorant?

"And, by the way, my comments have not been about evolution, in case you haven't been following them. They are about how to read the text."

I realize you have not been writing about evolution. However, evolution declares that mankind has evolved from less sophisticated to more sophisticated beings does it not? The parallels are there! You say early man could not comprehend God's Word as we do because of science...I say again, that is an indictment against God.

#79  Posted by Michael Mercer  |  Thursday, July 08, 2010at 4:42 PM

Gabriel,

1. That understanding of inerrancy is not relativism because God did not intend for us to read Genesis 1 as a scientific textbook. It's a phenomenological description of how God prepared the land for his creatures from an earthly point of view. The same phenomenological perspective still applies today, and since Genesis 1 is part of a book (the Torah), we can read it in the context of the Torah and realize that many of the terms and the way it is written were designed to communicate truths to the people whose story is told in the Torah.

2. "Biblical docetism" is my way of saying that people stress the divine character of Scripture so much that they ignore the human elements, just as docetism in the days of the early church accepted Jesus' divinity but denied his humanity.

3. I am most certainly NOT denying authorial intent! In fact, that is the whole basis of my interpretation. Before we read Genesis 1 in the light of the whole Bible, we must read it in the context of the book it introduces, the Torah. According to the ending of the Torah, Moses wrote his book as a witness for the people of Israel as they prepared to enter the Promised Land. The author's intent in doing so can be discerned in passages like Deuteronomy 29-30, where he warns the people repeatedly that God is providing them a good land, blessing them, and making him his example among all nations, and that they therefore must choose good and not evil so that they may stay in the good land and not suffer exile. This is very message of Genesis 1-3 as well! Moses shaped the story of creation to communicate that from the very beginning, God prepared a good land for his people from which his glory might spread to all the earth. This is also the foundation of the Gospel, a clear indication of God's original plan for the entire world.

4. One must not only recognize the ancient pre-scientific cosmology by which the creation story is told, but also the many allusions to God's covenant with Israel, the law, and the tabernacle in Genesis 1. For example, the text says that God "hung" the "lamps" (the sun and moon) in the firmament and did so for "signs and seasons," which is a phrase from Leviticus 23 about the special "seasons of the Lord" by which Israel was to worship. The word for "lamps" is the same word used for the lights in the tabernacle.

Once we get the Jewish nature of the creation story clear, and its place as an introduction to the story told in the Torah, and God's plan for his people Israel when they entered the Promised Land, then we can begin to see how it fits with the story of the Bible as a whole.

I don't really see how that interpretation is "so general that it completely ignores the text itself." I think it is a pretty close and careful reading of the text, in its original context, and reflecting the intent of its author and the message he wanted to communicate to God's people.

#80  Posted by Michael Mercer  |  Thursday, July 08, 2010at 4:45 PM

Keith, They were not ignorant. They viewed the world differently than we do. Period.

#83  Posted by Mary Kidwell  |  Thursday, July 08, 2010at 7:26 PM

Michael,

What scriptural support do you have for your belief that scripture has “human elements” other than having been physically written by humans. 2 Timothy 3:16 and 2 Peter 1:20-21 make very clear the divine authorship of scripture. I know of no scripture which supports the idea that the humans writers did anything other than write what God moved them to write. To say otherwise, I believe contradicts the above two passages.

#85  Posted by Peter Heffner  |  Thursday, July 08, 2010at 9:49 PM

This is an interesting discussion.

Summary

Paul H. Seely's The Solid Expanse Hypothesis :

1. Concedes the scholarly consensus is that "expanse" means sky and is spacious as it appears;

2. Believes that the starry heaven appears "solid" to the eye (228);

3. Represents the beliefs of stone age cultures as like those of the Bible (229-231);

4. Represents cherry-picked folklore of 19th-c. Japan, 19th-c. China, and Medieval India as "The Ancient Near Eastern View of the Sky;"

5. Represents early Medieval views, cherry-picked, as those of the Bible, written thousands of years before (236);

6. Claims his hypothesis is proved by way of the Negative Proof Fallacy (ibid.);

7. States that to "divide" the expanse is to put a "solid" divider in it (237);

8. Ignores LXX of Genesis 1, the oldest witness to the Hebrew text, where the word for "divide" is diacwrizomai ana meson, meaning "to put space through the midst of;"

9. Ignores Scriptural and Apocryphal references defining the expanse as sky and air;

10. Ignores Scriptural contexts where "expanse" (raqiya) means that the sky shines;

11. Insists that the solid "expanse" is not phenomenological language (238);

12. Indicates that the heaven of God's throne is a physical place (239-239)!


Michael Mercer:

1. Says that the teaching of Genesis 1 is not "simple and straightforward" (#48);

2. Denies what Genesis 1 says about the physical world;

3. Wants others to deny what the Bible says about the physical world;

4. Denies the inerrancy of the Bible, that it is true in all that affirms;

5. Wants others to think he believes in the inerrancy of the Bible;

6. Indicates that they who believe the Bible is true are "ridiculous" (#77), and "docetist" (#74, #79).

#86  Posted by Michael Mercer  |  Friday, July 09, 2010at 5:12 AM

Peter, your points misrepresent what I've been saying to such a great extent, that I don't know where to begin, and hesitate to even say anything because of the likelihood that you will just muddy the waters even more with straw man fallacies and inaccurate accusations.

Did you read the summary of my interpretation of Genesis? You did not answer any of my actual points, you merely misrepresented them and assassinated my character. This kind of interaction does not contribute to healthy debate and discussion.

#87  Posted by Steve Gentry  |  Friday, July 09, 2010at 7:42 AM

Gabriel #41. You want to know if I hold to inerrancy? Well, as Lawson Stone said in the link I posted in comment #36 (which now actually works in comment #65), there isn’t much future in errancy. I agree with Lawson in his defense of inerrancy.

You said “You have stated that YEC is an alternate reality, yet we claim that YEC is the result of a consistent application of evangelical hermeneutics. Either evangelical hermeneutics are false, giving us a false reality entirely, or the hermeneutics of evolutionary science are false, giving us a false history.”

Fred Butler #45 says ” Well, that is because those other interpretive methods are compromising and unfaithful which I believe has been demonstrated time and again. IF anything they have been developed within the last 200 years to mesh the Bible with Enlightenment era skepticism of the Bible as it relates to what the secular world says about the history of the world. The "framework theory" that you criticize Dr. McCabe for critiquing was developed in the 1920s. It doesn't matter if Meredith Kline or any other godly man adopted and developed it, the system is a modern construct outlined initially by an unbeliever to "lend God a hand" in light of what is misunderstood as "overwhelming evidence" for earth's history. That alone should give you serious pause if you believe the Bible is a Divine revelation infallible and inerrant.”

The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is known for it’s orthodoxy and defense of the Scriptures. Although, it may be a hot topic in the PCA, they allow four acceptable interpretations of the Genesis account of creation: the “day-age”, “framework”, analogical days”, and “straightforward” views. If a major player in Reformed Theology like the PCA can accept four interpretative methods for Genesis then I find Fred’s statement to be an example of the kind of hubris that plagues fundamentalism.

Gabriel says “There is a significant difference between accommodating Scripture to science, and science illuminating Scripture. For example, because of science we know that the earth rotates and orbits the sun. Beyond observations made on earth that demonstrate this, we have now been to space where this has been objectively verified. That prevents us from taking "sunrise" in Scripture as a cosmological statement.”

I know you’re never going to admit how incredibly inconsistent that statement is with your position. You’re using a simplistic definition of science to justify rejecting the Bible’s geocentric view while maintaining literal 24 hour creation days. In your view, science is limited to observations and repeatable experiments to test one’s hypothesis. You proceed to disqualify science that supports an old earth by saying ”that is significantly different than taking indemonstrable, unprovable, unobservable, unrepeatable, and changeable historical science based on anti-biblical presuppositions and reinterpreting the first 11 chapters of Genesis which form the foundation for the rest of Scripture.” Science is much more than the simplistic definition you use. That’s one reason I linked to the Ard Louis article (see comment #65).

The geocentric view was commonly held for 1500 years before being replaced with the heliocentric view. Scientific presuppositions replaced Biblical literalism presuppositions which you now accept. Some individuals still hold to the geocentric view. The Association for Biblical Astronomy preaches the same message about geocentrism that you do about young earth creationism. A statement from their website says ”This site is devoted to the historical relationship between the Bible and astronomy. It assumes that whenever the two are at variance, it is always astronomy—that is, our "reading" of the "Book of Nature," not our reading of the Holy Bible—that is wrong. History bears consistent witness to the truth of that stance."

Why does that statement have such a familiar ring?

Why not take the same approach to heliocentrism that you take with the old earth view. Here are some of your own statements you can use to justify rejecting a heliocentric view of the heavens. We know that science does not have to match reality; it only has to match our understanding of reality,and YEC accepts reality as described in Scripture, the only authoritative source for truth, laid out by God who created the universe, and It seems to me God should be the ultimate determiner of reality, not science. After all, God is all powerful and he could simply make it appear that the earth is revolving around the sun. Who are you going to believe, God or man?

You pick and choose which Scriptures you take literally and which ones can be taken figuratively, and then do the Texas two-step when challenged on your consistency.

To sum this up, God is the author of both special and general revelation. Most of us don’t have the necessary skill sets to adequately interpret general revelation, i.e. the natural world. We would be wise to listen to the experts in the fields of geology, cosmology, biology, physics, etc. when it comes to interpreting the data we discover in our search for knowledge.

#88  Posted by John Adams  |  Friday, July 09, 2010at 9:20 AM

Well put Steve. I came across something some time ago on another forum and the comments here particularly reminded me of it. I'm pretty sure the author wasn't a Christian but I certainly knew what he meant - I've been through enough of these discussions with YECs. It went as follows;

1st Law of YECism - Genesis 1-9 must be interpreted literally.

2nd Law of YECism - Any other verses can be interpreted liberally to support the 1st Law.

3rd Law of YECism - Make up any extra-biblical claim, no matter how wild, to wave away evidence in violation of the 1st Law.

#89  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Friday, July 09, 2010at 9:39 AM

Steve,

The difference between geocentrism and YEC is geocentrism assumes that Scripture is describing objective astronomical truths as we would expect to find in a astronomy textbook. YEC, on the other hand, is not attributing a scientific explanation for how things came to be. Science is wrong on evolution and an old earth because it is studying a series of miraculous events.

Science is trying to wind the clock back to zero. But there is no zero. The universe was never an embryo. Scientists assume/presuppose a starting point for the universe based on a de facto rejection of God's Word, and thus come up with all their theories based on the extremely limited data they have to work with. Science cannot prove the universe went from embryo to what we see today. That is simply an assumed axiom that is required for their methods of study. Some might say, they don't assume that, that's just where the evidence points! Uh huh... right. The fact that scientists are even trying to determine the age of the earth scientifically demonstrates a rejection of Scripture. You can't reject Scripture, and then come up with evidence to justify reinterpreting the Scripture already rejected.

Either Scripture is true and the scientific enterprise of studying evolution and the age of the earth are inherently anti-Scripture, or Scripture is false and we shouldn't even try to reconcile the two.

I'm not saying that Scripture is telling us scientific information that we should believe over and against modern science. I'm saying science is incapable of venturing into origins and we can only get that information from the Creator who told us in clear language how we got here, namely, through a series of miraculous events.

Apparently you haven't been around when we've discussed the Christian scientist lie of "general revelation." The science community, in seeking authority for their findings, have created a construct called "general revelation" out of a lack of biblical understanding. When the Bible speaks of the concept of general revelation, the content or subject of that revelation is God, not nature. And the extent of that content is general not specific. Scripture emphatically contradicts your statement that most of us aren't able to interpret general revelation. General revelation is available to every living breathing human being with eyes balls, ears, and the ability to sense their environment. Creation reveals general qualities or aspects about God, not itself.

As far as the PCA accepting multiple interpretations, last I checked we will be held accountable to God, not a denomination, for what we believe. And we must not measure our beliefs according to boundaries set by men, but by Scripture.

#90  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Friday, July 09, 2010at 9:46 AM

John,

Can you give an example of the 2nd "law"?

The sad truth, as in most areas of theology, is there are indeed people who do a poor job of representing and defending what Scripture teaches. Obviously both sides could come up with ample evidence that demonstrates the validity of those laws for YEC and non-YEC folks. So let's do this: validate those laws according to the arguments put forth on this blog and comments.

What liberal interpretations of other Scripture have we put forth? What extra-biblical claims have we made? Perhaps there are some... let's deal with them.

But here is the problem: once you remove a literal interpretation of Genesis 1-9, you've lost the ability to interpret the rest of Scripture in any consistent manner. Period. Apart from a literal interpretation, everyone does what is right in their own eyes with Genesis 1-11 and the rest of Scripture.

#91  Posted by Millard Lightfoot  |  Friday, July 09, 2010at 10:51 AM

I’m sorry but I stepped away from the blog sites for a few days to celebrate the birthday of this great nation only to return to a few comments that I think are most interesting statements in regards to the element of time as posted on the 'Indications of a Young Earth' blog site. I hope I don't offend any by posting this here because I do think the comments I state are important to those who do not understand the definition of time.

Now I’m not a geo-chemist, geologist, astrophysicists, or a scientist for that matter. I’m just an old retired, not needed anymore mechanical engineer but I do know a little about how time is defined without stretching it.

Ken, Sarah please don’t take my comments in a negative way because my intentions are to try and clarify the issue so someone doesn’t take the hook and run with it until they have reached the end of the line and can’t keep their head above water due to the weight of the sinker because they really did not understand what you were trying say. It seems to me from what I’ve read on this blog site that you are both YEC which is also my belief. I hope and pray we don’t get at odds with each other over my following comments.

Let me try to explain it this way;

“In Newton’s theory time is assumed to have an absolute meaning. It flows, from the infinite past to the infinite future, the same everywhere in the universe, without any relation to things that actually happen. Change is measured in units of time, but time is assumed to have a meaning and existence that transcends any particular process of change in the universe.

In the twentieth century we learned that this view of time is incorrect as Newton’s view of absolute space. We now know that time has no absolute meaning. There is no time apart from change. There is no such thing as a clock outside the network of changing relationships. So one cannot ask a question such as how fast, in an absolute sense, something is changing: one can only compare how fast one thing is happening with the rate of some other process. Time is described only in terms of change in the network of relationships that describes space.” (page 23-24 ‘Three Roads to Quantum Gravity’ by Lee Smolin.

As I understand Dr Smolin’s statement Newton’s view was that time is constant throughout the entire universe, however, today that view has changed to being dependant upon relative speed. This view changed in the twentieth century due to Einstein’s Twin Paradox theory:

“In physics, the twin paradox is a thought experiment in special relativity, in which a twin makes a journey into space in a high-speed rocket and returns home to find he has aged less than his identical twin who stayed on Earth. This result appears puzzling because each twin sees the other twin as traveling, and so, according to a naive application of time dilation, each should paradoxically find the other to have aged more slowly. How the seeming contradiction is resolved, and how the absolute effect (one twin really aging less) can result from a relative motion, can be explained within the standard framework of special relativity. The effect has been verified experimentally using precise measurements of clocks flown in airplanes and satellites.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twin_paradox

As I understand this theory above the faster one or something travels the slower time changes for it.

Sarah in your post #122 ('Indications of a Young Earth' blog site) I think you were trying to state the terms of time as stated above but I don’t understand based on the definition of time in today’s world how it can be viewed as “---one day then would really be the equivalent of a billion years now” least I could be misunderstanding your statement.

Ken in your post #130 ('Indications of a Young Earth' blog site) I think you were also trying to state the terms of time likewise but I don’t understand based on the definition of time in today’s world how gravity fits into the picture “Relativity demonstrates that time is related to gravity. So when all the mass of the universe was in one place “In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth”, the passage of time was VERY different.” least I could also be misunderstanding your statement.

I have to agree that time is not constant but a variable depending on how fast one or something is traveling but nothing gives us the notation that a day of creation was any different than a normal day today. However, one can read into the definition of time as we understand today that increased speed can slow the ageing process. One would only have to address the issue of how can this be accomplished successfully without overcoming arduous obstacles if a longer life is desired.

Backing our way into the matter could earth have once traveled at a higher rate of speed than it does now? Now I may be totally wrong and way off base drowning with the weight of the anchor tied around my neck but I think our God, our only God changed position of this planet to decrease the aging factor and He did this by flooding the planet. ‘Angular Momentum’ as I would call it. I think others may call it ‘Hydrodynamic Drag’. This may be off the point or objective of this particular blog site but I think it’s a good place to lead into this because our God is so awesome that He can change longevity of everything on this planet by a simple readjustment while indicating that fact to us by a simple Bow, rainbow, not before seen in the sky. How could anyone possible think He could not create the heavens and earth is six days?

Ken I have one final question for you. In your post #112('Indications of a Young Earth' blog site) stated “As Andrew Snelling showed in a YEC meeting in 2008, the Creation Model is poor.” Could you elaborate on Snelling statements or direct my search of his claims.

God Bless,

Paul

#92  Posted by Tim Helble  |  Friday, July 09, 2010at 12:32 PM

All,

I need to issue a retraction on my post #78 in the "Indications of a Young Earth" thread. I have since established contact with Dr. Lalomov in Russia. Dr. Lalomov informed me that after the English version of his 2007 paper was produced, Dr. Berthault contacted him and informed him that the English translator did not accurately reflect what was stated in the original Russian version. However, this was after the journal article was already printed (or had gone to press), so it was too late to make corrections. Dr. Lalomov informed me that the wording of the paragraph I cited from the version posted on Dr. Berthault's website is actually more faithful to the original Russian version. The way Dr. Lalomov explained his intent to me was "approximate calculation shows that duration of sedimentation (to form the Upper Jurassic conglomerates and sandstones) could be estimated as tens (of) years, but not millions."

I was clearly wrong to jump the gun and write what I did without first trying to contact Dr. Lalomov. It would appear that I was too eager to find a "magic bullet" of my own. Anyway, if the moderator wants to delete my post #78, that is o.k., or perhaps it would be a good idea to keep it posted here to show how OECs aren't without sin and don't have a corner on the truth (I wish I always had the apostle Paul's attitude [1 Tim 1:15]), and their sources should be checked out just as you would a YEC or one of the "new atheists" (e.g., Dawkins).

I would point out that the "tens of years" Dr. Lalomov proposed is still much too long for in the global Flood scenario. Also, he appears to subscribe to the old earth view, as he describes events using the geologic time scale and mentions that granites, granite porphyres, and granodiorites in the conglomerate dated in the late Proterozoic (2,500 to 542 million years old). Two sentences near the end of his paper were: "Nevertheless, catastrophic mechanisms cannot be excluded from the consideration. The frequency of their occurrence seems to be insignificant only from the point of view of human life, but they are manifested regularly at the geological time scale."

#93  Posted by Tim Helble  |  Friday, July 09, 2010at 1:23 PM

#91 Millard - you have to order it from the International Conference on Creationism website at http://www.creationicc.org - it is found under the "Evening and Other Sessions."

#94  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Friday, July 09, 2010at 1:42 PM

Tim:

Thank you for modeling integrity in your post. May that serve as an example for everyone following the series.

#95  Posted by Sarah Javaheri  |  Saturday, July 10, 2010at 5:32 AM

Hm, I'm intrigued by the idea that God created things mature, with maturity, but I'm not sure if I agree with it. I don't think there's anything biblically wrong with thinking that God created young things that matured. We really can't know this, as God didn't seem fit to tell us exactly how He created the universe; the Bible only said that he did it.

Garret (#28) -

My husband is a semi-TE. He believes that God used evolution for everything but humans, and that humans are God's special creation. (He's an MD/PhD.) Another idea that's my husband has pondered is that God created several different classes of things, and everything evolved from these classes, again with humans being created separately. I don't know if I agree with this, as I am skeptical about evolution in general. Adaptation, sure. But there's not a lot of actual evidence for speciation, and there's not enough fossils in the fossil record to really prove anything. And there are a number of holes in the evolution hypothesis. (My biggest beef with the evolution hypothesis is that it's a study of the past based on current behaviors, and can never actually be tested, since we can't recreate creation. I'd likely be skeptical of any science that studies the past; we can't do experiments to verify any of these hypotheses.)

Millard (#91) -

I'm not a YEC or an OEC. I don't necessarily believe that there's any inconsistency in these two positions, to be honest. It is entirely possible that the earth is both several thousand years old and several billion years old; it simply depends on what frame of reference one is using. So, according to time as we see it now on present day earth, the earth may appear to be 4.5 billion years old (according to modern science, of which I am skeptical about some of these assumptions). However, it is possible that the earth, according to time as seem on earth at the time of creation, is only several thousand years old. It depends on one's frame of reference, the time and gravity of the object, etc. And, scientifically, the earth had to have been rotating at a different speed, because the moon is hypothesized to have been part of the earth at one point, and broken off because of some impact. This had to have affected the speed, rotational speed, and gravity on earth, and therefore affect how time is perceived on earth. So are the two (YEC and OEC) inconsistent? Only if one believes that time on earth is the same now as it was in the past, and I don't believe this.

Ken - Sorry that I didn't get a chance to respond to your post from the other thread. I think I may not have expressed myself well in terms of the assumptions that scientists (not just geologists) make when trying to use science to discover things about the past. All such sciences are based on assumptions, and while there may be very good reasons for these assumptions, they are just assumptions. They can't be verified because we can't go back into the past to verify them. These assumptions may be right, but they also may not be. We can't KNOW these things, we can only ASSUME them. And we believe (through scientific means) that the earth was very, very different at the time of creation than it is now. So these assumptions that we have not are based on how we see things now, but that might not be how things were in the past. (I tried to explain this with radioactive decay - we really don't know if things decayed at the same rate say a thousand years ago, let alone a million years ago; we only assume that based on current data but we currently cannot go back in time to verify this.)

#96  Posted by Millard Lightfoot  |  Saturday, July 10, 2010at 2:52 PM

Sarah (#95) Would you mind sharing with us your denomination or belief. I think I’ve already mentioned that I’m independent Baptist (I should say Protestant but Baptist helps explain where I received most of my religious education and that is not to say that others are any less or more correct) with Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and believe the Doctrines of Grace as John MacArthur and others teach. Please don’t think that I want to make an issue out of anyone’s faith but it does help to understand why one may believe the way they do. A book I recently read that helps explain better what I’m trying to say is ‘The Consequences of Ideas’ (Understanding the Concepts that shape Our World) by R. C. Sproul. A few short years ago I would have cast my vote strongly for evolution and OEC but it seemed the more I considered all the options the more I became convinced that my view was incorrect. Believe me when I tell you I was down the river without a paddle and had to make my way back without anything to paddle with. I now have the opinion that since most of my education was in the sixties and seventies that I was heavily influenced by a system that intended to teach the evolutionary process regardless of whether it is correct or not. I’m not trying to convince you that your views are incorrect but what I trying to propose is weight each case against another to determine if there is a contradiction or not and if there is then seek the Truth. John 8:31: “----If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 31.And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

God Bless,

Paul

#97  Posted by John Adams  |  Saturday, July 10, 2010at 4:10 PM

"Ken I have one final question for you. In your post #112('Indications of a Young Earth' blog site) stated “As Andrew Snelling showed in a YEC meeting in 2008, the Creation Model is poor.” Could you elaborate on Snelling statements or direct my search of his claims."

Here are the slides from Snelling's speech, read them for yourself;

http://www.math.jmu.edu/~rosenhjd/creationism/DSC00413.JPG

http://www.math.jmu.edu/~rosenhjd/creationism/DSC00412.JPG

#98  Posted by Jorge Alvarado  |  Saturday, July 10, 2010at 4:50 PM

Hello, If we just stay focused on the subject, it shouldn't really matter, if looking at any kind of "evidence" to prove something, weather one is a christian, or not (and I lump together all other belief systems in the "not"). Think of yourself as being accused of committing some crime. Should it be an issue having atheists and outspoken unbelievers hearing your case and then deciding your fate?, or would you rely on the evidence (or lack of it) either accusing you or exonerating you?

On the side of old earth arguments, it's evidence is totally theoretical. Nothing is 100% "provable" one way or the other. In my opinion, it doesn't even make sense to think anything goes from chaos to order by itself no matter how long you wait for it to happen.

On the side of young earth arguments, the same could be said. But, to me, it makes more sense that everything was created and, as we can see, everything is "devolving" or deteriorating.

Now the case could be made that, in both instances, God can be taken out of the picture.

If only scientific arguments were allowed, I think the biblical view would win out because on every other issue the bible speaks, it is proven right (archeological finds, would be just the beginning of it).

I think it's wrong for us to be questioning the salvation of anyone who expresses doubt about creationism.

#99  Posted by Sarah Javaheri  |  Sunday, July 11, 2010at 8:13 PM

Paul (#96) - I'm a non-denominational Protestant. My home church growing up was Grace Community Church. I left Grace when I moved from LA to go to college, and I haven't returned to LA. I currently attend another non-denominational Protestant church in Boston that's pretty congregationalist.

#100  Posted by Millard Lightfoot  |  Monday, July 12, 2010at 8:27 AM

Sarah,(#99)the reason I asked your denomination is because there is barely a breath of difference between my denominational beliefs and the next on the spectrum of religious faith. However, if I so happen to make a poor suggestion in conversation then I might make a foe of a friend not to mention the possibility of stumbling a brother. Its important to know something about ones opinions and that can be generally obtained by knowing a little bit about ones religious beliefs. I pray that our Lord will guide me in my conversation to always be revenant.

In review of your last note (second note – I don’t have a copy of you first note that brought me into this conversation) I noticed that you seemed to offer a contradiction of terms, “I'm not a YEC or an OEC. I don't necessarily believe that there's any inconsistency in these two positions”, which is very much similar to my original opinions. That may be why I noticed it. I now believe that these are opposing points of view in which one cannot exist if the other is true. My quest for an answer lead me to what influenced me to possibility believe in dual answers in the first place (A can be true and equal B if B is false). I suggest reading ‘Life’s Ultimate Questions’ (An introduction to Philosophy) by Ronald H. Nash. There is certainly more in this book that can help than I can possible offer in a few words in this blog site.

Your are correct that there is the hypothesis suggesting that the moon was once part of the earth, however, if we believe inerrancy of the Bible, and I do, then how do we address Genesis 1:16 (KJV)“And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.” I also know the hypothesis mentioned above circles back to the ‘Gap Theory’ developed to realigned the Bible with views of evolution which attempts to explain this verse has happening over eons of time but I understand this does not allow a literal translation. What I find interesting is that no one hardly ever mentions the two other rocks that orbit earth. Cruithne 3753 discovered in 1986 by D. Waldron a 5 km diameter companion to Earth a co-orbital near Earth asteroid and another co-orbital asteroid in a horseshoe orbit, named 2002AA29 a100 m in diameter. Another book that I think might help in your search for truth is ‘In the Beginning’ by Walt Brown.

Time simply put is defined as a measurement of the rate of change, however, trying to define it to avoid controversial views between all fields of study, religion, philosophy, and science, is difficult to say the least. I do not know of any connection between time and gravity other than we do express gravity in units of time (sec-sec) and no one as I understand completely understands why time is dependant on the rate of speed of an objects travel. Your statement that time on earth may have changed may have some merit to it but I don’t think it was time that changed. My opinion is that the speed of earths orbit and location (position with respect to the Sun) changed creating a much shorter live span for life on earth. I think Walt Brown’s book and possibly Andrew Snelling’s book 'Earth’s Catastrophe Past' may also help.

God Bless,

Paul

#101  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Monday, July 12, 2010at 11:28 AM

#100 Do not put your trust in "knowlegde" apart from God, because it is shifting sand.

I was reading this: http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2010/07/why-unregenerate-no-matter-how-smart-or.html

Here is a Spurgeon quote from 1861:

We have had abundant proof that men of the most scientific minds, persons who have been exceedingly inquiring, men who have trod the realms of knowledge, and gone even to the seventh heaven of wisdom, that these have nevertheless proved that they could not receive the things of the kingdom of God, by their determined opposition and enmity against anything like the truth as it is in Jesus. When you hear them blaspheming the holy name of Christ, when you hear them bringing what they call "scientific facts" against the truth of revelation, be not amazed as though it were some new thing, but write this down in your memorandum book—the Holy Ghost said of old, "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God," and these men live to prove that what the Spirit of God said was very truth.