Christians Should Not Simply Dismiss Scientists Without Considering Their Claims

This article was originally posted at my site. I’m married with three children, an SBC pastor, a PhD student at SBTS, and an average Southern Baptist. I’ve authored two books. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and YouTube.

At the recent national Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) conference in November 2012 in Milwaukee, WI, Douglas Moo spoke in the second plenary session on “Biblical Theology and Creation Care.” I appreciated Moo’s emphasis on all truth being God’s truth. I have possibly been too dismissive of Scientists in the past. I agree with Moo that I should consider that Scientists may recognize truth in an area of God’s world that I know nothing about. Of course, Scripture has the final authority, for Science does not delimit Scripture, but in the future, I will consider the claims of Scientists more diligently before I reject them.

Zondervan recorded the plenary sessions, and offers them here. Moo is introduced at 01:03:03, and starts speaking at 01:05:25.

Summary of Moo’s Main Points

Those who speak out against global warming are similar to the country preacher who cannot read transliterated Greek. Inviting different perspectives on man-made global warming is sort of like having a conference on Jesus in which we have equal representation from those who think Jesus existed and those do not think Jesus existed. Moo believes we should trust scientists in the field on this issue instead of meddling in stuff we don’t know anything about. Instead of dismissing scientists, theologians should consider the claims of scientists and return to the text trying to discern if there is any validity in the scientific claim. Western culture has an unbiblical view of dominion over creation. The church must be brought back to a more biblical view of humans and their role in creation.  All truth is God’s truth. Therefore, truth learned in the scientific world reveals evidence God has left for us in creation. The issue is not scientific theory vs. biblical fact, but the interpretations of scientists vs. the interpretations of theologians. Scripture must certainly have the last word, and it is vitally important that information outside of Scripture cannot determine what the Bible can and cannot say. Nevertheless, we cannot dismiss scientific data unless there is sufficient biblical reason to do so. Creation care will be informed by Scientists as we examine their claims in light of Scripture.

This article was originally posted at my site. I’m married with three children, an SBC pastor, a PhD student at SBTS, and an average Southern Baptist. I’ve authored two books. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and YouTube.

Comments

  1. says

    Jared, you’re on a fool’s errand and I wish you all the best. As a former practicing scientist and technical instructor, I can tell you that the entire basis for discourse between evangelicals and scientists is so fundamentally at odds, that unless there is a serious change in the way evangelicals comport themselves, there will never be any serious dialog.

    One of the basic tenets of scientific thought is that all experiments are both verifiable through repeated experimentation and falsifiable by the uncovering of new data. The most famous examples include the discovery of the various phenomena which led to what is generally known as quantum mechanics. These discoveries overturned everything scientists “knew” about the nature of matter. And they were more or less okay with that. At least they are now.

    Contrast that with Al Mohler’s approach to truth, truth claims, and Biblical understanding of essential doctrines. There is no expectation that any current understanding of the Bible needs to be verifiable, can possibly be found to be in error, and is susceptible to being overturned by new discoveries. I am not saying this to be critical. Rather, this is the basic underlying mentality between the two disciplines that prevents them from ever truly talking, listening to, and understanding one another.

    Scientists, no matter how rabidly and tightly they hold to their theories, will at the very least pay lip service to the idea that they could be proven wrong. Evangelicals, no matter how open-minded they claim to be, will hold to things like absolute truth (with the presumption that we can know absolute truth both absolutely and truly, i.e. undistorted by human perception and interpretation), inerrancy of the Bible (to the point of constructing elaborate explanations for obvious discrepancies or in the case of Answers in Genesis, constructing an elaborate justification to support a hermeneutical presupposition and method of interpretation), and will deny the falsifiability of their claims.

    In other words, they aren’t even playing the same game on the same field with the same ball and the same rules. This is the heart, the core, of the division between science and evangelicalism.

    I think the Scopes trial is paradigmatic of evangelicalism. On that day Evangelicals won the battle in court. We turned what should have been a fair and open discussion into a political battle and have since lost the war. Evolution is not only taught throughout the country, but is generally regarded as more true than the Genesis account as an explanation for the origins of life. We have repeated this “success” with the Moral Majority and its successor the Christian Coalition which have attempted to turn moral battles into political ones, winning the initial skirmishes, but now being relegated to a footnote of history. I expect the discussion here will focus more on political issues and power than about whether scientists are right or wrong and whether we should listen to them or not.

      • says

        John,

        Since you asked a simple question, the simple answer is no, I do not believe evolution is more true than Genesis. But at the same time I don’t believe it is less true.

        Your question highlights exactly the point I was making that conversation between evangelicals and scientists is impossible because the two groups are not playing the same game.

        Evolution is a scientific theory and as such is subject to experimentation, verification, and falsification. Genesis is not a scientific theory and is not subject to experimentation, verification, and falsification.

        Within their respective domains and categories, it is equally valid to say they are both true. Where the conflict comes in is when these categories or domains overlap. When atheistic evolutionists like Dan Dennett and Carl Sagan leave the domain of science to make pronouncements about the origin, nature, and meaning of man, life, and God, then they have stopped talking about science and have gone into theology. By the same token, when Ken Ham and the folks at AiG use a particular Biblical hermeneutic (that is not subject to the rules of science) to frame scientific arguments, they have left the domain of theology and entered the realm of science. And neither side wants to play by the rules of the new field they find themselves in.

        When the domains have different definitions of what it means to be “true,” we run into a dilemma, do we not? And just to clarify – if by “true” we mean “correspond to reality” (yes, grossly oversimplified, I know) but one side defines reality as “observable phenomena” and the other defines it as “conformity with our Biblical hermeneutic,” how can we ever expect conversation to take place?

        rick

        • r. smith says

          ?????

          So, evolution is not any less true than the Bible! They contradict, but both are true or at least somewhat true. Each being no more true than the other? How can any man made idea be even considered as close to the Word of God as to truthfulness?

          • says

            r,

            Thank you for illustrating my point so tellingly. At the risk of redundancy, let me restate:

            “Your question highlights exactly the point I was making that conversation between evangelicals and scientists is impossible because the two groups are not playing the same game.”

            Do you believe this verse is true?
            Joshua 10:12
            English Standard Version (ESV)
            12 At that time Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel,

            “Sun, stand still at Gibeon,
            and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.”
            13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped,
            until the nation took vengeance on their enemies.

            Do you believe that the sun and the moon both revolve around the earth? That’s the “plain truth” of what the Word of God says in the Bible.

          • Walt Carpenter says

            Article XIII.

            We affirm the propriety of using inerrancy as a theological term with reference to the complete truthfulness of Scripture.
            We deny that it is proper to evaluate Scripture according to standards of truth and error that are alien to its usage or purpose. We further deny that inerrancy is negated by Biblical phenomena such as a lack of modern technical precision, irregularities of grammar or spelling, observational descriptions of nature, the reporting of falsehoods, the use of hyperbole and round numbers, the topical arrangement of material, variant selections of material in parallel accounts, or the use of free citations.

            http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/creeds/chicago.htm

          • says

            Excellent reply, Walt, excellent reply.

            That puts non-AiG creationists and thesitic evolutionists within the fold of inerrantists. Not sure Al Mohler would agree with that assessment, but it is consistent with the Chicago statement.

    • says

      Rick, I didn’t know that macroevolution was verifiable? How can something that takes place over millions of years be Scientifically verifiable?

      • says

        At least two ways, Jared.

        1. Accurate predictions. For instance, we know to trust weather predictions for three days out because they tend to be accurate to the degree that forecasters state, i.e. we can generally expect temperatures to rise tomorrow +/- the percentage of stated accuracy. By the same token, we do NOT trust weather predictions beyond three days out because weather systems are so complex we cannot make accurate predictions beyond that. And we’re okay with that. We still check the weather before we dress for the day.

        If evolution can make accurate predictions, even in the short term, about what form of life will evolve next, then they can say they are verifiable to the percent of accuracy they claim. I’ll even go one better than that. If evolutionists can accurately predict the past, (i.e provide accurate descriptions of what dinosaurs we will find in the fossil record based on cladistics with an 80% correspondence to what is actually discovered) I would think that is “verifiable.”

        2. Simulations. Evolution takes a long time in a natural, unmoderated, random setting. If we can simulate evolution under carefully controlled and directed lab conditions, we can speed up the millions of years and thus verify evolutionary claims.

        However, here is a MAJOR problem with evolutionary claims. As far as I know, science has never been able to duplicate a single evolutionary pathway through carefully controlled experimentation. For instance, we know the entire genetic makeup of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. It only has 4 chromosomes and we know the exact structure of every single one of them and have a fairly good handle on what genes code for what traits and are learning more every day. But here’s the rub – even though we know it’s genes, we can neither create a D. melanogaster from an evolutionary precursor, nor can we duplicate the evolutionary path whereby D. melanogaster evolves into a different species of fly.

        And people are not talking about this. At least in the creationist world. Don’t ask me why. To me, this is one of the biggest chinks in evolution’s armor, but because evangelicals know so little about science in general and even less about biochemistry, people are not making this argument. For that matter, to even articulate it, they need far more understanding of both evolution and biology than most are comfortable with.

        • Bennett Willis says

          We can produce a working polio virus from chemicals in bottles. I’m not sure if a virus should be regarded as alive or not.

    • r. smith says

      [Straw man: I don't know of anyone who believes that their understanding of some text in the Bible might not be wrong. We're all learning and sometimes we change our interpretation of some verse, but the Bible is inerrant.. I may be in error, but not the Bible! Truth does not change.]

  2. says

    Jared, you have a series of posts here that express your interest in the subject. While I grant you that summarizing the speakers is difficult, I have found it confusing to differentiate between points you are making and points of the speakers that you are repeating.

    First, since none of the speakers are present here, and you clearly have a serious interest in the subject, would you mind saying how you think Scripture informs us on the subject of global warming.

    Second, do you agree with Moo that “we should trust scientists in the field on this issue instead of meddling in stuff we don’t know anything about” (your summary of Moo’s point)?

    Third, have you ever addressed the subject of global warming in a sermon or lesson in your church and, if so, what did you say about it?

    Thanks.

    • says

      William, I apologize for the lack of clarity on my part. First, Scripture informs us on global warming the same way it informs us on companies dumping toxic waste in our communities. The question is if global warming is a legitimate threat. Second, I agree with Moo that we should trust Scientists until they start disagreeing with Scripture. There’s not a consensus on global warming in the Scientific community (from what I understand). Beisner’s claims cannot be dismissed as “pseudo-Science,” which is what both Moo and Bauckham did. Also, the “serious threat” of global warming is not truly verifiable until it happens. Third, I haven’t addressed global warming from the pulpit other than to say that we need to consider the evidence from both sides instead of merely siding with a political party. Love for God and our neighbor should be the reason we listen to evidence from both sides before we make a decision. In the meantime, we can be better stewards of creation for God’s glory.

      • Bennett Willis says

        Jared, the people who say there is not a consensus are a clear (way) minority in the subject of global warming. Unfortunately, most of them (the dissenters) also are employed by some organization (in some manner–directly or grants) who has a clear interest in promoting the “no global warming” point of view. All people who take science seriously find these conflicts of interest disturbing. [I acknowledge that there is a lot of money in some areas of science that somehow makes it easier to see the results in a particular way. I worked for a "major chemical company" for 33 years and understand how that can be. I find these cases disturbing also--and periodically some "scientist" is disgraced because his/her data cannot be reproduced and thus his/her conclusions cannot be justified. Rick discussed this issue with great skill in come of his comments.]

        It is extremely easy (and probably justified) to dismiss Dr. Beisner’s claims because of his organization–and the fact that the consensus (and logic) is against him.

        You seem to make the point that the threat of global warming is not verifiable until it happens. I can’t disagree with this statement but regard it as irresponsible. We respond to projected threats every day. Should we wait until we are robbed to put locks on our doors?

        You seem to be a “late arriver” in this discussion. The consensus was in several years ago. Climate change has been discussed and doubted but the consensus continues to build. To say that it does not simply shows that you are not paying attention.

        As I have said before, I think we (mankind) will do the experiment (with carbon dioxide) no matter what the US does. We will get verification (or denial) of the effect of carbon dioxide on the heat balance of our planet. And (almost certainly), even when that verification is in, there will be noisy people on the other side that say it is not so–no matter how it turns out.

        But right now, the preponderance of the data seems to support an increase in the heat that is kept on our planet. This data is used to build models (very complex but still incomplete models) that project that there will be a change in our climate–beyond the normal variations. The projection is that weather will become more extreme and on average things will become warmer. If this happens, there will be consequences. We may be seeing these consequences, or what we are seeing may just be “normal” variations in our weather. We cannot be sure.

        But the data seem to indicate that the models are at least generally pointing in the direction of what will happen.

        • r. smith says

          What happened to the consensus in the 1960s that we were going into an ice age? And notice how now the consensus is “climate change” (tornados, hurricanes, etc), , not “global warming”, but all of it is supposedly caused by something humans are doing. Also, when we have hot weather, that’s an indication that the planet is warming and when we have especially cold weather, it’s caused by “global warming” somehow. You can’t win with these folks. Opposing facts are interpreted to “Prove” whatever the prevailing opinion is at the time. In the 60s we were going into an ice age because we had a cool spell. Hundreds of years ago, we had times of cooling and times of warming – long before the industrial age and automobiles.

  3. Sam says

    Rick,

    My experience with biologists and naturalists in science departments contradicts your comment that the majority of scientists are open to the possiblity of being wrong. That would be true on SOME subjects, subjects like contemporary theories of physics and expanding universe, quantum mechanics, etc. But the overwhelming majority of published scientists absolutely deny any possibility of being wrong about:

    1) a completely closed physical universe
    2) the sufficiency of cause-effect relationships to comprehensively describe origins
    3) the age of the earth
    4) an uncaused, catastrophic beginning to the universe (Big Bang)

    These are taken to be fundamental tenets of modern science, because they operate as a foundation by which scientists interpret other data. Could not doctrines such as the inerrancy of Scripture or the ex nihilo creation be taken to be foundational as well? Why does science enjoy the privilege of having rock-solid, foundational truths, but Christianity must continually evolve?

    • says

      Sam,

      It would be awkward to always phrase things in terms of tentative language, theoretical constructs, caveats, addenda, etc. It is much easier shorthand to state things more or less categorically as if they were solid truth. And yes, there are plenty of cranky scientists who will gladly take a know-it-all stand on what they “know” to be true.

      However, every scientist in every discipline knows that what they believe today is NOT what was believed even in the fairly recent past, and that what they believe today could fairly easily be supplanted by a new discovery tomorrow. They may not say this out loud or very often, but it is true. No one actually expects the atomic theory to be replaced by a completely new theory of matter, but by the same token, if pressed, honest scientists will tell you that fundamentally some things not only remain unknown, but by their nature are unknowable.

      And I guarantee, if you announce yourself as a fundamentalist, they’ll never admit that to you because they don’t trust you to either understand what they mean by that or characterize it fairly when talking about it.

      Let me give you a relatively simple example of the fundamentally unknown and unknowable – find a single, universal answer to the question, “Why does glue stick?” Or the analogous question, “Why does paint stick?” You will find five major theories of adhesion, none of which explain all phenomena. However, that doesn’t stop chemists from making billions of dollars in the paint and adhesives fields. It is possible to state things fairly categorically without a full understanding of the mechanisms involved.

      And that is just one more reason why evangelicals and scientists can’t talk to one another productively. Evangelicals want a philosophical foundationalism and are jealous because scientists seem to have it; meanwhile scientists shrug their shoulders at evangelical pouting and tell them to get over it because it is a pragmatic, rather than a practical, foundationalism that science is built on. The litmus test is utility. As long as a theory or “foundational belief” works, they’ll keep it. When it stops proving useful, they discard it and move on to the next “foundational belief.”

      Evangelicals want immutable foundations. Scientists don’t care.

    • r. smith says

      ?

      [Except, it keeps getting older and older! I love these stories you see in the newspaper where they have decided that they were off on the
      age of some fossil by 50 million years or so. But, that's science - they
      are always right.]

    • r. smith says

      Part of my previous attempted post was left off. So here goes again.

      ?

      [Except, it keeps getting older and older! I love these stories you see in the newspaper where they have decided that they were off on the
      age of some fossil by 50 million years or so. But, that's science - they
      are always right.]

      • says

        r.

        You realize this is a self-contradictory post, don’t you?

        If science comes out and says, “We were wrong,” how is it that you say they “are always right.”?

        By way of contrast, when was the last time you heard a seminary professor or Baptist pastor announce that what they previous believed was wrong, but thanks to new data, they have revised their original belief and now believe something different? Science does this all the time.

        • John Wylie says

          Rick not to toot my own horn but I’ve had to do that a number of times in my ministry. I’ve known other pastor who have as well.

          • says

            John,

            I applaud your honesty and humility. I confess that I too was once a rabid Premillennial Dispensationalist Sovereign Grace Landmark Fundamentalist. Anybody want some old used copies of The Trail of Blood?

          • says

            I truly was, John. Had Carrol’s chart memorized. What did me in was that we would accept as “ancestors” churches that, if they existed in our day, would not be allowed to fellowship with us. Meanwhile, churches that we would have proudly claimed as ancestors, had they existed in their present form hundreds of years ago, were declared not True Churches. It didn’t help my staunch devotion to Landmarkism that I dated a Grace Brethren girl in high school who had a higher view of scripture and a deeper devotion to the Lord than I did. I guess you could say, like many other heretics, that I was “led astray” by the wiles of a woman. LOL.

          • John Wylie says

            What’s funny is now I absolutely love the doctrine of the universal church. I relish the thought that God’s kingdom is way bigger that I can ever imagine.

            Rick I’ve got a confession to make, I went to your website, and what I read was really interesting. I totally misjudged you and I’m sorry for that.

          • says

            Thanks, John.

            I’ve been married for over 30 years and have had children for more than 25. I’m accustomed to being misjudged. :-)

            As a former high school biology teacher, it’s interesting to run into my former students and have them say, “You’re not like how I thought you were in school at all.”

            As for the Ill-Legalism web site, that’s a partnership with a former Mennonite-turned-Nazarene who is currently a professor at a Catholic college. I would say the best examples of what’s going on in my head (or what was at the time) are found in the book reviews that I’d written. I tend to read widely and would occasionally post reviews “back in the day.”

  4. Christiane says

    “”Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever contradict truth”. (from G&S)

    I suppose Moo would agree with the preceding quote if he authored this opinion shared by many Christian people: “all truth being God’s truth”

    Moo likely also would agree with this quote:
    ” . . . research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God.
    The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are.” (G&S)

  5. John Fariss says

    Although I have not had time to digest al you said Jared, I salute its broad outlines. I also share Rick’s concerns with the evangelical “responses” to science. Until we, as a group, come to understand the difference between what Scripture says and our interpretation of what Scripture says, there will be little to no dialogue. Young earth, creationism, the “impossibility” of human-induced global warming, and a host of other evangelical positions are Biblical interpretations based largely on extra-Biblical presuppositions. The problem is (1) far too many conservative evangelical Christians fail to recognize these positions as interpretation and instead believe they are “simply what the Bible says,” (2) very few evangelical Christians recognize the presuppositions inherent in these views, as these have become ingrained by some four to five hundred years of silence, (3) a superior attitude that “we” not only possess all absolute truth, but that “we” are its arbitors rather than God, and (4) as the “leaders” among conservative evangelical Christians, especially Southern Baptists, for the most part share these interpretations, presuppositions, and attitude, they made it hard for any other conservative evangelical Christians to fight the trend without getting the dreaded label “liberal.”

    John

  6. Bill Mac says

    Rick: I see your point when scientists and theologians are discussing biblical things, but in areas where the bible does not speak, or speak clearly, I think we should carefully consider what scientists are saying.

    Global climate change, and thus stewardship of creation is not a slam-dunk biblical doctrine. Most evangelicals (in my opinion) are not rejecting man-made climate change for scientific reasons (most aren’t qualified) or biblical reasons (there isn’t much there). They are rejecting it for political and in many cases selfish reasons. That does not make man-made climate change true, I just think it is being rejected for bad reasons. Even on the scientific front, you can always find some scientist somewhere who will give the opposing view, kind of like doctor-shopping or lawyers hiring expert witnesses. As I said on another thread, evangelicals are all for the environment when it doesn’t inconvenience them at all. I personally think that widespread dispensationalism does influence the “doesn’t really matter” attitude that I have experienced with evangelicals and the environment.

    • says

      Bill, that is one sin that some embrace in light of dispensationalism. Even if the world ends tomorrow, we are here today, and God’s commands do not change based on when the world ends. I still should love God with all my heart, soul, and mind, and my neighbor as myself. I should be just as good of a steward of His creation regardless if the world will end soon or not.

      • Bill Mac says

        Jared: I think the problem involves some presuppositions and leaps of “logic” that is prevalent in some corners of dispensationalism, but not all.

        I think many evangelicals boil the entire environmentalist message into “we will destroy the earth” and since they think they know that the bible doesn’t teach that the earth will destroyed in that way, they reject everything environmentalists say. And for those who are completely convinced that the return of Christ will happen almost immediately, then it doesn’t really matter what we do to the earth since God is going to get rid of it all and give us a new one anyway.

        Climate change, whether man-made or not, is not the only issue with the environment. Has anyone been to China? Tienanmen Square is about 500 yards long, and you cannot see from one end to the other. Eyes watering, throat burning, you can chew the air. The rivers are so filthy that you would be horrified if it touched your skin.

        • Rob Ayers says

          Bill,

          You have a really callous view of dispensationalism and those who hold it do you not? You have have made some characterizations that really are not only just downright cruel, but bespeak of a certain ignorance on your part. You paint with a wide brush albeit from some anecdotal past experience that is not really helpful at all. Do all people or even “most” who believe in the imminent return of Christ say or have the attitude that it is quite okay to pollute the land and the oceans because “God will fix it?” Give me a living break. The answer of course is “no” but that will not stop you from reviving this slur next week if given the opportunity.

          For the record the Chinese are not dispensationalists waiting around for the return of Christ by polluting up the air and water with foulness. What exactly is the religious background of the Chi-Coms anyway?

          Rob

        • Dave Miller says

          It is really easy, for some reason, to take unfair, even ignorant, shots at dispensationalism. Not sure why.

          (by ignorant, I mean lacking in understanding of what dispensationalists actually teach and believe. Criticism of dispensationalism is so rife with straw men!)

          • Bill Mac says

            Dave: The problem is not with dispensationalism, but with some (which I specified) dispensationalists.

          • Bill Mac says

            Really? I have a real problem with a lot of Calvinists, but since I am a Calvinist, I obviously don’t have a problem with Calvinism. Although I am not a dispensationalist, I don’t know of anything within the system that would necessarily lead one to be indifferent to environmental concerns, but I know that some dispensationalists take that route. That is my experience.

          • Rob Ayers says

            Your quote:

            “I think many evangelicals boil the entire environmentalist message into “we will destroy the earth” and since they think they know that the bible doesn’t teach that the earth will destroyed in that way, they reject everything environmentalists say. And for those who are completely convinced that the return of Christ will happen almost immediately, then it doesn’t really matter what we do to the earth since God is going to get rid of it all and give us a new one anyway.”

            In this you did not specify names or experiences. The term “many” can be belabored to mean “most” if not “all”. Your, ‘…And for those who are completely convinced that the return of Christ will happen almost immediately..” is hyperbole and a straw man, likening of course this terrible belief that will “immediately” happen (that does not exist here incidentally) into the realm of snake handlers and faith healers. Your issues and your problems are you own – your experiences likewise. I just wish that you would enter these frays with some specificity minus the whitewashing.

            Rob

          • Bill Mac says

            Rob: Nothing I say is going to satisfy you, at least it never has so far.

            For the record, I said many because I did not mean “most” or “all”. Your belaboring is your own problem.

          • Rob Ayers says

            Playing the matyr complex is unbecoming of you. My friend I can be satisfied with your simple acknowledgment that your bias colors your glasses rosy against certain long held beliefs of “most” Southern Baptists. These simple faith beliefs of many often creates in you a certain level of chagrin and bitterness that boils up every once when you post in forums on certain topics. To date you have never corrected your hyperbole (at least when I have been around), or if you have it has been only begrudgingly – thus my folly sometimes is to engage you in the hopes of that something good will come of it :-) I have not tried in a while, so you can’t say I’ve stalked you :-) Shalom my brother.

            Rob

          • Bill Mac says

            Rob: Is your view the unbiased one? The standard by which all others are judged? To my knowledge I have never seen you enter a conversation on these blogs other than to criticize. That doesn’t mean you haven’t, just that I haven’t seen it. I’ve done plenty of that myself so that isn’t necessarily new. But perhaps it means that it is more difficult to carry on a conversation.

            To my observation you are the quintessential old style lock step Southern Baptist. I am not. That doesn’t make you wrong or me right. I am more prone to challenge conventional SBC wisdom and you are more prone to defend it. You seem deeply offended when someone questions that conventional wisdom and you, in my opinion, seem harsh in your responses. Perhaps that brings out the worst in me, I don’t know.

            I think, based on my experiences with some dispensationalists, that their dispensationalism informs their view of environmental matters. I could be wrong, but I am not the first to make that connection. I don’t know all dispensationalists or even most so I would not venture to suggest that it holds true with all of them. Dispensationalism seems to be the prevailing view amongst evangelicals so perhaps it is correlation without causation.

            Maybe we can find some common ground. Do you hate the Yankees?

          • Rob Ayers says

            Bill,

            When “responding” to posts I am “vitiating” the argument – that is discussing and dealing with the argument on hand. That may mean I am being “critical” of another point of view based upon my “ta da!” scriptural worldview – but that is okay is it not? I don’t believe I am a stogy old line centered Southern Baptist. I like singing praise songs, hopping to the beat of drums in worship, playing an alto saxophone (mostly jazz and blues, and have even done so in church!), going to Pentecostal tent meetings, listening to Air Supply and Journey, and otherwise have a fun filled life. I respond to posts for enlightenment and sharpening with like minded (or not so like minded) folks whom I love if I agree with them or not.

            While I am not the one to judge rightness or wrongness, Aristotle’s Law of the Excluded Middle demands that someone is right and someone is wrong. You don’t mind if I take the higher road in that do you? :-)

            I don’t mind people disagreeing with me. I do mind caricatures of positions held by people of faith – often from others who want me to be tolerant of them, but have no problem in casting aspersions upon both the people and their positions – my position. A fact that I feel you are guilty of sometimes. So I respond. To you. I don’t claim to be the unbiased one. I try not to caricature, impugn, malign, peoples views from what they are to something they are not. If I am guilty of that call me out. As I have done for you. You can have another view. I “tolerate” yours. I just ask for reciprocity – the Golden Rule to be applied equally.

            “I think, based on my experiences with some dispensationalists, that their dispensationalism informs their view of environmental matters. I could be wrong…” – you are.

            “Dispensationalism seems to be the prevailing view amongst evangelicals…” – neither traditional, classical or even progressive dispensationalism is accepted in total by most evangelicals, and certainly most Southern Baptists. What has been retained (which is referred to as “dispensationalism” is the rapture/tribulation/pre-millineal reign – so no you would be wrong in part here too.

            “…so perhaps it is correlation without causation.” – I would agree with you here :-)

            “Maybe we can find some common ground. Do you hate the Yankees?” – Let’s just say this: I would not be dissapointed to see the Yankee franchise move to Omaha, with Yankee Stadium converted to a place people would walk there dogs at. But I run the risk of upsetting the grand poo ba of this place, so I will calm myself from vitiating what I really think. :0

            Rob

          • Bill Mac says

            ““I think, based on my experiences with some dispensationalists, that their dispensationalism informs their view of environmental matters. I could be wrong…” – you are.”

            I’m not quite sure how you can say this unless you know (or think) that absolutely no dispensationalists have their view of the environment informed by their dispensationalism. Or you know all the same dispensationists that I do.

            Trumpets are way better than saxophones and I can prove that from the bible. But at least it isn’t the clarinet.

          • Rob Ayers says

            Bill,

            I did not say or imply that there are in the great grand universe of people who hold to a dispensational eschatology that there might be some who hold to the views you have exposed. To extrapolate from your anecdotal experience into the greater population of dispensationalists is wrong headed – esp since most do not hold to what your small group you say you have experienced had said or implied. Granted even a group of theologians or leaders MAY have said or implied that the world could be all polluted and that was okay because God would fix it in the end – but that attitude does not permeate into a majority view. It never has. It does not exist in the majority. In many ways it is a caricature that most would conclude is a straw man.

            Rob

          • Bill Mac says

            Rob: That is why I was careful to put “their dispensationalism” in the sentence. That is why I wondered how you could claim it was wrong, since I was specifically talking about the folks in my experience. You’re right, my observations do not generalize to the whole population, although I suspect it goes beyond my group of observations. However I’m not sure you are on safe ground when you claim to know what the majority of dispensationalists believe, or don’t believe.

            However, I think the horse is now truly dead. Let’s just move forward in our hatred for the Yankees and Ethanol.

    • says

      Bill,

      You said: “Rick: I see your point when scientists and theologians are discussing biblical things, but in areas where the bible does not speak, or speak clearly, I think we should carefully consider what scientists are saying.”

      This is commendable and I think we could probably get most evangelicals to agree with this sentiment.

      Where we could NOT get them to agree is “areas where the bible does not speak, or speak clearly.” Not everyone agrees with AiG that the Bible speaks clearly about the duration, order, and time of creation.

      • Frank L. says

        The Bible informs everything or it informs nothing.

        Science is not autonomous. Modern science is faith based. It’s premises and propositions must always be suspect

        • Bennett Willis says

          Science trys hard to be fact based. Its premises and propositions are always under review.

          The Bible is God’s written revelation to us. It reveals that God is in control and command.

          If I try, I can be amost as terse as you can. :)

          • Bennett Willis says

            I think it “tries” rather than “trys.” Nothing like being terse to make one want to save a letter or two where one can.

    • r. smith says

      [I personally think that widespread dispensationalism does influence the “doesn’t really matter” attitude that I have experienced with evangelicals and the environment.}

      ?There it is; that old terrible dispensationalism! Wouldn’t that hold true for amillennialism also. Both believe things are going to get worse and worse. And what about Calvinism? Hasn’t everything been
      foreordained and predestinated? I sure believe that (dispensational too). So, that means you shouldn’t preach the gospel because “all the elect will be saved no matter what”?

    • r. smith says

      [I personally think that widespread dispensationalism does influence the “doesn’t really matter” attitude that I have experienced with evangelicals and the environment.}

      ?There it is; that old terrible dispensationalism! Wouldn’t that hold true for amillennialism also. Both believe things are going to get worse and worse. And what about Calvinism? Hasn’t everything been
      foreordained and predestinated? I sure believe that (dispensational too). So, that means you shouldn’t preach the gospel because “all the elect will be saved no matter what”?

  7. says

    I would take issue with a couple of statements:

    “Moo believes we should trust scientists in the field on this issue”

    Not all scientists and meteorologists are agreed on Global Warming.
    Should we have trusted the scientists when they assured us of Global Cooling in the 1960s and 1970s?
    Scientists often get it wrong.
    Scientists are often caught up in the hysteria and political correctness of the day. And if they’re not, they often don’t get the grant money or the professorship.
    But yes, scientists have made huge contributions to society and we should be for them when they get it right.

    “Western culture has an unbiblical view of dominion over creation.”

    A strong case could be argued that Eastern cultures have caused more devastation to the earth and it’s resources than Western culture. America is not perfect, but is doing a pretty good job protecting and preserving the environment. Much more so than many Eastern countries.
    David R. Brumbelow

    • says

      David, I think you make some great points here. I do think, however, that we can do better in the West. On the other hand, I don’t think we should just “leave nature to itself,” since it is under the curse. We should pursue stewardship for God’s glory.

      • says

        I agree we can always do better. But some environmentalists push things to the extreme. We need to balance environmental laws with good living and business practices. We should use, but not abuse our natural resources.

        I’m all for improving the environment. Most days of the year I eat fruit from trees I’ve planted. We can make our yards and pastures better for wildlife. I agree Christians should be concerned about the world God created.
        David R. Brumbelow

        • Bill Mac says

          David: Your view of what we can do for the environment is similar to something Rick Patrick listed in another thread. But really, is that environmentalism? Lawncare? Right now we’re still stuck with fossil fuels, but shouldn’t we be looking for cleaner alternatives? Should we dump waste in our waterways, pump toxins into the air? Clearcut rainforests? Hunt animals to extinction or cause their extinction by destroying their environment?

          I completely agree with you about ethanol. It only makes us poorer and does nothing for the environment, and it destroys our engines.

          Now, I think much of the really egregious environmental harm is happening outside the US. Whether we can really do much about it is tricky. To the extent that our own consumption of foreign goods drives that harm, we can make some changes.

          Let me use a related example. Everyone (including myself) is concerned about Hobby Lobby and their fight against the government in being forced to provide insurance that covers medicine that they view at abortifacients. Fair enough. But Hobby Lobby buys much of what they sell from China, which has a horrible abortion policy. I’m not against buying things from China. I’m just pointing out that American consumption (and we consume much of the world’s resources) often drives or supports negative things happening around the world.

          • says

            Bill Mac,
            You said, “Lawncare? Right now we’re still stuck with fossil fuels, but shouldn’t we be looking for cleaner alternatives? Should we dump waste in our waterways, pump toxins into the air? Clearcut rainforests? Hunt animals to extinction or cause their extinction by destroying their environment?”

            Lawncare? You’ve got to start somewhere. I’ve also been involved in pastureland, farmland, and hunting land, and front and back yards. Yes, that all can make a big difference in favor of food, wildlife, balance of nature, etc.

            As I’ve said before, if oil were discovered today, it would be considered a green energy. There is a spill every now and then (and it is cleaned up), but it is the best thing we’ve got going. If someone doesn’t like oil, they can always walk, ride a bike or a horse; I see very few environmentalists doing so. I have no problem with alternative fuels if they work; many don’t. By the way, the oil industry employs multitudes; and that’s a good thing.

            I’m against dumping in our waterways and the air. But we have to come to a reasonable balance or we shut down most all industry. Or make industry unprofitable. Compare our country with was is said above about China. If we like jobs and money, then we should be for industry; they are our friends, not the enemy.

            I’m against clear cutting rainforests to a point. But some in the USA seem to feel that after we’ve done what we want to our forests, we can now tell other countries they can’t use their natural resources. We should preserve much of the virgin forests, but we ought to use them as well.

            I remember the head of the Sierra Club some years ago opposed forestry, then had the trees on his own private property cut, and made a lot of money on it.

            Many do not understand when you clear cut an area, there is an explosion in wildlife. An old growth forest does not support as much wildlife as a forest in somewhat of a checkerboard fashion with both dense forest and brush and open areas. Only old growth does not provide as much food for wildlife. A few years ago we timbered a portion of our Christian Camp. The next several years we saw more deer than ever before.

            I’m all for hunting, trapping, fishing, etc. That is just using, and balancing, our natural resources. Hunters contribute a tremendous amount to the environment, probably much more than the non-hunting environmentalists.

            But I’m obviously not for hunting animals to extinction. Hunting prevents extinction, if for no other reason because they want plenty to hunt in the future. So hunters protect the animals and their environment.
            David R. Brumbelow

          • Bill Mac says

            David: I don’t think it is as much about telling other countries what to do as it is driving what they do by our consumption habits. We can tell them not to clearcut the rainforest, but are we also buying rainforest products? Of course we aren’t the only country that does this. I have been all over Asia for the last several years, and love the region and the people. But there is little doubt that Asian culture’s odd ideas about the health benefits of the bits and pieces of various animals is driving a lot of those animals towards extinction. I am a hunter and a fisherman and have been a trapper (which I’m not keen on anymore), so I know that by judicious harvest of animals and fish we can actually improve flocks, herds, and schools. Judicious logging (and even burning) can benefit the forest. But we aren’t always judicious and I don’t think there is any doubt that Americans in particular are very consumptive.

            I for one am looking forward to the day that we find a good alternative to oil, if for no other reason that we can get the heck out of the middle east and stop coddling countries that hate us.

          • says

            By the way, oil cannot be proven to be a”fossil fuel”: that is a mythical observation based on bad science when there was bio matter found in crude and it was assumed that the oil was also a bio matter. The most logical theory is the one no one mentions: abiotic petroleum.

            http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/on-energy/2011/09/14/abiotic-oil-a-theory-worth-exploring

            This links to a review of an article from 1999 about Eugene Island off the coast of Louisiana wherein the oil originally extracted in 1973-1989 is geolocially different from that which has been extracted from 1999 to the present.

          • Bennett Willis says

            I went to the link on abiotic oil. It provided a good laugh on an otherwise grey day.

          • says

            Bennett Willis January 8, 2013 at 1:48 pm
            I went to the link on abiotic oil. It provided a good laugh on an otherwise grey day.

            And yet another example of the hypocrisy of the erudite global-warming cheerleaders: the masses MUST accept our theory as fact, yet we must accept nothing but ourselves.

          • Bennett Willis says

            Greg, have you carefully read what they say? It is so inconsistent with how organic molecules are formed!

          • says

            Yes I have read it and of course it is inconsistent with how organic molecules are formed: crude petroleum is not organic in origin.

            This theory, which has more valid laboratory support (reproducable results, not just observations) than the “fossil” origin theory of petroleum. It states that the entire range of hydrocarbon products in the earth are naturally produced and renewed by geological processes in the mantle and lower crust.

            The first such scientific theory (with supporting experimentation) goes back to Meneleev, the same source as the current periodic table.

          • says

            “Yes I have read it and of course it is inconsistent with how organic molecules are formed: crude petroleum is not organic in origin.”

            Um, “organic” means “containing carbon,” not derived from living organisms. I used to work for a polymer chemist in the adhesives industry. Nothing we worked with was derived from living organisms directly. All of it was organic chemistry.

            Just sayin’

          • Bennett Willis says

            Greg, it is extremely difficult to go from inorganic carbon to organic carbon. Photosynthesis is about the only way I know to do it on a large scale. That is (of course) done by plant life in the presence of sun light which pretty well excludes way down in the earth. And there is calcium carbide…

            How do they think it happens–the abiotic oil?

    • r. smith says

      [Should we have trusted the scientists when they assured us of Global Cooling in the 1960s and 1970s?]

      [?Yes! Which time was science wrong - then or now, or possibly both?]

      [Scientists often get it wrong.]

      ?They are always wrong. Else they wouldn’t keep changing what science says is true.

      [Scientists are often caught up in the hysteria and political correctness of the day. And if they’re not, they often don’t get the grant money or the professorship.]

      YES!

  8. John Wylie says

    I think that the one thing that has been overlooked here is that many times scientists are simply ideologues themselves. I resent when people present scientists as interested in fact only, because that’s simply not true. How do I know that? Well look at the ridicule that is railed against intelligent design proponents. Read the intellectual terrorism that occurs when a scientist breaks ranks with conventional Most tell sientists will tell you absolutely and dogmatically that there is no God. I think that is a bit arrogant when you consider the all the things that we don’t know about the earth much less the universe.

    • says

      And that’s the danger when we start addressing environmental topics. It is so closely allied with particular political agendas that most folks will jump to outrageous conclusions about our motivations.

      I’m a STRONG proponent of conservation and responsible care of the environment. But it isn’t because I’m a liberal tree-hugging Gaia worshipper. It is because I’m a conservative Ted Nugent-style hunter and fisherman who wants a pristine environment where I can catch or kill something that I’m not afraid to eat. Growing up in Michigan where I was told not to eat too many lake-caught trout or salmon, no matter how delicious, because of mercury poisoning, really stuck in my craw. Hunting deer, rabbits, and pheasants in Ohio that have been fattened on GMO corn and beans from our surrounding fields doesn’t set any better with me either.

      Environmentalism need not be a “liberal” issue and in my book anyone who says it is, is turning it into a political argument and not a scientific or health-related, or even biblical issue.

      rick

      • says

        I’m all for being a good steward of the gifts that God has given us. We ARE to take care of our world.

        But a great many of these folks are charlatans, through and through. Look at Al Gore. Lives in well lit mansions, flies around in Lear jets and wants you to turn off your lights off. And makes tens of millions in the process.

        We don’t control the weather. What we do amounts to a drop in the ocean as far as the weather is concerned. And these folks use this ‘fear’ to impose on us all sorts of restrictions and taxes…destroying businesses and controlling the masses in their grand charade.

        And it is proven that a great deal of it is cooked up for line up with their purposes.

        Much of it is exposed and you can find out about it here:

        http://www.climatedepot.com

        Thanks.

        • Bennett Willis says

          Theoldadam, I listen to some of the late night programs on the radio to distract me so I can get to sleep easier. The program last night was proclaiming that weather is under control and the cold snap that we (in the US) are expected to see in a week or two is proof of just that.

          My experiences are that whenever someone says “is controlled by” that they are not a reliable source of information. Also, if they say “exposed” they are not a reliable source of information. The method that I use to evaluate information that I read is first, “Is it consistent with what I see and am pretty certain about?” If there is any issue with this, my skepticism goes up.

          I don’t think that what I do makes a lot of difference, but I notice that if what I do is the same thing that millions (billions?) of others are doing–well, together we make a difference.

          Regarding Al’s consistency, the only billionaire who lives reasonably (that I know about) is Warren Buffet.

          • says

            Bennett,

            I have heard scientists who believe in ‘global warming’ say that all of man’s efforts (if we adopted ALL the recommendations of the IPCC) would amount to a fraction of a degree in cooling.

            And what if they are wrong? Would we start pumping billions of ‘extra’ pounds of carbon into the atmosphere to purposely ‘cool the earth’?

            And many scientists say that any warming is actually beneficial.

            Go to climate depot .com

            There are tons of great articles and scientific papers.

            Thanks, friend.

          • Bennett Willis says

            As I have said several times, I don’t think that we (mankind) are going to control the amount of carbon dioxide we are putting out–and even if we do, it will just slow things down by a few years. Once you take “sequestered carbon” out of the ground and put it into the air as carbon dioxide, the only way you get rid of it is to “sequester” it again–and we don’t know how to do this.

            I sometimes think that we should do things like “double the price of oil in one day” or “increase the price of tobacco products by several fold on the first of next month.” It is the shock value of changes that cause a response. It will be hard for people in (say) Ethiopia to respond to up and down changes that say they should just go somewhere else. If we could get the change “instantly” and to the whole effect, we might respond better.

            The story about heating the water around a frog (probably an urban legend) does have application to human behavior.

          • Bennett Willis says

            The potential “benefits” are as uncertain as the harm. I keep looking for some benefits, but don’t see them yet. You would think that someone would benefit. But if the weather just gets more variable, then we could all end up on the short end of the stick.

            I can’t see that anyone would benefit from increased sea levels–except those who will now have “beach front property.” We are having these issues on our local Gulf Coast beach (Surfside) that are caused by the Gulf moving the sand that used to be the beach. No one seems happy, even those who now have beach front homes.

          • says

            Longer growing seasons, larger crop yields, etc.

            Studies that correlate temps and human activity over the ages have shown that societies do much better (all the way around) with warmer temps than colder temps.

          • Bennett Willis says

            We got a lot of money (relatively speaking) from the farm this last year. We did this in spite of the weather which reduced the yield from our crops quite a bit. Prices were high and we did better than usual.

            If you go back to the Vikings and their being run out of Greenland when the weather had many years of colder temperature (Little Ice Age), you could say that they did better with a relatively warmer climate. They were trying to live in a region where farming was marginal even with warm weather—and when it turned cold, they starved.

            A longer growing season is of benefit only if everything else cooperates. When you can’t get into the fields for a couple of weeks because they are too wet, the modern farmer often just switches to a “shorter time to harvest” grain. There is usually a penalty (less yield most of the time) but you do get a harvest.

            I suppose that the probability that you can grow different species of wheat in Canada might help. As I said, I keep looking for the benefits. If the end result is that the weather just becomes more variable, we can all lose.

            The folks who really take the hit are those who are marginal as it is. Even if they get higher yields when they get a yield at all, if the probability of no yield goes up–they are in trouble.

            This is what makes the discussion so difficult. There is a lot of variability in the weather even in the best of times.

            In the meantime, the average temperature in the US apparently made a huge jump in 2012. We are definitely having a warm spell.

          • Bennett Willis says

            Of course I have seen a lot of corn fields in Texas that never made it past knee high. Those hurt me to look at them.

      • says

        Growing up in Michigan where I was told not to eat too many lake-caught trout or salmon, no matter how delicious, because of mercury poisoning

        We have that problem in Arizona too: mercury was used in mining gold and there are no-telling-how-many old miner’s mules which fell into a ravine that is now at the bottom of some reservoir.

        • Bennett Willis says

          Mercury is an issue–everywhere. But a well steeped miner’s mule just gives character to what we drink.

          • Rob Ayers says

            Mercury indeed is an issue everywhere – including in those curly-cue florescent light bulbs that are supposed to be more efficient and longer lasting than the incandescent bulb. At least we did not have to call out the haz-mat team when we broke our bulb. Which then is more efficient?

            We have a lot of characters here. It must be the mule we drink :-)

            Rob

          • Bennett Willis says

            Rob, I worry about mercury even though I am of the generation that played with it when we could find it. Much of the mercury pollution has resulted from mercury emitted in the stacks of coal power plants. There are lots of reasons to want to switch to wind and solar sources for our electricity—and increase our efficiency.

            As you drive across Texas you see many wind turbines that were installed when natural gas was $10/thousand cuft. I doubt if there are many being installed these days, now that natural gas is down to $3.50/thousand. You may have noticed that Georgia Power has decided to shut down 15 coal powered electrical generation plants rather than install pollution control equipment. I don’t think this is equipment that would control the carbon dioxide emissions from these plants, but are sulfur and mercury controls—and the plants are old and relatively inefficient. And Georgia Power is building a nuclear facility.

            The last time I looked for it, I could not find the cost of generating electricity with a wind turbine—once you had the turbine installed. Since the fuel is free and the maintenance is relatively low, I expect the cost is low. The nuclear plant that is not far from me told our tour group that it cost them about 1.1 cents/KWH. I changed my electrical supplier recently and I am paying them a price of below 2.0 cents/KWH. (The delivered cost is 6 or 7 cents/KWH.) I suspect that this is close to the cost of natural gas fired electricity these days.

            By the way, if you live in a state where you get to select your electrical producer, and your contract price has expired—you should go online and look at prices. When the contract expires, the supplier bumps you up to a higher rate. Additionally, prices have dropped lately as the low cost natural gas becomes more of a reality. You may be able to drop your delivered costs by 40% or more—I know that I did.

  9. says

    Regarding TRUST, there is an 800lb gorilla that no one seems to notice in here or in any discussion wherein science and scripture seem to be or are placed at odds…

    No one seems to analyze the underlying premise of the majority of scentific theory, and that is THE major flaw in all of these discussions.

    The underlying premise of modern scentific theory IS evolution of one sort or another. All of the creation myths, whether it be YHWH, Krishna, Allah, or aliens are ALL discounted when it comes to the philosophy of science. The underlying philosophy or foundational premise is what can be observed and the theories that flow from it.

    Since God or gods or aliens cannot be proven, they have no place in theory formation. However, this starts all scientific theory off on the wrong foot. No matter how you slice it, everything has to come from somewhere: if anything exists, something has to have always existed as a source or cause.

    In the absence of some observable proof (testable, quantifiable, catalogable) of a supreme being, science goes down the primrose path of science fiction and does it’s dead-level-best to avoid the mythological or fantastical.

    This is not to say that all scientific observation is useless, but the majority of it is founded on fictional theories:
    – Astronomy – assumes the “big bang” and the expansion of the universe from a starting point, quite biblical, except it assumes evolution: moving from the simple to the complex naturally with no guidance
    – Anthropology – assumes evolution not only of humans, but civilization as well, as though Adam & Eve were cave people, had no language or writting, had no abstract thinking abilities, etc. It denies that sin brought about the fall of society; it assumes society started from nothing
    – Biology/Botany/Zoology – all start from evolution: moving from the simple to the complex naturally with no guidance
    – Psychology – less so, but still starts with an evolutionary foundation: “baser” emotions, “primitive” thought patterns; that people can de-evolve into lesser humans with lesser capabilities or less sophisticated control; this is not to discount mental imbalances or disorders that need treatment, but they still start from the wrong starting line.
    – Neuroscience – everything is based on evolution and everything is merely chemical reactions to stimuli; there is NO soul
    – Geology – assumes evolutionary creation of the planet (a la astronomy) and looks only to naturally occuring phenomona as causes, nothing external, except the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs.

    I could go on, but don’t want to be accused of hijacking the thread.

    To the point: anyone here could sit and discuss the merit’s of Jesus and the meaning and purpose of his life with a Mormon and a Muslim, they are not starting from the same point as we are and, therefore, the discussion will be flawed, no matter how much we agree.

    • says

      For the record, I don’t discount science, I just take it with a block of salt.

      My brother is a wild-life biologist and I’ve seen how he takes apart the evolution and gets at the meat of observable phenomena and looks for an understanding of how God established things to work, not how the evolved from simpler processes to more complex.

  10. says

    Science is great…as far as it goes.

    Scientists are just thinking God’s thoughts, after Him.

    But they are incapable of asking the BIG questions of Who…and Why.

    • says

      I would not say they are “incapable” of asking the Big questions of who and why. Carl Sagan made a lot of money doing just that, even though he gives a wholly inadequate answer. It is rather that the answers to the question are “out of scope” for science.

      “Why?” is phrased in purely cause/effect terms rather than philosophical ones. If we want to know why the trees are green, we answer that in terms of the chemical composition of the various forms of chlorophyll and how they absorb light energy across the electromagnetic spectrum. We don’t ask in terms of why there are trees and leaves and light in the first place. That’s beyond the ability of science to answer.

      As for “Who?” well, that question is even thornier. I would never expect science to answer the question of who God is. For that matter, they are wholly incapable of answering the question of who man is. For proof, read “The Mind’s I” by Douglas Hofstadter. Preachers have no difficulty believing, “God breathed into man the breath of life and he became a living soul.” Scientists don’t even know what the soul is or even if it exists. And to be honest, they have no way of finding out.

  11. Bennett Willis says

    I read Rick’s comments at least two times each. He reminded me of a joke my Father used to tell.

    In New Mexico (1945), in the early morning light, an Indian was sending smoke signals to a friend several buttes away. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a flash, and when he turned he was witness to a truly huge “mushroom” cloud. He watched for some minutes as the cloud began to disperse. Then he remarked, “Wish I had said that.”

    And I feel the same way about what Rick said. I ask those of you who have doubts about science to go through this thread and read Rick’s comments about science. The points that he makes regarding the difficulty of having a discussion are factual. If you have any doubts about this, there are a number of postings and comment threads (over the last month) that you should read.

    I think it is an error to attempt to force science to comply with the revelation of God. I think it is truly stupid to force scripture to comply with scripture. They are written with two completely different points of view and two different intents.

    Just as science has “improved” in the sense that no one believes in “Global Cooling” these days, scripture has been unchanged in its teaching that God is in charge and is responsible for what goes on. One is changing and one is not. One attempts to explain what we see around us. The other guides us in the best way to live our lives. We should not try to force either to do the other’s job.

    • Bennett Willis says

      Oops, I intended to say “force scripture to comply with science”

      [in the next to last paragraph in my comment above]

    • says

      Thank you for the kind words, Bennett. It’s been a while since I’ve commented on a scientific topic. Not all the reactions in the past have been so gracious as yours. Thank you.

      rick

  12. Jess Alford says

    I wonder how much of science is politically motivated, and how much is money motivated. I wonder just how many scientists only want to make a name for themselves.

    I’m not saying global warming is not real, I am saying I just want the truth.

    • Bill Mac says

      Jess: Quite a bit probably, but not just science. A lot of the anti-science is motivated for the same reasons. That is the world we live in.

    • Christiane says

      The ‘storm of the century’ is now happening in our country every five years . . .
      but we are pretty sure that it’s not ‘politically motivated’.

      some ‘awareness’ is coming to those inside media ‘bubbles’ from observing the ferocious increase in the number of natural disasters affecting their areas directly

      still, those who profit from a controlled media will continue their efforts as long as there is money to be made

      follow the money . . .
      you will find your answers to where your info comes from by knowing who controls the media for profit

  13. r. smith says

    Every time I read stuff like this [comments included] – where people give such credence to science, I a reminded of Gordon Clark’s statement, “By science, you can ‘know’ nothing.” See: “The Biblical View of Science”by W. Gary Crampton which also has some interesting quotes by Einstein and Popper admitting this. [http://www.wordofhisgrace.org/science.html]

  14. says

    “Nevertheless, we cannot dismiss scientific data unless there is sufficient biblical reason to do so.”

    First, data is not scientific in and of itself.

    Second, there is a difference between data collected employing scientific rigors and speculations made by scientists that by definition employ no small amount of assumptions. This is where most people become confused. Too many scientists (or reporters distilling what they dub “scientific claims”) aren’t up front with the assumptions behind the speculation. Indeed, many scientists don’t even understand their assumptions.

    When speculations are made by scientists and reported to the rest of the world without disclosing questionable assumptions, most of us have the tendency to apprehend the speculation as though it were a scientific fact. That’s a problem. There are many who desire to use “scientific facts” to achieve political goals, and they amplify baseless speculations by scientists that support their purposes.

    But I would have any who read this consider also that this happens in religious circles as well.

  15. r. smith says

    Every time I read stuff like this [comments included] – where people give such credence to science, I am reminded how science keeps changing and is never settled as to the truth. See: “The Biblical View of Science”by W. Gary Crampton which also has some interesting quotes by Einstein and Popper admitting this. [http://www.wordofhisgrace.org/science.html]

    • says

      r.,

      With all due respect, I have to ask, “Yeah, so?”

      I confess. I started a lengthy reply of each of his ridiculous points. Let me summarize instead.

      His argument is equivalent to Zeno’s paradox. In essence, because we can halve the distance between two objects an infinite number of times, logically two objects can never touch since they are separated by an infinite number of points. Basically, that site makes a cogent, logical, but ultimately nonsensical and irrelevant objection to science and the scientific method.

      And this goes right back to my original point. So long as this is the language of Evangelicals, there will never be a meaningful conversation between them and scientists.

  16. says

    If there was no recent supernatural creation, then the age of the earth would be a scientific question. BUT BEFORE THAT QUESTION CAN BE ADDRESSED, the prior question must be answered, to wit, WAS THERE OR WAS THERE NOT A RECENT SUPERNATURAL CREATION? This prior question is STRICTLY A RELIGIOUS QUESTION (to be answered by Scripture alone), since neither a supernatural act nor the absence of a supernatural act can be tested or proven by science. There is no test that could have been performed on Lazarus to detect whether or not he had been raised from the dead. There is no test that would have proven that the water turned to wine was not normally produced wine. There is no test that could have established that the twelve baskets of bread crumbs were supernaturally produced from the 5 loaves. Because this question is strictly a religious question, then scientists who approach the issue of origins due so with a built-in BIAS AGAINST A RECENT SUPERNATURAL CREATION. Further, such a bias against God-related truth is the most pervasive and strongest bias found among unbelievers. To approach origins with the possibility of a recent supernatural creation ALREADY RULED OUT is to BEG THE QUESTION.

    BOTH the plain, direct, straightforward reading of Gen. 1 and the old-earth claims of secular science require the benefit of the doubt (or, conversely, an affirmation of faith). The real question is, to WHICH will you give the benefit of the doubt? Either the benefit of the doubt is given to the straightforward reading of Scripture (in which case the claims of secular science are deemed invalid), or, the benefit of the doubt is given to the claims of secular science (in which case the straightforward reading of Scripture is deemed invalid). Both are presuppositions and the choice must be made between them. Both require a certain degree of a priori faith in their validity, and they are mutually exclusive. The choice is ours, but the truth is God’s; and choosing wrongly is the gateway to organizational apostasy.

    I’ve addressed this more thoroughly at: http://sbcopenforum.com/2012/12/18/old-earth-creationists-embrace-the-bias-of-secular-science/

  17. says

    So then, Christians SHOULD indeed simply dismiss scientists without considering their claims, just as we should simply dismiss any scientific claim that Jesus could not have risen from the dead, or could not have been born of a virgin, or could not have walked on water… Any claim that seeks to “debunk” a supernatural act, or which presupposes that a Scripturally-revealed supernatural act did not take place, invalidates its own science since it assumes as fact what it cannot establish (that the supernatural act did not in fact occur).

      • Bennett Willis says

        OK, let’s pick the resurrection of Jesus. You don’t hear, on this blog, people discussing the resurrection of Jesus. There are not scientific observations available to us on that. We have the clear statements of people who were there testifying to this fact. We do not have millions of observations available to us which say that the resurrection did not occur.

        If there were millions of observations, there would be discussion about the resurrection of Jesus–but there are not. There is the testimony of those who were there.

        But we have the millions of observations available to us on the age of the earth. So there is discussion between those who say that we should ignore the observations and go by the scriptures and those who say that the observations have credibility. And that the scriptures were making a different point.

        The difference in these two is clear to me.

        • says

          Bennett,

          You have overlooked the obvious. Human history has millions (billions?) of observations that people who die remain dead—and even decompose and return to dust. Scientifically, it is impossible for a body that has been dead for three days to be revived, much less resurrected.

          • Bennett Willis says

            But the resurrection is not discussed here because there are no observations that say it did not happen–and there is testimony that says it did.

            As you may have noticed, there is a lot of discussion here about the age of the earth.

            This blog is not a place where the resurrection of Jesus is doubted–especially by me. You can go to various secular blogs for that discussion but you won’t have it here. Your observation that billions of people have died and are still “in the earth” in simply not relevant.

          • says

            Bennett,

            It is entirely relevant, because it illustrates the contrast between scientific physical evidence and a supernatural act. You are inconsistent to doubt the recent supernatural creation and affirm the resurrection of Christ. BOTH have ONLY the testimony of Scripture to support them. BOTH are doubted and denied by the majority of people. BOTH have been affirmed by the majority of the Church throughout all ages. Yes, it is true that many Christians no longer affirm a recent supernatural creation (though many still do), but it is just as true that many “Christians” no longer affirm a literal physical resurrection of Christ. I have watched the “educated” TV channel some cleric in a priest collar tell an interviewer, “Well, of course dead bodies do not just get up out of the grave—we know this now. But we need to look at what the Bible is trying to tell us—we need to look for the spiritual meaning between the lines…”

        • Bennett Willis says

          The quality of the support is dramatically different. In the case of the creation, your support is legend, not eye witness. In the case of the resurrection, you have testimony of people who were there that is recorded. You do not have this testimony in support of the creation account.

          Additionally, you do not have millions of data that clearly deny a recent creation. The quality of the data that relates to the two events is simply not comparable–you can contrast them, but they have little in common.

          • says

            Bennett,

            The support for a recent supernatural creation is Scripture, not legend, and the Creator is the best eye witness of all. As to the resurrection of Christ, I have spoken to no eye witnesses—have you? Scripture attests to having eye witnesses, but we have only the testimony of Scripture to back that up. We either believe Scripture to be true, and therefore believe both that Christ was resurrected and that there were witnesses, OR, we do not believe Scripture is true and therefore we do not believe that such eyewitnesses existed or were telling the truth.

            The data of Christ being physically animated, eating, walking, talking, etc., would “deny” that He had died, and with just as much force as any data that supposedly deny a recent supernatural creation. The term “young-earth creationism” is misleading, since we do not hold that God created what science could determine to be a “young earth;” rather, we hold that God recently created what science would determine to be an “old earth.”

      • says

        The more realistic question is this: Why should any OECer address a question from a YECer who has already concluded that there can be no legitimate debate, no legitimate evidence, and in which if evidence is put forth it is automatically dismissed?

        Since the age of the earth is not plainly stated in Scripture, your assumtions presume that this can only be a conversation among Bible interpreters where one interpretation of the text is allowed and where no external evidence is either needed or admitted. Doesn’t leave much to talk about, I’d say.

        But that’s fine with me. Perhaps we could be plain and straightforward about something else, that a discussion where prior assumptions have ruled out the possibility of anyone who does not hold your view “facing this squarely” except in a scenario where they make a prior admission of being dead wrong. Good luck with that.

        All of this would be just another area where sincere Bible-believing followers of Christ agree to disagree except you have pronounced that OEC is a “gateway to apostasy,” your preferred terminology that is easily identified as the slippery slope fallacy.

        BTW, I love the plain, direct language dismiss without considering.” Some would call that willful ignorance. ;)

        …and some complained about my article “Why all these uncivil Christians?”
        http://sbcplodder.blogspot.com/2012/12/why-all-these-uncivil-christians.html

        Go figure.

        • says

          William,

          You stated:

          The more realistic question is this: Why should any OECer address a question from a YECer who has already concluded that there can be no legitimate debate, no legitimate evidence, and in which if evidence is put forth it is automatically dismissed?

          Why? Because reasonable argument is how any view is established as valid or invalidated. I did not ask you to accept my conclusion, but to address my argument. You may disagree with it, but you cannot show it to be unreasonable or invalid. Merely disagreeing with the conclusion is no excuse for failing to substantively address the argument.

          Since the age of the earth is not plainly stated in Scripture, your assumptions presume that this can only be a conversation among Bible interpreters where one interpretation of the text is allowed and where no external evidence is either needed or admitted. Doesn’t leave much to talk about, I’d say.

          The fact that the age of the earth is indeed plainly stated in Scripture is not really in dispute. What is in dispute is whether or not a less “plain” reading should be understood. The six-day account in Genesis 1 is plain enough, and when the whole of the Old Testament is considered, with its plainly specific genealogies, the young-earth chronology is established by a plain, common-sense hermeneutic. What that leaves for you to talk about is whether some other hermeneutic is more appropriate.

          Perhaps we could be plain and straightforward about something else, that a discussion where prior assumptions have ruled out the possibility of anyone who does not hold your view “facing this squarely” except in a scenario where they make a prior admission of being dead wrong. Good luck with that.

          To “face this squarely” does not require that you make a prior admission of being wrong, but only that you substantively address the argument I presented. Do you have an answer for (1)the fact that no physical evidence can ever prove or disprove a supernatural act, or (2) the fact that science assumes what it cannot establish (that no recent supernatural creation occurred), or (3) the fact that to give weight to any “evidence” of an old earth would require a prior assumption that no recent supernatural creation occurred?

          All of this would be just another area where sincere Bible-believing followers of Christ agree to disagree except you have pronounced that OEC is a “gateway to apostasy,” your preferred terminology that is easily identified as the slippery slope fallacy.

          I think the time is over for mere agreeing to disagree on this. This has gone on long enough now for the end result to be very clear. Time and again, organizations have gone down this road. First, its old earth. Then, its evolution. Then, Adam becomes a mythical symbol of humanity. Next, Noah’s flood becomes local. Next, the Red Sea crossing becomes knee deep. Next, the books with proven fulfilled prophecies are “dated” after the fulfilling. Next the virgin birth gets redefined, since “virgin” was simply the term optimistically used of all single females. It is not long until it is denied that Jesus physically rose from the dead. There’s too much at stake to take this so lightly.

          BTW, I love the plain, direct language dismiss without considering.” Some would call that willful ignorance. ;)

          Oh, I wasn’t advocating ignoring the opposition and their “evidence.” Rather, we should understand them for what they are.

          Recognizing the danger of an opposing argument is not uncivil. Neither is it uncivil to vitiate that argument. Thank you for your reply. :)

          • says

            Perhaps we could start here:

            You said, “The fact that the age of the earth is indeed plainly stated in Scripture is not really in dispute.”

            Where is this plainly stated?

          • says

            William,

            You stated:

            You said, “The fact that the age of the earth is indeed plainly stated in Scripture is not really in dispute.”

            Where is this plainly stated?

            According to the straightforward, common-sense reading of the Genesis account, the earth was created exactly five days prior to the first man’s existence.

          • says

            Ken, what most people have in mind when they speak of the age of something is a number, unless they wish to avoid the question.

            So…where is the age of the earth plainly stated?

          • says

            William,

            I’m still waiting for you to answer my question:

            Do you have an answer for (1) the fact that no physical evidence can ever prove or disprove a supernatural act, and (2) the fact that science assumes what it cannot establish (that no recent supernatural creation occurred), and (3) the fact that to give weight to any “evidence” of an old earth would require a prior assumption that no recent supernatural creation occurred?

            As for your question regarding Scripture’s indication of the earth’s age, let’s review the context of the arguments made first. Earlier, you stated:

            Since the age of the earth is not plainly stated in Scripture, your assumptions presume that this can only be a conversation among Bible interpreters where one interpretation of the text is allowed and where no external evidence is either needed or admitted.

            I replied:

            The fact that the age of the earth is indeed plainly stated in Scripture is not really in dispute. What is in dispute is whether or not a less “plain” reading should be understood. The six-day account in Genesis 1 is plain enough, and when the whole of the Old Testament is considered, with its plainly specific genealogies, the young-earth chronology is established by a plain, common-sense hermeneutic.

            You responded with:

            You said, “The fact that the age of the earth is indeed plainly stated in Scripture is not really in dispute.”

            Where is this plainly stated?

            So then, keeping our eyes on the ball so to speak, what is needed to establish my claim that no external evidence is needed or admissable is not some explicitly stated number but a plain indication from Scripture that the creation was a relatively recent supernatural act (a 6000-1000 year range would suffice). And this is indeed what we find Scripture plainly affirming, starting with the literal six-days of creation and continuing with chronologically specific genealogies coupled with specific accounts of historical events of such things as the nation of Israel, etc.

          • says

            Ken said: “…creation was a relatively recent supernatural act (a 6000-1000 year range would suffice). And this is indeed what we find Scripture plainly affirming, starting with the literal six-days of creation and continuing with chronologically specific genealogies coupled with specific accounts of historical events of such things as the nation of Israel, etc.”

            …which I take to mean that, no, the age of the earth is not in any location plainly stated in Scripture but is derived from the creation account of Genesis 1 along with genealogies (which you call ‘chronologically specific’ but which others admit are neither complete nor specific) and various historical events, “etc”…all of which leads to the interpretation that the earth is 6k-10k years old, a range with a variability factor of 67%. I don’t know why it is so difficult to get some of my wonderful YE colleagues to just state the thing plainly.

            We all have our prior assumptions and particularly our accepted interpretation. Yours is that “plain, direct, and straightforward,”
            reading of Scripture leads one to accept the 6-10k age that was so painfully and tediously extracted from you. There is no argument that God *could* have supernaturally created a young earth, it could have been done yesterday, I suppose, since any objection can be overcome by the miraculous. We just have no basis to discuss it except for Bible interpretation. God could have done this or that to the speed of light, to tree rings, radioactive decay, ice cores, and any other measure of geochronology…which leaves us at the place we started: you accept your interpretation of Scripture and nothing else may be admitted, while I am hovering at the gateway to apostasy. But I understand that if a YE is so critical, then those who do not so believe must be spiritually marginalized.

            This is why I concluded long ago that one really cannot have a discussion with some YEthers…but I wish my brothers-in-Christ well nonetheless.

          • parsonsmike says

            William,
            Good deflection.
            may i ask you a question…
            Was Adam created a grown man?

            If so, isn’t God deceiving us, as per your argument?
            If not, was he created as a baby?

            Or did he evolve from some primitive form of human?
            And did that primitive form evolve from non-human life?
            Or was it created a baby?

            Your line is looking a lot like Notre Dame’s. (-:

          • parsonsmike says

            William,

            If Adam was created a baby, isn’t that also deceiving?
            Was there even a real Adam?
            If so, explain to me how he came about?
            Thanx

          • william says

            PMike, I hate it the way these discussions seem to devolve but have become accustomed to it. As an OEC, I have no difficulty believing that God in an act of special creation made Adam fully formed; however, that does not free you up to conclude that God must be the Master of Deception planting fossils for stuff that never existed, creating an entire history of the universe that never was, and the like, seemingly just to throw us off, and thus providing the ultimate trump card over any possible evidence. There is really no basis on which we can have a discussion of the age of the earth, so why bother?

            This is an interpretive matter, primarily, and I often get the impression that many YEC folks have read a book or two (or more likely consulted a website or two), have the matter nailed down, and have moved on to the grand task of smoking out apostates and heretics.

            BTW, perhaps you would point me to where the Bible plainly states the age of the earth…seems to be some difficulty in getting this.

          • says

            William,

            You stated:

            …I hate it the way these discussions seem to devolve but have become accustomed to it.

            This discussion is not devolving. It is moving along nicely. There is no rancor, no personal attacks, no multiple explanation points. I would have no problem with sitting down with you over coffee—or fellowshiping with you in the same Church. As far as I’m concerned, you are a brother in Christ. But what I would not do is be a member in a church where OEC is taught, nor would I allow my children to be taught such a view. So it’s not about a discussion devolving, but it is about the convictions that are brought to the discussion.

            I appreciate your participation thus far. Be blessed!

          • says

            William,

            You stated:

            As an OEC, I have no difficulty believing that God in an act of special creation made Adam fully formed; however, that does not free you up to conclude that God must be the Master of Deception planting fossils for stuff that never existed, creating an entire history of the universe that never was, and the like, seemingly just to throw us off, and thus providing the ultimate trump card over any possible evidence.

            You are inconsistent if you accept the inherent deceptiveness in every other supernatural act but reject the deceptiveness inherent in a recent supernatural creation. You are basically denying God the option of such a recent creation—telling God that such an option is not open to Him because it would be too deceptive to that group of people who are open to the possibility that the plain straightforward reading of the the Genesis account might be unreliable.

            God didn’t need to “plant fossils,” since these were put down during the worldwide flood of Noah’s day. You see, those who believe Scripture on its face look for how the data fit within the confines of Scriptural revelation; while those who believe secular science on its face look for how Scripture can fit within the confines of the scientific conclusion. You said:

            There is really no basis on which we can have a discussion of the age of the earth, so why bother?

            One thing is certain: there is no reasonable basis on which you can challenge a recent supernatural creation, so you should not bother. On the other hand, since such challenges are the first step down the road to organizational apostasy, it is well worth the effort to oppose such challenges.

            You stated:

            This is an interpretive matter, primarily, and I often get the impression that many YEC folks have read a book or two (or more likely consulted a website or two), have the matter nailed down, and have moved on to the grand task of smoking out apostates and heretics.

            I see no one here as an apostate or a heretic. One may hold to OEC and be a fine upstanding believer. False doctrine does not in every case make one a heretic, but it does in every case make one wrong about that doctrine. And the consequences of false teaching are to be opposed through just such debates as this one.

            My first exposure to this debate was Morris’ The Genesis Flood. I have read more than a few books since then, then I’ve been defending YEC since ’84 whenever the occasion arises. That was my first year at college, which was a real shocker. The (not SBC) main college of my denomination at that time turned out to be liberalized way beyond what the local churches had been. While I had expected to be taught (at the least) that evolution was wrong, they instead embraced evolution, and all that goes with it. Adam was a “spiritually significant myth.” Noah’s flood was local. The Red Sea crossing was knee-deep. On and on and on it went. One by one, all the miracles toppled to a “more enlightened” understanding. Even salvation itself was exchanged for a lie, as the one-time event of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit at the point of saving faith was dropped in favor of “the gradual faith development of the individual” over a lifetime and the “synergistic community of believers” [/vomit].

        • Frank L. says

          “”Since the age of the earth is not plainly stated in Scripture””

          Assumption: Genesis does not imply an age to the earth.

          Presumption: Therefore it must be old because “science” says it is old.

          The problem in this discussion is getting around the ad hominem circumstantial fallacy. Most people are familiar with ad hominem abusive fallacies and mention them all the time, but that is only one type.

          To dismiss someone’s opinion because they have particular presupposition is an ad hominem circumstantial fallacy and ends the conversation before it begins.

          Bennett Williams does this all the time when he states that a certain “modern” interpretation of the facts is itself a fact and anyone who sees it otherwise cannot possibly be correct.

          I tend toward a YEC from both a scientific and theological perspective. I view the facts as giving more support to that conclusion. But, I understand that bare facts are not the same as conclusions. One is physical, the other is metaphysical.

          Having spent three years investigating this very issue (physcial v. metaphyscial issues in science), I’ve come to the conclusion that conclusions can be mired in confusion.

          I’m willing to discuss the issue of cosmology without undue restraint of a person’s presuppositions. That is hardly ever the case with a practicing scientist of this modern era.

          • William Thornton says

            Frank, I asked where the age of the earth was “plainly stated.” Your response used the word ‘imply’.

            Perhaps you could show me. An implication by definition means the point is not expressly (or plainly).

            Just asking, bro, don’t throw your copy of The Genesis Flood at me…

      • says

        Walt,

        While OEC does not necessarily deny the miraculous, it assumes an anti-supernatural bias for everything after the initial creative act of God.

          • says

            I guess that depends on which version of OEC one subscribes to. Nevertheless, if you are going to change an immediate, supernatural creation ex nihilo into a mediate, natural process, then you I don’t see how you can accurately call that miraculous.

          • parsonsmike says

            Walt,
            In your? OEC view, was Adam created already aged [as an adult]?

            If so, than why couldn’t have God created other parts of the world already aged?

    • Bill Mac says

      Miracles aren’t miracles unless they makes something happen that can’t happen. We know, scientifically, that the dead do not rise and that virgins don’t give birth. That’s why we call such occurrences “supernatural”.

  18. Bennett Willis says

    We are all (of course) free to dismiss anyone’s opinion as we feel we should. And I have no issues with anyone who wants to dismiss any observations of science in favor of readings from scripture.

    But I have issues with anyone who (having dismissed science) then calls on observation to support anything that they believe. If you are going to believe observations, then you should believe observations. If not, then disbelieve what your eyes and experiences tell you. Go with a literal (your interpretation of literal) reading of the scriptures. This is your decision.

    But it seems unfair (and inconsistent) to get both. Make up your mind and then go with it.

    • says

      Bennett,

      It is not the “observations” of science that we disagree with, but the conclusions of (secular) science. There are no observations or experiences that contradict a recent supernatural creation.

      • Bennett Willis says

        But there are absolutely no observations that support a recent supernatural creation. All the measurements and observations support a very old earth. The only support that there is for a recent creation come from the scriptures (and the creation stories of other people groups and religions).

        I agree that God could be deceiving us. The belief in YEC could be a test and if we pass the test there could be “crowns” for us. But it seems to me that you have only two choices–an old earth or a deceiving God.

        • Frank L. says

          “”But there are absolutely no observations that support a recent supernatural creation””

          That simply is NOT true. That is a statement of someone that has bought into the religion of scientism lock, stock, and barrel.

          The age of the earth is a “conclusion,” not a fact. It may well be that the “facts” lead someone to that “conclusion,” but it is equally true that the “facts” may lead someone to another conclusion.

          Keep in mind that the Big Bang (the prevailing though waning theory” reduced the age of the earth from “infinite” to a 15 billion years or so.

          Science in the last century has moved to a “younger earth,” not an older one. That is a fact.

          It is a fact so intractable in science prior to the 20th century that it brought about what Einstein called, “His greatest blunder.”

          In science there is a difference between “facts” and “conclusions.”

          • Frank L. says

            Follow-up: people duped by scientific naturalism, including many scientists, sidestep the issue of what “science” actually does.

            Science (empiricism) observes. Observations can lead to direct evidence, or facts, only when the issue is something that is repeatable.

            The origin of the universe is neither directly observable nor is it repeatable (though scientists at CERN are trying frantically to do so).

            This is not to say that science through indirect observations cannot inform one’s hypothesis as to how the universe began, but only through indirect means and through metaphysical conclusions.

          • Bennett Willis says

            Science has moved toward a younger earth (some 4.5 billion years vs. 15 billion or so for the starting time) as understanding of the “mechanics” of the universe have improved. [I say this with some trepidation since cosmology comes up with different hypotheses almost every day. The understanding is an ongoing process.] The earth is at least a “second generation” and maybe even a “third generation” planet. The atoms that make up the earth were not formed in the big bang (assuming that happened) but in the explosions that terminated stars and formed elements such as carbon, oxygen, iron, etc. As some are fond of saying, we are built of “star stuff.”

            Interestingly, some are hypothesizing that there are billions of earth-like planets in the Milky Way Galaxy. With more being formed on a daily basis. We’ll have to see how this shakes out.

            If you give credibility to the observations, I don’t see what other conclusions you can come to than the earth being old.

          • Frank L. says

            Bennett,

            There are scientists much more worthy than I ever hoped to be that have some very strong opinions as to the younger age of the earth (and cosmos in general).

            Therefore, I feel that a dialogue is helpful that involves many presuppositional perspectives.

            I’m not ready to declare that I “know” without a doubt the age of the earth. I’m trying to take an honest view of the information available.

            I don’t limit my epistemological quest to empirical naturalism.

          • says

            Bennett,

            Do you realize that there is no evidence whatsoever to show that there was no immediate supernatural creative act? The evidences of science all take this logical form:

            IF THERE WAS NO RECENT SUPERNATURAL CREATION, THEN the earth is very old.

            As it stands, I AGREE WITH THAT. If there was no recent supernatural creation, then I would have to agree that the earth is millions of years old. But I must ask you a question:

            WHY HAVE YOU CHOSEN TO BELIEVE THAT THERE HAS BEEN NO RECENT SUPERNATURAL CREATION, WHEN SCIENCE HAS OFFERED NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER THAT SPEAKS TO THIS POSSIBILITY?

            It is a logical error to conflate evidence for an old earth with evidence that no recent supernatural creation occured. It is a logical error because it is an error to think that if God supernaturally created then He could not have created a world that was aged and mature at the moment of creation. Any scientific evidence related to age merely establishes a time-age scale, and does not in any way preclude a supernatural creation AT ANY POINT ON THAT TIME-AGE SCALE. THEREFORE, you have valid reason for assigning an age to the earth IF YOU DENY A RECENT SUPERNATURAL CREATION, BUT YOU DO NOT HAVE BASIS (other than “faith”) FOR DENYING A RECENT SUPERNATURAL CREATION.

          • says

            He has only deceived you if you refuse to believe. If that’s you, then you deserve to be deceived—and you’re really deceiving yourself, since you first swallow your own lie.

        • Frank L. says

          Rob,

          Is that you agreeing with me? I have a heart condition you know.

          I survived it this time but please be careful not to let it happen again :)

        • says

          Bennett,

          Well, at least you are substantively addressing my argument. I appreciate that. You stated:

          But there are absolutely no observations that support a recent supernatural creation. All the measurements and observations support a very old earth. The only support that there is for a recent creation come from the scriptures (and the creation stories of other people groups and religions).

          I agree that God could be deceiving us. The belief in YEC could be a test and if we pass the test there could be “crowns” for us. But it seems to me that you have only two choices–an old earth or a deceiving God.

          Consider what is meant by the idea of looking old. For those who would say that it looks old, how are they determining what old is or how old the world is? Do they begin with the possibility that the historical account of creation in Genesis might be incorrect? Do they use a method of calculation that assumes that natural processes, as they are found today, are reliable as a constant by which to measure age back beyond what the straightforward, “common sense” reading of Genesis 1 would indicate as the point in time when God supernaturally created the world? If they do, then it is not God who is deceiving them, but they who are deceiving themselves. Rather then deceiving, God openly admitted to creating the world, and told us plainly when and how long He took.

          This is not deception, but decision—a matter of chosen presuppositions and philosophies. The worldwide flood of Noah’s day is a fitting explanation for the fossil layers and many other geological “proofs.” The remainder of such proofs simply point to the mature state of the earth at creation. Would God have been deceptive to supernaturally create in one day an adult man, Adam? By all appearances, he would have looked much older that one day to any who might be open to the possibility that God didn’t really create him the day before as He said He did. When Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to the disciples, even telling them to feel his hands and arms and see that He has flesh and bone and is not a mere spirit, wasn’t that just as deceptive—after all, He appeared as if He had never died. The supernatural acts of God are always deceptive to those who refuse to believe them. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, some might have been deceived into thinking that he had never died. When Jesus fed the five thousand, some might have been deceived into thinking He had brought enough food. When He turned the water into wine, the guests were deceived into thinking that the host had saved the best wine for last.

          • Bennett Willis says

            Come on. Which is it? Old earth? A deceiving God.

            You seem to come down on the side of a God who has deceived us.

            If that is the sort of God you want to believe in…

          • says

            Bennett,

            Now you are no longer substantively addressing my argument. Why is that? Have you come to the end of your own argument and are unable to proceed? As I’ve already told you (and successfully established), the supernatural acts of God are always deceptive to those who refuse to believe them. Why is that a problem to you? Is it a problem to you that Jesus deceived the wedding guests into thinking that the best wine had been saved for last?

          • Bennett Willis says

            It seems to me that they are deceiving to those who chose to believe them. How can you say anything else.

          • says

            You’re not making any sense. If you choose to believe that Jesus rose from the dead, then how are you deceived into thinking that He never died?

          • Bennett Willis says

            Ken, you are saying that the supernatural acts that Jesus did may have deceived some of the witnesses–or they may have thought they were deceived? If they felt this way, this was a personal problem for the witnesses. Deception was clearly not a part of the plan for Jesus’ actions.

            On the other hand, if there has been a recent supernatural creation of the earth (complete with millions of data that support a long ago construction)–then why were we given the data that support the OEC? This was certain to deceive some of us about the age of the earth. You can assign a motive as to why this was done (and I am curious about what you think about why this was done) but I cannot.

          • Frank L. says

            Bennett. How is it deceit if we are plainly told what God did?

            Fossils are not deceitful because there is no proof they are ancient , only presuppositions.

            Dinosaurs and men have coexisted and still do.

            You keep assuming that your conclusions are facts. They may or may not be. The evidence (some of it) is in but the Jury is out.

            Your conclusions are tethered to a naturalistic world-view and are subject then to those perameters alone. You start with your conclusion and work backwards. That’s a circular argument and the foundation of scientific naturalism.

            I vote for a broader epistemological structure that includes the supernatural and other ways of knowing. That makes what you call “science” inadequate and incomplete for me.

          • says

            Bennett,

            The wedding guests who thought that the water-turned-to-wine was just the best wine saved for last did not have the truth of the supernatural act revealed to them, so it was not a personal problem. They were “deceived” only because every supernatural act is inherently deceptive to those who either do not know the truth of the matter or refuse to believe. According to all the data that could possibly be gathered about that wine, it came from grapes that were grown from the ground. Choose any supernatural act as an example, and it will work the same. You stated:

            On the other hand, if there has been a recent supernatural creation of the earth (complete with millions of data that support a long ago construction)–then why were we given the data that support the OEC? This was certain to deceive some of us about the age of the earth. You can assign a motive as to why this was done (and I am curious about what you think about why this was done) but I cannot.

            You are confused regarding the difference between data and the conclusions drawn from that data. When God introduced Adam to the garden, and showed him the fruit trees from which he could eat, God was giving Adam data that would support an age of the earth at least old enough to allow these trees to grow from saplings to a size large enough to bear fruit (which was already available). But conclusions regarding origins must take into account the Creator, and so conclusions must be drawn from more than mere data—they must be drawn from God’s revelation first. Since God said that He created the earth on the first day, and created Adam on the sixth day, then that revelation puts all the data into the proper perspective.

            All of the data that supposedly supports an old earth only does so in the following logical form: IF THERE WAS NO RECENT SUPERNATURAL CREATION, THEN this data supports an old earth. There is NO DATA that speaks to the possibility of a supernatural creation. For example, all the scientific dating methods (such as carbon-14) completely ignore the possibility that the rocks being tested were supernaturally created in an already “decayed” state. To declare that a certain rock is millions of years old is to assume with false confidence that there was no recent supernatural creative act. So you see, data has nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not a supernatural creation recently occurred.

            The objection to the deceptiveness is a different question, and as I’ve already shown, deceptiveness is unavoidable if God wanted to create the earth 6000 (or so) years ago. God wanted a mature creation in which to put man. For example, God wanted the created stars to be seen in our night sky, so why would we think that God would then be limited to waiting billions of years for all of the light to reach the earth? Can not the God who created the star also create the light between the star and the earth just as instantaneously?

          • Bennett Willis says

            So, God deceived us–me anyhow. Oh well.

            Now that I think of it, being deceived by God does not say anything about me but it does say a lot about God.

          • says

            Bennett,

            That charge does not hold water. God did more than create a world that could be misunderstood as millions of years old—God also gave us His inspired Scripture, in which He revealed in easily comprehended plain and common-sense language that He supernaturally created the earth in six days just prior to the beginning of the genealogy of Adam’s line. There is no ambiguity to this revealed fact. Those who reject such an idea have no basis for charging God with deception.

          • John Wylie says

            Bennett,

            This is not a matter of God deceiving anyone it’s simply the result of God creating the world in a mature state. If Adam was created in maturity there would be a superficial appearance of age.

        • parsonsmike says

          Bennett,
          Did God create Adam aged or as a baby or more true yet to the lack of deception of God’s part, as a zygote?

          Your deception line is hollow because it fails to deal with Adam. If God created Adam aged, is He a deceiving God?

          • parsonsmike says

            Bennett,

            You said,

            “So, God deceived us–me anyhow. Oh well.
            Now that I think of it, being deceived by God does not say anything about me but it does say a lot about God.”

            God isn’t the one that is deceiving you. You start out at a wrong place [assuming that God did not make the world aged, like He did Adam] and then think YEC theory has a deceiving God.

            And why do you start with science? Which is not really science since they do not use scientific methods to determine the age of the earth, but theory based on theory.

            If God made Adam aged, could he have made the garden aged? the animals aged? the trees aged? the rocks aged? the stars aged?

            To avoid the deception charge, how could God create anything mature? Even if He created Adam a baby, then it is still open to the deception charge because that is not how babies come to be… already born.

            Thus the deception charge is ludicrous. if God created supernaturally then it was an act out of and beyond the natural order undetectable by science for it would not have been [and of course it wasn't] part of the natural order of existence open to the realm of science.

  19. Adam G. in NC says

    Global warming has waaay more to do with forced weath redistribution than anything else.

    I think I’ve seen that video of that same piece of ice fall of of that shelf about 1000 times now.

    This is just more globalism than global warming.

  20. Bennett Willis says

    How does global warming contribute to forced wealth redistribution?

    Or stated another way,
    How does global warming contribute to forced wealth redistribution as compared to anything else? I assume that you mean that people with money will be forced to share it with the rest of us?

    If anything, our response to global warming with be extremely regressive in that it will affect all of us relatively equally. This means the poor will really take a hit.

    I must be confused?

  21. Bennett Willis says

    I was not playing so I guess it is the other choice. But the only serious thing I have heard to reduce the carbon emissions is the carbon tax. The expressed intent of this is to increase the cost of burning carbon containing fuels so that other forms of energy production become more competitive. Presumably this would make all the wind turbines in north and west Texas more competitive/valuable. And also the solar electricity production. And I almost forgot about nuclear electricity which would have no carbon tax.

    But this is going to make my electric bill go up. I pay much more of my income (as a %) to the electrical company than (say) Mitt Romney–so this would favor Mitt over me. And it would allow Mitt to gain wealth relative to me. It would also favor the wind turbine owners (and solar electrical producers) and I am not one of those people.

    This means that I will be paying the tax much more than Mitt is paying the tax. Being a scientist, I am quite willing to be shown wrong. How do the politics actually work? Maybe you expect that I will be given a tax credit to protect me from the hit? Mitt will probably get that same tax credit–but he may burn enough electricity that his expenses will go up more than mine. In that case, I suppose that you could say that wealth was moved away from Mitt.

    Let’s take my old employer (major chemical company–mcc). It burned a lot of natural gas so it will pay a lot of carbon tax. Thus, it does not like the prospect of a carbon tax. However, all chemical companies have a similar problem so the cost of the tax should be passed through to the downstream customers and eventually to the consumer.

    It still feels like the low income people will be hit harder than the high income people. I don’t see how I am going to get any of Mitt’s money through the politics of global warming.

    But if you are talking about the movement of wealth up the food chain–it seems to me that this is the way the money will go.

  22. Bill Mac says

    Why the gap between 6 and 10 thousand years? Where is the 4000 year ambiguity in the scriptures that some YECers hold to?

      • John Wylie says

        It’s the new gap theory. No really I’m a young earth guy and I think it’s just sort of like rounding up. The 10,000 year people also may believe that there are gaps in the genealogies.

    • Donald says

      The 10,000 figure is based on perceived geneological gaps. It also lines up pretty well with the end of the last glacial period (ice age) and the beginning of civilization.

  23. volfan007 says

    “Darwinian evolution is unscientific, unobservable, unbelievable, but understandable in a world that hates God.” -Ray Comfort

    I agree with Ray.

    Also, any science, which goes against what the Bible clearly teaches is bad science….godless science….biased science…and wrong.

    David

    • says

      David,

      I guess that explains, in part, why modern evolutionists are not Darwinians. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_evolutionary_synthesis

      As I pointed out above, we all know that Copernican cosmology goes against the clear teaching of Joshua that the sun revolves around the earth just like the moon. The issuse is not whether science goes agains the clear teaching of the Bible, but rather what the Bible is clearly teaching. AiG says one thing, Hugh Ross another, theistic evolutionists say something else yet again. As soon as we get universal or near-universal consensus on what constitutes the clear teaching of the Bible, your last paragraph will become meaningful.

      rick

      • volfan007 says

        Rick,

        For one thing, I was talking about Darwinian Evolution. We all know that species can adapt to their environment. People are taller and live longer than they did 200 years ago. So, I wasnt talking about evolution, but rather, Darwinian Evolution, and the thought that men just evolved from apes; and that the world wasnt created in 6, literal days; etc.

        Secondly, the clear teaching of Joshua is not that the Sun revolves around the Earth. Do you not say things like “the sun is going down?” Or, the “moon is rising?” Or, that it’s raining “cats and dogs?”

        Thirdly, if science goes against the clear teaching of the Bible, then that science is not true science…not real….false….Let God be true, and every man a liar.

        David

        • says

          David,

          Your post continues to illustrate my original point on why there can be no meaningful conversation between evangelicals and scientists. You will not accept a literal interpretation of Joshua, but will demand a literal interpretation of Genesis. And why is that? Because scientific observations (NOT the Bible, because there is no scripture in the Bible that even hints at a heliocentric galaxy) force a hermenutic that interprets Joshua as figurative speech rather than taking his words at face value.

          Meanwhile, you insist that figurative language is not at use in Genesis and insist on a literal translation and a six-day creation, despite the claims of science to the contrary.

          But on top of all this, Evangelicals will not admit to any hermeneutical inconsistency. This is what I find most frustrating about the whole conversation. It is a pick-and-choose option as to whether to take something literally or figuratively. And if someone disagrees with whether a particular scripture is figurative language or literal language, Katie bar the door. The gloves come off.

          rick

          • volfan007 says

            Rick,

            We should always let Scripture interpret Scripture. We should always let other parts of the Bible interpret what we see as problematic.

            Rick, in your view, were Adam and Eve the first 2 people on the planet? from which the rest of mankind came from? that they were created in the image of God?

            David

          • says

            Rick,

            There is no hermeneutical inconsistency here. Both accounts are told from the point of view of the agent involved. Joshua prayed to God that the sun would stop in the heavens (the sky), and from Joshua’s (and every other man’s) perspective, the sun did stop in the sky. Of course, we now know that in order for the sun to stop in the sky, the earth would have to stop rotating.

            Now, look at Gen. 1. Man was not created until day six. The entire account is told from God’s perspective. But an even greater issue is that BOTH accounts deal with literal, supernatural acts. In Joshua, it is the literal stopping of the earth’s rotation that is spoken of as the sun stopping in the sky. There is nothing metaphorical about the sun stopping. What would your scientists say about that? They would ridicule such an idea, since all life would be destroyed by the heat of the sun if the earth ever stopped for a day—not to mention the scientific absurdity of a supernatural stopping and starting of the rotating of the earth. The very fact that the earth is currently rotating is scientific proof that it has never stopped rotating.

          • says

            Rick,

            Furthermore, if the OEC-ers were consistent in their hermeneutic, they would have to interpret the Josh. 10 passage as meaning that the sun “stopped” not only for a day but for an “age.” :)

          • says

            David,

            Letting scripture interpret scripture, please tell me what reference I can use to explain a heliocentric galaxy. I would be happy to let scripture interpret Joshua. Just let me know what scripture supports both Joshua’s figure of speech AND Copernican theory.

            Ken,

            A plain sense reading of Joshua does not support a heliocentric view of the galaxy. In order to explain the events as you did, you must resort to extra-biblical knowledge and sources, beginning with Copernicus and Galileo. You cannot conclude this from the Bible.

            The same is true of Genesis. A plain sense reading of Genesis will not support an ancient earth or evolution. One must go to extra-biblical sources to get that information. The difference, as I see it, is that for Genesis we are not permitted to do so, while for Joshua, not only are we permitted, it is required.

            As I see it, this is an inconsistent hermeneutic.

          • says

            Ken said:

            Furthermore, if the OEC-ers were consistent in their hermeneutic, they would have to interpret the Josh. 10 passage as meaning that the sun “stopped” not only for a day but for an “age.”

            The smiley gave it away, so I’ll not rise to take this bait.

            However, I would like to be clear in what I am saying. My contention is that the rules of the hermeneutical game differ from the treatment of one scripture to another. We do not insist on a geocentric galaxy based on Joshua, but we do insist on YEC based on Genesis. We are permitted to interpret Joshua in light of extrbiblical scientific findings, but are not allowed to do the same with Genesis.

            I’m less concerned about what the conclusions are than I am with how one arrives at the conclusions.

          • volfan007 says

            Rick,

            You didnt answer about Adam and Eve? Real people, and the first human beings on the planet, or not?

            David

          • says

            David,

            You are correct. I did not answer.

            I stated that I am more concerned about what the conclusions are than I am with how one arrives at the conclusions.

            If I make a statement, it will label me as being an advocate of one side or the other in the debate between YEC and OEC.

            The conclusion of the article stated:

            “All truth is God’s truth. Therefore, truth learned in the scientific world reveals evidence God has left for us in creation. The issue is not scientific theory vs. biblical fact, but the interpretations of scientists vs. the interpretations of theologians. Scripture must certainly have the last word, and it is vitally important that information outside of Scripture cannot determine what the Bible can and cannot say. Nevertheless, we cannot dismiss scientific data unless there is sufficient biblical reason to do so. ”

            My point was that the nature of discourse among scientists and the nature of discourse among Evangelicals is so different that meaningful conversation is impossible. For example, any discussion on what my personal belief is about Adam and Eve is merely a distraction from my main point, namely that we accept scientific explanations as a means to interpret some passages of scripture if we “like” them or “accept” the science involved, but we don’t accept the scientific explanation for other passages because we don’t “like” it or “accept” it.

          • says

            Rick,

            You have to consider the context, as always. Gen 1 is dealing specific with the creation of the universe, the earth, the sun, and everything else. Josh. 10 is not dealing with the nature of the galaxy or the solar system, but is only dealing with the lives and events of Joshua and the armies involved. The fact is that the sun does indeed move across the sky. The rotation of the earth does not mean that the sun does not move across the sky; rather, it only explains WHY the sun moves across the sky. Even scientifically, all things are relative. The sun moves across the sky because the sky moves across the path of the sun’s rays.

            What you are doing is straining out a gnat in order to stuff a camel down the throat. And that is the necessary method of OEC, to look for any plausible crack into which to stuff billions of years.

          • says

            Ken,

            Thank you for emphasizing my point. You said, “You have to consider the context, as always. Gen 1 is dealing specific with the creation of the universe, the earth, the sun, and everything else. Josh. 10 is not dealing with the nature of the galaxy or the solar system, but is only dealing with the lives and events of Joshua and the armies involved.”

            You, and AiG, and Morris, all believe that Genesis 1 has something specific to say about the creation of the universe with respect to the nature of the galaxy, solar system, physical creation, etc. The presupposition of YECs (and even some OECs) is that the Genesis account is intended as a specific, chronological, intended-to-be-taken-as-literal, i.e. a factual account of historic events.

            This is a hermeneutical presupposition.

            And I have no problem with folks who start here. What I would like to see is an admission that this is an interpretive framework that may or may not be correct and all that they believe that follows from it either stands or falls on their INTERPRETATION and PRESUPPOSITIONS about this passage.

            Instead I find that if anyone questions the hermeneutical approach or the underlying presuppositions, one somehow “doesn’t believe the Bible.” I’ve heard Ken Ham say it. I’ve heard Al Mohler say it. I’ve heard Henry Morris say it (yes, I am THAT old). And there are plenty on this list who have said it to me.

            This is why I am more concerned about how people arrive at their beliefs than I am the beliefs themselves.

  24. Dave Miller says

    This is a general observation, not directed at anyone (regardless of where this appears in the comments – I never quite know where that will be).

    We seem to be covering the same ground and rehashing old arguments ad infinitum.

    Let’s get some new ideas, some new points of discussion, or move on to something else. If you’ve already said it 10 times, you probably don’t need to say it the eleventh time.

    • says

      Dave,

      Have you noticed how much more complex this topic is than it first appears? It might be worthwhile to address some of the smaller points in separate discussions rather than the occasional YEC v. OEC discussion.

      Have you also noticed that in both this discussion and the one on Adamic imputation the comments have gone well past 100 without deteriorating into bad behavior?

      Of course, I will heed your advice.

      • Dave Miller says

        My only point is that comments are rehashing the same arguments that have been rehashed on other articles which were rehashed in other places.

        I’m not shutting off debate, just suggesting either we get some fresh material or move on to something new!

  25. volfan007 says

    Rick,

    Herein lies the problem when we let ungodly scientists…and there are godly scientists, out there…..but, when we let godless scientists influence the way we think. And, I’m not calling you a godless scientist…but, there are many like you, who apparently have been influenced by men and women, who dont love God, and dont believe the Bible.

    I mean, you dont want to say whether you believe in a real Adam and Eve. I do. I believe they were all of our great, great, great, great, great Grandmother and Grandfather. The Bible clearly teaches such. And, to deny that they were real, human beings, who were the first people on the planet, will make you deny a lot of the rest of the Bible….because in other parts of the Bible….OT and NT….they are talked about as real, human beings, from which the rest of humanity came from….many, many, many passages of Scripture.

    It’s kind of like when some, liberal scholars try to say that Moses didnt write the first 5 books of the Bible….well, then they are calling Jesus an idiot, or a liar…a deciever….because Jesus talks about Moses writing them.

    Do you see what I’m saying?

    David

  26. says

    Rick, Bennett, William, et al,

    In deference to Dave Miller’s post, I will bow out at this point. Thank you all for a stimulating discussion. In case you got the wrong impression, let me say that I respect you as brothers in Christ who just happen to be wrong on this one point. God bless you!

    • says

      I suppose that I should appreciate that I am considered only at the gate of apostasy as an OE creationist, rather than halfway to Gehenna.

      I don’t have any problem with the tone of this discussion.

      • Dave Miller says

        That is true. I don’t consider you a heretic, William; just standing at the gate!!

  27. says

    David,

    Can you show me a passage where Moses claims to be the author of the Pentateuch? I believe the Mosaic authorship is established by tradition and not by any internal claims within the books themselves. It could be I’m wrong, though and would be delighted if you could show me any internal evidence of Mosaic authorship.

    However, even if Moses were the author, he was not an eyewitness to any of the events in Genesis, so he is at best a compiler and editor. Of course if he truly is the “author” of Genesis, well then, that does get into some interesting discussion, does it not?

    • volfan007 says

      Rick,

      “And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” Matthew 8:4 ….Jesus said this…

      “He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.” Matthew 19:8 ….Jesus said this; He said that Moses wrote this; to say that Moses didnt write it, would be to call Jesus either an idiot, or a liar.

      And, Rick, I could quote more verses…many more….but I dont have the time to do that….but, Jesus definitely said that Moses wrote the first 5 books…and, to say otherwise would be denying the Bible.

      Likewise, there are many, many passages of Scripture where Adam and Eve are talked about as real people, and the first people on the planet, and being all of our ancestors. To say otherwise would be to deny the Bible…which is what ungodly science would do in a heartbeat, with all of their evolving from and ape, and whatever.

      David

      • says

        David,

        Once again, you are making hermeneutical presuppositions that are unstated. Yes, Jesus did say, “Moses commanded” but we all know that he was NOT referring to a specific commandment that Moses came up with on his own. Whether Jesus states it or not, I’m sure he was aware that God was the one who created the divorce clause. It could easily be that Jesus is not attributing authorship to Moses in this instance, but instead referring to it in its traditional guise as the writings of Moses. I don’t think even Jesus is dumb enough to think that Moses actually wrote the final chapters of Deuteronomy regarding his death and burial and the succession of Joshua.

        But my point is not identifying exactly what words Moses did or did not write. My point is that you are making hermeneutical presuppostions that you are not stating (or even admitting to, as far as I can tell) that Jesus was attributing authorship of the Pentateuch to Moses. The gospels could easily and reasonably be interpreted to mean that what Jesus is doing is using a shorthand form of speaking to refer to the “Books of Moses” rather than affirming Mosaic authorship. In other words, I don’t believe the case of Jesus affirming actual Mosaic authorship is as airtight as you assume it is.

        So let me ask this, if I don’t believe Moses actually penned a single word that we have recorded in the first five books, does that make me a heretic? Does that mean I take a “low” view of the Bible? Does that mean I don’t believe in inerrancy? Al Mohler thinks so. What do you think and why?

        Once again, the dispute is not about what the Bible says, but rather what it means and what interpretive scheme we are wanting to use to derive that meaning.

        • Randall Cofield says

          I don’t think even Jesus is dumb enough to think that Moses actually wrote the final chapters of Deuteronomy….

          Huh??!!

          • volfan007 says

            “It could easily be that Jesus is not attributing authorship to Moses in this instance, but instead referring to it in its traditional guise as the writings of Moses.”

            Then, Rick, you’re saying that Jesus intentionally deceived the people of His day, and us…or, that He was trying to. Or else, you’re saying that Jesus wasnt smart enough to know who wrote the first 5 books of the Bible. Rick, with all due respect, you have a very low view of Jesus, and you are treading on blasphemous ground, right here.

            David

          • says

            Back to my one-note song, David.

            I gave an INTERPRETATION of what Jesus is actually saying. You are arguing that my INTERPRETATION is blasphemous and that I have a low view of Jesus.

            What you are not admitting or acknowledging is that you also are INTERPRETING what Jesus is saying. It is clear from the passage that Jesus’ primary interest is in the content of the Torah passage, not it’s authorship, yet you are drawing a conclusion about authorship based on Jesus’ words concerning the Torah’s content. This is interpretation. You are saying that Jesus intended to settle the question of Mosaic authorship by using the traditional title to this section of the Torah. You are saying that if this isn’t Jesus’ intent, then he is intending to deliberately deceive the people. Once again, this is an interpretation of events based on counterfactuals, i.e. if your original interpretation is not true, then the only alternative is one that is unacceptable. Or to put this in other terms, this is a cheap shot. I don’t believe, as evidenced by what you quote from my earlier post, that these are the only two alternatives.

            Let me suggest that authorship is not something that is of interest to folks in the Bible. Only rarely do we find attributions. None of the historical books provide author credit, many of the Psalms lack attributions, and there are a fair number of prophets who have no authorial attribution. If it was so important to identify the authors of these books, why then does the Bible not be more careful to do so? Perhaps because what is import is the CONTENT of the books and not the author.

            So, if the Bible is NOT careful to identify the author of most books, why do you feel compelled to defend Mosaic authorship? Why does it matter? What if Moses didn’t write the books at all, but they were written by his son? Or Joshua? Or some unknown author during the period of the Judges? Or a series of people who compiled it over time? How would it be any less inspired?

            The only way this can be a threat to inerrancy and inspiration is if you believe in some form of dictation or mechanical theory of inspiration. And if that’s the case, then I’m not the one with the low view of scripture. I believe that holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. I don’t need to believe that these holy men are specifically identified.

        • Joe Blackmon says

          But my point is not identifying exactly what words Moses did or did not write.

          No, your point is to disparage the completely biblical concept of inerrancy. Considering you are theologically moderate (which is just a liberal who won’t admit they’re liberal), that’s not all that suprising.

          I don’t think even Jesus is dumb enough to think that Moses actually wrote the final chapters of Deuteronomy regarding his death and burial and the succession of Joshua.

          Ah, yes, of course it’s completely impossible that God revealed those things to Moses and had him record them. On the off hand chance that Moses didn’t write those things, that of course proves that he didn’t write the rest of the 5 books. (insert eye roll here)

          So let me ask this, if I don’t believe Moses actually penned a single word that we have recorded in the first five books, does that make me a heretic?
          Well, that *might* be overselling it, but not by much.

          Does that mean I take a “low” view of the Bible?
          Yes

          Does that mean I don’t believe in inerrancy?
          Yes

          • says

            Thank you for your kind, thoughtful, gracious and charitable reply, Joe.

            For the record, would you be so kind as to identify which article of the Chicago Statement requires me to believe that the authors of the books are clearly identified in order to subscribe to its statement on inerrancy?

            Thanks,

    • Donald says

      Here’s some, Rick:

      Old Testament

      Exodus 17:14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this for a memorial in the book and recount it in the hearing of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.”

      Numbers 33:2 Now Moses wrote down the starting points of their journeys at the command of the Lord. And these are their journeys according to their starting points:

      Joshua 1:7–8 Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

      Joshua 8:31 as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the Book of the Law of Moses: “an altar of whole stones over which no man has wielded an iron tool.” And they offered on it burnt offerings to the Lord, and sacrificed peace offerings. (see Exodus 20:24–25)

      Joshua 23:6 Therefore be very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, lest you turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left.

      1 Kings 2:3 And keep the charge of the Lord your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn.

      2 Kings 14:6 But the children of the murderers he did not execute, according to what is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, in which the Lord commanded, saying, “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall children be put to death for their fathers; but a person shall be put to death for his own sin.” (see Deuteronomy 24:16)

      1 Chronicles 22:13 Then you will prosper, if you take care to fulfill the statutes and judgments with which the Lord charged Moses concerning Israel. Be strong and of good courage; do not fear nor be dismayed.
      Ezra 6:18 They assigned the priests to their divisions and the Levites to their divisions, over the service of God in Jerusalem, as it is written in the Book of Moses. (This is taught in the books of Exodus and Leviticus.)
      Nehemiah 13:1 On that day they read from the Book of Moses in the hearing of the people, and in it was found written that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever come into the assembly of God. (see Deuteronomy 23:3–5)

      Daniel 9:11 Yes, all Israel has transgressed Your law, and has departed so as not to obey Your voice; therefore the curse and the oath written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against Him.

      Malachi 4:4 Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.

      New Testament

      Matthew 8:4 And Jesus said to him, “See that you tell no one; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” (see Leviticus 14:1–32)

      Mark 12:26 But concerning the dead, that they rise, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the burning bush passage, how God spoke to him, saying, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”? (see Exodus 3:6)

      Luke 16:29 Abraham said to him, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.”

      Luke 24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

      Luke 24:44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”

      John 5:46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.

      John 7:22 Moses therefore gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath.

      Acts 3:22 For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. (see Deuteronomy 18:15)

      Acts 15:1 And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”

      Acts 28:23 So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening.

      Romans 10:5 For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.” (see Leviticus 18:1–5)

      Romans 10:19 But I say, did Israel not know? First Moses says: “I will provoke you to jealousy by those who are not a nation, I will move you to anger by a foolish nation.” (see Deuteronomy 32:21)

      1 Corinthians 9:9 For it is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.” Is it oxen God is concerned about? (see Deuteronomy 25:4)

      2 Corinthians 3:15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart.

      • Randall Cofield says

        Well, now. If that’s not making one’s point entirely from scripture I don’t know what is…

      • says

        I’m starting to feel like a one-note song here.

        How many of you have read Norton’s Anthology of English Literature. Did Norton write any of it? Of course not. But it’s still “Norton’s Anthology”, is it not? And we refer to it in shorthand as “Norton’s”.

        The Pentateuch is clearly an anthology. That does not make it any less inspired. Nor am I saying that Moses didn’t write any of it. But it’s abundantly clear that he didn’t write all of it. Nor is it necessary for Moses to have been the one scratching the quill on the parchment for him to be the author. Jeremiah didn’t write a single word of his book, but we have no problem attributing authorship to him. He had Baruch the scribe do all the transcription for him.

        I may have to follow Ken’s example and just bow out of the conversation. This is pretty far removed from the original topic of the post.

        • Joe Blackmon says

          Yeah, when you’ve been shown from scripture you’re wrong, that’s usually a good thing to do.

  28. John Wylie says

    I guess my question would be if God did indeed use supernatural means ( and I believe He did) wouldn’t that place the origin of creation really outside the purview of observable science?

      • John Wylie says

        I would really like to hear what folks have to say about my question. If God employed supernatural means, wouldn’t that render the study of origins outside the purview of natualistic science?

        • Frank L. says

          Yes by definition. But supernaturalism does not preclude science as one component of knowledgeb