Many American protestants, including those in the reformed tradition, perceive Answers in Genesis (AiG) to be a Christian scientific organization seeking to provide scientific explanations for the physical and biological features of the creation within the framework of a particular literal reading of the book of Genesis. However, AiG seeks to be something much more. For them questions of origins and the age of the Earth are just a first step to providing an answer to every question that a Christian or non-Christian may have about every aspect of what we ought to believe. To illustrate this point, just look at this LIST of accomplishments they published on their 23rd anniversary as an organization. What is conspicuous in its absence?—Any mention of contributions made to further our understanding of God’s physical creation.
Over the years AiG has increasingly used their large publishing and marketing division to provide answers to an ever-widening range of issues for Christian faith and practice. The scientific questions that were the focus of the creation-scientists of the last century have, for AiG, become just an entryway to providing answers to all of life’s questions.
What I am about to say is directed to a specific audience: Christians of the reformed tradition (Calvinists, Reformed Protestantism). My concern is that over the past 30 years many members of this community have propagated young-earth parachurch literature in their churches, Christian school, and home-school curricula. Many reformed pastors and educators turn to YEC materials when they need to address questions about science. Those materials have become commonplace in many of our churches and yet most parents, teachers and pastors are not aware of that these materials are promoting a viewpoint that includes answers to questions that are not consistent with traditional Calvinism regardless of their many problematic interpretations of the scientific evidence.
I wonder how many reformed pastors who may have Henry Morris’ commentary on Genesis or The Genesis Flood on their bookshelf are aware of his book on eschatology: The Revelation Record: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Prophetic Book of the End of Times. The application of Morris’ hermeneutical principles of interpreting Genesis when applied outside of Genesis results in interpretations that would be foreign to most of those in the reformed faith.
Unfortunately, large portions of the reformed church has abdicated the task of developing of a reformed view of science and faith to those outside of the reformed community. They are content to use AiG literature to provide answers to their youth and even their leaders. However, as I stated above, AiG’s mission isn’t to just provide answer to scientific questions about the Bible. They are dedicated to answering every question of faith and Christian living. Their literature is infused with doctrine—not just interpretation of facts about the physical creation. Hence, they are teaching doctrine. By using their literature, visiting their museums, and inviting their speakers into our churches we invite their particular theological perspective as well.
To illustrate why I believe to be a problem of giving young-earth creationists’ organizations the authority to provide authoritative answers about origins, bioethics, and the place of scientific inquiry in general within historically reformed churches, I went through every Facebook post by Answers in Genesis over a two month period from June 13th to August 14th of 2016. I made notes on the title and authorship of all articles that portended to provide answers to theological questions. I excluded the minority of articles that appeared to only address solely scientific questions.
Below is that list of articles and in some cases I have provided some information about the author’s credentials. Scan down this list before I go about summarizing my findings and commenting on them.
The List (June 13th to August 14th 2016):
- Was Jesus Married? Tim Chaffey
- Can We Pray to Jesus? Mark Bird (DMin Grace Theological Seminary)
- How was Abel a Prophet? Lee Anderson Jr. (Unknown background but possibly Astronomy since he has co-authored a book with astronomer Dr. Faulkner)
- Was Child Sacrifice Condoned in the Old Testament? Tim Chaffey
- Why did People start having shorter lives after the Flood? Bodie Hodge (Ken Ham’s Son-in-Law and Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering)
- Is Jesus the Creator God? Bodie Hodge
- Righteous Lie? (Rahab’s lie) Bodie Hodge
- Contradictions: A Time to Kill? Roger Patterson Roger Patterson earned his BS Ed degree in biology from Montana State University.
- What about Satan and the Origin of Evil? Bodie Hodge (from The New Answers Book 2)
- Jonah and the Great Fish. Don Landis is the president of Jackson Hole Bible College in Jackson, Wyoming and Chairman of the Board of Answers in Genesis.
- Why didn’t God respect Cain’s offering? Peter Galling (unknown background)
- Are Christians Commanded to Change the Culture? Ken Ham
- Was Satan the Actual Serpent in the Garden? Bodie Hodge
- Why do we get punished for what Adam did? Bodie Hodge
- When did Adam and Eve rebel? Bodie Hodge
- Did Adam and Eve have to sleep before the fall? Bodie Hodge
- Does the Moon really give light? David Wright (Doctor Divinity and Professor at Brandeis University)
- God of Love? John C. Smith (Unknown background but maybe theology given other articles he has written)
- What about the Gap and Ruin-Reconstruction Theories? Ken Ham (Chapter from The New Answers Book 1)
- Is there really a God? Ken Ham and Jason Lisle (PhD Astronomy) (The New Answers Book 1)
- Did Jesus really say He created in six literal days? Ken Ham
- Christ’s resurrection – four accounts, one reality. Tim Chaffey
- Good designs gone bad. Joe Francis (Professor of Biology at Master’s College)
- Was the Bible written by mere men? Bodie Hodge
- What about eugenics and planned parenthood? Georgia Purdom (Geneticist)
- In defense of the historical Adam. Dr. Terry Mortenson (History of Science)
- Who was Noah’s wife? Tim Chaffey (Th.M Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary)
- Why does God’s creation include death and suffering? Tommy Mitchell (Engineering degree)
- Where was the Garden of Eden location? Ken Ham
- Are there 20 commandments? Troy Lacey (B.S. in Natural Science, U. of Cincinnati)
- Defining Love. John C.P. Smith
- Is nature the 67th book of the Bible? AiG staff
- Was there death before Adam sinned? Ken Ham
- How long was Adam in the garden? Erin Benziger
- Context is King. Don Landis (Chairman of the Board of AiG)
- Separation of Church and State. Ken Ham
- Finding our way in secular society. Mark Coppenger (Professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary)
- Who sinned first Adam or Satan? Bodie Hodge
- Needed today: Hezekiah’s reformers. Ken Ham
- How can someone start a new life in Christ? Cecil Eggert (Unknown, only article written for AiG)
- God created things to “look old.” Tommy Mitchell
- God’s Character. John C. Whitcomb
- Supernatural or Science: How do we explain miracles? Avery Foley and Troy Lacey
- God and sin = gibberish? AiG staff article
- Why is reading the Bible so important? AiG staff article
I recorded a total of 47 articles during this two month time-frame that met my criteria. Of those, eight were authored by Ken Ham and ten by Bodie Hodge who is Ken Ham’s son-in-law. That constitutes more than 1/3 of all the doctrinal articles promoted by the AiG Facebook page during this period. Neither Ham nor Hodge have any formal theological training. Looking through the list, only 10 of 47—just over 1/5th—are written by authors with some formal theological training. Furthermore, from a reformed perspective, none of these authors with theological training obtained that training from a reformed seminary.
Most of these articles are overly simplistic assessments sometimes supported by referencing trained theologians—again almost never reformed theologians. Nonetheless, the simplistic answers provided don’t do many of the topics addressed much justice. I would expect that most pastors and elders in reformed Christian denominations would find numerous theological inconsistencies and errors in these articles.
The continued promotion of young-earth apologetics ministries within the reformed church, despite their weak theological foundation, seems to be solely because they believe AiG has the “right” answer to two important questions: how old is the Earth and what is the origin of biological diversity?
Speaking as a reformed Christian myself, we should want better than this. We expect serious answers to serious questions, not trite analyses with weak exegetical and scientific support. When we observe shoddy biblical exegesis, e.g. cherry-picked bible verses out of context and logical inconsistencies, it should give us pause and make us turn a critical ear to their arguments rather than simply swallowing them whole.
The best analogy I can come up for the churches consumption of AiG products is to liken them to a person who votes for a political candidate solely because they are for tax cuts. That candidate claims that most political problems and issues can be seen through the issue of tax cuts. Yet that candidate might not be able to defend policies for cutting taxes well. In addition, the candidate may believe strongly in a large number of other positions that are clearly opposed to the voters’ beliefs. But since tax cuts are such an important issue for the voter, it holds sway over all other considerations.
In the case of AiG, the tax cuts they offer are their steadfast commitment to “biblical authority.” Any talk by Ken Ham will find him using this term over and over again. How can anything they offer be wrong when they their foundation is built on biblical authority? Objections lead to scorn and charges that one doesn’t believe in biblical authority. It is the stick that is wielded to keep everyone in line but what if accepting their worldview comes with a plethora of attachments that aren’t biblical?
Setting the church on a weak foundation.
Dr. David Wells recently penned an article entitled “The Bleeding of Evangelical Church” in which he draws on some of the root problems with modern evangelicalism. One of his conclusions is that although evangelicalism—as characterized by a high view of scripture and stress on the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ’s atonement—has seen its popularity increase, “The reality that we have to face today is that we have produced a plague of nominal evangelicalism which is as trite and superficial as anything we have seen in Catholic Europe.” He observes—rightly I think at least on this point—that “it is possible for us to gain the whole religious world while losing our own souls.”
Answers and Genesis, and Ken Ham in particular, finds itself near the center of influence on the general evangelical church, but despite calls by Ken Ham for a modern reformation (see my article: Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter to Usher In a Modern Day Reformation?) including a return to taking the authority of the Bible seriously, it is possible that the calls for reformation are not to a serious exegesis of God’s Word but rather to a trite and superficial saccharine form of evangelicalism. It is a movement that claims to be true to God’s word while suffering the very problems that Luther and the other reformers were so worried about. Acknowledging biblical authority without understanding that authority will not result in true reformation. To make followers of Christ, the foundation must be not only a respect for Biblical authority but a right understanding of His Word.
A few additional thoughts on the state of origins questions in the reformed church
In my experience, the creation science movement is strongly anti-intellectual at its heart. At conferences and books and videos, Christians are told they can’t trust a large segment of the scientific community despite many of those scientists being Christians who have devoted themselves to understanding the evidence with respect to the age of the Earth and life’s history on it. Likewise, young earth speakers frequently claim that seminary professors are serving their own and their institution’s own self-interests. They also imply or directly state that congregants should be wary of pastors that have received training from any seminary—other than a small set of “approved” seminaries – because they will have been exposed to diverse interpretations of Genesis. Furthermore, the YEC community comprises a large number of untrained scientists and theologians that at times flaunt their lack of theological or scientific degrees as evidence they haven’t been tainted and therefore can make unbiased evaluations of the evidence. At the same time they hold up their own employees with PhDs as proof they do serious science. All of these are common tactics used by groups that hold to conspiracy theories.
The content creators of the creation science community are few in number but their influence far greater than their numbers would suggest. An examination of the massive quantity of YEC literature reveals that the number of active authors is quite small, yet their influence goes far beyond their numbers. The YEC movement is partially “inbred” with many of its leaders closely related to one another or having been at least trained by others in the same community. Their peer-reviewed journals consist of a small number of individuals reviewing each other’s work with a high degree of conflict of interest and mainly “reviewing” works to ensure that they agree with YECism, not whether their methodology or data are scientifically valid.
In addition, I think it is quite clear that the YEC movement is not a reformed Christian movement at heart. Although they espouse an orthodox understanding of the nature of Scriptures, the movement is promoted and populated primarily by a variety of independent fundamentalist Baptists, Assemblies of God, Seventh Day Adventist, Missouri-Synod Lutheran, and many other independent protestant churches. They have made use of some elements—most notably the language of presuppositional apologetics—of one branch of the reformed heritage but for the most part they do not share the traditional reformed understanding the nature of nature and their hermeneutical and epistemological arguments are frequently quite different.
Overall, I would submit that the YEC movement has usurped traditional reformed theology in the arena of science and their literature has, for the most part, become the default position for many people in the pews in the reformed church. It is not uncommon to walk into many PCA (Presbyterian Church of America) and OPC (Orthodox Presbyterian Church) churches find that most of the books addressing theological and Christian-living topics are written solely by other reformed Christians. In other words, the reformed Christian worldview is held in high esteem as being able to provide solutions to the questions we have a human beings. But if there is a book about science that book is rarely written by a person with an explicitly reformed Christian worldview. Instead, I find books by Ken Ham, Jonathan Sarfati and others from young-earth apologetic ministries. Other books such as “Darwin’s Black Box” are written by Catholics.
What concerns me is that it appears that Calvinists are more apt to trust the opinions of non-reformed Christians on matters of scientific inquiry while the members of the reformed community that do have expertise in these areas and have serious concerns about the exegesis and science of the creation science community are most often ignored. In fact, such scientists in our own midst are attacked by the same arguments made from outside the reformed community claiming they are serving self-interests: scared of losing their jobs, scared they won’t get tenure, don’t want to lose face in the scientific community. These claims have no merit.
So who is our—the reformed communities—authority? Of course our ultimate authority is God and we know that God because He has graciously revealed himself in written form through human authors. We acknowledge that information in the canonical books is not of human origin. However, we still have the hard job, with the help of the Holy Spirit, of interpreting that text faithfully. There is so much to learn from the scriptures that we can find seek human authorities for help. We rely on the exegesis of the Word by pastors, theologians, and any number of books and videos to help us better understand his Word. These are secondary authorities. I would just call us to be careful about who we place our trust in as secondary authorities.
Addendum: I was sent the following link to an article from the Orthodox Presbyterian Church website that fits well with some of the points I make in the article above. “Preachers in Lab Coats and Scientists in Geneva Gowns”, By Bryan Estelle http://opc.org/os.html?article_id=220
I was surprised to see an article like this. I agree with much in it. I remember talking to a PCA pastor about a book in the church library, John Morris’ commentary on Genesis. Which I had read back when I was a YEC. I just asked him exactly what is Morris’ theological training? I have a degree in engineering should I write a commentary based on my “scientific” view of what Genesis means? Doesn’t make much sense. In the same library was Gleason Archer’s writing on Genesis and the ancient semitic languages. The answer I received should have shocked me, but it didn’t as it is one I have seen over and over. He said,”There is plenty of room for varying views in the Church.” There was more, I pointed out to him that there was a book by a well known pastor and author who promoted the Keswick view of total sanctification like in some denominations and by following certain “Biblical principles” we could walk a totally sinless life while in this perishable body despite what John had to say about if we say we have no sins we are deluding ourselves. I asked him how many young people in your congregation do you want to read that book? He answered none and I told him that maybe they should go through the church library and do some discernment of what is in there.
I have had some folks who can quote scripture and refute every bit of contrary evidence against a young Earth view from YEC literature and tell me all about The Rapture and Dispensationalism and then could not define the Trinity and I even had one young lady who was raised in the church who did not know that Jesus was God or why it was important. I asked her what do you think confessing Jesus as Lord means? She said it means that He’s the Lord of salvation and people who believe in Him, but she didn’t know it meant he was God too. I showed her John 1:1 and I gave her my copy of James White’s The Forgotten Trinity and paraphrased Cur Deus Homo, Why The God Man? by St. Anselm to her. This girl was 19 years old and raised in a Baptist church! I wonder what her pastor said when she asked him why she had never learned these things. When I became a christian it was a long time before I understood what John chapter one meant as well. I was as surprised as that young lady was. When was the last time you heard a sermon on the Deity of Christ?
The Scandal Of The Evangelical Mind by David Wells is still relevant as is Michael S. Horton’s book Made in America about how and where many practices and modern doctrines came from. It isn’t a large book, but gives you a feel for why the Church in America does and believes certain practices. You have put a picture of some good books to read. It is one thing to write a book on science like Darwin’s Black Box and be a Catholic (which I never read), it is another to use a book like YECs do theirs to teach that their way of interpreting the Bible is the only way to do so. I mean only in America could a dogma like the only proper God inspired Bible is the KJV be as common as it is.
The only way a true revival of the Church in America is going to happen is if the Body of Christ stops majoring in minors and starts majoring in Truth starting with the ancient creeds so that everyone in the pews knows what the major doctrines that are centered in Christ His Person and Work are. Not only doctrines known, but believed, lived and spread to others. Romans 10:9 isn’t a formula for getting saved, it is what a saved person believes and says because they have called on the risen Lord to save them already 10:13, the formula for getting saved is “The work of God is to Believe in the one the Father has sent.” Jn 6:29, if you must have a formula that is a good place to start. Eternity is a moment away and people will be lost because of majoring in minors and spending millions on somebody’s personal vision, I’m not just talking about a ridiculous wooden Ark either. There are some preachers I’d rather not be come Judgement Day I’m sorry to say.
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Great observations! Unfortunately, many evangelicals would tune you out at the mention of the ancient creeds – they were taught that the creeds are old Catholic stuff we don’t need because we have the Bible. I have noticed that churches that proclaim, “Our only creed is every word of the Bible” tend to major in the minor stuff. And sola scriptura has become solo scripture (I wish I was the clever person who made that phrase). Solo scripture – me and the Bible alone, my interpretation alone. The usual American mindset is that there was virtually nothing worthwhile or true in Christianity from the death of the last apostle until the creation of my denomination or sect. Until my own group appeared, just about everything was false so it would be dangerous to look into the ancient creeds. Well, maybe I am exaggerating a little bit, but not too much.
I have heard conservative evangelicals and liberal mainline Protestants say similar things about Church history. I have heard both conservatives and liberals say that Christianity started out okay, but then Constantine corrupted it. The conservative evangelical will stop there while the liberal will often go on to praise Gnosticism.
Isn’t the Scandal of the Evangelical Mind by Mark Nolls?
you are correct. perhaps another book with similar title was being referenced. David wells writes books dealing with the evangelical church drifting from the reformed creed and those that no longer preach this message even though they proclaim to believe it.
Yes you were correct. My mistake. David Wells wrote something similar and now I’m going why did I give all those books away.
no, people will not be lost because of millions spent on someone’s personal opinions (the ark? mega-churches). People will not be lost because they believe in a young earth compared to an old one. People will not be lost because of any of the various viewpoints on scientific theories. This is silliness. It may be how you feel, but that doesn’t make it true. People will be lost because they reject the revelation He has given them about Himself, our condition, and the Savior provided as the solution. This oec vs. yec debate is just useless in this regard. An incredible waste of energy and resources. Do you honestly believe that Christ, at the Great White Throne judgement, is going to spend one second of eternity questioning anyone regarding their view of the earth’s age?
You say you never read Darwin’s Black Box. Interesting. Have you read any books contra evolution?
Forget catholics. Have you read any by atheists or agnostics? Any by evolutionists themselves honest enough to admit it’s weaknesses?
I find your reply, and the initial blog, typical of the type written by those who find any excuse not to read anything by those who disagree with them. Either said authors are too religious, don’t have enough or appropriate degrees, use too much or too little scripture, etc. Anything as an excuse not to challenge their one’s own beliefs.
The reference in the initial blog, and your response, to David Wells is quite disingenuous. I have read five of his books, and i have seen nothing in reference to creation vs. evolution. His writings have to do with the watering down and compromising of scriptural authority, primarily within the evangelical churches. He does indeed touch on the issue of churches arguing over minor things. He would consider this blog and it’s results as just such an example.
And again, i read nothing but anti-Ham (and apparently anyone related to him, or similiar in approach), as if he alone is the sole proponent of anti-evolutionary thought. I have brought this up before, and it is never acknowledged, which forces me to question the sincerity of those writing here when I am regaled with posts decrying those who disagree with you despite the numerous books and articles written.
The issue with evangelicals or any christians who disagree with evolution has little to do with the age of the earth and much to do with evolutions’s acceptance and it’s effects on theological perspective. While i have read many books and articles by oec’s pleading for “proper science”, there are virtually none written dealing with evolutions distorting effects on proper and historic christian orthodoxy. This is your great weakness. It’s all about accepting the science and/or comforming biblical teaching to evolution, if not ignoring it outright. Now that’s a topic i would love to see. And i can guarantee you that your responses would soon reveal that you and your’s are quite busy (even if unconsciously) redefing or ignoring key christian dogmatics. That is what you should concern yourself with. I don’t think God is concerned with us getting the age of the universe correct, give or take ten percent. I do believe that He is quite concerned with us understanding and accepting what He has revealed about Himself and His message. By all means, feel free to discuss the age of the earth or to continue to rant on about Ken Ham. It is just meaningless, except for those who major on the sciences and minor on biblical revelation. Now which of those two do you think being right or wrong about can effect your eternal future? A heart that accepts the gospel message is, at that moment, unconcerned about quantum physics. A heart that then continues to seek after God and enjoy spiritual fellowship with Him will rarely if ever mistake the leading of the Spirit with the need to understand “correct” geological ages.
Regarding my use of David Wells article; I was applying conclusions of his article to the creation debate rather than suggesting he was speaking – or has every written – about creationism. I don’t even know what his view on the age of the earth is but his insight into ills of the evangelical church at-large are useful.
thank you for the response. Yes, i understood your reference, just cautioning those not familiar with Wells from reaching a wrong conclusion. His treatments on the ills of the church have little or nothing to do with science, and everything to do with correct doctrine and adhering to reformed theology. But i agree, there is much wrong with the evangelical church today. I just don’t see the age of the earth as being prominent or important. I enjoyed your article.
I simply said I never read Darwin’s Black Box. I have read plenty of Morris and Philip Johnson, Myers and many others including Thomas Nagel and David Berlinski. I was simply making a point about introducing doctrine into what is supposed to be a “scientific” debate and though I didn’t read Behe’s book I haven’t heard he used it to promote Mary as the Queen of Heaven.
I said the same thing about truth, people will be lost because proper doctrine has taken a back seat in the American Church. You are harping on about the Liberal Church’s acceptance of Darwinism and YEC vs OEC in non-liberal churches where a young lady knew more about Dispensationalism than the Deity of Christ.. I was talking about nonessentials meaning more than they are supposed too. I was talking about christians that know more about YEC than they do about the essentials of the faith or even OEC’s in the same position. Altar calls where hundreds accept Christ and cannot be found after a month has gone by. Charles Spurgeon decried the practice of American Revivalism, saying it made converts today that were gone tomorrow. Why?
well Jimmie, you certainly travel widely in your responses. you do seem to confirm my point. Your complaint is that people focus on minors while ignoring majors. My goodness, have you read my posts. I point out the same thing. I then try to encourage people here to get over the Ham-slander impulse and get back to basics. Honestly now, you and i must travel widely divergent church groups. In over four decades of attending primarily non-denominational churches and speaking at dozens of mainline churches, I have found that people, almost without exception, are pretty much ignorant of the whole creation vs. evolution debate and the oec vs. yec disagreement. Most people consider these arguments irrelevant, as do i. They’ve got far more important things to concern themselves with than the age of the earth or geological formations.
I won’t disagree that the church at large is quite ignorant about doctrine, but that has nothing to do with any topic on this site. And i agree the gospel has been watered down and that the bible’s integrity is being slowly destroyed (most often, one may be surprised, by empirical science and many churches desire to appear “with it” on the latest scientific theories). I couldn’t agree more that we need to stop interpreting the bible with science and science with the bible, thus i have no problem (from a logical standpoint) with christians believing in evolution and an old earth as long as they don’t try to use the bible to do so. I may not agree with them on all points and have my own pet theories about this whole argument.
So see, we don’t disagree on everything. There is hope after all. I just believe the topics of this site is a distraction. And i don’t believe anyone doesn’t come to know Christ based on the knowledge level of the church concerning the earth’s age and evolution. And that debate itself ignores the much larger difficulties facing evolutionary thought. I sometimes wonder if that’s the plan.
Thanks for your observations. I quite agree. BTW, I believe it is Mark Knoll that wrote Scandel of the Evangelical Mind. That is an important book. I used a quote from it at the end of my letter to the session of a local church after creation conference there: “One of the additional consequences of the dogmatic kind of biblical literalism that gained increasing strength among evangelicals toward the end of the nineteenth century was reduced space for academic debate, intellectual experimentation, and nuanced discrimination between shades of opinion.”
― Mark A. Noll, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind
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an excellent quote, the marrow of which could be applied to much of scientific thought today.
I have little to add. It’s the same in our reformed church; there are pastors and others in positions of authority who blindly follow and promote AiG over and above people in their own congregations who have been trained in science. People, in some cases, who they’ve grown up with and known all their lives. In addition, and contradictorily, the higher bodies (synods) have appointed committees whose mandate is to find other “true” churches and begin relations with them with a view toward unity. The ones you named (seventh day, Lutheran, Assemblies of God, …) are actually so far away theologically that we would not touch them with the proverbial “ten-foot pole”. But this contradiction doesn’t seem to bother the AiG proponents in our church.
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I don’t want to take away from the discussion about YEC in Reformed churches. However, the mention of “The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind” reminded me of the essay, “The Scandal of the LCMS Mind.” This essay discusses YEC and how it became accepted in some branches of Lutheranism. So the essay mentions a lot of Lutheran doctrines and details of church politics that a non-Lutheran might find irrelevant. Still, some might find it interesting to see how YEC became very thoroughly accepted in a particular denomination, even though it is not Calvinist. YEC is a central doctrine in fundamentalist churches but YEC also at least influences many conservative but not strictly fundamentalist churches, be they Calvinist or Lutheran or something else. So Reformed readers might find it interesting how YEC got accepted in another conservative but non-fundamentalist church.
Many of us believe in upholding both the integrity of the Bible as well as the integrity of science. This should not be a struggle but some churches have painted it as an either-or issue. We see that the YEC answer, which is to twist science and deny natural history, is the wrong approach.
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Thanks for the link to that excellent article. That is really helpful. I will definitely be incorporating some of the insight there into some future works.
and they, of course. see denying inspiration and twisting the scriptures in a vain attempt to appease science as a problem. Just depends on your perspective. Neither point is valid merely because it is held.
I do not deny the inspiration of the Bible and the doctrines of inerrancy were written and fleshed out by B.B. Warfield who thought the age of the Earth was not as important as The Confession was. I also read Nahmanides who in the 13th century I think, his reading of Genesis described the Big Bang. I am an OEC who does not believe in Darwin. I believe if you hope and trust in Christ you are saved, if you stop you are not saved. Calvinism is Perseverance of the Saints, not once saved always saved. I do not accept the extreme fundamentalism of many churches as it create false division. I do believe that the Copts who died for Christ under ISIS even though many of them do not accept all the books of the Bible that we do died in Christ to a great reward.
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Readers of this post may find this article on Genesis of value:
Click to access RC2016Reading%20Genesis.pdf
It seeks to present a fresh view of Genesis in a Reformed frame which is not beholden to YEC.
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So many equate theology with opinion, fruitless to argue. In wanting to know whom to believe, I’m helped by seeing what makes sense. For instance, was Earth created with no tilt – so that the Sun’s light could have warmed both polar regions at the same time? Answer: See how warm your house is on a winter day, when our Sun rises far above the horizon. Especially important: The Morris 1976 “The Genesis Flood” (his “greatest book,” as son John told me in A.D. 2000) wants field and forest watered from b-e-l-o-w (contradicting the created hydrology in Job 28:25-28). Supposedly, sea water ran by itself under the continent(s?) to pressurized caverns that pumped it up (fresh & cool?) to springs high and low. Rocky “valves & governors” – just words, no diagrams. Common sense says that lowest outlets would erode first and hog all the water – assuming that “pressure” didn’t first of all send any water back against incoming flow. They just sell books – no survey for effect. GLL
I’ve been born and raised in the Christian Reformed Church and I can’t say I’ve really experienced much in the way of pastors pushing/using AiG and what-not. I can’t even recall ever seeing any AiG materials in any church I’ve been in. My current and recent pastors at least accept the earth is old. I don’t know their view on evolution. I’m a geologist and I’ve never really had anyone question me on anything related to this.
I’ve not seen any profound anti-intellectualism from the pulpit or even the laity. Education, scholarship have usually been well received and encouraged in all the churches I’ve been part of.
my experience as well
I wished I could say the same. Just finding a reformed teaching church where I live hasn’t been easy. I found a Southern Baptist church where the pastor does. He is not dispensational, but is partial to YEC, but he doesn’t make a big deal out of it and has told people it isn’t something to get worked up about as he also understands other viewpoints. The pastor and I both have read a lot of Charles Spurgeon and I loaned him Spurgeons commentaries on the Psalms, A Treasury of David. He does preach doctrine in an interesting way and points back to those Creeds and the London Baptist Confession. He is a Calvinist, but doesn’t argue with most people about it unless they are preaching a works basis soteriology. Then he gets excited. He doesn’t like AIG materials when they are not talking about their basis for existence, ie,YEC, as the author of the article pointed out, many of them have no theological training.
I made a big mistake above attributing Mark Noll’s book to David Wells, it’s what I get when I give away books, I got my authors mixed up in my memory. Sorry about that. I used to read just about everything I could, but I noticed many viewpoints are quite contradictory. I read a book by RC Sproul that literally changed my whole viewpoint on many churches and their doctrines a long time ago. “If there is a contradiction there can be one side right or no side right, but they cannot both be right.” There comes a time where you have to decide which side is right based on study and prayer to know what is true. It isn’t easy, but there are contradictions between churches and denominations. There are some simple biblical rules to help us. By their fruits shall ye know them and Wisdom is justified by her children are good places to start. They help a lot by helping to determine what’s more important as we try to grow.
I empathize with you having a hard time finding a suitable church. Although I was from a different tradition (Lutheran), I think between a lot of churches there is a liberal vs. conservative divide and by default, many conservative churches adopt YEC because it seems like the most conservative view. Indeed, in many conservative churches they have doubled-down on insisting on YEC (I know this is very much the case in some Lutheran churches – I think there is more diversity on this in Reformed churches, but I can’t speak from experience). I eventually found a Catholic-like Anglican church that is somewhat similar to the church I grew up in (there are also some Anglican churches that are more Reformed-like). I remember it was kind of painful to be at first welcomed at a church and then, sooner or later, you gently ask if YEC is the only option, and suddenly you are THE ENEMY for even asking.
That is truly regrettable. I was non-denominational my whole christian life until i started attending a presbyterian church a year or so ago. While this particular PCA family adopts an official position of YEC, it accepts non-yec as members. It’s not something argued over. I agree it’s just not that important, at least at a surface level. It does become an issue if one who holds to oec allows that position to start redefining historical church positions on the veracity of scripture or encouraging the acceptance of non-biblical theology, as it should. That is why i discourage oec’s from trying to use the bible and not just science as an affirmation of their position. Nor do i encourage yec’s to use the bible to interpret science. It just can’t be done in an honest, intellectual, or hermeneutic manner.
Either way, you are just using truth to interpret truth. I see nothing wrong with that. Divorcing the bible and science is as irrational as divorcing science and history, or astronomy from physics, or the bible from logic.
now you are making a genetic fallacy. I fully believe, properly considered, interpreted, and understood correctly, that one source can be helpful in understanding another. If you’re argument is true, then Genesis 1 and billions of years should be entirely in agreement. They, however, are not. You cannot, with any degree of honest interpretation, get billions of years from Genesis 1 without making words mean something other than what they clearly state. You would not get proper geology, astronomy, physics, etc, by trying to interpret scripture passages with a wooden literalism. You don’t get proper theology from, let’s say, from biology. Let the sciences and the scripture say what they say. Vain attempts to force agreement usually end up negating what one or both say is true. If after careful scrutiny they contradict one another, the usual response is to disregard one or the other. Science can tell us little if anything about the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the incarnation. In fact, science is usually assumed to flatly contradict such things as the ressurection, miracles, etc. At that point one must decide. Is scripture correct? Or is naturalism correct. This is the point i am making. Sometimes, no matter the effort made, you are not going to get agreement between the bible and science. You then must choose, one or the other, or another option is that there are some things that even science will not be able to explain, especially from a biblical perspective. Thus when some christians understand science to contradict scripture, they ignore the science. Far from being stupid, this is actually a consistent choice if one believes the bible to be inspired and inerrant. And thus scientists usually accept what they believe science to reveal over the revelation of scripture. This too is an honest and consistent approach. Thus i encourage people to choose whichever they believe and see how it all works out in eternity. Trying to force agreement is like spitting in the wind. It’s embarrassing.
No Old-Earth Creationist or Theistic Evolutionist I have met claims that Genesis 1 teaches billions of years. Rather, it simply does not teach the time-frame in which creation took place at all. I would argue as a day-age creationist that it describes God’s creation in terms of the human work-week. But not in terms of 24-hour days. Rather six consecutive eras of time (unspecified length) that are consistent (but not “teaching”) with billions of years.
I disagree that science flatly contradicts things like the resurrection, virgin birth, etc. It simply says those things don’t happen naturally. But that says nothing about whether God did them supernaturally.
Finally, I must point out that “Choosing either science or the bible” makes literally no sense at all. It is impossible. You cannot choose between two truths. They are both truths. The only option is to try and harmonize them (which requires contesting the interpretations of both), if you are incapable of doing so, simply say “I don’t know”, but you can’t just choose one over the other. “I don’t know” is a more honest approach than simply chucking half the truth out the windows and latching on to the other half. 100% truth vs 100% truth is impossible.
you are being anachronistic in your reasoning. To read back into Genesis something that does not occur until the time of Moses is just begging the question. And no, you are wrong. Any genuine, etymological reading of Genesis will never lead one to “read into” the word day, accompanied by a numeric, billions of years. You may check every usage of the Hebrew word for day with a numeric and not find one instance of a possible reading of many or millions of years. Not one. Prove me wrong. Stop reading into Genesis what your paradigm requires you to find.
And again, you fail to understand me. Your statement regarding truth vs. truth is a non sequitur. First, you are assuming, rightly or wrongly, that everything in the bible AND science is the truth. Second, you are assuming that all different viewpoints CAN be harmonized. Not true. Varies case by case.
And yes, i can chose anything i want. I don’t share your viewpoint. You are free to posit that everything YOU believe is true and should be believed, but that is just your opinion.
And am i to assume you have met EVERY oec or theistic evolutionist and know what they believe. Doubtful, and i have books on my shelves written by them that prove you wrong. You must grow beyong emotive pleading and stick to what is verifiable.
My point again is that not every “truth” can be harmonized. That would depend on who is defining “truth” and what the “truths” actually state in comparison to one another. One man’s truth is anothers fallacy. Forced harmonization does neither truth justice. That is my point. And one i think you would find verified in any book on philosophical and logical reasoning. In addition, in your argumentation you seem to posit that science and the bible are on equal footing regarding truth claims. I think you would find hundreds of millions of christians who would disagree with you. They may respect science and it’s achievements, but they also know it is fallible (do i need to prove this?). Until everyone agrees that both are on equal footing, there will never be complete harmonization, unless forced. Plus you imply there are no statements of contradiction between the bible and science. Certainly not true.
As I have stated many times, and you don’t seem to understand, therefore I must repeat. I am not saying that Genesis 1 describes billions of years. I am saying it simply does not specify (and is not intended too) the length of creation. Thus, it does not contradict the bible to say the earth is billions of years old, okay? Genesis 1 also does not describe when God created bacteria and viruses, but we are not contradicting the bible to say that viruses and bacteria exist and were created. Nor are we “reading into the text”.
As for “Yowm”, there is no rule in hebrew that being used with the number defines which definition of the word we are to use. And again, “Yowm” doesn’t mean “billions of years”, it can mean an indefinite period of time. By definition, the word “indefinite” can include anything from a couple of nanoseconds, to the largest number of years you could possibly imagine. Genesis 1 isn’t teaching how long creation took, it is teaching the order of creation framed through the lense of a human work-week. I do not think the original audience or author would read it and say “yep, billions of years”, I think they would read it simply not know how long creation took, as that wasn’t the point.
To be clear, I was using “science” to mean the scientific data, as in, what objectively exists within nature. Not what scientists happen to say (or what the consensus is), which of course can be wrong. I would say the pure data (what is within the universe that we observe) is 100% truth as is the bible. It really couldn’t be any other way. Because the data is what is “real” to begin with.
I am not assuming “that all different viewpoints can be harmonized”. Obviously not, flat-earthism cannot be reconciled with round-earthism. A man being married cannot be reconciled with him being a bachelor. Rather, I would say that sense both the scientific data and the bible are 100% true, it must be possible to harmonize them. Unless you appeal to some sort of strange eastern view that doesn’t believe in the law of noncontradiction. And by “harmonizing” I do mean looking for different interpretations of both the scientific data and the bible. The scientific data being things that we find (fossils, rocks, genes, planets, particles, etc.) and the bible being the raw, uninterpreted text. So we need to check them both. One does not get priority over the other. The best way to truth is to see which interpretation is stronger. To me, the YEC interpretation of Genesis is extremely weak, and the interpretation of the scientific data as supporting and old-earth and universe is overwhelmingly strong.
And let me state once again, you do NOT get any support from Genesis 1 for an oec viewpoint. NONE. No, there is no “official” rule for the numeric with the Hebrew word for “day” used in this passage and others. There is the precedent, however, of contextual considerations. And it is this, everywhere this word is used with a numeric in the OT, the context clearly reveals that literal days are implied. There is also a rule that states that the first usage of a word in scripture will determine it’s primary, and sometimes, sole meaning. The rabbis often used this. Whether you believe Genesis 1 could mean indeterminate periods of time or millions of years is not relevant. You are wrong. Genesis states clearly that they are days and even numbers them chronologically. I’m not sure what else God could have included to make it more clear. If people want to believe in an old earth, or evolution, i could care less. Just quit pretending that you have biblical support for it. You don’t, at least not without allegorizing words and passages beyond any acceptable original meaning.
You don’t seem to realize the import of what you write. You admit that two viewpoints that are contradictory cannot be harmonized. Then you state that the bible and science can be. Do you think the bible and scientists state and believe the same things? Of course, they often do not, the above example being a clear indicator.
Certainly you know that your beliefs, because they include a God, are rejected by the majority of scientists. Even many non-atheistic scientists believe in more of a deistic sort of God. So your attempts to reconcile the bible and science are unacceptable in mainstream science. In other words, they don’t appreciate or embrace your attempts to bring the bible in line with science. You may state that you see no real contradictions (if, as you say, both are properly understood), but yours is a very minority viewpoint. Most scientists do.
And let me repeat, the bible DOES specify a time frame in Genesis 1. How you could say it doesn’t is beyond me. Day. Day. Day. Day. Day. Day. Day. First, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh. I would be interested to know if you encounter these words together in everyday life where they don’t mean consecutive days. Exactly what do YOU need to see that you would accept as clear proof of what seem to be obvious meanings? But feel free to risk contorting biblical words and passages. And lest you reach for the often used “it’s just poetic prose”, it is not. It is historical narrative. That is it’s genre, recognized by every Hebrew scholar i have ever read. It’s strange, but i am not at all bothered that the bible contradicts apparent truths of science. I do not worship science. I do not exalt science to equal position with biblical revelation. Science can speak to what it speaks to. It does NOT speak to Hebrew word meanings, nor genres of scripture writings. It cannot. It explains what we observe, not answering the why’s and often not even the how’s. There are no biblical warnings for those who don’t agree with science. There are, however, for those who “take away from or add to” biblical revelation.
Science and theology are not bedfellows, and never will be.
Oh, i forgot additional details in my above post. “Evening and morning”. Does that help?
So, at this point, the disagreement simply boils down to “does the day-age interpretation have any merit?”. We are pretty much completely off-topic of this post at this point, and I do not wish to continue this discussion HERE. I wrote a slightly lengthy article on my blog called “The Case For Day-Age Creationism”, it addresses pretty much every point you have raised here. If you wish to continue this discussion, please read it and post in the comments of that post. Here is the link: http://objectivechristianworldview.weebly.com/blog-posts/the-case-for-day-age-creationism
thank you for the reference. I shall check it out. I hope you have some new insights. the currently recycled ones hold no water. They are creative, but so is fiction. And no, the disagreement is not a simple one, but effects the whole of christian theology, though few see it at first. I’ll get back to you.
your “error” was quite understandable. As a voracious reader, i often do the same. Nothing to get worked up about. LOL. I say amen to all you wrote.
Joel, Have you seen this one? http://news.sky.com/story/the-universe-could-be-a-vast-and-complex-hologram-scientists-say-10749010
Yeah, I’ve seen a similar story circulate several times over the years. So maybe we are all living in flatland after all:-) These theories are an outgrowth of the desire to understand what reality really is. I suppose even as Christians we would in some sense say that the whole creation is a hologram of God’s making that we are living in. Ah, but if I go on, I’ll just spiral into a never-ending set of speculations.
This seems very “appeal to authority” fallacy-ish.
If person A makes an arguement it is not remotely reasonable to dismiss it on the sole basis of a lack of training/education. If person B makes an arguement it is not remotely reasonable to accept it on the sole basis of a presence of training/education.
Arguments need to be judged on their own merits, the person making them is irrelevant.
We appeal to authority all the time, not in an unquestioning way but still, authority can and should have a lot of weight. If I have an illness, I go to a doctor who specializes in treating that illness. I would want to go to a real doctor who graduated from a real medical school. I would not go to a “doctor” who got a fake degree from a diploma mill. Both people might have a fancy piece of paper saying they are a doctor but such a piece of paper does not magically make someone a doctor – there is a legitimate authority behind the real diploma. The real doctor would be the one who was taught by other doctors. So the doctor-in-training had to rely on the authority of his teachers.
Of course, doctors can be wrong. Many years ago doctors did not believe in germs and that these germs could cause disease. Then finally two scientists – one an expert in chemistry and one an expert in biology – proved that there are germs and taught the doctors how to sterilize medical instruments. But note that we did not have a case where laypeople (non-doctors or non-scientists) knew all about germs and sanitation but the stubborn doctors did not listen to them. It took two scientists who used all their knowledge and experience to bring this important advance to medicine.
Only because I have too. And If I am given the slightest reason to suspect the doctor is wrong I will ask about it. I won’t just be quiet and assume he’s right because he has training and I don’t. And if someone gives me a good arguement for what is causing a particular medical ailment I won’t doubt it on the grounds of them not being trained.
And even when I do go to the doctor I have a small degree of trust in them based on the fact that they haven’t been sued or imprisoned in their years of work. So even in that case I believe they are right (without any contradictory evidence, anyways) because of the evidence, not because of their authority in their degree.
If I ride a ferris-wheel I don’t simply trust the ferris-wheel because of the training of those who built it, I trust it because many other people have ridden on it before without issue, aka the evidence, not authority. So no, I don’t think real appeals to authority are ever legitimate.
and there have been, in centuries past, plenty of discoveries and advancements made in science that did not involve people with an official degree. This is a very western development. I am not encouraging quackery, but your use of “fake” and “fancy piece of paper” seems a not so subtle attempt to “poison the well”. Do you determine what is valid? Does the majority? Imagine how many discoveries we would have lost if only the “approved” were allowed involvement.
You are right, we all believe in authority. Some christians believe in the ultimate authority of scripture. They are not wrong just because you think they are. This statement would apply to both sides of a debate. The issues at stake are best considered from an objective consideration of facts, and this is virtually impossible for us humans. Everyone has an agenda. Everyone has presuppositions. I have learned from posting on blogs for almost two decades that someone actually changing their mind on a strongly held position is about as likely as a ending all life on earth meteor strike. It’s just a waste of time, and even moreso when one or both sides are attributing conciliatory truth claims to areas of belief that inherently have none.
Notably, no discovery, invention, successful prediction or otherwise practical result has ever, ever been made based on the premises that the earth is young, that it ever experienced a global flood or that species are largely unrelated.
Conversely, petroleum geologists consistently use the actual age of the earth and the history of life on it to accurately locate untapped oil deposits, paleontologists are able to find fossils of a predicted nature like Australopithecines or Tiktaalik in strata of the predicted relative and absolute age, thanks to evolutionary theory and a consistent stratigraphy that could not have been formed by a single flood, and doctors can use evolutionary theory to accurately predict the responses of pathogens to various environments in order to create vaccines.
If there were any truth to YECism, it should be able to produce results. However, it never has and it never will.
i enjoyed your philosophical statements and wishes, but you should be more careful throwing around “never” and “ever”. Do you have the slightest idea how many times the experts have used those words only to have to swallow them at a later time. There is nothing scientific about your posting, just nebulous claims and hopes.
Besides, your post is not germane to what i posted. I merely stated that everything in science hasn’t been discovered JUST by those with degrees. That was it. Nothing earth shattering in that statement and one easily discovered by one willing to research. You also seem to fail to understand that paradigms all become self-fulfilling because everything becomes interpreted within them. Only when that paradigm is cracked or nullified is science willing to view things from a different perspective. And i am sure that yec will disagree with your statement that nothing has been predicted. They would just reply that you are unwilling to even consider such because it doesn’t fit within your worldview. And that is one prediction that is fulfilled over and over again, day after day.
I stand by my claim of “Never.” You are welcome to falsify my claim by pointing out just one example of a discovery, invention, successful exclusive prediction or other practical result which depends on the earth being young or species being largely unrelated. I provided you several examples of successful practical results of actual scientific ideas; as I said, if there was any truth to YECism, you should be able to do the same.
seeing as how your claim is primarily metaphysical, i.e. subject to private interpretation, i would assume you would argue that any example i would posit does not fit your definition of category requirements. To make this easier and quicker, exactly what would you accept as defining discovery, aticipated prediction,etc. so i don’t spend years trying to satisfy some nebulous demand. Pick an example or two and, if they actually fit an objective definition of such, i will try to help you. Nevertheless, when you throw out “never” you are entering a the realm of philosophical argument. No one is qualified to make a never statement about anything, unless one is omniscient. I’ll assume you don’t claim to be.
you are entirely correct. A reasoning error made constantly. A variant of the genetic fallacy. Used way too often as an excuse to dismiss an argument without considering its’ validity.
This is just one view of Old and Young from a Jewish physicist.
I have also read that the descriptions of the creation of Adam and Eve in Gen chapter two is a different creation of mankind from chapter one. Thus the creation of a garden was necessary and Adam knew what death was because he had seen it outside the Garden.
Then I’ve read the Literary Framework interpretation by some knowledgeable scholars.
I was first a YEC, but the Grand Canyon and the Grand Staircase changed my mind. The old book by Alan Hayward Creation and Evolution also helped save my faith, he and C. Spurgeon who said it didn’t make any difference how old the Universe was.
Chuck you are a YEC and no evidence will change your mind, but understand Old Earth interpretations have been around for centuries as well. I understand that, there isn’t any historical evidences that will change my mind that Christ lived and died and rose from the dead for the forgiveness of sins for all that will go to Him.
Your refusal to respond to DataDroid’s challenge by calling it a metaphysical is not what I expected from you. I expected an example of what YEC has predicted accurately. You argue above how it doesn’t make any difference, but you are stubbornly refusing to answer a question based on a “turn it back on the questioner” tactic that he has to prove first to you before you will answer him.
Here is an example for your question. OEC physicists predicted based on the slowing of the Earth’s rotation by the moon that the years millions of years ago had more days in them than now. Corals grow yearly rings and daily rings. Coral fossils show precisely what the physicist predicted, 400 day rings millions of years ago instead of 365. The paleontologists discovered precisely what the physicists predicted. That is in Alan Hayward’s old book written a long time ago. The YEC answer to that still doesn’t make any sense.
You Chuck are just arguing using word sleight of hand. I will not say YEC will “never” predict something from it’s “science”, I will ask what has it produced that is useful like oil geology does or the example I just gave? It hasn’t predicted a creation like the Big Bang like Nahmanides did in the 13th century based on his reading of the Bible. It hasn’t predicted that the stars are thousands to millions to billions of light year away.
I of course do not expect you to answer my real question, but I will repeat it, what has YEC “science” produced that is useful and predictive like OEC oil geology does when it finds oil based on Old Earth principles?
jimmie my boy, you are a bit slow on your responses. I had totally forgotten about our exchange, and to be honest, lost interest. Listen my friend, you obviously have a big beef with aig et. al. Have you asked them your question? Why do you expect me to be their defender? I am not a yec OR oec. I am a yec/ouc, so i am not constrained as you are by your own paradigm. I do not have a problem with those who are oec as long as they don’t seek to prove it from scripture, because it ain’t there. Let me repeat that for the hard of hearing, IT AIN’T THERE. No disciplined reading of scripture will ever get you there, especially from the first two chapters of genesis. All such attempts are reading INTO scripture something God never inserted. So my “encouraging words” to oec’s who do this is to quit screwing up the bible. Show it some respect. Another encouragement might be to start exercising some care as you continue to use science to interpret scripture (and quite often, to over ride many of it’s clear teachings).
As to what theories predict and find unfilled, there’s a graveyard of theories that have come and go, been verified, then eventually discarded for a new theory. Every dating method is filled with assumptions, presumptions, and possibility for error. Often “evidences” FOR a theory are trumpeted while evidences against are ignored or suppressed, so after four decades of watching the parade, you’ll have to forgive me for being less that impressed by the latest so and so and such and such. Remember the Steady State Theory? The forever universe? And all the evidences for it? It’s proponents (Hoyle, Einstein, et.al.)? Then suddenly, it was gone. All the evidences “for it” suddenly meant nothing. Some, like Einstein, only grudgingly accepted defeat, though not before fudging his math in a vain attempt to support the old theory. Now we have the Big Bang, and all it’s evidences, possible violations of laws of physics, etc. That’s for now, although there are those who challenge it. One wonders if that’s because there is a scientific reason for doing so or just a philosophical one (a beginning might mean a beginner?).
And Jimmie my boy, exactly what can your God do? I mean, are you a supernatural naturalist? What role is God allowed to play in His creation. Is He bound by natural laws He created? This is your dilemma when you and all the others try to mix what is, by definition, a purely materialistic naturalistic theory with God and the supernatural. One or the other has to go. Science has no room for a god, and a biblical God is not bound by His creation or it’s laws. The result will be distorted science or a distorted God. These difficulties are for you to solve. OEC’s are trying to have their cake and eat it too. Now i am not demeaning science, just those who think it is to have the final and ultimate say so over all things. And while i believe oec’s rarely if ever deal with or acknowledge the damage they do to biblical theology, again, if they want to be good little evolutionists, then their god and their bible is going to be mauled beyond all historical christian recognition. Give me a 15 minute conversation with you, and i’ll have you wondering WHAT you actually are.
I assume you are sincere, and i imply no evil intent on your part. I just find that most scientists suck at theology, and most theologians suck at science. Not all, just most. That’s because a discipline that allows for nothing beyond matter and one that allows for a transcendent Creator cannot but find it near impossible to reconcile said beliefs. I have found that belief in billions of years will logical bring into question genesis, which will logically bring into question whether ex nihilo or evolution is the way to go, which logically brings into question whether adam and eve are real or myth, which logically brings into question whether the fall into sin actually occurred, which brings into question the flood, Babel, Abraham, Issac, slavery in Egypt, Exodus, Moses, the Law, etc. I think you can see where this eventually leads. And it starts right at the beginning. You cannot alter the beginning without affecting the rest of the biblical story.
Also, i certainly question the motivation of those who chose science over the scriptures. What actually are they trying accomplish? Acceptance by the mainstream scientific community? Trust me, clever tricks with biblical passages to conform with science will earn you no place at the table. Secular science will not show any appreciation for your efforts. It may make YOU feel better, or smarter, but they could care less. All you have done if to form another “cult” of beginnings, to go along with the evolution cult, the creation cult, and your evo-creation cult. One rejects religion, the other rejects materialism, and yours, via magical etymology attempts to meet at an imaginary center while in the process destroying the very foundation it claims for support.
Listen, Jimmie, every belief system is built on pre-suppostions, and these are internally loaded into all following discussions of each paradigm. Objectivity is rarely if ever found, and assumptions are seldom if ever brought into question. This goes for all belief systems, secular or religious. Only overwhelming thought, discoveries, or revelations will ever bring them into question and lead to change. Enjoy your life, believe what you want, and please, oh please, do some research. I honestly get sick and tired of people wanting someone to run off and spend hours finding something for them so they can (and they have already decided this) dismiss it a priori and proceed with new demands for information. I have ridden that merry-go-round too many times. If it means that much to you, if you are actually honestly seeking info, then you will try to find answers to your own questions. After all, your eternal destination may be involved. Isn’t that enough motivation? Good luck.
You apparently didn’t read me, I do not believe in Darwin and said so above so do not give me a bunch of nonsense that I let evolution shape my thinking. I also have to face facts and in all your speech you still never answered my question. You have gone after people here telling them that they are trying to make the Bible say this or match what science teaches and it doesn’t make any difference yet you refuse to refute Schroeder’s hypothesis or even look to see if Nahmanides actually did ascertain from his knowledge of ancient semitic Hebrew the Big Bang Theory, he did btw and believed in a literal 6 day creation, but not like YECs do now. You have taken a course in turn the tables, but never actually answer them. I asked a simple question and you wrote a newspaper article not answering it. Oh and I am not your boy I am in my 60s and don’t you dare call me a deist because I am giving you a good argument. If I’m a deist then you are a fideist and believe in things with no evidence to back them up except your own my way only interpretation. Just come out and say that you will not be convinced to change your YEC interpretation of Genesis and it doesn’t matter how much evidence there is against it and stop snidely referring to me as being things I am not. Evo-creation cult!! where do you get the information to say that?
You are blaming a lot of people of things they are not guilty of. I wonder how Charles Spurgeon would feel if you called him a minister trying to please or be accepted by the scientific community? Or worse yet accusing him of belonging to an evo-devo cult. You are the kind of person who shows up in church and would start a division because we all have to believe the Bible the way you say to do.
I study the Bible and I study the world. But you are going on about how I logically have to go through your little scenario because God gave me senses to see and I find the Universe is very old or Genesis is being interpreted wrongfully. But you just sit there lying about me telling me I have a big beef with AIG et. al. I seldom come here. I still have to function in a world that looks very old, even to a lot of christians hundreds of years ago it did, long before Darwin they were wondering what all these fossils meant. Like I said your logical diatribe about how I have to follow the course you laid out is a lie. I do not and never have since becoming a christian denied any of it, I interpret differently, but I haven’t done that here. After I said I wasn’t a believer in Darwin you sure have put a lot of words into my mouth. But you are programmed for that I’m sorry to say, you couldn’t refute one thing I said about the age of the Earth and in case you didn’t notice I never once gave one Biblical passage saying so. I just gave three arguments you can look up out of many. I find Schroeder’s the most likely. Time expanded with the expansion of the Universe.
” I have found that belief in billions of years will logical bring into question genesis, which will logically bring into question whether ex nihilo or evolution is the way to go, which logically brings into question whether adam and eve are real or myth, which logically brings into question whether the fall into sin actually occurred, which brings into question the flood, Babel, Abraham, Issac, slavery in Egypt, Exodus, Moses, the Law, etc. I think you can see where this eventually leads. And it starts right at the beginning. You cannot alter the beginning without affecting the rest of the biblical story.”
This is your assertion, so name some notable Christians in history who did/do not believe YEC and went down your so called logical path like Phillip Johnson perhaps? Was it Spurgeon or BB warfield who wrote the book on inerrancy? How about J. Gresham Machen, founder of Westminster Theological Seminary and wrote the book on liberal Christianity versus orthodox Christianity? Did they follow your logic to your inevitable end? Of course they didn’t.
Of course there have been a few, but there has always been those that fall away, but don’t call me a deist or an evo-devo cultist because you couldn’t refute a couple of examples given in return of your demand on DataDroid. You know me? When you didn’t even pay attention when I said I do not believe in Darwin?
You say you are not demeaning science when your whole posturing is to cast doubts about whenever it sometimes without even trying points to an Old Earth. They were not trying to disprove God when they were counting day rings in corals from millions of years ago. It was predicted and they proved it was all they were trying to do, nothing nefarious there. I look at ID with a grain of salt, but I have enjoyed many of it’s writers, scientists all trying to show that life and this Universe is Designed. Many are christians and not evolutionists. Some are not christian at all like David Berlinski, but I enjoyed his book The Devil’s Delusion. My favorite scientific philosopher-mathematician is John Lennox. He must be all those evil things I am and believe because we pretty much believe the same things and we are both OEC’s who according to you are trying to get the scientific world to like us and be accepted by a bunch of atheists, think about what you have said and publicly slandered me of. Did you take classes from CNN reporters? Same tactics, telling me what I believe in contradiction of what I said, but casting aspersions is an old move indeed.
I wrote my answer above mainly because of your disingenuous answer, if it could be called an answer, to Datadroid above. I just happened to read it and I saw what you did there, same as you just did to me, but with me you added a lot of baseless accusations. You still haven’t answered the question. How about just refute why old earth oil geology works and YEC geology grads find their training pretty useless? Or the coral rings, nothing about the Bible at all there.
Here are two links of a bio from a former YEC geologist who had to change his mind, even against his will at times, because of the evidence he faced everyday at work. Glenn Morton used to write for ICR and was not well received the last time he spoke, not because of what he said about the Bible, but the data he showed didn’t fit their interpretation and John Morris got up on the stage and bald faced lied saying he was an oil geologist and that the data was all wrong. Morris was a hydraulic engineer. The young man almost became an atheist because of what he discovered and how he was treated. Alan Hayward’s book saved his faith.
Evo-devo cultist, it is sad you would sink to such levels. Funny thing is I never once said anything about evolution except to say I do not believe in Darwin.
geez, “old boy”, do you have a memory problem? You repeat yourself over and over again. I’ll try not rant like you. First thing. You are an evolutionist (is there really another kind other than Darwin or Neo-Darwinian?). Yes, i know, the made up old earth creationist. Where would you have actually gotten the idea of an old earth(as in billions of years) if not from Darwinian evolution? Yes, other christians and a few ancient philosophers considered the possibility of great age, i just doubt they were thinking in terms of tens of billions. And, i don’t really care what pagan philosophers believed. Yes, Hodge, Machen, Warfield and others were accepting of evolution at first because in their time there wasn’t an automatic assumption that evolutionists were atheistic in their beliefs. None of them studied it deeply and few ever made more than a mention of it in their writings. If you actually know anything about those men, you would know that they would have roundly rejected it had it been accompanied by the current virulent anti-God presumptions evolution has now.
As to the “cult” word, if you weren’t so busy being defensive you would have noticed that i applied that word to ALL schools of origins, not just oec. And a little study would show you that “cult”, in it’s general usage, does not carry with it the negative meaning that you “read into” it. It simply means a group with a surrounding belief system. So let it go.
I didn’t answer your useless question because it doesn’t really matter. You didn’t answer my question. Would it change your mind? How many examples would it take? I stand by what i, and you yourself said, that just as you accused me of being close-minded, so are you. So are all of us. You have no intention of changing your mind regardless of how many examples i could answer your question with.
So if you do not believe in evolution, then Lucy, you got some ‘splainin to do. Why would you need billions of years if you don’t believe in evolution. So God big-banged the universe 14+ billion years ago and just sat around observing, watching what, trillions of creatures dying and deeming it good? Did God take a couple of apes, do a little Dawkins dna dancing, and turn them into modern man? Remember, you don’t believe Darwinian evolution, so you can’t have anything evolve, otherwise, obviously, you are an evolutionist (is there a christian evolutionary theory?).
By the way Jimmie, there was a Dawkin. So you can believe in him.
And my argument still stands. If you eliminate the literal meaning of Genesis (and no Jimmie, you don’t actually get to pick and chose), they all the subjects i listed in my previous post, and many more, become suspect if not downright untrue. Now as to why oec don’t “appear” to have gone down that road, you’d have to ask them why. I know the one’s i have challenged don’t even seem to have actually thought it out logically, they were honest and simply stated that’s what scientists say pertaining to the age of the cosmos. Christians are widely ignorant of their own theology, and like most all of us humans, seek approval from their peers. That, more than immense internal knowledge, is why people believe what they believe and do what they do. Don’t pretend it’s because the “science” is overwhelming.
As you seem impressed by yec’s becoming oec’s, perhaps in fairness you’d like to read a book filled with oec’s who have become yec’s. If so, i will recommend one or more books to you. But it wouldn’t matter, would it? So why bother. I’ve made no pretense here that if you could just name “one” example of something i will change my paradigm. That’s nonsense regarding anyone. We just don’t let go of our presumptions or strongly held beliefs that easily. And, strangely, after assuring me you had no “grudge” against AIG, what do you do? You give a negative interpretation of an AIG event? Why bother denying the obvious Jimmie? Just about every freaking post here relates to something AIG!!
Also, i don’t get how someone would “have” to change his mind against his will. Was he tortured?
A postscript: every christian i have talked to who accepts either Darwinian evolution or oec ( and i literally mean EVERY) has not been able to tie it in logically and coherently with biblical revelation. As i said prior, few had even thought about the consequences. I am tempted to interpret that as holding a low view of scripture. It’s hard to conceive of a believer in Christ or the inspiration of scripture not giving any thought to how their held beliefs might affect their presentation of the gospel or the bible as a whole. Doesn’t say much for “bringing every thought captive”, does it.
So now that you understand (i hope) that i wasn’t calling you a cultist ( as in pseudo-christian) perhaps you might calm down and deal with some important topics, and by this i am not thinking about tree rings, coral reefs, geological strata, etc. And as a last suggestion, don’t ever think that secular science, or any evolutionary school of thought, doesn’t “need” to see old age in everything it examines. Old age is absolutely vital. The theory dies without it. I really don’t give a spit how old anything is. What i do care about is anything compromising the clear teaching of the bible, especially by confessing christians. And if you don’t think you do, please answer my slippery slope question in my previous post. How do you conform clear biblical teachings with evolutionary thought, the very process which has given you millions upon millions of examples of what you requested above, people who have gone down that road. Most would be identified as liberal with a low view of scripture. Perhaps you are not one of them. Good for you. There are exceptions to every rule, or so they say.
I will not go past your lying first paragraph calling me a darwinist or evolutionist. How many times do I have to tell you I do not believe in Darwinism before you stop lying and say that I don’t believe in it. I am a Intelligent Design believer and I that the only so called evolution I believe in is what we can see. Breed black colored sheep you will get black colored sheep.
What question you asked Datadroid didn’t i answer? You still haven’t refuted a thing I asserted I said. You called my thought out polemic nonsense and at the end of your diatribe you say it doesn’t matter that clear investigation doesn’t refute your interpretation of the Bible and yet still you maintain I believe in the evolutionary paradigm.
I am not the cultist here and go back and read that you called me an EVODEVO cultist. Now you twist like a Jehovah’s Witness does. Cultist, me? No you. Do you deny that the world was created less than 12,000 years ago? No you don’t. Keep on lying and twisting because you cannot see past your paradigm anymore than the liberals can theirs.
Answer the question, not my polemic?
well, in spite of your sporatic english i think i get your gist. Let’s get this clear. You say you are not an evolutionist, right? Yet you believe in an old earth, right? Not young (6-10,000 years), right? So do you believe billions of years? You haven’t said, just that you are not yec. If you do, from where did you get the idea of an earth billions of years old? Certainly not from the bible. And not from yec. So if billions of years but without evolution, why billions of years? As i asked before, what did God do for billions of years? Watch billions and trillions or more of different life forms die off and call it all good? If God created and didn’t use evolution, was death part of His plan? Certainly things must have died, or the earth would have become one big ball of life. Or did the earth sit barren for billions of years and then God jumped in, say, thousands or millions of years ago and set things going?
You refer to evolution that we can see. Exactly what and where is that? It supposedly is so slow and takes so many mutations for a life form to change there is no chance we will ever “observe” anything. But i forget, you are not an evolutionist.
As to your question, i think i’ve clearly explained myself. You have asked for one example of yec predicting something, and i have asked you if i show or tell you one thing, will it make any difference in your viewpoint. In other words, I am questioning the reason for and sincerity of your question. I do not believe that if i showed you a hundred things it would matter to you. Your not really seeking information but just parroting a challenge you’ve heard from someone else.
As to the usage of the word “cult”, i think i have clearly explained my usage of it. I used it to refer not just to you (and those like you) but to ALL beliefs and their adherents, including my own. Your insistence on feigned insult is repetitive and annoying. Check a dictionary. Or, just keep acting insulted.
And what in the world does 12,000 years have to do with anything. I’ve stated clearly on this site before that i am a yec/ouc believer. I have no idea how old the earth is, I just don’t accept billions of years, or even millions. Being a supernaturalist, i believe God can create anything He desires and that He doesn’t need evolution in order to do it. If i thought that science, objectively applied, clearly pointed to evolutionary processes, then i would accept evolution. I do not interpret it that way. I have also stated that ALL of us, without exception, interpret what we see, think, and learn through our own individual paradigms. This is not wrong or evil, just human, and fallible. I’ve been around along enough to observe scientists change their minds about many things, and i believe as time passes more and more of them will continue to turn away from Darwinian processes to other explanations. The creationists always have, and with the ID movement and other alternative theories (i.e. panspermia) joining in, it’s only a matter of time. It won’t happen overnight. It never does. But it will.
My primary disagreement with you and other oec is the usage of scripture to validate oec interpretations. Your usage of science, assuming it’s conclusions are correct, would be valid and logical. The usage of scripture is NOT. It’s not there. Now one can “read into” it to get their validation, but i believe this is a disingenuous method and reflects poorly on said practitioner’s hermeneutical skills. It’s that simple. Use science, fine. Don’t use the Bible.
Some of your sentences are poorly phrased and i am not sure exactly what you are saying, accusing, or asking.
Finally, the only thing i’ve seen you assert is the predictive abilities of oec (i assume oec because you say you are not yec). I would assume any theory will have predictions, otherwise they serve little purpose. And the writings of AIG and other yec sites do indeed make predictions. Assuming you are familiar with their sites yet have apparently failed to see any leads me to believe that either you haven’t read, thoroughly anyway, their literature or that, as i insinuated, there really isn’t any piece of information that will lead you to change your mind. In other words, you see a prediction, or a proffered validation of one, and immediately discount or ignore it as insufficient for you. That is why i seldom if ever respond to the infamous “show me just one _____” challenges. When i have given one, and sometimes dozens, of examples to various challenges on things historical, archaeological, or scientific, it has never made any difference. It never suits the challengers needs. That’s because it is not an honest challenge. If i thought that one example would change you from oec to yec, i might give it a go. But it won’t, and you know it.
So please get over the imaginary insult. And by all means, feel free to tell me exactly what you believe about creation. It seems a hodgepodge of different theories, not fitting exactly into any of them. Also your perspectives on scripture might help. For instance, how old do you think the earth is? Why? How long ago did creation occur. Is your God deistic in His actions and involvement, or more theistic?
And Jimmie, fyi, you haven’t answered any of my questions. Either, if it will make you feel better.
I do not necessarily agree with the dogmatic stance of YEC, nor do I disagree with everything in this article or feel all formally educated Christians are “tainted”. However, the Holy Spirit is the only necessity for understanding the Bible and all that it teaches. The Bible also explicitly condemns man’s wisdom as foolishness (as well as divisiveness within the church and those responsible for that divisiveness.) One of the biggest issues I see with Christian leaders, irregardless of education levels, is a lack of humility, and over-emphasis of non-salvational “doctrines” and arguments and bitterness over them. Love, humility and bearing with one another should be key aspects of the Christian walk, not denigration and mocking (from any side). Many people seem to feel they need to be able to provide “all the answers” but the reality is that there are some things we will not have definitive answers to until Christ’s return and that is okay.