21 June 2010

Trojan Horse

by Phil Johnson



Some Background

f you follow the buzz in the blogosphere, I'm sure you have heard about The BioLogos Forum, with a slick website and blog that launched last year. Their stated goal is to "promote and celebrate the integration of science and Christian faith."

Well, about two weeks ago, Darrel Falk (president of The BioLogos Foundation) Fedexed me a copy of a letter he wrote to John MacArthur. It seems the staff at BioLogos had been reading a series of posts about Genesis and the biblical account of creation on the Grace to You blog and they were convinced MacArthur's critique of uniformitarianism missed the mark.

"Uniformitarianism does not dictate that the earth has never undergone catastrophes," Falk wrote. (He was refuting an assertion MacArthur had never made in the first place). "Rather," Falk continued, "it says that the same processes we see shaping the earth today have been at work since God created the world."

Huh?

Falk's own shorthand definition of uniformitarianism strikes me as something no sober-minded, Bible-believing individual could possibly affirm. In fact, it sounds very much like a denial of practically everything the Bible says about creation.

Hear it once more: "The same processes we see shaping the earth today have been at work since God created the world."

Really? What about the curse? For that matter, what about days two through six of the creation process? And what about the flood?

I know, of course, that old-earthers like to fudge on the questions of whether all creation (or Eden only) was a perfect paradise; whether the six days are a chronological account of creation or merely some kind of poetic framework; whether the flood was a global or regional deluge, and whatnot. But regardless of what hermeneutical machinations one imposes on the text, I can't see how any reasonable person—someone for whom words are in any sense truly meaningful—could think it possible to reconcile the first nine chapters of Genesis with the bald assertion that "the same processes we see shaping the earth today have been at work since God created the world."

Anyway, Mr. Falk's letter to John MacArthur informed him that BioLogos was about to do a three-part response on the subject, defending uniformitarianism. So I figured I would wait and read what they have to say.

What a disappointment. It seems to me the whole BioLogos response is merely a drawn-out way of saying "Nuh-uh!" You can read their responses for yourself: here, here, and here.

In the first article, Stephen O. Moshier essentially argues that uniformitarianism itself has never really been uniform. He says the term "as it is used by geologists today [is different from] the 19th century definition." Supposedly, Dr. MacArthur did his readers a disservice by not chronicling the evolution of uniformitarian definitions.

That's fine, but utterly beside the point. Don't the curse and the flood still refute the uniformitarian presupposition? Biblical arguments are missing from Moshier's article (oddly titled "The Biblical Premise of Uniformitarianism").

Well, OK, biblical references are not entirely missing. I should mention Moshier's one lame appeal to the words of the sage in Ecclesiastes 1:9: "That which has been is that which will be, and that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun."

As if that disproved the Genesis account and settled the dispute on the side of the skeptics in 2 Peter 3:4.

And that was the entire series' best biblical argument. Parts 2 and 3 of the BioLogos response were devoid of any serious appeal to Scripture. Part 2 was an extended but facile attempt to equate uniformitarianism with the doctrine of divine Providence—as if the only alternative to uniformitarianism were a scenario where God always acts directly through miraculous or catastrophic acts. (The whole article makes no actual reference to the biblical text, except for one throwaway reference to Genesis 1, where God rested—as if that "rest" established the legitimacy of uniformitarianism.)

Part 3, by Gregory Bennet, takes the bankrupt "providence" argument a step further, declaring that you can't reject uniformitarianism without also rejecting divine providence. But Bennet makes no argument to support that assertion, which is easily refuted by the mere fact that every biblical creationist who rejects uniformitarianism strongly affirms divine providence.

Oh, and that third blogpost made no argument from Scripture whatsoever. The only mentions of Scripture were offhand references—one of which cited some miracles in the gospels. But Bennet never even seemed to notice that miracles by definition are extraordinary departures from the normal working of divine providence—which is the very reason uniformitarians are naturally skeptical of the Bible's miracles, starting with creation! He actually shot his own argument in the foot in that paragraph.

The whole 3-part series never really dealt with the central argument biblical creationists are making: The biblical accounts of creation, the fall, the curse, and the flood surely mean something. They are irreconcilable with uniformitarianism, if you take Scripture seriously.

Moreover, the New Testament treats the account of Adam, the fall, the curse, and original sin as history (Romans 5:12-21). That's irreconcilable with uniformitarianism. People who insist that they are serious about both science and Scripture ought to be at least as interested in dealing with the biblical data as they are defending the presuppositions of their scientific theories.



BioLogos's low view of Scripture

The problem is that BioLogos clearly does not take scripture seriously, despite the claims of their PR department.

Some of the initial fanfare about BioLogos implied that the organization (though heavily funded by the John Templeton Foundation) is safely evangelical. Supposedly, they were set to offer a thoughtful defense of old-earth creationism without equivocating on the authority of Scripture and without compromising the essentials of the Christian faith.

Good luck, I thought when I read the early hype about BioLogos. Few old-earthers truly grasp how much their capitulation to evolutionary theory compromises when it comes to hamartiology, hermeneutics, biblical history, biblical anthropology, and the authority and reliability of the Scriptures. But it would be nice to see a conscientious effort from old-earthers to deal with Christian doctrine and the foundations of Christian faith seriously.

Instead, in every conflict that pits contemporary "scientific" skepticism against the historic faith of the church, BioLogos has defended the skeptical point of view. BioLogos's contributors consistently give preference to modern ideology over biblical revelation. Although the BioLogos PR machine relentlessly portrays the organization as equally committed to science and the Scriptures (and there's a lot of talk about "bridge-building" and reconciliation), the drift of the organization is decidedly just one way. That should be obvious to anyone who ignores the organization's own carefully-crafted PR and simply pays attention to what the BioLogos staff and contributors actually blog about.

For example, BioLogos is where Bruce Waltke posted a video declaring that denying evolution is cultish. (Waltke resigned his professorship at RTS in the ensuing controversy.)

Lately, BioLogos has consigned biblical inerrancy to the dustbin of outmoded ideas, alongside creation ex nihilo. They have been floating multiple alternatives to the historicity of Adam and Eve, viz.,—
  • Peter Enns: "The Adam story could be viewed symbolically as a story of Israel's beginnings, not as the story of humanity from ground zero."
  • Alister McGrath (summarized in the words of the BioLogos editorial staff): "It makes even more sense to say that Adam and Eve are stereotypical figures—represent [sic] human potential as created by God but also with the capacity to go wrong."
  • N. T. Wright: "I do think it matters that something like a primal pair getting it wrong did happen. But that doesn't mean I'm saying that therefore Genesis is kind of positivist, literal, clunky history over against myth. Far from it."

And so on. Of course BioLogos's creators and contributors don't believe in a global flood, either. So creation, the fall, the curse, and the flood all ultimately fall victim to BioLogos's skeptical, rationalistic, modernistic approach to "harmonizing science and religion." The original promise (in the words of BioLogos contributor Tim Keller)—"that biological evolution and biblical orthodoxy can be compatible"—turns out to be a lie. "Biblical orthodoxy" has no clear meaning in the BioLogos lexicon. In all candor, it seems as if sound doctrine is simply not matter of major concern for most BioLogos contributors.

If BioLogos is willing to throw away so much at the very foundations of our faith and at the very beginning of God's revelation, I can't imagine why they would want to keep up the pretense of being Christians at all. Selectively admiring the Bible's moral teachings is not the same thing as actually believing the Bible.

Phil's signature

PS: Al Mohler's message last week at the Ligonier Conference is a great answer to what BioLogos is peddling. Challies' notes are a good summary, but you really ought to listen to the whole message.

317 comments:

1 – 200 of 317   Newer›   Newest»
TruthStands said...

In case anyone is tempted to go over there and debate, been there, done that, wasted lots of time.

Here is what you will find among contributers and commenters: No agreement on the inerrancy or inspiration of Scripture. No agreement at all about what Genesis 1-9 means. No commitment to sound evangelical hermeneutics. Extreme commitment to science. Some commenters in particular take pleasure in mocking evangelicals in general and fundamentalists in particular.

The BioLogos blog is the poster child for "everyone does what is right in their own eyes" with regard to Scripture.

spesaeterna said...

Does anyone know where we can find Dr Mohler's talk in audio format?

Mike said...

Phil wrote "I can't see how any reasonable person—someone for whom words are in any sense truly meaningful—"

what are you suggesting, that postmodernists aren't reasonable!!

Cadis said...

I guess I don't get around in the blogosphere enough. Somedays I can hardly tolerate the garabage these grown men unceasingly occupy thier minds with. Do they believe they have out matured scripture? As if God wrote a book for preschooler's and they are far superior in itellect to Adam, Noah, Abraham..possibly they could teach God a thing or two.. Ego's!

Dom said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Phil Johnson said...

Sorry, Dom, proselytizing for Islam is off-topic here. See the rules in the right sidebar.

Johnny Dialectic said...

Nothing new under the sun. It always comes down, IMO, to inerrancy. The desire to be taken "seriously" by the culture leads to fudging and, eventually, to giving in. The outcome is inevitable, as 150 years of history has shown: a Christianity devoid of spiritual power.

Fred Butler said...

I thought the "FedExing" of their letter of intent was a bit pretentious: A sort of phony respect for John and his ministry. Yet, the articles they produced in response were so weak, Falk should have saved his money

Daryl said...

I'd like to listen to that message. Is it available yet?

Kory said...

Here is a question that has been put to me, and I have to admit that it hard to answer. Maybe someone here can help.

Christians that affirm a historic and literal Fall (as well as the global flood), as I do, also affirm that God's perfect Creation was tremendously altered by these events. Prior to those events, Scripture tells us certain things on earth were very different (death, presumably the food chain, rain, etc.).

So if we affirm that some 'natural' processes of God's original creation were changed at the Fall and the Flood, why must we believe that another natural process, the passage of time and 24 hour days, remained unchanged by them and are the same today as they were when God created the heavens and earth?

baptistthinker said...

Excellent article. I've seen BioLogos' stuff around for a while now. It's merely a capitulation to the scientific establishment, in a weak attempt to make an extremely watered-down version of Christianity more palpable to the public.

VcdeChagn said...

Although the BioLogos PR machine relentlessly portrays the organization as equally committed to science and the Scriptures

Therein lies the problem. Equally committed to man's fallible attempts to understand truth, and truth as it is revealed to us by God.

So if we affirm that some 'natural' processes of God's original creation were changed at the Fall and the Flood, why must we believe that another natural process, the passage of time and 24 hour days, remained unchanged by them and are the same today as they were when God created the heavens and earth?

Here is my response to that, and yes, I have been asked the same question before.

"I don't care how long the days were, there was no death before Adam."

Then I ask them, what do you think of the fossil record? Created during the flood or over millions of years?

When they say millions of years, then I say, but death came through Adam, and all creation groans (in case they use the very tired "death only came to man through Adam" argument) for redemption.

So those fossils CANNOT be any older than Adam. Doesn't matter how long Days 1-6 were, nothing died until after, therefore no fossils came from that period.

Steve Talas said...

Excellent post again Phil!

The older I get the more and more I realise that to undermine and compromise on the integrity of the Genesis Creation account is to unravel the very fabric of the Gospel.
Paul puts God as Creator fimly into the heart of his gospel presentation on Mars Hill

God, who made the world and everything in it,...
Acts 17:24

So should we and unashamedly so.

It's a sad, sad spectacle to behold modern evangelicalism tripping over itself to be hipp and culturally relevant, sucumbing to the pressure and mockery of an increasingly hostile environment. Not only have we forgotten the vital importance of Genesis 1-3 but we have forgotten that... the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Cor 1:18

As churchill said 'An appeaser is someone who feeds a crocodile in the hope that it will eat him last'

Lynda O said...

Great post and well said, Phil!

It all comes down to whether we really believe God or not. Any attempt to "harmonize" man's ideas of evolution and old age with the Bible, by its very nature, will have to appeal to unbiblical arguments, because it's contrary to God's word. So BioLogos makes a good demonstration, their best attempt, of the fact that you cannot support their conclusions from scripture. God's word proves out the truth, that "the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." (1 Cor. 1:25)

Chad Richard Bresson said...

Excellent post. Someone should ask Falk whether his statement should be understood as inherently denying "miracle" or "supernatural". Such categories are dependent on divine intervention in time and space, something Falk's statement seems to preclude. Ultimately at risk in his statement is Christ's resurrection.

stratagem said...

Interesting read - and I thank TruthStands for reminding us of the fultility of debating such things.

My own view is that the earth is quite old. However, I also believe that isn't inconsistent with Genesis, even interpreted literally (from God's perspective, not ours, as He is the narrator and author of Genesis). So I always find myself silently disagreeing with "young earthers" who have (in my opinion) a way too simplistic view of the specifics of the things described in Genesis, and I also find myself disagreeing far more starkly with those who are trying to make friends with the world and be "taken seriously" by claiming truly unBiblical specifics such as theistic evolution and other hogwash.

I also keep in mind that my understanding of such matters is so limited that I could be COMPLETELY wrong in my understanding. That helps me to keep my mouth shut and stop arguing over such matters. I amy express my opinion if I sense there is a person who is actually willing to consider a different point of view, but I don't argue with anyone over these matters.

Fred Butler said...

...who have (in my opinion) a way too simplistic view of the specifics of the things described in Genesis...

And those specifics are...?

Rob Bailey said...

"hermeneutical machinations"- Hermnastics

stratagem said...

Not looking for an argument, first off.

There are lots of examples of this, as anyone knows who has ever been treated to a presentation by any of the large number of traveling creationism advocates. What I am talking about is all the stuff that is added to Scripture by them. It is embarrassing, frankly. A good example (not the only one by a long shot): Heard one of them saying that there was nothing sinful in the world before Adam fell. Which shows a painful ignorance of Genesis itself, in that the text clearly shows that Satan was on the earth and at work in the Garden. As I say, embarrassing to have to sit in a pew and listen to this sort of ignorance and have people all around me uncritically accepting it.

Another thing is all the made-up "discoveries" that these people claim to have word of, many of which either don't exist, are easily refuted, or really speculative. Does anyone truly believe we are increasing our cred factor with anyone by allowing this to be preached as fact in a church of Jesus Christ? I don't.

I know that the evolutionists also have lots of poppycock in their theories that make no sense, but I'd like to think we hold to a higher standard than that. After all, we have God's Word and his Holy Spirit.

I jusst think that what is written in Scripture is true, but there are a lot of specifics about "how" God made things that we just don't know about and shouldn't fall into the evolutionists' trap of pretending we do know more than we do. I must add though, I have learned to accept things as they are, and that I'm not changing any of these realities. So I am not nearly as disturbed by these things as I might sound on here. Thanks.

Wyatt Roberts said...

I've read a lot from the BioLogos site, and I think they're simply trying to reconcile science with what the Scriptures say. Why is that a problem?

Phil, you said you don't see why the folks at BioLogos "want to keep up the pretense of being Christians at all." Pretense? It seems to me that they are willing to follow what they believe to be evidence about the real world, even if it challenges their interpretation of the Bible.

You lament the dearth of Scripture employed in BioLogos's response to MacArthur. Fair enough, but your critique seems pretty light on the science side, too.

I'm curious...what is your advice to those of us who believe science has something to say about truth, and that that truth can, in fact, be reconciled with the Bible? I would think that, to defend your view of the Scripture as it pertains to the subject at hand, you would need to seriously wrestle with the underlying science....wouldn't you?s

DJP said...

Why is that a problem?

It's nice you read posts at BioLogos. But you're not there, you're here. You're supposed to read this post, before you comment.

Then you'll find Phil already answered your question.

Wyatt Roberts said...

Dan -- I did, and he didn't.

A Jam C said...

It is scary that such influential people are involved in that website. Dr. Mohler's message was excellent, and it very much strengthened my faith in six day creationism.

Darby Livingston said...

This push and pull between science and theology has been ongoing at least since it was proven that the earth revolves around the sun. The problem then was that theologians assumed something the Bible doesn't say (the sun revolves around the earth). When theologians finally granted their error, scientists used that as a blank check to question everything. Now, not only are theologians not to assume what the Bible doesn't say, they aren't even to trust what the Bible clearly does say. Trojan horse indeed.

Daryl said...

Wyatt,

I think the issue is that they are not, in fact, trying to reconcile science to Scripture, they are trying to reconcile Scripture to science.

Big difference. They are working in the wrong direction entirely.

As to why a response to Biologos should be light on science. The issue is history, not science. and when you have, as we do, an eyewitness account of history, there is no need to quote science to demonstrate the truth of it.

Ask yourself this. How often has the theory of evolution changed over the years?
How often has Scripture changed over the years?

I thought so.

Mike Riccardi said...

I'm curious...what is your advice to those of us who believe science has something to say about truth, and that that truth can, in fact, be reconciled with the Bible?

I would say: Recognize the inherent superiority -- in both glory and authority -- of special revelation over and above general revelation. Scientific observation is being performed on a corrupted and cursed creation by corrupted and cursed observers. The Word of God, on the other hand, is perfect, sure, right, pure, clean, true, and righteous altogether, and is actually capable of restoring to perfection those corrupted by the Fall (Ps 19:7; 2Tim 3:15).

So, reconcile all you want. But when there's an apparent contradiction, Scripture gets the deference, and we modify our scientific theory. The sad thing is, too many professing Christians -- and even evangelicals -- when there is an apparent contradiction, defer to science, and modify their interpretation of Scripture to fit it.

Fred Butler said...

Not looking for an argument, first off.

I couldn't possibly argue with what you wrote, because you didn't answer my question, just spiraled off into reasons why Kent Hovind was a bad apologist for creationism.

That being said, your comment was aimed at those you say "take a simplistic view of the details in Genesis." Here we have a text that lays down the foundation for the rest of the Bible. A pretty major text at that, wouldn't you say? So again, how are they being simplistic with Genesis?

stratagem said...

Wyatt
I agree with the people who have answered your question here. For the Christian, Scripture trumps science. The non-Christian does not believe this to be so, but this is a Christian believers' discussion we're having.
I think you may find that the field(s) of science we are discussing here (palentology, anthropology, biology) are not devoid of the biases of those who are leading them. It's not at all as though "evolutionary science is objective, and Christianity is irrational and biased," which seems to be the premise underlying your commentary. Science is particularly biased concerning evolution and anthropology. There are huge gaping holes in evolutionary theory, the fossil record, and so on, which these sciences disregard because they can't come up with a different non-theistic theory that explains the shortcomings.

Whenever you are reading some of the "scientific" theories that the science apologists are trying to reconcile the Bible to, ask yourself what the underlying assumptions of these theories are. They all are founded on some set of assumptions, as all theories are. If you spell those out for yourself rather than letting them go unnamed, you will probably find you agree with our underlying assumptions more than the so-called scientists. Or at least I hope so.

PuritanReformed said...

I find it revealing that Kenton Sparks (the author of the blog series attacking inerrancy) misrepresents John Calvin's teaching on Gen. 1:6. How does he think he can convince anyone when Calvin's works are so easily available on CCEL for anyone and everyone to read and to check Spark's (mis)representation of what Calvin actually taught?

stratagem said...

Fred Butler-

I don't know who Kent Hovind is, nor do I care to - I have the Bible, and don't need Kent's theories to explain the Bible. Besides I'm not sure who mentioned him?

I have no trouble with anything Genesis says. It says very little, actually, about the specifics of how things were done, and we should leave it that way and stop passing off speculations (which are mostly a reaction to scientific assertions) as Scripture.

I cited one such example in the previous post. That sin was upon the earth before the Fall is a Biblical fact that people want to ignore because it doesn't fit into the neat little package that they are selling.

Either I have then missed your question despite re-reading your comment, or you aren't reading my example.

Fred Butler said...

But the Bible does not tie physical death to Satan's presence on the earth. It is tied to Adam's sin. His transgression. This is a major problem with your insistence that there were millions of years and suffering and death before Adam's sin.

Additionally, man's redemption and the world's restoration is tied to the second Adam, Jesus Christ, who Paul contrasts on two specific occasions in the NT, Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15, with the sin of the first Adam who brought our enemy, death, into the world by his act of disobedience.

How can anyone take Genesis seriously as a revelation and which is so foundational to the Christian faith, and yet believe the earth is a gazillion of years old as a testimony of millions of years of suffering, starvation, disease, and death before Adam sinned?

Paula said...

Strategem said, I cited one such example in the previous post. That sin was upon the earth before the Fall is a Biblical fact that people want to ignore because it doesn't fit into the neat little package that they are selling.

I'm curious how your ridicule of the view that there was no sin upon the earth before the fall reconciles with Romans 5:12:

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned - (ESV)

Wyatt Roberts said...

"Scientific observation is being performed on a corrupted and cursed creation by corrupted and cursed observers."

Wouldn't you say the very same thing about Biblical interpretation?

TruthStands said...

Strategem is insisting that sin existed on the earth before Adam and Eve sinned. However that is different than saying that sin existed in the earth.

Satan's sin had no impact on the physical universe until the Fall. It only impacted the universe when he deceived Eve into sinning. It was at that point, and that point only, that sin entered the world causing death.

So yes, the principle of sin existed prior to the Fall, but it was limited to Satan and his minions and had no impact on the physical universe.

Wyatt Roberts said...

MacArthur seems to be very anti-science. This is from his GTY page called "Enquiring Minds Want to Know:" http://www.gty.org/Blog/B100613

"Have you ever wondered: How did the world come to exist as we know it today? Why are there so many different cultures and ethnicities

...

Asking those kinds of questions is not foolish or sinful, but looking for answers in the wrong places is. The answer is not buried under centuries of rubble, or waiting to be discovered on the surface of Mars—it’s right there in the opening chapters of Genesis—the book of origins."


In other words, Stop the digging. It doesn't matter. We know everything.

Fred Butler said...

MacArthur seems to be very anti-science.

It is probably more precise to say his is anti-"scientism" rather than science. On the other hand, you seem to be very anti-Bible.

TruthStands said...

Wyatt,

What would you tell the scientist trying to determine how Jesus fed 15,000+ people with a handful of food? What would you tell the archeologist searching for Jesus' coffin? What would you tell those trying to naturally explain the parting of the Red Sea?

Whatever Scripture declares is miraculuous is off limits to science. Science has legitimate areas of study, miracles is not one of them.

The problem isn't that anyone rejects this, the problem is people reject Scripture's account of God's miraculous work in creation, the flood, the confusion of languages, and other miracles.

Jacob said...

So where do I go to access the audio and/or video files for the Ligonier conference? Their website is not very user friendly or clear. (No Audio/Video or Downloads section, etc.)

Thanks in advance.

Wyatt Roberts said...

Fred, no, actually, I'm just "anti-bibliolatry."

John said...

@TruthStands -
That is a very interesting statement. I think I would word it differently. Scientism presumes uniformitarianism. Therefore, any miracle that "literally" happened - like a global flood, feeding 5,000 with a few fish, or the parting of the red sea, is automatically disallowed by the presuppositions. Creation, like the aforementioned, is equally a miracle. It is also, like the aforementioned, automatically disallowed by scientism. Which, I believe, was the point of Phil's post...

Wyatt Roberts said...

TruthStands - "Whatever Scripture declares is miraculuous is off limits to science. Science has legitimate areas of study, miracles is not one of them."

I'm not so sure that's true. Don't all miracles, at some point, become a part of "physical" reality? When Jesus anointed the man's eyes with mud in John 9, didn't the cells or nerves in his eyes undergo some sort of otherwise "physical" transformation? Apparently, Jesus could walk through walls. Is this not some sort of physical (or to borrow an N.T. Wright term "trans-physical) property? I think so.

ZSB said...

A second Trojan Horse seems to be involved here... Let's remember that many people believe in an earth (planet) far older than 6,000years, but don't give ANY creedance to Darwinian macro-evolution.

While the book on the whole was a little disappointing, Mark Driscoll's chapter on Creation in his recent work Doctrine lays out his view, which doesn't fit into either "Young earth/Ken Hamm/Adam used to ride a Velociraptor around for fun" view or the "ditch the Bible in favor of naturalistic scientific theory" view... To try and make people choose between the two is a false disjunction.

stratagem said...

Fred Butler: TruthStands answered the question about sin being on the earth the same way I would have, only he did it sooner. lol

Sir Aaron said...

Strategem:

I too have some difficulties with assumptions that many turn into Biblical fact. I don't have problems with inferring things from Scripture, but people should say that's what they're doing.

Speaking of inferences, you are making a few yourself. We don't know how long Adam and Eve were in the Garden before they sinned (although many infer that since there were no kids, it was a very short period). We also don't know whether or not, tempting Satan was his first act upon getting cast out (or upon his arrival on earth, whatever the case may be).

Without even consulting the original languages or historical views, it would be tough not to infer a young earth from the various applicable passages in Scripture.

stratagem said...

Paula:

you wrote "I'm curious how your ridicule of the view that there was no sin upon the earth before the fall reconciles with Romans 5:12: Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned - (ESV)
"

Your assertion is yet another example of things that have been added to what the Scripture actually says. There is nothing here that says animals didn't die before the fall of man. This scripture is talking about MAN, not soul-less creatures. The sin-choice of MAN led to MAN dying both spiritually and eventually, physically. Prior to sinning, man didn't die in either sense. What I just said is in the Bible - the thing about mere physical creatures not dying is not in the Bible no matter how many creationist books have said so, unless you can show me where it is.

In fact, if we were to accept Romans 5:12 as meaning the death of ANIMALS, then we'd probably have to say the same thing about resurrection based on 1 Cor 15:21: "For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man."
And I'm sure you don't want to suggest that animals are resurrected - I know I don't!

Once again, I just wish people would read what the Bible actually says, and put what they've heard from here and there, away.

Sir Aaron said...

ZSB:

If you show me an old earther without compromise with evolution, then I'll show you a bridge I have for sale.

Sir Aaron said...

Strategem:

That's true, although most creationists have a very well developed thesis for why the Bible implies that no animals died before Adam sinned.

Sir Aaron said...

@Darby:

You need to read up on history a bit. The whole controversy about which heavenly body revolved around another is not as you have been taught. Furthermore, it was the Church's insistence on sticking with common understanding at the time (ie., Aristotle) rather than Biblical text that caused some of the problem (Galileo caused a lot of the problem too by being so obstinate and fool-hardy).

stratagem said...

Sir Aaron
I agree with you on the following points:

- I'm sure I do make inferences all the time.
- When I do make them, like you I try to make sure people understand that it's me talking, not God.
- I agree that it's likely man didn't live long in the Garden before he screwed up.
- Satan may have been on the earth only a short time before the Fall (or a long time - the Bible doesn't say).

Now as far as your "it would be hard not to infer a young earth" statement, that is only true if you forget who the narrator of this passage is, and undoubtedly, it was God himself. Six literal days of indeterminate length, spoken from God's perspective, could be a very short time, or a very long time. I simply don't know. Day-lengths could be different than now - after all, as Phil says the idea that all earth processes are exactly the same now as they were in the Beginning, is on shaky ground Biblically. Everyone has an opinion on that subject (mine is that they were God-days, not man-days), but none of us can prove it and so I don't consider it to be worthy of staking the credibility of the Gospel to any of these ideas, personally.

Hence, I have no serious issue with you feeling that the Earth's been around for only 6,000 years as long as you allow that it is only your opinion, just as mine (I believe it's far older than that, but I don't know how old) is only an opinion.

I feel very strongly that we ought to make a hard distinction between Scripture and our opinions. That's all.

stratagem said...

Sir Aaron
BTW, why do you feel it would be necessary for all "old earthers" to necessarily accept evolutionary theories? That doesn't even make sense.

Sir Aaron said...

Wyatt:

I think you're being a bit argumentative. Science cannot explain how or why the blind man's eyes were healed.

Phil said...

Stratagem,
I suppose you would say Rom 8:20 is talking about man as well?

Mr. Fosi said...

Soooo... I've seen a few comments here asking for a link to the Dr. Mohler lecture Phil references but so far the requests have been ignored. Why is that?

I too would like a link to the audio do I can listen to it during my evening commute.

donsands said...

"People who insist that they are serious about both science and Scripture ought to be at least as interested in dealing with the biblical data as they are defending the presuppositions of their scientific theories."

I run into this at times with good Christians.
The archaeological evidence weighs heavier than the Scripture for some reason.

As in the 680 some thousand Isralites who came into Canaan. Some now say it was more like 6,800. And the word for thousnad, doesn't necessarily mean "thousand", but can mean contingent.

And yet we do need to listen to some of our brothers who hold to these differences, like a Tim Keller, if he does in fact do so.

Thanks for the post.

Lynda O said...

"BTW, why do you feel it would be necessary for all "old earthers" to necessarily accept evolutionary theories? That doesn't even make sense."

Well, old-earthers do accept the following premises of evolutionary theory:
1. slow changes over long periods of time -- instead of catastrophism (i.e., the global flood)
2. animal death before man arrived on the scene
3. ancient man was more primitive than modern man, and man has steadily improved (evolved) and modern man is more "sophisticated" than in ancient times (and thus God gave Genesis 1 as "poetry" because man was too simple back then to understand anything more)
4. the sequence of creation according to evolutionists, not the sequence given in Genesis 1

The very fact that they do assume these things shows the necessity to do so in order to believe in an old earth. Believers who simply read the biblical account, with no outside assumptions, would not get the idea that the days -- with each day described with a morning and an evening -- were anything other than ordinary days, or any other old-earth assumptions which are essential to evolutionary theory.

And to the skeptical charge that we can't know for sure that a day was the same length of time as it is now: just look at the details and sequencing of the creation account. It tells us that there was "morning and evening" for each day. Further, the sequencing listed simply would not work if the "days" were other than normal 24 hour days -- as just one example, the symbiosis (dependencies of animal and plant life), how would the plants have survived for an extended period of time (not a normal day) before the insects were created that depend on those same plants? Many modern-day scientists have recently warned about the impending doom to the planet because honey bees are dying now, from some unknown cause - and the huge impact that would have on so many of the foods we eat.

Of course, old-earth progressive creationists ignore such details, because they don't really think creation happened in that sequence to begin with -- which again shows their dependence on evolutionary assumptions (see especially points 3 and 4 above) INSTEAD of the revealed word of God.

Sir Aaron said...

strategem:

I believe that some compromise (i.e., acceptance of evolutionary belief) is inherent in belief in an old earth. Therefore, IMHO, you cannot have one without some of the other. That doesn't mean one must accept evolution lock, stock, and barrel.

I hope that makes my position clear (incidentally, this is the position of most YECs).

Fred Butler said...

no, actually, I'm just "anti-bibliolatry."

Ah yes. I have heard that one before. Usually it is a cliche uttered by those who don't wish to take God's Word seriously when it bumps up against some preconceived inconveniences of "science." However, seeing that the Bible as God's Word is tied to God's Character, there really is no such thing as bibliolatry.

Halcyon said...

Wyatt:

"Don't all miracles, at some point, become a part of "physical" reality?"

They interact with physical reality, causing certain physical effects. Thus, they are super-natural in cause and natural in effect(s). Science (since it deals with natural phenomena) can certainly engage with the latter but not with the former (as science can only deal with natural phenomena).

If I may request some friendly clarity: when you say "anti-bibliolatry," what exactly do you mean? That we should not hold a "high" view of Scripture? Or was it merely a rhetorical witticism? You don't have to argue to me in favor of the definition that you give; I just want the definition itself. Thank you.

Fred Butler said...

There is nothing here that says animals didn't die before the fall of man. This scripture is talking about MAN, not soul-less creatures.

If this is the case, then you are of the opinion that death, at least among those in the animal kingdom, was a good thing? Not to mention the problem with soul-less ape men who supposedly lived before Adam.

But Scripture states that Adam's sin placed the world under a curse. Remember, it was the land that was cursed, too, which by extension would mean that animals would suffer due to man's sin. But such seems drastically inconsistent with the concept that physical death is a normal part of God's good creation. It's good for animals, but not men, for some reason. To men, physical death is an enemy; to animals, it is just God's providential workings. And yet the Bible proclaims as Aaron pointed out, that all creation groans under the curse. What exactly does that mean in your perspective? I am taking it that "groans" does not encompass physical death?

Moreover, the Bible ties the restoration of all creation to man's redemption. 1 Corinthians 15 contrasts the "former things" a cursed, corrupted world, with the "things that are to come" at Christ's eschaton. Why would there need to be a restoration of creation from death as Paul argues if death is a good thing?

mikeb said...

And around it goes. Where we'll stop nobody knows. Hey, maybe all the old-earth "scholars" will come over from Challies blog and start in here.

Everyone just remember a few key points before they get here and you'll be fine. Say them with me now:

1. "A day doesn't mean a day." (Well what does it mean, you say? Well, it can mean any amount of time. Currently, the consensus is 6 days=4.6 billion years. But wait awhile, and this new math will change.)

2. "Death occurred before Adam's sin." (Romans 8:19-22 you say? Well, the Greek "ktisis", which means subhuman creation doesn't really man anything.)

3. Remember the Copernican Revolution. (You do get up early to watch an "earth rotation" right? As opposed to the pre-Copernican, antiquated term "sun rise".)

4. "Very good" does not mean very good like me and you would think it! (So in Gen. 1:31, God really meant animal death, decay, natural disasters, and predation were very good!"

5. "The Bible says nothing about how long it took God to create the world." (If you're thinking of that pesky word "day" in Genesis 1, please see #1 above."

6. "It doesn't really matter anyway. It's not that big of a deal, so why be so "hard-core" about your literal, 24-hour view."

7. "Past history of a 6 day, 24-hour view means nothing, even if it was the belief for 3400 yrs of history." (After all, the Reformation would have never occurred if Luther never rejected church history.)

7. "There was no sun on the first 3 days." (And don't be silly thinking that God could still measure the time. After all, there weren't any clocks or watches back then!)


OK, everyone go them down? Great. Now we can move on to dismantle another long held doctrine of the Bible...

Andrew said...

"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." ESV

Why didn't the author end this little account with "and there was evening and morning on the first day"? Because it wasn't the first day. The first day is described in verse 3-5.

The text itself testifies against the young earthers. To ignore simple, and daresay, observable truthes found in Scripture is plain foolish.

What's clear from Scripture is that the 6-days of forming and making the earth, seas, atmosphere, plants, animals, birds, and humans, first relies on a void and formless earth. We can only speculate on how long God took to do this. Did he take a week or a hundred zillion years? It doesn't matter a whole lot. No one was there with a stopwatch. What we know is what we know: the earth existed before the 6 days of creation. It's in the Bible.

DJP said...

Two really excellent comments... and then Andrew, whose reading hasn't yet extended to Exodus 20:11.

Andrew said...

Funny how it says "in 6 days the Lord Made the heavens and earth" not Created it. Making a pot from clay isn't the same as creating the clay. Thanks for offering your incredible insight into Genesis 1:1-2.

Jacob said...

Ever consider that somewhere behind the entire concept of an old earth is a desire to make God out to be less powerful than He is?
In such thinking, if it took God billions of years to create the universe, why, even mere men might be able to accomplish amazing things given that amount of time!

It takes a truly amazing and powerful God to not only create something as vast as the universe but to do so in six days (not to mention fully formed).

I believe old earth theory is part of man's constant attempts to bring God down (or in any way closer) to their level, particularly because it serves no other purpose (aside from trying to bring veracity to presumptive & assumptive "scientific" theories.

Nothing is gained by an old earth view except to impugn God's power (except also perhaps his ability to communicate accurately the timeframe it took Him to create).

stratagem said...

Fred Butler: Death is not a good thing if you are an eternal being such as Man. If you are merely a mechanical creature, then it is a neutral thing. You seem to be arguing that there is no difference between the consciousness of Man and the consciousness of mere animals. That is a secular, scientific viewpoint, not a Biblical one.

"but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die" (Gen. 2:17) They did not "die" in the same day they ate it, except spiritually. So no, animals do not "die" in the sense of the Fall, but creation does suffer from our sinning - witness that big oil spill and lots of other occurrences.

You are taking some Scripture and superimposing ideas you have heard from men, onto it. But you cannot show one scripture that supports the idea that non-human living things were cursed in the way that Man was - eternally, because we have an eternal being.

Extending your logic, plants also could not have died before the Fall. Sheer nonsense, particularly since we know that Man ate plants before the Fall.

Adding things to Scripture always leads to absurd conclusions such as this. God's Word is divinely airtight - what we add to it isn't.

Redeemed1 said...

"Uniformitarianism does not dictate that the earth has never undergone catastrophes," Falk wrote. (He was refuting an assertion MacArthur had never made in the first place).

While I must say first that I agree with you and MacArthur 100% on this topic, I do believe MacArthur has at least implied that uniformitarianism believes the earth has never undergone catastrophies.

I'm stuck at home on bedrest (pregnancy) and was unable to attend church yesterday, so instead I watched MacArthur's sermon "Biblical Inspiration Validated by Science Part 1" on the GTY website, and he talks about the theory of uniformitarianism in it. When I read this quote the sermon came to mind. It seemed to me that he had said that.

In searching the transcript (http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/90-326) I found that he really does seem to imply that's what they believe. Here's just one example:

"And their mockery is basically framed around a theory called uniformity, or uniformitarianism. That is, verse 4, they say, "For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation." They say there's never going to be a cataclysmic event in the future such as described in the Bible as the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, no such cataclysmic event can happen because none ever has. That's their theory."

MacArthur later says:
"It moves along in this naturalistic system of cause and effect, closed to any divine intervention at the beginning, in the middle or at the end. There are no catastrophes. They call it uniformity, or uniformitarianism and it denies divine intervention in history."

While I completely disagree with them, I can at least see where they would get the idea that MacArthur says that uniformitarianism teaches that the earth has never undergone catastrophies.

Andrew said...

Jacob, why didn't God take 6 hours instead of 6 days? Don't you think God is powerful enough to create the world in one day? Or should we focus on the text instead of ignoring verses?

DJP said...

Confronted on his desperate dodge, faced with the choice of a much-needed paradigm-shift... Andrew doubles down!

In Andrewology, then, God is absolutely idle for billions of years, including even the act of creation — which must either not qualify as "work," or must have been accomplished by another power. Then he works for six days... but only to shape what someone or something else had "worked" to create.

Anything to be liked by the world that hates God.

Wyatt Roberts said...

Sure, Halcyon. By "Bibliolatry," I mean the worship of The Bible -- whether knowingly or not -- rather than worshiping God.

I believe I have a high view of Scripture (others here will probably laugh at that, since I believe in evolution), but I don't think it's as easy to understand as many here try to make it out to be.

Years ago, I used to listen to John MacArthur. Today, however, his answers strike me as being very simplistic. I just listened to a podcast where he said: "Evolution was invented to kill the God of the Bible." I used to believe that way. Today, it just sounds like paranoia.

stratagem said...

Sir Aaron
You still haven't explained WHY you think an old earther is necessarily doomed to accept evolutionary theory, all you've done is re-state that you think they are. I don't get that. I lean toward old-earthism myself - yet I don't believe ONE SHRED of evolutionary theory. Please tell me why I'm inconsistent.

Andrew said...

I see you have taken some classes in sarcasm DJP. Why not simply give me your explanation of what the author of Genesis meant about the state of the earth when he said, "The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." (keeping in mind this is before God says "let there be light" in verse 3-5 - day 1)

I hold to historic creationism for the most part. I never said the earth was billions of years old. Although, what Genesis does tell me is that the heavens and the earth were created. This earth was void and formless. Then God started into making/forming the creation in 6 literal days, lastly forming Adam from the dust of the earth.

Sir Aaron said...

although Scripture doesn't say there is no death, it most certainly can be inferred from various passages.

You don't have to kill a plant to eat of it and Scripture doesn't say that plants died before the fall either and yet you assume that they did.

DJP said...

My revolutionary theory is that it means what it says. God created the universe, and turned on the lights. Day One.

Andrew said...

So you lump verses 1-2 into creation account of Day 1. Unfortunately, that isn't how the verses for each day reads. Each day is prefaced by "And God said..." Obviously the author had a different intent than lumping in the first two sentences. Read it yourself.

1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

6 And God said, “Let there be an expanse [1] in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 And God made [2] the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. 8 And God called the expanse Heaven. [3] And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

9 And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, [4] and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

Sir Aaron said...

Strategem:

I did explain why I think that. I already told you that I think the two (old earth and evolution) have necessarily common and inseperable traits. Fact of the matter is that outside of evolution, nobody would ever consider the text of Genesis to indicate anything but a literal time period.

You say you don't accept one shred of evolutionary theory (except of course, the old age of the earth) but we really haven't explored every facet of your beliefs, have we? If we did, IMHO, we'd discover that some of your beliefs are influenced directly or indirectly by some, not necessarily all, evolutionary theory. Therefore, IMO, you cannot believe in an old age earth without having compromised with some of evolutionary thought.

Naturally, this is only my opinion. However, I'm just betting that every YEC posting here would agree with me (see Paula for example). Also, to be perfectly honest, I didn't come up with this opinion on my own, just adopted it.

DJP said...

Yeah, actually I've read it, in Hebrew, many times. Your assumption is your assumption, devised to protect your dodge, unwarranted by the text. Might work if every day were the creation of the universe; isn't, so doesn't.

stratagem said...

Sir Aaron

Yes you are right, I did infer that the plants were killed to be eaten. Certainly the cells one eats from the plant, die. So there is death in that sense. But you're right, my inference that is not explicitly in the Bible is no more valid than yours and I should not be doing that.

It is easy to infer things from the Bible that aren't there, too easy given our flawed natures. A lot of questions occur to me that I want to have answers to, but they just aren't there in the text. For example, in what way was the Garden special, other than Man was dwelling there and God also came there at least occasionally? Since Man wanted back in the Garden after the Fall, and God placed Angels at the entrance to keep them out, does that mean the Garden itself didn't fall right away? Was the world outside the Garden as peaceful as that inside?

These are all valid questions; I'd love to know the answers, but we don't. No doubt, there is some Bible teacher out there who is making claims about the answers, but they are only speculations.

Thanks for a good convo, bro.

Sir Aaron said...

Here we go with the gap theory. One wonders why God had to speak starting verses three but didn't to create the heavens and the earth in verses 1 and 2. Hunh. That's right...because millions, no billions, no trillions of years passed between 1:2 and 1:3. Unless of course, you believe that verse 3 is the beginning of "God days" in which case, the time frame for verses 1:1 and 1:2 is pretty meaningless.

I've always wondered about the ten commandments. When God said to rest on the seventh day, was that human days or "God days?"

Daryl said...

I find it terribly interesting how some like stratagem believe that a 600 year old earth is an opinion.

I don't see that, particularly given the timelines provided in Scripture starting at Adam's creation and running at least up until the exodus from Egypt.

Are you suggesting that the dating of the exodus is off by 4000 (or more) years?

The math is simple, and it's not nice neat, typological numbers. The numbers of years from birth to birth are all over the map, as is to be expected.
And, seeing as it's from specific birth to specific age, it makes no difference if every single person is accounted for.

So whence the opinion?

Sir Aaron said...

Strategem:

All interesting questions, some I've pondered as well. I've also thought...the Tree of Knowledge must have had exceptional fruit. I mean, if you had fruit of all kinds at your convenience, how exceptional must have the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge been? And how often did they eat of the Tree of Life? And if it's so great now, how wonderful was it to er...multiply before the fall?

Ahh...we can only speculate.

stratagem said...

Sir Aaron

I don't know what a YEC is, by the way.

Actually old-earthism greatly predates evolutionary theory. One person who proposed it several centuries ago first considered that the world must not be only 6,000 years old, when he was looking at Hadrian's Wall (almost 2,000 y.o. at the time) with almost no erosion from the elements, and compared it with the massive erosion of the same types of unworked stones around the structure. I remember reading about that, several decades ago.

Actually you can feel free to explore my beliefs and you'll find that I am not influenced one bit by evolutionary theory other than to be repelled by it. Hate to upset your neat view of how things operate, but that's where I am.

How many people (YECs?) hold a particular viewpoint is a weak argument. I am arguing for reading the Bible for what it says and not folding others' viewpoints into it.

Sir Aaron said...

Yeah, actually I've read it, in Hebrew, many times.

Aha! But have you read it with the red flashlight and the blue tinted goggles?

Sir Aaron said...

@Strategem:

YEC=Young Earth Creationist. Sorry,I should have explained that earlier.

stratagem said...

Daryl
It's simple: You are making lots of assumptions in arriving at the 6,000 year age as being "Biblical," rather than what it actually is, "a possibility that is (also) consistent with the Bible"
Assumptions about the geneologies, assumptions about what God meant when he wrote these words, assumptions about the meanings of certain words, and so on.
I am fully OK with you thinking the Earth is 6,000 y.o. if you like. However, that's not in the Bible, is it? But someone told you it was, so that's good enough for you, I guess.

Sir Aaron said...

@strategem:

No need to apologize. My opinion still remains quite in tact. You'll have to do better to convince me that old earth theory is not infected, no matter in what proportions, in some way by evolution. But that's really a peripheral concern isn't it?

Andrew said...

Come, let us reason together. All I am asking is that you find a consistant hermanuetic in regard to this first chapter of the Bible. The author has made it clear when he intends to Start describing each day, and when he Ends describing each day.

Daryl said...

Wow. Stratagem.

Assumptions about whether or not God meant what he said? Assumptions about what words mean?

Really?

Nobody told me. I got curious, years ago, and did the math. It's all right there. No assumptions required.

Unless "And so-and-so lived so many years until so-and-so was born and then he lived so many years and he died" means something like...well I can't even imagine what else it could mean.

What assumptions are you talking about, exactly?

DJP said...

Not at all, Andrew.

In fact, Moses' form is absolutely uniformly in line with the model I'm giving: that is, every time he relates the creation of everything out of nothing, he then immediately relates the activities of that day. 100% consistent.

CR said...

Wyatt,

I'm curious on something of your affirmation of evolution. As you know, evolution teaches among other things pre-Adamic man (creation). Don't the first three chapters of Genesis present itself as history and therefore shouldn't we accept it as history? And if it is history don't we have to believe what it says about Adam being the first man called Adam?

Also, didn't Jesus accept the history of Adam when He spoke about marriage and referencing Adam? (Not withstanding what He spoke about Noah and the flood). If evolution is true, then was Jesus Christ in error?

I'll admit to you Wyatt that the discoveries of science (right now) definitely conflict with our understanding of several things in the Genesis account, in particularly, Adam being the first man.

But if the Spirit has born witness within us, shouldn't we believe whatever is asserted in Scripture about the creation and the cosmos because God has revealed it in His word?

DJP said...

Sir Aaron - Aha! But have you read it with the red flashlight and the blue tinted goggles?

Sometimes.

donsands said...

"100% consistent."

Amen.

"And on the seventh DAY God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh DAY from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh DAY and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation."

"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."

The 7th Day was surely a Day.

Sir Aaron said...

Strategem:

The only assumption that he makes is that the Bible literally means what it says, namely that the earth was created in six days and that certain descendants lived the actual number of years that Scripture says they did. Certainly there may be some gaps in genealogy, etc., but six thousand is in the neighborhood. Whereas, your old age theory requires an assumption that days mean something other than actual days and that the geneaologies are somehow incorrect or in some other way substantially erroneous or missing. It seems to
me that an old earth view requires far more assumptions.

Greg said...

Phil said: “If BioLogos is willing to throw away so much at the very foundations of our faith and at the very beginning of God's revelation, I can't imagine why they would want to keep up the pretense of being Christians at all. Selectively admiring the Bible's moral teachings is not the same thing as actually believing the Bible.”

This seems unfair and hints to me that you haven’t been paying close enough attention to the discussion at BioLogos or similar sites. To essentially question if they are “Christians at all” does nothing but throw fuel on this fire, deepening suspicions and hardening positions. Not helpful.

The alternative hypothesis, if you will allow it, is that BioLogos and others are actually VERY serious about the Bible and what it means. So serious that they are willing to suffer the slings and arrows from both extremes in these discussions in order to bring coherence to what we observe (via science) and what we believe (via theology).

I don’t read anything like “selective admiring of moral teachings” either. I see essayists and scientists committed and struggling hard to understanding both what God DID say and what He did NOT say in the Bible. All Christians should be in favor of that, even if it means re-examination of some literalist assumptions. We’re after truth, here, right?

DJP said...

Yet another comment that sounds as if you didn't really read Phil's post carefully first, as Wyatt didn't.

There's more than the headline and first paragraph. It's detailed, solid, and documented. Please read it.

Greg said...

I was commenting on the very last paragraph. Didn't mention the headline or the first paragraph.

DJP said...

That's good; now if we could just get you to read all the ones in-between, thoughtfully.

tobekiwi said...

Don't know about an audio of Al Mohler at the Ligonier Conference this past weekend, but they are working on posting video archives of the keynote sessions. You can sign up to have them email you once they're posted. Or just keep checking the site...
http://www.christianity.com/ligonier/
(hope it's ok that I've posted this)

Dghonne said...

Interesting: According to the layout of the BioLogos Website, the mission appears to be "Support BioLogos".

ZSB said...

HUNDREDTH!!

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

While both Old-Earth Creationists and Young-Earth Creationists are in agreement in their repudiation of theistic evolution, they can't help but go after each other just as vigorously.

Wassup with that?

Frank Turk said...

Just to poke my head in here:

I like it that we have reached the place that people who read the Bible both literately and literally -- means: believing what it says, how it says it, and how as an anthology of works, it must be interpreted together -- are the ones who are not "actually VERY serious about the Bible and what it means. So serious that they are willing to suffer the slings and arrows from both extremes in these discussions in order to bring coherence to what we observe (via science) and what we believe (via theology)."

It's clear to me that in this view, science must be the limiting factor, and theology is the subordinate discipline. I would reverse this entirely: I think that theology is the limiting factor (because it is defined by explicit words given from God and not our fallible observations) and science is the subordinate discipline. And I would suggest that we can find out which point of view is true.

All the preconditions necessary for both Science and Theology are clearly and explicitly defined by Christian theology -- that is, the metaphysical explanation of why things can be observed and be in any sense reliable as its own witness -- and not by Science. Science requires some kind of Theology in order to operate.

Theology will do very well without Science -- and let's make sure that we understand that I'm not saying that Theology exists without reasoning or perception. I'm saying that Theology has done fine without Science (rationalist, positivist experimentation and analysis), and that Science off the tether of Christian Religion is just another idol factor which causes man more harm than good.

Carry on.

Frank Turk said...

TUaD:

It has a lot to do with old-earth theology having no regard for the first book of the Bible and the implications of tossing that book out on the rest of the biblical anthology.

Jacob said...

thanks tobekiwi!

@ CR:
"I'll admit to you Wyatt that the discoveries of science (right now) definitely conflict with our understanding of several things in the Genesis account"

Well, it's interesting: Rarely if ever have ACTUAL scientific DISCOVERIES conflicted with Scripture (and the ones that seem to are usually later shown to not conflict once more evidence is unearthed / brought to light.

What we do have is the presuppositional evolutionary theory (which is what necessitates old earth ages and timeframes) influencing the dating schema and assumptions used in carbon dating and similar techniques to try to ascertain the actual age of artifacts and archeological finds.

When there is actually an objective scientific examination of evidence, there are no conflicts with Scripture.

But men hate God, and in their ignorance/darkness (not to mention desire to be free from accountability to their Creator and the guilt of their sin), devise a false historical account of how life came to be. Given evolutionary origin theory's starting point denies the supernatural, it can only be foolishness, and most certainly it is and continues to prove itself to be vanity.

After all, it only accomplishes in heaping up wrath for those who choose to believe it and reject the truth. It also won't stand up before the throne on judgment day. There won't be any TV-drama-style big-brain human arguments made against God as if they could somehow prove God wrong. All creation will be on bended knee, confessing the true Lord and their guilt before Him.

We have NO good reason to try to assimilate such ignorance into our faith nor to read it into the Word itself.

CR said...

Greg,

Does the Bible require of us to bring to coherence what we observe in science with theology?

Will we ever observe in science a resurrection of the dead other than what is recorded in the NT after Jesus rose? Will we ever observe an incarnation in science. Will we observe in science a man walking through a wall?

Doesn't the Bible's case on the gospel rest upon historcity? In other words, the gospel isn't our faith, it isn't a teaching and it certainly isn't a philosophy. Isn't it primarlily a history?

I can appreciate your desire to understand things and certainly in certain areas of science, mathematics and medicine and engineering, er should understand some things. But when it comes to things in the Bible, is the question, "shouldn't we understand?" Isn't the real issue, this is what the Bible tells us.

Again, I can appreciate that you want to understand things, but do we want to say that of the inspired writers and ultimately Jesus Himself and say, "well, Jesus only had the scientific knowledge of His own times? Don't we come awfully close to questioning His authority?

Bobby Grow said...

J. P. Moreland has a great book dealing with this whole issue called: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview

I don't advocate for Moreland's approach; but he deals with and describes the issues of hard and soft scientism and complentarianism as it relates to an interdisciplinarian approach.

For the record, I think the BioLogos offers up the logical conclusion to Evangelicalism --- i.e. a rationalist anthropocentric approach that makes man the standard instead of His revelation in Jesus Christ and Scripture (e.g. cogito erg sum 'I think, therefore I am').

CR said...

Wyatt,

A couple of more points - according to the theory of evolution, things are developing, progress and advancing. So, things are as they are because we've advance to a particular stage of development. But is that the teaching of the Bible. Doesn't the Bible teach that we are in a calimitous state (both man and the world) and we are in the state because of the Fall?

In other words, we're not in any upward or intermediate state (either man or the rest of creation) but that man and even the rest of creation has been reduced from its original state? In other words, the current state of creation is not is not incomplete, or progressing development but the result of the curse which God put on the earth because of Adam's disobedience?

Flyer75 said...

Excellent point Jacob, "What we do have is the presuppositional evolutionary theory (which is what necessitates old earth ages and timeframes) influencing the dating schema and assumptions used in carbon dating and similar techniques to try to ascertain the actual age of artifacts and archeological finds."

This is in essence, the presupposition that Biologos comes to the table with....evolution, thus we need millions of years to make the theory viable. Darwin knew this and that's why he bought in so quickly to Charles Lyell's theories on geology. An evolutionist HAS to have millions, even billions of years to get this theory to work.

Biologos teaches that there was a race of humanoids, descended from apes and such before Adam appeared on the scene. Thus, for their Darwinian evolution to work, they have to buy into the millions of years, no matter what scripture has to say about it.

Dom said...

Sorry, Dom, proselytizing for Islam is off-topic here. See the rules in the right sidebar.

No worries Phil

stratagem said...

Addressing "Sir Aaron" and "Daryl" simultaneously:

You have both missed what I am saying. You are trying to misconstrue what I am saying as being "Scripture isn't accurate and God didn't mean what he said" when really what I am claiming is that the Scripture is written from God's perspective, not Man's - and you are not God. The questionable assumption you are making (in my opinion) is that Genesis is written from Man's perspective, not God's.

Genesis is accurate in every respect - but your interpretation of it, not necessarily. You and I are mere men, and the author is God himself.

I haven't said anything about knowing the age of the Earth, except that I lean toward it being a lot older than 6,000 years. I think those who confidently proclaim that they know the age of the Earth, give or take a millennium, are forgetting that God's language does not always correspond to our own.

Did God create the heavens and the Earth in six days? Absolutely! From His perspective He did, which might (or might not) be days as we experience them, now. It's amazing how many diehard YECs eschew uniformitarianism (and rightly so, as Phil pointed out), but then when it comes to "days" they immediately conform to the idea that uniformitarianism suddenly rules, in that 21st century "days" are necessarily the same as God's "days." Maybe they are, maybe they aren't - I don't know, and neither do you.

A good example of the assumptive error you are making is illustrated by looking at the first verse in the book of the Revelation: "The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place." If we assumed that God's definition of "soon" is the same as ours, then we would have to conclude that, 2,000 years later, something is terribly wrong unless you assume that all of Revelation is already fulfilled (which I don't). But the author is God, not Man, so his "soon" and ours are not the same.

I remain open to ideas other than ones based on your assumptions that "nothing has changed since the beginning" and "God's perspective is the same as ours."

I hope that clears up what I am saying, and what I am not saying.
Respectfully submitted. Thank you.

DJP said...

Fundamental hermeneutical misapprehension, leaving out Hebrews 1:1-2. I think that's where you go wrong. God wasn't musing aloud, in a sort of soliloquy that was overheard by Moses.

Lynda O said...

To Strategem and other skeptics:
Post-modernism taking over -- so God really didn't want to communicate to us, He's really trying to obscure the truth, and we can't really know what the Bible says. If God is really that unclear concerning His creation -- so that we can't know for sure if our "interpretation" of six literal days is the same as God's "days" -- then why should we even bother reading any of God's word? If Genesis 1 is that confusing and unclear, why should we think that God is being clear and not obscuring the truth concerning our redemption, our salvation by grace alone, or our justification? Just go all the way and admit that you don't believe God at all, or that you're perpetually agnostic and uncertain.

And by the way, you have completely ignored the valid points (such as I posted earlier here), concerning the very physical, literal length of those days -- the sequence of creation events, such as plants created a "day" before the animals, which simply would not work if Genesis 1 were talking about "God's days" (long periods of time) and not our physical 24-hour days.

Gregory said...

This is Gregory Bennett commenting (author of Parts 2 and 3 of the Biologos’ uniformitarianism articles):

Part 2: http://biologos.org/blog/the-biblical-premise-of-uniformitarianism-a-response-to-john-macarthur-2/
Part 3: http://biologos.org/blog/the-biblical-premise-of-uniformitarianism-a-response-to-john-macarthur-3/

First of all, I subscribe to an inerrant view of Scripture, which says that God created the universe and the earth in 6 days as perceived by God. A plain reading of Scripture teaches that God and humans perceive time differently. A plain reading Genesis 1 shows creation in 6 days, but not necessarily 6x24-hour earth-days. This is a literal approach to Genesis 1, not figurative or mythical – literal.

I was honored by Biologos to be asked to write these articles, and there has been some great discussion about the nature of truth, the affects of the Fall, and God’s work in nature stemming from them. I worked really hard in my articles to make sure that I was respectful and kind in my words, focusing on the issues and not on persons or organizations. My attempt in writing was to use words from the standard of Psalm 19:14 "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer" and Ephesians 4:29 "Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear."

Phil Johnson has vilified us two authors as well as in his article. I’m sorry that has taken place. It is difficult to create a dialogue when harsh words are used.

My motivation in writing the articles was that the doctrine of God’s providence has been subsumed by debates about Creation vs. Evolution. I want to replace that debate with a dialogue about the nature of God’s providence – and recommend that doctrine as a better model for understanding his hand in what he both creates and sustains.

Please read the articles as articles written from a brother in Christ who wants to create a dialogue about the important doctrine of God’s providence. The articles are not attacking, nor are they a Trojan horse. And they do use Scripture, but I’m a scientist and not a professional theologian, so I’ve borrowed from books on Systematic Theology. Pick one up and read for yourself about God’s providence. It is a wonderful model from which to see his work in what we call “nature.” God rules. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Daryl said...

Stratagem,

It's sounds awfully like you are claiming that Genesis is a book written by God, about God, to God. And that somehow we got hold of it and wrongly imagine that this was written for our benefit.

Further, your claim that "And Adam lived another XYZ years and had sons and daughters" means the same as "I am coming soon" tells me that you don't understand language at it most basic and that you couldn't carry on a logical conversation that includes time frames.

Does "I will be home at 10" really mean the same as "I'll see you later"?

Did God inspire the Bible for people or for God?

I think people. He already knows it all.

DJP said...

Gregory, you must have a Bible in which Hebrews 1:1 reads that "God spoke to Himself as the prophets and fathers stood by, completely lost and bewildered."

donsands said...

"Phil Johnson has vilified us two authors as well as in his article." -Gregory

I don't believe so.

Phil simply is posting his thoughts, and put them out here for dialog. That's how I see it.

If you can show some explicit vilifying, I'd appreciate it.

"The whole 3-part series never really dealt with the central argument biblical creationists are making: The biblical accounts of creation, the fall, the curse, and the flood surely mean something. They are irreconcilable with uniformitarianism, if you take Scripture seriously."-Phil

Gregory, is this true?

Wyatt Roberts said...

Gregory Bennett used the right word. When you reduce someone's faith to a "pretense of being [a] Christian," that's vilification.

DJP said...

Totally different from calling someone who takes the Bible seriously when you do not a "Bibliolater," right, Wyatt?

stratagem said...

To DJP, Daryl, and Linda O.:
I've heard these arguments countless times. What we are talking about is particular interpretations, not the veracity of Scripture.

Of course God was speaking to humans. But, there are cases in the Bible where his language did not match most humans' understanding of what was meant, making this a weak argument for your particular interpretation as being the only valid one, which, if I am hearing correctly, is what you are all arguing in favor of. Maybe I am wrong about that, but that's what I am hearing.

E.g., when Jesus said prior to the Transfiguration that some would not taste of death before they saw the Kingdom coming in power, I seriously doubt too many of the disciples knew exactly what to expect - or, if thought they did, they probably were wrong!

Or, consider how the Messiah was going to come and literally free the people of Israel - but it turns out, not in the way many humans expected (politically, from the Romans) but instead, spiritually.

I noticed no one attempts to refute the disconnect in the meaning of "soon" to God in Rev. 1, vs. ANY reasonable human understanding of that word. A case in point that remains standing at this point, as far as I can tell. God's ways are not our ways; who can understand Him?

There is a big disconnect between God's meaning and our understanding. I am only claiming that you don't know nearly as much specificity about how/when the foundations of the world were laid as you claim to know. That has nothing to do with acceptance of postmodernism, it has to do with a clear understanding of how high He is in his understanding, and how low I am, in understanding ANYTHING compared to Him.

Understanding the details of the Genesis story is not the "big issue" in my Christian life, so I'm surprised I have gotten into an involved conversation about it; I'm certainly not all that interested in convincing anyone that my way is right, because it may actually be that the world is 6 thousand - or six million - years old, in our terms. But as Phil points out, things have changed radically at certain points in the Earth's history, the Bible makes that clear. Scientific theories about the age of the world are inherently hidebound and suspect, in my mind, being polluted by atheistic naturalism as an underlying philosophy with Satan as the author of such lies.

In other words, I am perfectly content to accept your interpretation of the timeframe of Genesis in any way you like - but it would be nice if the YE crowd wouldn't jump to accusations of heresy or unbelief in the perspicuity of Scripture if I don't accept your interpretation of every part of it, carte-blanche. That's all I am asking. Thank you.

DJP said...

Strat, extraordinarily weak argument, and calling the normal-sense position weak is a bluff and a bluster. Every professed Christian who dislikes any teaching of Scripture says it's a question of interpretation. Genesis 1 is disanalogous. In a case where there is nothing inherently ambiguous about the language, and where Exodus 20 without a flinch says Israel's 7-day week is modeled on the creation week, the difficulties in interpretation don't inhere in the text, but in the interpreter who doesn't like what the text says.

Daryl said...

Stratagem,

No one here has called you a heretic, but clearly you are side-stepping the perspecuity of Scripture.

I will absolutely go out on a limb and say that this verse (and the others like it)can mean only one thing.

"When Jared had lived 162 years, he became the father of Enoch. 19 And after he became the father of Enoch, Jared lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. 20 Altogether, Jared lived 962 years, and then he died."
Gen 5:18

It means that guy lived that long and was that old when the kids were born.

That is nothing like "soon". Your argument about soon is silly.
As in all things, "soon" is relative. If your waiting for a kid to go pee you might say "It's coming soon."
When you're on a cell phone from the freeway you might say "I'll be home soon."
When you consider life from the perspective of eternity, you might say "Jesus is coming soon".

All of those are very different time spans, and all of them require no gymnastics to take at face value.

What else can 162 years mean, except 162 years?

Would you tell your kid "I'll be home in 5 minutes." and then have the nerve to say to him "I meant Dad-minutes, so when I arrived 3 days later I actually did what I said I would do."

Of course not. And yet, here you are, offering vague generalities about unrelated things, in order to demonstrate that 162 years doesn't mean 162 years, all the while complaining that people doubt your commitment to the clarity of Scripture?

Be serious. Please.

Wyatt Roberts said...

You might have a point, Dan, if I had actually accused someone here of that...I didn't.

Lynda O said...

"That has nothing to do with acceptance of postmodernism, it has to do with a clear understanding of how high He is in his understanding, and how low I am, in understanding ANYTHING compared to Him."

Stratagem, call it whatever you want, but you are clearly espousing post-modernism, that which Phil has written about here on Pyro, when you insist that everything is seen from God's perspective and we can't know for sure -- disguised in false humility that is its own form of sinful pride, that reflects a non-biblical attitude toward God: that God really doesn't want to tell us anything because we're incapable of understanding, and God doesn't care about us, an idea contrary to the very reason why God sent His son to the cross. And since your God is one that doesn't want to clearly communicate anything to us with any certainty that we can understand, then tell me why that kind of a God would come to die and bring salvation to His people?

And if we can't understand ANYTHING compared to Him, then how do you have any assurance of your soul's salvation? Or of any other truth, including the truths concerning the nature of man, of sin, of God, etc.?

DJP said...

I see, Wyatt. So your comment Fred, no, actually, I'm just "anti-bibliolatry", made 11:28 AM, JUNE 21, 2010, was just irrelevant piffle, directed nowhere, signifying nothing.

Good to know.

stratagem said...

Linda- Exactly the type of accusatory, across-the-board diatribe that one sometimes hears from the young-earth-only crowd. If I don't accept what seems to you to be the clearest and only possible interpretation, then I am an unorthodox, compromising poseur who doubts the plan of salvation while feigning false humility. I guess I will chalk your extreme rhetoric up to battle fatigue, or something similar. Such a reaction can't possibly be transformed into an actual conversation, at this point. Good day.

Wyatt Roberts said...

So your comment...was just irrelevant piffle, directed nowhere, signifying nothing.

Okay, Dan, you got me. I had you in mind when I wrote that. Guilty as charged

("Irrelevant piffle?" Wow, with catchy phrases like that, you should consider a career in writing. Or not.)

DJP said...

It does seem to be an odd constant, Wyatt, that folks like you who play fast and loose with the wording uncongenial Scriptures (A) themselves often do not use words carefully, but (B) demand that their words be treated with utmost respect.

Irony. Pretty ironical, sometimes.

(Buck Murdock, look it up.)

Lynda O said...

Stratagem,

How about dealing with the specific issues, instead of just complaining that others are being unfair to you? Deal with these hermeneutical issues. Just as Daryl said, "Be serious. Please."

Wyatt Roberts said...

Oh, and just so you know, Dan, all piffle is irrelevant. Excessive use of adjectives, especially redundant ones, should be avoided.

DJP said...

One day, someone will say, "I was going to make a comment, but then I realized that it would just underscore your point, so I stopped myself."

Clearly, this is not that day.

stratagem said...

DJP

You seem to be indirectly suggesting that interpretation of Scripture isn't required. Or perhaps you are the arbiter of when it's required, and when it isn't. Either way, I find it to be a weak argument.

I've already stated that God made the earth and all that is in them in six days. Your insistence that I go beyond that and add that the movements of the planets and so on haven't changed since the chaos of Creation (six days exactly as we now know them) is something I just don't agree that you know with any certainty. To insist that nothing has changed since then, sounds a lot like uniformitarianism to me given the massive changes inherent in the Creation process.

I'm not sure how many times I have to say this, but I am not dismissing the possibility that it was indeed, six days exactly as we know them. It may have been, it may not have been. You seem to have some issue with my indecision on that. Pluto's years are something like 280 of ours... what if the planetary movements were different back then, as in orbits were larger, movements were slower? What if 2 Peter 3:8 actually DOES have some impact on this passage, as YE's generally claim it can't possibly? I think there is some room for debate here among actual Bible-believers.

So I'm sorry Dan, I respect you but I just don't buy that yours is the 100% only possible interpretation of Gen. 1. Probably in much the same way that you don't buy the interpretation of charismatics and some other issues you've written about over the years.

This whole subject isn't a major issue with me. Like a lot of people, I believe the whole of Genesis is true and actually, literally true. And that God, as the Author, wrote it from His perspective. I don't know any details beyond that, though.

stratagem said...

Daryl - I totally agree with your interpretation of the passage, 162 literal years. I agree that Methuseleh lived 962 (or whatever it was, can't remember) years.
So, I'm not sure what your point is?

stratagem said...

Linda- As far as the "points" you posted, all of them (for instance, the plants example) rely upon uniformitarian assumptions. I don't accept uniformitarianism as being Biblically accurate and so we have no basis for discussion. For example, while it's true that plants need the CO2 produced by animals to live, you surely know that volcanic activity was (possibly) more prevalent in Earth's early period and releases tremendous amounts of CO2 by itself. So, your assertion by itself is reasonable, but "proves" nothing at all. Especially if we want to go by the text alone, which I do.

It is clear you are never going to accept that I am anything but a misguided Christian compromiser unless and until I accept your uniformitarian view of earth's early history, so there is little basis for discussion in my opinion.

Lynda O said...

Huh? The plants example I gave was not related to CO2 but to symbiosis -- the inter-connectedness between plants and certain insects. How is that uniformitarianism? I guess you are thinking that God continued creating and changing things later on, so that at first the plants did not need pollination but then later God changed creation and they did need the insects for pollination?

Going by the text, there is no problem with understanding that God created those plants dependent on the pollination they would need from the insects that were created a short time later. The problem comes when one re-interprets "day" to mean an extended period of time longer than a day or two.

Daryl said...

Strat,

My point is that if that mean what we agree it means, then we can add up years at least from the Exodus back to the year Adam was created.
We can, from Biblical data, date the earth to about 6000 years old.

What we can't do is date it to 10,000 years, or date it to the month.

And if we can date it to the year of Adam's creation, then there is no argument for Long Ages or anything other than what is known as Young Earth Creationism.

And all that without make assumptions and adding to the text.

Greg said...

CR said: “Does the Bible require of us to bring to coherence what we observe in science with theology?”

Basic sanity does. And something along the lines of “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” Personally, I’m not able to sustain a dualism that says I should believe one spiritual reality that is accessible by our reason and perception (Frank Turk) while at the same time being suspicious of anything I reason about or perceive in the physical world.

I have no problem with science being tethered by Theology. I have a problem when some systems of Theology deny reality.

Daryl said...

Well at least we know what your rock bottom standard of reality is.

Greg said...

Daryl said: “And all that without make assumptions and adding to the text.”

Not exactly.

You assumed that those genealogies are absolutely complete. You assumed that genealogies presented in the 1450s BC function just like the ones we make in 2010 AD. You assumed that the first recipients of this part of scripture would have heard them exactly the way you did and, like you, got out their abacus and tallied the years up.

Lots of assumptions. We all make them. Be honest about it when you do.

CR said...

Greg,

How do you bring to coherence theology and science of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and also Lazurus and also the many resurrections after Jesus death (Matt 27:52-53). How do you bring to coherence the incarnation? I'm asking these as serious questions.

Sir Aaron said...

Strategem:

First of all, I wouldn't call you a heretic. Since we've both been around this blog for a little while, I feel confident enough abotu what I do know to accept you as a brother. I will also say that once upon a time, I didn't consider the differences between a YEC and an OEC to be very important. Since then, I've concluded that it is important because the foundation of everything in the Bible hinges on Genesis 1. Therefore, I now believe that anything short of a YEC viewpoint is at least, IMHO, very close to heresy. That doesn't mean I consider those who believe in such to be unbelievers or to be heretics themselves, but it does mean it is a crucial discussion and argument to have.

That said, you've said now in a couple posts that you don't consider the issue very important. However, at the beginning of the thread you indicated severe displeasure at those persons who teach certain aspects of Genesis because it contains assumptions. So obviously some part of this dispute is important to you.

I can go along with you that we assume that when God says six days, they were literal days. I think based upon other passages (as DJP mentioned) that it is a reasonable conclusion to make. I cannot, however, support your use of "soon" or the verse in Peter. Soon is not a precise amount of time. If I tell my daughter that Grandma is coming soon, she is going to have a different concept of soon than me. Also, with Peter, 1000 years is as a day doesn't mean that God describes time differently than us. It means that His perspective of time is different. To my three year old daughter who wants to go to Disneyland, three months might as well be three years. For me, a few months is as a few days to her. The amount of time is the same...three months is an amount of time that is measurable and quantifiable. But the perspective on the passage of such time is drastically different. That is what Peter is explaining and I have a really, really difficult time when people try to use that passage to support an OEC viewpoint. You'd really be better off with your original hypothesis.

Daryl said...

Greg,

Have you ever read Genesis 5? The way it is laid out, it makes no difference whether or not people got missed.

If I said that I was born 75 years after my grandfather, does the exclusion of my Dad from that change the time? Not hardly.

Go back and read it. It's dated from person to person, whether you believe the Bible when it calls them sons or not.

There are no assumptions needed or applied.

So try again. What assumptions?

Sir Aaron said...

Greg:

We don't make assumptions per se. We make conclusions based on what Scripture says not just in Genesis, but as Frank mentioned, the entire anthology. Secondly, we don't read Scripture entirely in a vacuum. We do have historical text and commentary to check to see if there were cultural differences in how Jews in any age, understood the geneaologies. And even if there were very large gaps in the geneaologies, the time frame would still be thousands of years, not millions of years. Otherwise, the geneaologies would be so vague to be of little use. I mean you might was well say I was related to Richard the Lionhearted. Such a statement holds very little meaning or value unless you can actually trace a direct lineage with some provable veracity. This would be especially true to somebody who actually holds geneaology to be important (like a 1st century Jew).

stratagem said...

Linda
I agree that the symbiosis of plants and insects would be problematic at first glance, given uniformitarian assumptions. However, invariably those who claim that plants couldn't reproduce without the aid of insects not yet created, would be the same people who would say that plants didn't die before the Fall. To which someone could respond, "then why do they need to reproduce if they don't ever die?"

Also, since there are today plants that REQUIRE an insect to die before they can reproduce (certain types of figs, for example), the uniformitarian who believes there was no creature death before the Fall also has a consistency issue on their hands.

Which simply illustrates my point that some of the assertions made by the YE segment of believers as being "in the Bible," aren't explicitly there. "Six literal days as we know them, of creation" is at least a possible (and maybe the most-probable) translation of Creation, but "saddles on dinosaurs" is pure speculation and prima facie absurd, in the absenmce of evidence to back it up. (Yes, believe it or not I've actually seen people with a straight face claim that was a reality).

I hate seeing the Gospel subjected to ridicule because people claim some absurd things are in the Bible, but aren't necessarily. I'm not an expert on the subject of Creationism by any means and don't claim to be, but I do know absurdism when I see it.

CR said...

Gregory Bennet,

Since you subscribe to the inerrant view of Scriptures, can I assume that you subscribe to the teaching of the historicity of Adam, that through him, through this one man Adam, through his disobedience that sin entered into the world, which resulted in the need of a Savior where through that one Man, many would be made righteous?

You have to admit at face value, the aforementioned is an amazing and astounding fact that because of one man's disobedience that God sees all men in Adam and for those who believe, Christ would not only forgive of us of all our past, present and future sins, but that we would have the perfect righteousness of Christ put to our account (something that Adam did not have even prior to the Fall - he was only innocent, He did not have Christ's perfect righteousness imputed to Him).

I say this not to debate that, but just to hone in on the fact that it is all history. This miracle and supernatural act of one man's disobedience affecting all resulting in the need of one man's righteousness for the many is an amazing supernatural miraculous act.

Doesn't the Bible tell us things which are true for all time - including the supernatural elements? Must not we assert the historicity of these supernatural acts whether it be the Fall, original sin, Redemption, Incarnation and the Resurrection? Why is it, that we say, "yes, I believe that the historicity of Redemption the incarnation and the resurrection as supernatural." But when it comes to creation we say, well, that wasn't supernatural like the other events?

Don't we have to believe the history of the Bible and not just it's didactic teaching?

stratagem said...

Sir Aaron
Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate that.
I agree with you that if you took the whole nine yards of what SOME OECs teach as being true, it would serve to unhinge you from the authority of Scripture. I reject evolutionary theory outright. I believe God spoke the world into existence ex nihilo, He didn't "evolve" it from some "big bang" or "singularity" event. So depending on what you mean by OEC, I might agree with you - but not the way I am defining it.

Now as far as the meaning of "soon" in Rev., I understand your point in distinguishing it from a set period of time, and I agree; I was only illustrating that God's meanings can differ from what we think they mean. So, in your mind, what did "soon" mean in that case, if words in the Bible always have the same meanings we think they do? (That is a rhetorical question I don't actually expect you to answer).

David said...

If the earth is 6000 years old, if all life was created in a week, and if the world was covered by a global flood, what can we predict about the types of plant and animal fossils that would be found in the lowest fossil-bearing layers in the geologic record?

stratagem said...

David - the answer to that presupposes that we know what the lowest layers of the fossil record are. Modern Paleontology is so permeated with evolutionary dogma and assumptions that it is impossible to get an unbiased answer to that question. So I don't think that is leading anywhere.

David said...

"David - the answer to that presupposes that we know what the lowest layers of the fossil record are"

But we can know and we do what the lowest layers are by superposition, a concept developed by mostly creationist geologists in the early 19th century. So, what does YEC predict with respect to the fossils found in these layers?

By the way, if you're going to reject paleontology on the grounds of dogma and assumptions and bias, then I think you must also consider the dogma and bias in YEC, too. If we take the reject on grounds of dogma and bias argument to its logical conclusion, then we may find ourselves concluding that we can't know anything about anything.

stratagem said...

OK, you've convinced me, then. What does it say?

David said...

"OK, you've convinced me, then. What does it say?"

I'm not sure I understand. What does what say? I'm asking what YEC would predict about the types of fossils in the oldest layers. I figure that there are lots of YEC advocates here, so maybe someone can tell me what YEC predicts.

donsands said...

"I'm asking what YEC would predict about the types of fossils in the oldest layers." David

They are from the world wide flood. 40 days and 40 nights of rain and flooding, and a year and a few months of water dispersement, is how I have heard fossils were formed.
But I ain't no expert. Yet, there are experts.
You could look them up.
RC Sproul has a lot of knowledge about these things, for one.

Stephen Blake said...

As a former member of Grace Church (a church I cherish beyond words), I agree wholeheartedly with Phil’s tenacious cleaving to the Word of God as the core and central element in absolutely all epistemological considerations. Still, since the discipline of hermeneutics (like science) is engaged exclusively by fallible, opinionated mortals, I see a serious, insidious weakness that results when an exegete refuses to subject his views to genuine testing, as 1 Thessalonians 5:21 exhorts. To barricade one’s views off from robust self-criticism or the possibility of being falsified is to unwittingly erect a barrier against God’s corrective hand.

Of course, we vividly saw this with Galileo: The Church (both Protestant and Catholic) fiercely condemned his finding that the sun (rather than the earth) is at the center of the solar system, on the grounds that it didn’t square with its long-held hermeneutical views. Theologians adamantly refused to believe that this “modern science” could possibly be correct because it meant that various passages of Scripture that were long held to be literal – e.g., the propositions that the earth cannot be moved (1 Chronicles 16:30, Psalm 93:1, Psalm 96:10, Psalm 104:5) and that the sun actually rises and sets (Ecclesiastes 1:5) – would have to be reconsidered. Today, we might be tempted to laugh at these antiquated “literal” interpretations as obviously erroneous while asserting that these biblical passages are clearly figurative – but that’s precisely the point: What we now unproblematically accept, our theological forbears – including Martin Luther – unbendingly resisted. Yet out of His love for the Church, God reached past the leadership’s blindness and corrected their hermeneutical errors – via science.

No less an exegete than John MacArthur manifestly employs science to shape his hermeneutic: Despite Joshua 10 explicitly stating that, during the Battle of Gibeon, "the sun stood still" - a concise, apparently unambiguous cosmological statement - John MacArthur explains in his commentary that what really happened was "the earth actually stopped revolving, or, more likely, the sun moved in the same way to keep perfect pace with the battlefield" [emphases mine]. In rejecting the straightforward geocentric interpretation of this text, John clearly appeals to one thing and one thing only: God’s revelation to us via science. The astonishing irony here is that Martin Luther himself would have condemned John's views; after all, in 1539 he said of Galileo: “The fool wants to turn the whole art of astronomy upside-down. However, as Holy Scripture tells us, so did Joshua bid the sun to stand still and not the earth.”

A few years ago, I realized that I needed to more substantively investigate the relationship between my conservative evangelical faith and science. Proverbs 18:13 makes clear that He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is a folly and a shame to him. After deep reflection, I was forced to admit that the reason I held my perspectives and biases was not that I had investigated the matter for myself in any balanced, objective way, but because I had absorbed them almost entirely from pastors and Young Earth Creation ministries. I was troubled to realize that in fact, I had not been thinking for myself, but was merely parroting others’ views, and in effect treating them as infallible. In order to be obedient to Scripture and truly put what I believed to the test, I embarked upon an investigation of these faith-science matters for myself. My testimony about this journey and a resultant plea to my evangelical shepherds are posted here and here. (Note: I'm now on the BioLogos advisory board, through I was not when I wrote these posts.)

Greg said...

CR: I affirm the miracles, period. I should have made this clear at the outset. God is free to intervene in His creation and has. By definition, these were/are outside of scientific inquiry. So I am not in any way anti-supernatural.

My point of concern is more about how reason and perception are assumed to reliable as we wrestle with Scripture, but NOT when those same tools of reason and perception tell us that the earth is very ancient or any number of other things.

I guess the question is: Does science, as a process, give us true information about the physical world? If it does, then those truths somehow need to cohere with our Theology.

donsands said...

"When you reduce someone's faith to a "pretense of being [a] Christian," that's vilification." Wyatt

Where did Phil do that?

John said...

It would have to predict the largest fossils on the bottom, since they would likely sink first in a global flood. I think.

David said...

"They are from the world wide flood."

I understand this answer, but it doesn't address the question of which types of fossils would be found in the lowest layers.

David said...

"It would have to predict the largest fossils on the bottom, since they would likely sink first in a global flood. I think."

And is this what we observe in the fossil record?

donsands said...

"For example, I found particularly instructive the account of God making man from the dust of the earth, a picture consistent with evolution." Stephen Blake

How so Stephen, if it's not rude to ask?

stratagem said...

I once did my own journey of self-discovery about evolutionary theory, and after a huge amount of searching found a key discovery that made it clear that it was all hogwash, here.

Lynda O said...

I have never heard of anyone talking about "saddles on dinosaurs," and I have been around "the YE segment" so I don't know where you're getting extreme examples such as this.

You seem to have redefined uniformitarianism to mean anyone who takes the Bible at its word, the opposite of its standard, accepted meaning used by evolutionists. What is absurd about believing God when He says that He created the world in six days? What is absurd about believing that God created it within that short period of time, and the fall happened fairly soon therefter (since Adam and Eve had no kids while in the garden), and that plants did not die before the fall? And that all of this took place on an earth now about 6,000 years old? All of this comes from the ordinary, literal-grammatical-historical understanding from the text. We can easily extend this and say, what is absurd about Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection? Same with all the miracles recorded in the Bible. To disbelieve the plain meaning of the account in Genesis is to show the same kind of unbelief as those who reject other parts of the Bible.

Claiming objections such as that plants must have died before the fall because "why do they need to reproduce if they don't ever die?" IS reasoning from an evolutionary, uniformitarian perspective that assumes both plants and animals existed for millions of years before the fall. Same with your comment that "since there are today plants that REQUIRE an insect to die before they can reproduce (certain types of figs, for example), the uniformitarian who believes there was no creature death before the Fall also has a consistency issue on their hands" -- this again shows long-age assumptions that all of these plants and animals existed for a long period of time before the fall. Again the account is straightforward enough, that the time before the fall was a short time period. There's no point in arguing about specifics of "how long?" within a normal period of time of the text, probably less than a year. Anyone who read such a narrative account (Genesis 1-3), within any other printed book, would not try to criticize and pick it apart and say it couldn't really mean what it says, it must be describing things happening over thousands or more years and therefore it doesn't make any sense. So why is it that so many people abandon their common sense of natural meaning when they come to the Bible, the one book to be trusted more than any other?

To so abandon common sense and claim that young earth creationists are being absurd and inconsistent and uniformitarian (the opposite of the truth), with statements such as these, is also venturing into foolish discussions such as Paul warned Timothy to avoid -- because again the plain meaning of the Genesis account is clear enough. Further, one who picks about and claims that so many things people say are absurd speculation (the statements of YE creation), will never get anywhere near absolute truth and will conclude that we can't know anything about anything because God's word isn't clear enough.

Daryl said...

I'm with Stratagem on this one.

That's science right thar.

stratagem said...

Linda - clearly you are not even reading what I wrote, or are so thoroughly misunderstanding it that I can't spend my time picking through the pieces. (Not to mention, you won't even accept that I've seen what I've seen - if you want to see the saddles on dinos thing, then go to the much-ado-about-nothing Creation Museum and you'll see it there unless they've now taken that exhibit down).
I've had my say and once again can see no way clear to having anything resembling a two-sided discussion with you. Thanks.

Wyatt Roberts said...

Did Charles Spurgeon believe in a six-day creation, in a "young earth?"

"Can any man tell me when the beginning was? Years ago we thought the beginning of this world was when Adam came upon it; but we have discovered that thousands of years before that God was preparing chaotic matter to make it a fit abode for man, putting races of creatures upon it, who might die and leave behind the marks of his handiwork and marvelous skill, before he tried his hand on man." - Charles Spurgeon

Phil, I know you're an expert on Spurgeon. What do you think he believed?

Stephen Blake said...

Donsands,

Thanks for asking. The image of God creating Adam from dirt is one of beauty and wonder. We tend to think of God as having made Adam ex nihilo, as if out of thin air. But Scripture teaches that God took pre-existing matter - dust - and transitioned it from its former state to a new one called man.

Evolutionary theory - which I believe God is very clearly demonstrating to have been His creative process - precisely holds that God crafted the first human life from dust, albeit through gradual processes and the lineage of other creatures. The evidence for this is actually quite extraordinary, and great biblical inerrantists such as BB Warfield and JI Packer see no conflict between the evolutionary view of creation and Scripture.

Steve

CR said...

But Greg, the Bible was revealed supernaturally by God through men. It didn't result from from men arriving at the truth through reason and perception. That doesn't mean we don't use our reason to understand things, but the Bible is primarily spiritually understood not intellectually understood - doesn't mean we don't use the intellect. If the Bible were primarily intellectually understood then all of the brightest minds that have ever lived would all be Christian.

Also you said that certain things that science reveals need to cohere with our theology. I would first say this: it's not "our" theology, much in the same way that faith is not "our" faith. Just as faith is a free gift given to us, Scriptures is revealed to us and it contains propositional truths. We're not to cohere those truths with anything else. We're to accept them as propositional truths.

Lastly, God doesn't just "intervene in His creation. He controls it and guides every single event.

Lynda O said...

I quoted several of your specific comments, such as the comment about "the uniformitarian who believes there was no creature death before the Fall also has a consistency issue on their hands," and have observed the same things that others here have pointed out, so how am I not reading what you've said?

I didn't say I didn't believe you regarding the dinosaurs on saddles -- I'm sure you did experience that. I just was unfamiliar with that and thought it an extreme example, not representative of most creationists. (The biblical young-earth position concerning the dinosaurs is the mighty creatures described in Job, not tame animals that people can ride around or put on a leash for their daughters.) -- but thanks for pointing out the reference. I've read stuff on the Answers in Genesis website, but have never had opportunity to go to their museum. Anyway, enough said, as others have also pointed out the same problems of not holding to the certainty of clear statements in God's word, and I can't say it any plainer than I already have.

donsands said...

"..albeit through gradual processes and the lineage of other creatures."

So, we are created in the image of the Almighty God, from an Amoeba, to a fish, to a salamander, to a platypus, maybe, to a monkey, to an ape, to a man.

This is how the image of God is meant by the Word of God?

I knew about BB Warfield. It's an interesting upbringing of Benjamin.

CS Lewis as well.

Yet, the Scriptures are our final authority, and we all seem to agree on this. So that is good.

Wyatt Roberts said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sir Aaron said...

@Stephen Blake:

Of course, we vividly saw this with Galileo: The Church (both Protestant and Catholic) fiercely condemned his finding that the sun (rather than the earth) is at the center of the solar system, on the grounds that it didn’t square with its long-held hermeneutical views

It's really bad enough when the heathen bring up this legendary but innacurate account of Galileo's "persecution." A Christian ought to know better than to throw out this nonsense. The RCC went after Galileo for a variety of reasons, none of which were some hermeneutical principle of the Bible.

Here's the truth. The Protestant Reformation shook the Catholic Church. The Council of Trent developed a list of forbidden books, notably, ones that challenged RCC positions. Galileo's scientific beliefs were actually well received within the Church as Copernicus'. But most of the Scientists of the day believed science that came from Greek philosophy (Ptolemy and Aristotle). Galileo was a bit undiplomatic (to be kind) and made a lot of enemies in and outside the church (for example, writing his works in Italian rather than Latin). Ultimately, it wasn't Scripture he had violated but a Papal decree. Galileo wound up living his life under house arrest. So it isn't that the Church (if you at all consider the RCC that) held onto Scripture too tightly, but rather it didn't hold on tight enough.

So please stop throwing Galileo out as some sort of Science vs. Religion sob story.

Wyatt Roberts said...

Here's another quote by Spurgeon:

"In the 2d verse of the first chapter of Genesis, we read, ‘And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.' We know not how remote the period of the creation of this globe may be-certainly many millions of years before the time of Adam. Our planet has passed through various stages of existence, and different kinds of creatures have lived on its surface, all of which have been fashioned by God. But before that era came, wherein man should be its principal tenant and monarch, the Creator gave up the world to confusion."

So Spurgeon apparently did believe the earth is millions of years old. To what, then, may we attribute his conclusion? Hermeneutical machinations? Theological fudging?

Phil, I know you're a big fan of CS. How it is that you can esteem him so highly in spite of his views on the age of the earth, and yet question the faith of others for believing the very same thing?

(I'm sure this is not new information to you...it was to me. Please forgive me if you've already addressed this elsewhere.)

Sir Aaron said...

Strategem;

I know you were being rhetorical, but "soon" is not definitive and one has to evaluate the context to decide to whom the "soon" is relative. In this case, Scripture (through Peter) says that soon is according to God's perspective. So now we don't have to wonder.

Also, you want to know why YECs have huge problems with OEC? See Stephen Blake. Classic OEC. "The evidence is quite extraordinary." I guess if you like David Copperfield illusions.

Sir Aaron said...

@Strategem:

You should have told the person who said Adam and Even had saddles on dinosaurs that that can't be true. I mean they had to ride bareback because the first animal wasn't killed until after Adam sinned. ;)

Sir Aaron said...

Wyatt:

That's an argument that the earth was "void and formless" for millions of years. (This is commonly referred to as the "gap theory" as it espouses a gap in time between 1:1, 1:2, and 1:3). After he said "and God said" then you'd have to either believe that God meant literal days or that the days were figurative for something else.

Halcyon said...

Wyatt:

Thank you for your clarification.

I think I understand what you mean, though an annoying side of my brain finds your definition a tad troubling (mainly because many people equate "worshiping the Bible" with "taking Scripture seriously"). I don't think you equate belief in inerrancy with "worship"...do you? 8^/

Well, anyway, you clearly have several more pressing irons in this particular fire, so I shall leave you to it while I gather my thoughts.

Stephen Blake said...

DonSandS,

You wrote:

So, we are created in the image of the Almighty God, from an Amoeba, to a fish, to a salamander, to a platypus, maybe, to a monkey, to an ape, to a man.

This is how the image of God is meant by the Word of God?


The "image of God" is not the process but God's intended result. For example, Scripture says He made us from dust. Dust is not the image of God, but what God fashioned that dust into, then breathed the "breath of life" into is.

stratagem said...

Sir Aaron - touche, my friend. You are better with the witty rejoinders than I am!
As to "soon" I didn't know what the reference was where specifically God said that his use of that Word in Rev. 1:1 was from God's perspective, not ours. Can you expand on that please? Thanks.

Stephen Blake said...

Sir Aaron,

I'd be happy to retract my statements - an certainly should if they're shown to be false. Can you post links to your historical sources so that I can check them out?

Thanks.

Steve

David said...

Sir Aaron,

Would you like to discuss evidence?

If the earth is 6000 years old, if all life was created in a week, and if the world was covered by a global flood, what can we predict about the types of plant and animal fossils that would be found in the lowest fossil-bearing layers in the geologic record?

stratagem said...

Wyatt
To my knowledge, Phil hasn't questioned the faith of those who merely say that the world is (or, may be) older than 6000 years (as Spurgeon believed). I think I heard Phil questioning those who have a attitude that the Bible is servile to the findings of science, in general, and therefore are always trying the make the Bible subsume what scientists are currently saying, whether Biblical or not.

As far as Spurgeon adhering to this view (which sounds like his view was actually quite a bit more old-earth than my own), it just goes to show that there is no clear consensus on this and probably never has been one completely.

So I move that we stop arguing about the 0.1% finer points of Genesis and instead affirm what Spurgeon spent 99.9% of his life proclaiming, that Jesus is Lord?

Bobby Grow said...

It's hard to take the "fossil-bearing layers" seriously given things like the cambrian explosion; and then the examples of trees that cross-cut "layers" that supposedly represent thousands of years of "natural history."

There's simply no credible evidence for neo-Darwinian evolution . . . at every level.

David said...

"It's hard to take the "fossil-bearing layers" seriously"

This does not answer the question.

Greg said...

CR said: "Lastly, God doesn't just "intervene in His creation. He controls it and guides every single event."

I absolutely agree. So believing that God is Author and Sustainer of it ALL, I have no problem using reason, perception, the tools of science to tell me real things about it – and all without fear that the next discovery will derail my faith. In fact, it increases my confidence that what I find there will make sense.

You have been very thoughtful in your exchanges with me and I appreciate that. I’m afraid that we still may be missing each other a bit, however. In your responses I hear a tendency to separate “spiritual reality” from “physical reality” as if one is free from interpretation and the other is mortally bound by it. Or the stress that Scripture is primarily understood spiritually (which I understand) but that it doesn’t need to cohere with physical reality (which, miracles aside, makes no sense to me). Sometimes this sounds too much like the nature/grace divide that Schaeffer talked so much about. That’s probably not your intention, but that’s what concerns me. God has given us physical stuff. We should be able to know real things about it -- its age, its origins -- while at the same time affirming its meaning and purpose from Scripture.

stratagem said...

If the earth is 6000 years old, if all life was created in a week, and if the world was covered by a global flood, what can we predict about the types of plant and animal fossils that would be found in the lowest fossil-bearing layers in the geologic record?

Um, that they'd be covered with mud, and about 6000 years old, I guess?

Wyatt Roberts said...

My point, strategem, is that if Spurgeon believed the earth was millions of years old, he was obviously trying to reconcile, to some degree or another, the scientific evidence of his day with his understanding of Scripture! That doesn't mean he had a "low view of Scripture," or that his was only a "pretense of being a Christian" -- both of which Phil has ascribed to the folks over at BioLogos. It just means he was trying to make sense of the real world in light of Scripture. I think that's what they're trying to do at BioLogos.

Wyatt Roberts said...

Halcyon:

No, I don't equate "taking Scripture seriously" with bibliolatry, nor do I think bibliolatry is synonymous with an "inerrancy" view (although I believe inerrancy sometimes leads to it). Some people seem to think "inerrancy" is the only view that takes Scripture seriously; I do not.

As I said, I consider myself someone who takes Scripture seriously.

David said...

"Um, that they'd be covered with mud, and about 6000 years old, I guess?"

Well, if this is the answer, then I don't think it matches what we find. In any event, it doesn't really address the question of what types of fossils should be found.

donsands said...

Stephen,

I didn't mean the process. I meant each creature. I mean, when God says "He made man in His image, male and female He made them", when does this kick in?
When He created the amoeba?
Or the monkey? Or the half ape half man creation?

Where does Adam, or human being glorify God, in that Adam is made in His image?

I think the Word is making a distinction between all the other creatures and man, doesn't it?

God mad cows, pigs, camels, amoebas, whales, eagles, flamingos, kangaroos, and bears, but only man is in the image of God, isn't this true?

stratagem said...

Then David - please stop beating around the bush and tell us what should be found, and what actually is found, then!

...or else I will post yet another tongue in cheek answer!

David said...

"Then David - please stop beating around the bush and tell us what should be found, and what actually is found, then!"

I'm not beating around the bush. I see lots of folks here who say that the earth is 6000 years old, etc. Ok, how can we test this proposition? What can we do beside arguingly endlessly and fruitlessly about the interpretation of ancient Hebrew words?

One way to test things is by making predictions based on hypotheses, in the case, the YEC hypotheses. If we can figure out what YEC predits with respect to the types of fossils that will be found in the oldest layer, then maybe we can settle this question. If I try to make the predictions, I might be accused of erecting a straw man. So, I'd prefer that the YECers make the predictions.

greglong said...

David wrote:

I'm not beating around the bush. I see lots of folks here who say that the earth is 6000 years old, etc. Ok, how can we test this proposition? What can we do beside arguingly endlessly and fruitlessly about the interpretation of ancient Hebrew words?

You mean the inspired, inerrant Word of God? I guess I don't find the process of determining what God actually said to be fruitless.

Jacob said...

Flyer75: Yes, and it also creates an excuse for sin. After all, we're just descended from other humanoids or what-have-you, so things like homosexuality or lust are just natural byproducts of our evolution and therefore not actually sin, or at least not our fault.

David said...

"Fruitless" in the sense of no resolution in site.

David said...

Er, "sight".

Jacob said...

@Wyatt Roberts:
"My point, strategem, is that if Spurgeon believed the earth was millions of years old, he was obviously trying to reconcile, to some degree or another, the scientific evidence of his day with his understanding of Scripture! That doesn't mean he had a "low view of Scripture," or that his was only a "pretense of being a Christian""

No, it just shows that he chose to do something that, if he could look back on it from the vantage point of today where what-was-then a novel idea that he might have hoped would have been so obviously foolish that it would be short-lived yet has since become the mainstay belief of the atheist and the liberal theologian alike, he probably would have not chosen to do it.
You've perhaps demonstrated that Spurgeon is human and imperfect. And?

@David: "I see lots of folks here who say that the earth is 6000 years old, etc. Ok, how can we test this proposition?"

As greglong noted, why do we need to? What's the urgency to determine a specific age? Clearly God did not deem it important enough to include an exact date. The specific age of the earth is so ridiculously far down the list of things people should be concerned with, the incredible focus on it belies the feverish urgency behind man's attempts to disprove God.

Jacob said...

clarification: "he probably would have not chosen to do it."
better stated "he probably wouldn't have chosen to give it credence by arguing against it.

Daryl said...

Greglong has it right.

Ultimately this debate must be resolved within the pages of Scripture.

Given the constantly changing history of science, we do well do test science against Scripture and not vice versa.

While I disagree with Strat, clearly that is what he is attempting to do.
I don't think Biologos passes that test. Not even close.

Stephen Blake said...

Donsands,

Right. By God's design, man alone is made in His image, and although on an event-by-event basis, God's hand in evolutionary processes is invisible to man's eyes (as is the case with so much of His providential work), a quick glimpse at the big picture of creation shows His amazing artistry and purpose.

Steve

Wyatt Roberts said...

@Jacob -- no amount of handwaving can change the fact that Spurgeon believed the earth to be millions of years old. Where did he get that idea? It came from Science, not the Bible.

Speculate all you want about what Spurgeon might have believed if he were alive today. That won't change the facts.

Daryl said...

Wyatt,

Given that we're all quite aware that Spurgeon was neither a prophet nor an apostle...who cares?

What difference does it make that Spurgeon got it wrong. He was a great preacher, no doubt, but often not such a great exegete. This seems to me to be one of those areas in which he failed.

Daryl said...

Stephen Blake,

The trouble with that hypothesis, is that you'd have to believe that God spoke all things into existence, the stars, the galaxies, the animals, light, plants etc etc, but then took billions of years to let man evolve?

Is that what you believe? Because your insistence that God making Adam from the dust of the ground equals evolution leaves you right there.
And, further to that, how many men evolved and died and evolved and died, until God had a sufficiently complete man to put to sleep and make a woman out of his rib?

And was Satan then following this evolution so closely that he managed to dupe the right version of evolved man, in order to throw the whole human race into sin? Or did he tempt every version to make sure he didn't miss the real deal?

These aren't joke questions, they are issues of which throwing evolution into the mix makes havoc.

It seems to me that all this needs explanation as well, not just your version of God making man from dust.

Wyatt Roberts said...

@Daryl

People seem to be willing to cut Spurgeon quite a bit of slack on this, because -- as you put it, he was "a great preacher." Phil, however, in the posted article, accuses the folks at BioLogos of having a "low view of Scripture" and having a "pretense of being Christians" for believing the very same thing that Spurgeon believed.

At the bottom of this blog are the words: "Brought to you by The Spurgeon Archive." How ironic. Or is that ironical? Anyway...

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