Why I Reject Evolution (And Am Intellectually Satisfied Doing So) (by Alan Cross)

by Guest Blogger on January 11, 2014 · 221 comments

Alan blogs at Downshore Drift, where this post originally appeared. 
Apparently, I am part of the 33% of Americans who do not believe in Evolution, according to a recent Pew Research Religion & Public Life Project study (Al Mohler’s article yesterday got me thinking about this today). And, I am completely fine with that. I am not trying to be different or unique or have my head in the sand when it comes to Science and its claims. I have actually studied and read quite a bit on this subject over the past 20 years, and although I am not a scientist by any means, I consider myself at least reasonably well informed and interested in the subject. My area is history and the social sciences, however, so I read things differently than others, perhaps. I am particularly interested in how human thought and philosophy has developed over time. So, when I study Science, I do not just study the latest theories and assertions, but I place them into historical context and trace the development of scientific thought over time. We have thought a lot of different things throughout human history and I do not think that we are through in developing theories as to how the world works or how we got here or where we are headed. Also, I am a Christian who takes the Bible seriously, so there’s that.
But, without further delay, here are the reasons that I reject Evolution in the macro-sense (micro-evolution, hybridization, and mutations and changes within species is not what I am disagreeing with here). I am not making scientific assertions or defenses here. I am simply sharing what I think and why I have come to the conclusions that I have. Take it for what you will.
  1. To start, I have no issue with basing my beliefs in what I see Scripture saying on the subject. I see nothing in the Bible that says that we or other species evolved over time. There are many theistic evolutionists* who believe that God guided the process. That is fine, although I would disagree. I do not think that that is what the text asserts. Now, I recognize that the Bible is not a science book and it should not be read as such. Could God have created using guided evolution? Sure. But, I don’t think the Bible tells us that. Still, if someone believes that, we can have good discussion, but I am not going to make that a sticking point necessarily. The main issue is whether or not one believes that God created or if it was blind chance that got us here. The world is so incredibly beautiful and complex and incredible in all of its vastness and smallness and wonder, that it makes perfect sense to me that what Scripture seems to clearly assert – that God spoke and the material universe came into being – is what actually happened.
  2. I do not trust Science to know exactly what it is talking about on this issue. I am not saying that because I claim to know more, but because I really believe that human understanding is limited. I think that all that we can do is observe and make assertions based on what we think our observations are telling us. In other words, we are in 2014 and we are looking back over potentially millions of years. We are trying to figure out the meaning of what we see – or what we think we see. How do we know for sure? Many people do not believe in God because they cannot be sure and do not see direct evidence of His existence but want others to accept evolution without direct/conclusive evidence. In other words, they change the rules of the game to suit their side. To be fair, it is better to see Evolution as a rival theory to Theistic Creation rather than seeing it as fact and then seeing religion as mere faith. I get that Evolution makes sense if God is removed from the equation or if certain presuppositions are accepted or if it is your belief that that is how God created. But, I honestly think that it makes most sense when you have people looking backwards in time trying to figure out what they see but reject the idea that God could have done it or that God did not do it instantly. It is still a theological statement, even if it is from the negative, declaring either that God did not create the world or that God created in that way. Perhaps they are staring right into God’s creative work and do not know it? Maybe they are piecing together clues of something that they do not understand? That has happened before, hasn’t it? Humans often get things wrong. My point is that when I study this, I have more questions than answers and have seen nothing that appears conclusive to me.
  3. The role of Science, I believe, is very important. It is an explanation and investigation into how the world works. From a Christian perspective, engaging in Science can be seen as worship as we seek to understand the world that God created. Science is completely compatible with Christiainity if one accepts that God is rational and reasonable and that He created a world that can be investigated and understood. So, I love Science and every Christian should. But, when we go beyond what we can observe and then make claims that are based on biases and further claims that lead us to certain conclusions, we are not still doing Science. We have crossed a line and no, Christianity is not compatible with alternative assertions.
  4. Timeline: As I said, the main issue for me is that God created. That Bible clearly states this. I also want to assert what the text clearly asserts. I am not locked in to the earth only being 6,000 years old. It could be much older. Lots of things in our timeline get messed up pretty severely if we try to place a world-wide flood and reboot of the entire human race in one place just at 3,000 BC, as is required if we use the timeline of the earth being created in 4,000 BC. That means that all of ancient history is completely wrong. Or, we do not at all know how to look at the past. There is no doubt, though, that ancient societies all over the world have flood cataclysm stories in their past and mythologies. Something happened. I think that it is more likely that the earth is quite old and that God created long ago. Or, perhaps there are things that we do not see? I am okay with the mystery.
  5. I understand that some struggle with this and I do not want to diminish the struggle. I am not here making a conclusive argument against evolution. I am saying why I reject it and why I have no intellectual problem doing so. I believe that all things are possible with God. I believe that God created. I believe that God could have made things complete or with what we understand as “age” and I believe that God is capable of making a human out of the dust into what we presently see. That is not a leap of faith for me. It makes perfect sense. And, I find it to be an intellectual argument as well as a faith argument because I do not accept that intellectual arguments can only be based on a secular playing field. Who sets the rules here? Why is the idea of God illogical? Why is God creating spectacularly and instantaneously something that is outside of the realm of possibility? I do not see where it is.
  6. I do not think that Evolution adequately explains the world or the human experience. Why do we care about beauty and art and falling in love and how the world works? Why do we tell stories and write plays and laugh and travel and aspire to great things? Why do we find such intense satisfaction in certain things and have disdain for others? None of what I have mentioned here is necessarily connected to any kind of evolutionary process, nor does it have an evolutionary explanation that I have found satisfactory. Sure, evolutionary biologists and psychotherapists will tell us that there is a reason for what we choose rooted in evolution and what we need to survive and evolve. They will even tell us that our belief in God was needed – for a time – to help the human race cope and put aside fear and evolve. But, now, God is no longer needed because we have reached the point of reason as our guide and can go on without ancient fantasies. But, if you group up everything that you don’t have a real explanation for and say that Evolutionary process/biology is the reason for it – even when we cannot understand it or it makes no sense to us – then isn’t that the same thing as saying that “God” is the reason for everything, even if you can’t see Him? There is a lot of speculation that passes itself off as fact and it has never been convincing to me. Of course, I have my own biases. But, then again, so do the proponents of evolution. Which leads to my last reason.
  7. Perhaps this comes from my postmodern conditioning, but I do not trust that proponents of particular views are objective. Everyone has an agenda or works from presuppositions. What are they? Science claims objectivity, but it isn’t – it is limited by perspective and asserts certain things. Sure, math is pretty objective, but once you take the facts that you can observe and then start making leaps on what those facts mean, you have slipped from hard science into philosophy. The arguments against religion made by Enlightenment and Modernist thinkers can easlily be turned back on their own truth claims until all sides go nuclear and we are left not knowing much of anything other than what can be definitively proven. I don’t think that reality only consists of what can be definitively proven, but at the same time, I am not going to accept the Evolutionists “facts” when I see those “facts” as dressed up assertions and philosophical speculations that combine certain actual facts with the logical results of presuppositions.
The Secular Evolutionist claims to be intellectually satisfied. That is fine. I accept his claim. As a Biblical Creationist, I can make the same claim. We begin from different presuppositions. The Secularist has set the playing field and claimed that his view is rooted in “facts” and my view is rooted in “faith” or superstition or fantasy. I reject that self-serving assertion. I don’t have the “faith” to believe in Evolution and the “facts” that have been presented to me are entirely unconvincing, especially when I know that the “facts” have changed over and over and over again over the past centuries (or decades, or years, or even months, as new “facts” come out all the time disputing old “facts”).
So, what we are really talking about here are competing truth claims or even competing religions or philosophies. We are looking at metanarratives that claim to best explain life, our origins, and our destination. I find Christiainty and its claims to be utterly convincing and to explain ultimate reality, the nature of man, what is wrong with the world, and how things are made right better than any other perspective that I have seen. And, to be gracious, I fully expect adherents of other views to think the same thing about how they see the world and I give them room to do so without thinking that they are morons, necessarily. From that basis of respect, let’s talk and discuss which view fits with the reality that we actually can observe and not just what we might speculate on. I am always happy to have discussions.
*Many scientists who have moved to a belief in Intelligent Design would be considered theistic evolutionists. In other words, they believe that God created using evolution as the means and that He guided the process. That is a theological claim based on a combination of readings of Scripture and scientific observation, in my opinion. People are free to believe that and that belief does not, in all cases, cancel out Biblical fidelity in other areas, necessarily (when we get into whether or not there was an historic Adam, for example, I think that we have moved beyond Scripture pretty strongly and we need stronger evidence to claim that Adam was just a mythical representative of humanity than our own theories on the matter). I disagree with theistic evolution though, for a lot of reasons – too many to get into here.
1 Ken Hamrick January 11, 2014 at 7:44 pm

Very good points, Alan. You are exactly right as it concerns evolution. But I would like you to apply 1, 3 & 7 to number 4.
1. “I see nothing in the Bible that says” that the earth than the 6000 or so that is indicated by the texts.
3. “But, when we go beyond what we can observe and then make claims that are based on biases and further claims that lead us to certain conclusions, we are not still doing Science.” The scientific dating methods are tied up with evolutionary bias.
4. Lots of things in the evolutionists’ timeline get messed up pretty severely when we “place a world-wide flood and reboot of the entire human race in one place just at 3,000 BC, as is required if we use the timeline of the earth being created in 4,000 BC,” but the Biblical timeline has no problem with this.
7. “Science claims objectivity, but it isn’t – it is limited by perspective and asserts certain things… I am not going to accept the Evolutionists “facts” when I see those “facts” as dressed up assertions and philosophical speculations that combine certain actual facts with the logical results of presuppositions.”

2 William Thornton January 11, 2014 at 9:28 pm

Well done. The problem is more that YE creationists have declared the age of the earth to be indispensable along with flood geology. Any who disagree are heretics. The handful of YE specialists are virtually considered to speak ex cathedra on the matters. Consider Baptist Press recent story that could have been a promo piece for AiG.

I am gratified that there are serious OE profs at SEBTS.

3 Alan Cross January 11, 2014 at 9:41 pm

The earth might be 6,000 years old. God might have created everything old and we might be way off on how we date things and things might be able to happen much quicker than we think when it comes to the development of human societies. We might be wrong about everything.

But, I do not think that the Bible requires a belief that the earth is 6,000 years old.

4 Dave Miller January 11, 2014 at 11:51 pm

It could be as old as 6010, 6015 years, right?

5 Bennett Willis January 12, 2014 at 6:21 pm

If God created everything “old,” then God should not be surprised or offended if we believe that it is old–and neither should anyone else.

6 Bill Mac January 12, 2014 at 6:59 pm

Agreed.

7 Ken Hamrick January 13, 2014 at 8:21 am

Have you considered that approaching Scripture with an anti-supernatural bias might be offensive to a supernatural-acting God? It is one thing to create old-looking things and have people think they are much older than they are, but quite another to leave an inspired, written account testifying that such things were supernaturally created and when, and still have people think they are much older than they are. So then, no, God would not be surprised, but the prospect of His being offended would have more to do with the disregarding of His word than the perception of what He created. If I make a wooden table and then “antique” it by making it look old, I might fool some people; but if I carve my name and the date I made it into the surface, then no one has any excuse for ignoring the maker’s information and insisting on thinking the table is very old.

8 Bennett Willis January 15, 2014 at 11:06 am

But why would God create everything “old” except to see who could be fooled. Is creation logic a test and if we go with the data we fail the test?

9 John Wylie January 15, 2014 at 11:51 am

No I don’t think so Bennett. I just think that since God appears to have created things in maturity it would stand to reason that they would appear older than they are.

10 Ken Hamrick January 16, 2014 at 1:59 pm

Bennett,

Did Jesus turn the water into wine just to fool people into thinking it came from grapes and was old enough to have fermented? Did He create Adam & Eve as adults just do that their children would think they were older than they were? And would Cain, Abel & Seth have been fooled into thinking that their parents were born of previous parents? Whenever God supernaturally acts in such miracles, there is always the choice to believe or not. The fact that those who choose to not believe can find a plausible natural explanation is no excuse for not believing. Those who choose a natural explanation over the Biblical testimony of the supernatural acts of God have chosen to be fooled.

11 Bennett Willis January 16, 2014 at 5:49 pm

Ken, I was under the impression that Jesus turned the water into wine because the host of the wedding was out of wine. Is there a greater reason that I missed?

12 Ken Hamrick January 16, 2014 at 8:03 pm

Jesus did turn the water into wine because the host ran out, but also for the glory of God, since that was always His main reason for everything. My point was that the deceptiveness of miracles is unavoidable and not part of some motivation to deceive.

I would point out, though, that God has decided not to be found by science or by materialistic evidences. Instead, He requires faith.

13 Ken Hamrick January 13, 2014 at 8:29 am

Alan,

It comes down to whether we allow Scripture to determine its own meaning or permit extra-biblical evidences and considerations to carry as much (or more) authority as Scripture in determining what Scripture means. Scripture is sufficient to determine its own meaning, and is the only authority of the truths it contains.

You say, “I do not think that the Bible requires a belief that the earth is 6,000 years old;” but I must ask you, where in the Bible do you find the any textual reason to to think that 6000 years is signifiantly or dramatically incorrect? There are many textual evidences that point to a general 6-mil chronology—where does Scripture point to something significantly different?

14 Roger Simpson January 11, 2014 at 11:09 pm

William Thornton, et al:

I agree with your critique of Answers in Genesis. I attended a talk by Ken Ham. That talk was recorded and put up on a podcast. Later, I made a written transcript of what he said.

The bottom line is that he equates “young earth creationism” with “inerrancy”. Actually, he does not use the term “inerrancy” — instead uses the term “authority”.

So, according to Ham, if you hold to a young earth view that is tantamount to not holding to an inerrant Bible. He never debates the young earth view vs. the old universe view on it merits. He conflates “a young earth” and “evolution” as being the “same thing” in terms of them both being “anti-Biblical”.

He doesn’t even consider that the earth could be “young” (say 6,000 years old up to 100,000 years old) while the universe is say 13 billion years old.

I don’t see how any thinking person could just accept his stuff [to use your term] ex-cathedra.

I’d like to see Ken Ham engage Hugh Ross or William Lane Craig. That would be some debate.

Roger Simpson

15 Bennett Willis January 12, 2014 at 6:26 pm

“So, according to Ham, if you hold to a young earth view that is tantamount to not holding to an inerrant Bible. He never debates the young earth view vs. the old universe view on it merits. He conflates “a young earth” and “evolution” as being the “same thing” in terms of them both being “anti-Biblical”.

Roger, did you switch “old” and “young” in your comment, or have I just misread it?

Ham is scheduled to debate “the science guy” in a few days, as I seem to recall. I think the debate will be frustrating for all sides. As you note, Ham does not debate on the merits of the case.

16 Christina Henry January 11, 2014 at 11:43 pm

Alan,

If I may borrow part of your article, I find the arguments you’ve presented to be entirely unconvincing. You have dealt with none of the claims of evolution, have considered none of the evidence for evolution, and seem to base your argument almost entirely on relativism: these are competing truth claims and you just have to pick which one you want to believe. This sounds a great deal like Peter Hitchens (Christian brother of famous atheist Christopher Hitchens) in his Oxford University debate for the existence of God. He says he believes in God because he chooses to believe in God. You have chosen to believe the Bible (not just that, a particular interpretative framework of the Bible) and have chosen to believe in God. Since secular evolution is not compatible, you have chosen to reject it.

You say “what we are really talking about here are competing truth claims or even competing religions or philosophies” but you should know better. Evolution is a theory with many components, many of which are either testable, observable, or both. Christianity is neither testable nor observable and its claims are ultimately left in the realm of divine fiat. In his book Reasonable Faith William Lane Craig essentially says that Christian is verified by the fact that we know it is true because we have had some sort of experience and we know our experience is valid (“the experience of the Spirit’s witness is self-authenticating for him who really has it. The Spirit-filled Christian can know immediately that his claim to the Spirit’s witness is true despite the false claims made by persons adhering to other religions.”) In other words, Christianity is established by divine fiat and it is authenticated by individual fiat. I have to trust your personal claims, or I have to trust the supposed claims of a supposed deity. I cannot trust the evidence, which runs in rather opposite directions.

But let me back up and address each one of your points.

Point 1.

Basing belief on Scripture. Fine, I wouldn’t expect anything else of you. You are a Christian. I think it absurd when people claim to be Christians yet reject the Bible and its teachings. That said, there is room for differing interpretations and I think those Christians who find a way to reconcile evolution and Scripture have a legitimate case. That said, the Bible is not testable. It is not observable (other than in the sense that it can be read). Its claims are not meant to be verified (though many historical items have been verified), they are meant to be believed. Proof is not the point. God has spoken, you must believe, no matter how the world works. Surely you understand why this is not compelling to the person who does not start with a belief in Scripture. I once believed the Bible to be God’s word, I no longer think that. I once trusted it, I don’t trust it now.

You mention the beauty and vastness of the world and how these support the biblical assertion that God spoke and brought things into being. George MacDonald used a similar claim. In fact, just about the sum total of his argument for God’s existence is the human appreciation for beauty. We could not have accidentally come about with this deep appreciation for the world around us. Rather, God has given us an appreciation of all things good, and God made his creation good. He has given us this ability to marvel at what he has made; nothing else could have done it.

Except evolution could have done it. It does not surprise me that beings with a capacity for wonder and awe are the ones who become adaptable to changing environments and manage to thrive. It is our very appreciation for beauty that pushes us on to explore more and learn more and see more and know more. This same drive gives us tremendous resourcefulness and a significant evolutionary edge, at least for now.

Point 2.

Trusting science. You don’t trust what science has to say. That’s fair. But please remind me who Science is? Who is the being named Science that you distrust? Is he the one in charge of deciding which scientific claims are accepted? Does he live on an ivory tower somewhere? Or do you mean that you do not trust scientists on this subject, despite the fact that countless scientists with countless backgrounds, preconceptions, and religious affiliations have come to agreement on large chunks of evolutionary theory?

You seem to claim limits on human understanding and you return to your relativist argument by saying, essentially, “Look, scientists can’t really verify what they’re saying so they just take it on faith. They choose to have faith in science; I choose to have faith in God.” I assume that in most instances you reject relativism but here you are a major relativist. Your argument depends on it entirely. You say that since scientists can’t verify evolution, why not just go ahead and accept Christianity?

Setting aside your relativism, the premise is deeply flawed. We cannot observe the ages of deep time that unfold species after species, but there is significant evidence backed up by things we can test. We know what forms certain kinds of sediment. We know how long it takes for that sediment to form. We can see what happens when tectonic plates collide and thrust masses this way and that. We know how long it must take and what processes must be at work for this type of rock to form on top of that type or rock then get slammed over there only to have another type of rock over them all followed by… We know that when we find certain fossils on one layer, another set of fossils above them, and another above them, all showing significant differences from the older fossils while also having some remarkable similarities, something must be at work to take those older fossils in those older layer of rock and turn them into the newer fossils in the newer layer of rocks which in turn get turned into newer fossils in newer layers which…

We know species demonstrate significant trends of adaption and mutation. Through these, changes occur. We know and observe (and you have acknowledged) that they occur on a micro level. Taking the changes we can observe and extrapolating out accounts for the changes we note from older fossil species to newer. More recent experiments demonstrate for us significant genetic mutations in bacteria, leading to entirely new operations in the bacterial life cycle (see the Lenski E. coli experiment and the recent discoveries regarding mutations in respiration http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2014/01/06/evolution-hidden-in-plain-sight/ ).

We know how far away heavenly bodies are from earth. We can see how fast they are moving from us. We know how fast light travels and can determine how long it would take for that light to reach earth. Based on relative motion, we have determined that all heavenly bodies are moving outward from a common point and calculating backwards determine that the universe dispersed from a common point.

I could continue, but I trust you get the point. Evolution and the age of the earth are not supported by singleton data but by multiple fields which, though addressing very different domains, provide overlapping support.

Now, you can reject all that if you choose. You can choose to distrust all the many scientists, Christian, Jewish, atheist, Muslim, Mormon, Pastafarian and you can reject their findings. That’s fine, that’s your right. But what do you offer in return? Divine fiat. I can point to multiple unrelated fields which provide overlapping evidence; you can point to a book. You reject my evidence (without actually providing scientific reasons for doubting the claims of scientists) while providing no evidence in return. You conclude point 2 with an appeal to human fallibility: humans get things wrong, so why assume scientists are right? But you have (1) given me no reason to think that these specific scientific claims are wrong, and (2) reminded me that humans are fallible and since scientists provide actual, testable, observable evidence whereas you have provided nothing beyond your arguments and your book, so I conclude that you are the one in the wrong.

Point 3.

It is always funny (in both an ironic and a humorous sense) when those who reject evolution try to redeem science. Science is compatible with Christianity – but those scientists who disagree with Christianity must clearly be doing bad science! Their scientific claims cannot possibly be valid because they contradict my interpretation of a supposedly divinely-inspired book…? This is not science. Science operates on the basis of the evidence while attempting to push aside preconceptions. I grant you that no scientist does this perfectly. The great biologist Stephen Jay Gould noted that “most of us are not naïve enough to believe the old myth that scientists are paragons of unprejudiced objectivity, equally open to all possibilities, and reaching conclusions only by the weight of evidence and logic of argument.” (Wonderful Life, 244) He acknowledges that pure objectivity does not exist, even among scientist. However, the scientific process leads us ever closer to the truth. His book is in many ways a cautionary tale against being too committed to preconceived notions (though it should be noted that in this case the biologist Walcott was misled due to a commitment to a particular theory which was born from Christian commitments – it was his Christian preconceptions that led to errors in his theories). But the book is also evidence of the self-corrective nature of science: Walcott’s error was eventually corrected. Later scientists doing later work took a fresh look at the fossils of the Burgess Shale and saw them for what they were. Scientists are not infallible, but the process of science is self-correcting, even if it takes time. It was early scientists (operating in part on theological preconceptions) who claimed the earth at the center of the universe. Later scientists proved them wrong. What Christians do is to simply reject any part that disagrees with the Bible even if there is no scientifically valid reason for doing so.

Christianity itself has no system for self-correction or validation. The role of the Holy Spirit is trumpeted even though there are a million different claims within Christianity. Human sin is blamed as the culprit even though the Spirit is supposed to be sanctifying people, smoothing out the rough edges. This very site is a testament to the vehement and vicious disagreements that exist even among Christians of very close affiliation. These disagreements exist because there is ultimately no way to know who is right. Despite claims to objective truth, the Bible is handled in highly relativistic ways, particularly within a denomination like the SBC: I’ll believe what I believe, you believe what you believe, and that’s fine and dandy. In practice, of course, things are usually more vicious with fights and expulsions and gossip and back biting and church splits and various and sundry other violations of Jesus’ proof that we will know God’s people by their love. Such fights and fractures exist because Christianity is not observable and its claims are not testable. Interpretation remains a matter of opinion and one man’s opinion is as good as another. It should be obvious that science is preferable because at least with science there are ways to make rational, testable arguments.

Point 4.

The Bible does clearly state that God created. It clearly states a lot of things. I won’t get into all of the difficulties and contradictions and inconsistencies and theological revisionism found within the pages of Scripture, but they are legion, despite the enormous energy of expended by Christians to try and explain why such contradictions are either explainable or are antinomy (one of the more astonishing of Christian claims: sure, it looks like a contradiction, but we know it isn’t because God does not contradict himself, no matter how it looks).

Bishop Usher’s claim for the age of the earth runs into a significant problem when we consider those multiple unrelated fields which provide overlapping evidence. Biology, geology, astronomy, and physics all provide evidence of a very, very old earth, an earth measured in the billions rather than the thousands. You are wise to say that the earth may be much older than 6,000 years, but I wonder how far you are willing to go and if you will go there for the right reasons. Why would you believe the earth might be over 6,000 years? Because of the claims of history? (there’s more overlapping evidence!) What about all the other fields of evidence?

Why does the earth look old? Why are there layers of sedimentation, including sediment which takes a long time to form and could not possibly happen in a global flood lasting less than a year? Why are we able to see so many stars despite their vast distance and the time it takes light to travel? Did God create the earth to look old? Why? If he is not a God of confusion, why confuse creation with mixed signals? “I’m going to make a world that looks 4.5 billion years old but then I’m going to divinely inspire them to write genealogies which make it look just 6,000!”

Regarding Noah’s flood, there is also no doubt that ancient societies experienced catastrophic, regional floods. We know that stories grow as they are passed down. We know that people’s knowledge of the world is limited to what they have seen, experienced, and heard. It is not at all a stretch to imagine a people who experience a catastrophic flood (or many such floods, as happened often in the Mesopotamian region also known as “the land between the rivers”) passing down stories which present their significant regional experience in global terms. I grant that this is speculative, but it is based on known human behavior and it demonstrates that a common story is no proof of a global experience.

Point 5.

“I am not here making a conclusive argument against evolution. I am saying why I reject it and why I have no intellectual problem doing so.”

That is good, because you have not made an argument against evolution. You haven’t even begun to do that. You have not made the case against evolution, you have instead made the case for why you feel comfortable ignoring evolution. You have dealt with none of its claims, you have pushed them aside and said they don’t matter.

On the evolutionary side, the claims of evolution are not about what God could or could not do. They are instead about what the world reveals to us. I can speculate about an all-powerful deity who could indeed create all things with a word from his lips, but if the evidence in the ground beneath my feet points to deep time and gradual change whereas the god I imagined has no support other than what came from either my hand or the hand of my ancestors, then I should believe what is concrete, what is observable, what is testable.

Point 6.

I addressed this elsewhere, and you pretty much state the point I made – only to toss it aside without a real argument why we should reject these claims. You then point to speculation. But your point cannot hold because in the end there is nothing but speculation on either side. You speculate that beauty is evidence of creation. I speculate that beauty is evidence of adaptation. On this point, we end where we start, on level ground, because neither of us is able to move beyond speculation even though I can provide very strong anecdotal evidence supporting my claims: people who live with their eye fixed on an object of desire do much better than those who drift listlessly through life. Christians understand this, Rick Warren understands this, so Christians are all about making God the chief object of desire. For me, the object of desire is learning, knowledge, experience, understanding, the propagation of knowledge. For you, it is the will of God. But the person who does not appreciate beauty, who does not reach out to grasp the stars or conquer the next hill, he is likely to be found in his bed wasting his days. We call this depression and we recognize it as a serious medical issue.

On the other hand, the only support you can offer for the idea that beauty comes from God are the claims found in a book.

Point 7.

No one is objective. Not scientists, not Christians. But science has in place the tools for self-correction. Christianity does not. So Christians will continue to fracture and fight and argue and show themselves for what they are. Meanwhile, scientists will continue to learn and grow and make mistakes and correct mistakes and present foolish notions and learn something better while correcting foolish notions and we will know more tomorrow than we knew today. But Christians will still be debating free will and the veracity of the charismatic gifts.

17 Truth Unites... and Divides January 13, 2014 at 1:29 pm

“I think it absurd when people claim to be Christians yet reject the Bible and its teachings.”

Most excellent comment, Christina!

Curious, did you ever claim to be a Christian at one point, Christina?

18 Ken Hamrick January 13, 2014 at 8:06 pm

Christina,

You stated:

Science operates on the basis of the evidence while attempting to push aside preconceptions.

Yet, science makes no attempt whatsoever to push aside their grand preconception that no supernatural, miraculous event happened, and that natural processes alone are responsible for the current state of things. Science can only observe what is observable. When they venture to explain origins, they venture out of the purview of science and into the purview of theology and philosophy. They cannot even approach the question of origins without a philosophical basis, which they have found in materialistic naturalism, which is the belief that the origin and state of the world as it is can be explained according to natural laws and processes alone (which are seen as having been constant throughout time). This philosophy on which their whole scientific authority stands or falls, is unproven and unbiblical (as it allows for no significant role for any supernatural causes). Because their philosophical basis is flawed, they are left with no scientific authority whatsoever when speaking on origins theory—their theories are no more scientific and carry no more weight than any other philosophical or theological paradigms. The question of origins is an inherently religious question, and any endeavor to answer it is a religious endeavor, whether acknowledged or not. Any time that such a scientific method is employed in a way that addresses origins but does not acknowledge at least the “possibility” of a supernatural, young-earth creation, then it has already answered one religious question in the negative. Further, it is operating on an assumption regarding factual possibilities for which it has no evidence.

19 Ken Hamrick January 16, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Christina,

You stated:

In his book Reasonable Faith William Lane Craig essentially says that Christian is verified by the fact that we know it is true because we have had some sort of experience and we know our experience is valid (“the experience of the Spirit’s witness is self-authenticating for him who really has it. The Spirit-filled Christian can know immediately that his claim to the Spirit’s witness is true despite the false claims made by persons adhering to other religions.”) In other words, Christianity is established by divine fiat and it is authenticated by individual fiat. I have to trust your personal claims, or I have to trust the supposed claims of a supposed deity. I cannot trust the evidence, which runs in rather opposite directions.

Craig has it right: the witness of the Holy Spirit is the omnipotent God confirming with utter certainty the truth of the Scripture that He has divinely inspired and preserved. Christianity is indeed established and authenticated by divine fiat. However, Christians do not hold that you as an unbeliever have to trust our personal claims. Just as God witness to the truth to believers, that witness is available to all men—even you—and is either suppressed and rejected or embraced and believed. And as for the evidence, it does NOT run in the opposite direction EXCEPT when the supernatural acts of God are ruled out a priori.

You stated:

We know what forms certain kinds of sediment. We know how long it takes for that sediment to form. We can see what happens when tectonic plates collide and thrust masses this way and that. We know how long it must take and what processes must be at work for this type of rock to form on top of that type or rock then get slammed over there only to have another type of rock over them all followed by… We know that when we find certain fossils on one layer, another set of fossils above them, and another above them, all showing significant differences from the older fossils while also having some remarkable similarities, something must be at work to take those older fossils in those older layer of rock and turn them into the newer fossils in the newer layer of rocks which in turn get turned into newer fossils in newer layers which…

None of this takes into account the Biblical testimony of a worldwide, catastrophic flood, in which “the fountains of the great deep” were broken up. All such scientific theories are only as authoritative as the correctness of their presuppositions. If a certain layer of sediment would take 6 million years to accumulate under “normal” or current conditions, it is overconfident to assume that conditions remained normal for 6 million years—especially in the face of the testimony of eyewitnesses to the contrary in the Bible.

You stated:

We know species demonstrate significant trends of adaption and mutation. Through these, changes occur. We know and observe (and you have acknowledged) that they occur on a micro level. Taking the changes we can observe and extrapolating out accounts for the changes we note from older fossil species to newer. More recent experiments demonstrate for us significant genetic mutations in bacteria, leading to entirely new operations in the bacterial life cycle…

Again, your extrapolations depend entirely on the correctness of your presuppositions. Only by an unjustified a priori rejection of the possibility of recent creation by fiat do you have any justification for extrapolating into the past beyond the 6 to 10000 years that is yielded by a common-sense, straightforward reading of Scripture. Even if it were true that evolution would have occurred as the secular scientists claim had God not recently created everything by fiat 6 to 10 millennia ago, there is no justifiable confidence that the Biblical account is not what actually happened.

You stated:

We know how far away heavenly bodies are from earth. We can see how fast they are moving from us. We know how fast light travels and can determine how long it would take for that light to reach earth. Based on relative motion, we have determined that all heavenly bodies are moving outward from a common point and calculating backwards determine that the universe dispersed from a common point.

What justifies your assumption that you have room in the chronology to extrapolate back beyond the recent creation by fiat of which Scripture testifies? Yes, we know how far away are the heavenly bodies, and we know how fast light travels. But If God created the universe, why should we think that the light between heavenly bodies was uncreated and had to cross the spans by natural means. The God who created all also created the light between everything, and did so by fiat as recorded in Genesis. When it says that God created the stars also, and that He made lights for the night sky and for the day, would it make any sense that He would have to tell Adam & Eve to wait a few million years and they would be amazed at the night sky? God created a mature Adam, a mature garden of Eden, with mature, fruit-bearing trees. He created a mature, functioning universe, with a night sky filled with the light from a myriad stars, though they be so far away.

You stated:

…you can reject their findings. That’s fine, that’s your right. But what do you offer in return? Divine fiat. I can point to multiple unrelated fields which provide overlapping evidence; you can point to a book.

None of your evidence supports your argument unless your anti-supernatural, naturalistic presuppositon is true; therefore, the sum of what you really have to offer is that very presupposition. Since you cannot prove that your presuppositon is true, just as we cannot prove (until Judgment Day) that our presuppositon (of a recent divine creation by fiat) is true, then it does indeed come down to choosing which presupposition (or worldview) that one will put his faith in. We as Christians have the witness of the Holy Spirit to authenticate with certainty the truth of what we believe—but what do you as an unbeliever have to authenticate your beliefs with certainty?—Nothing.

20 Alan Cross January 12, 2014 at 12:39 am

Christina,

You missed my point in a fairly spectacular way. I am giving my own perspective. I am not engaging in relativism. I am explaining why the absolutist claims of evolutionists are not convincing to me and why I think that they are engaging in the same things that they accuse religious people of engaging in. This is not written as a defense of Creationism or a disproving of Evolution. It is written as a personal confession of why I have not found the arguments of evolutionists to be convincing.

As you address my Point 2, you reiterate the very reasons why I find your arguments to be unconvincing. You look at the evidence and draw certain conclusions – conclusions that are in no way verifiable. They make sense to you because of you presuppositions. That is fine. I am not even arguing against it at that point. I am making another case altogher, one that you did seem to pick up on when you got to my point 6. Yes, my goal is to level the playing field and demonstrate that we are basically in the same place when it comes to the claims that we are making.

I have made no arguments against evolution and I said that I have not. I simply gave a starting place for my thinking. You wrote almost 2,900 words arguing against a lot of things I was not even saying. But, what I am saying is that your claims are verifiable to you because of how you see the evidence. When I start with God, I might see the evidence differently, or at least come to different conclusions.

I am not advocating relativism. I recognize that the Theist and the Non-Theist are working from different positions and what you see changes based on where you stand.

An aside: I also said, rather clearly, that I am not writing against those who believe in theistic evolution. For those who read the Bible and see a case for evolutionary processes there, they can make that case. Disputing that would be another post for another time.

21 cb scott January 12, 2014 at 12:47 am

“Disputing that would be another post for another time.”

Well then, Alan, hurry up ad write it so we will know you are not a heretic.

22 Alan Cross January 12, 2014 at 1:16 am

CB,

Hey, doesn’t THIS post demonstrate that I don’t believe in Theistic Evolution? No heresy here.

But, CB. We might want to bring you up on charges unless you renounce the Evil Empire up there in Tuscaloosa with the bringing in of Lane Kiffen.

23 cb scott January 12, 2014 at 7:41 am

Alan,

Some things are simple and easy to understand. Even a fifth grader can understand. Things such as creation of all things? — Hey, God did it. He did it in six days just like the infallible and inerrant Word stated in the first Book of the Bible which was written by an older, somewhat hot tempered guy named Moses who wrote that which God revealed to him as he was under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to write. The understanding of that is simple. It is a no brainer. God did it.

However, Lane Kiffen coming to T’town as a coach is beyond human understanding. It is kinda like kicking a football directly into the hands of an opposing player who can run like a greyhound with only one second left on the clock and all the players you have on the field are the fat guys and one skinny kicker —- beyond human understanding.

24 volfan007 January 12, 2014 at 10:55 am

CB,

All of us, Vol fans, are just tickled to death that Kiffin is coming to Tuscaloosa.

Also, I agree with you about creation. It’s simple. God spoke it all into being in 6 days….literal days. And, the world can’t be as old as some of the Evolution Scientists wanna claim….millions and millions and millions and millions and billions of years old. Yet, there was nobody around to write all of that down…no one to witness all that millions and billions of years stuff.

I’ll just stick with the One, Who was around….Who did see it.

David

25 Adam G. in NC January 12, 2014 at 1:06 am

SEBTS recently had a wonderful conference about “Noah’s Ark and the Age of the Earth”. It featured some Old Earth folks, Young Earth folks and allowed their Old Testament faculty to weigh in as well. It was really interesting…and every speaker was an unashamed proponent of the 5 fundamentals…and gracious enough to not call each other a heretic.

http://multimedia.sebts.edu/?cat=70

26 Roger Simpson January 12, 2014 at 1:24 am

Christina:

I appreciate your solid argumentation.

However, I’d like to engage you on one question: Regardless of any truth claims in the Bible, and regardless of the any theistic model that caused creation or guided the introduction of successively complex life forms, how could evolution be a credible model? Given that we only have, at most, about 13-16 billion years available since the Big Bang how in the world could all the stuff that exists happen by random chance?

The equivalent question is posed by Steven Hawking — How could a monkey pounding on a typewriter come up with a Shakespearian sonnet? Or how could a tornado blowing through a junkyard create a 747?

Or stated another way, how could a collection of pond scum give rise incrementally to people? Crick demonstrated how complex the helical encoding mechanism is to allow for heritable traits (genetics)? Do you think that this stuff could just happen in a few billion years by random undirected chance?

I think that today’s scientists, engineers, and geneticists are smarter than random chance. However, even smart people would have a tough time reverse engineering whatever is required to describe the process of making people from rats.

You might hold that a theist saying “God made everything” is a cop out.

I hold that, regardless of whether a person is a theist or not, a person espousing the view that “everything happened by random chance” is even more of a cop out.

Roger Simpson — Oklahoma City

27 Christina Henry January 12, 2014 at 1:35 am

“how in the world could all the stuff that exists happen by random chance?”

Whether or not it could happen by random chance is irrelevant because evolution is not random. This is one of the great misconceptions. Evolution is not equivalent to monkeys banging away on typewriters. Evolution is a progressive system, a building system, an adaptive system. I once heard a creationist (I think it was Ham, not sure) use Mount Rushmore as an example. He said evolution would be akin to wind and rain creating Mount Rushmore. His argument was that if we see a Mount Rushmore, we assume design. Thus if we see complex organisms, we should similarly assume design.

The problem with his argument, which is also present in your examples, is that organisms are not rocks and we are not dealing with random forces. Life adapts. Successful traits are reinforced and propagated while unsuccessful traits die out. It’s not a perfect system and other problems can enter the picture (ie, cancer, etc, but even cancer typically doesn’t strike until after an organism has lived long enough to propagate) but it is a progressive system.

When a safe cracker puts her ear to the door of a safe and starts spinning the tumblers, if she gets a hit she doesn’t start over spinning randomly. The hit is noted, and she moves on to the next digit. The process may appear random in some ways, but it isn’t. Evolution is similar. Successful traits tend to stick around and lead to further optimization and adaptation which leads to still further optimization and adaptation which… It is a process. It is evolution. It is not a continuous toss of the dice to see what happens.

28 parsonsmike January 12, 2014 at 5:32 pm

Christina,
A safe cracker has a brain that organizes his actions. Evolution has no brain, no overall organizer. No one to tell all the other little organizers that that one over there is a better evolve.
Likewise, many individual parts up to whole ecosystems had to develop at the same time in a complex way.
It takes much faith in chance to believe in evolution, and none in science.

29 Bennett Willis January 12, 2014 at 6:32 pm

What nature has is the willingness to perform billions of experiments–and to keep some of the ones that are advantageous in some certain ways. Advantageous for a while, anyhow.

30 Don Arndt January 13, 2014 at 12:06 pm

Here’s your problem.
And you can’t get around it.

While there is abundant logical, constant proof for microevolutionary processes,
There is little to no evidence for macroevolution. There are no examples of a simpler organism, becoming a more complex organism. There are no examples of changes from one “kind” of organism to another.
There is no evidence of transitory species.
There is no evidence that mutations lead to an increase in complexity of DNA, which is absolutely required for evolution to be true.

If I believed in the “science” of evolution, I would have to believe in the “science” of global warming, which is the biggest load of bologna we have around today.

Most people who doubt/deny evolution do so because it is not good science. It is a presuppositional philosophy that the universe is capable of achieving the complexity we observe without the guiding hand of a creator.

Just because a “majority” of scientists believe something has squat to do with the accuracy of that belief.

31 Byron Polts January 12, 2014 at 1:30 am

Alan, a couple of words in defense of science here, from a heretic :-)

The only difference between micro and macro evolution is quantitative. Macro is made up of micro; like algebra is made up of arithmetic. What you’re saying is arithmetic exists, but algebra does not. It’s like admitting that you believe in glass shards glued onto a big sphere, but you don’t believe in disco balls.

So given you already believe in evolution, you won’t be surprised to learn that speciation has been observed. Google “observed speciation” and you’ll find plenty of material to reconcile.

Secondly, it isn’t true that Science is equally wrong over time. While science isn’t purely objective, it is *always* increasing in accuracy. Take for example, our understanding of the shape and size of the Earth. We’ve gone form thinking it was flat, to thinking it was a sphere, to our present belief that it is an oblate spheroid. Our knowledge of the shape and size of the Earth will always be improving, and the degree to which we’re wrong about it will always be decreasing.

The same can be said of evolution. With each passing day there is (quite literally) more evidence for it. It pours in the way Niagara Falls does. With Darwin’s work we understood say 50% of the mechanics of evolution. Now with research into genetics, we understand say 90%+ of evolution. I’m making these numbers up, but you get the idea. Eventually we’ll understand evolution to such a degree that it will just be impractical to know any more about it. Like researching the shape of the Earth – we can move on.

32 Ken Hamrick January 13, 2014 at 10:17 am

The Bible doesn’t describe species, but “kinds.” Birds may develop into various species of birds, but not into various species of any other kind. Apes develop variety, as do humans; but apes do not develop into humans. You say that the difference between micro and macro is only quantitative; and yet, the glaring absence of transitional species belies such a claim, since a mere quantitative difference ought to result in so many transitional species as to make the entire variety of animal life to be uniformly gradient.

33 John Fariss January 13, 2014 at 6:34 pm

The thing is, Ken, when I have engaged with creationists over this point, any example of what biologists and paleontologists call a “transitional species,” creationists call a “separate species,” so that the argument is winnable. Have you seen that sort of argumentation?

John

34 John Fariss January 13, 2014 at 6:35 pm

Drat that spell checker! Should be “unwinnable.”

John

35 parsonsmike January 13, 2014 at 7:20 pm

John,
There are two sides to consider in that argument.
If evolution is true, it could be a transitional species.
If evolution is false, it couldn’t be a transitional species.

The question is then:
Can science prove by the scientific method their claim that it was a transitional species?
The answer is No.

So rather than being a question of science, it becomes a question of faith- does one believe the Bible or does one believe in evolutionary theory?

36 John Fariss January 14, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Mike, that sounds good; however, as these debates play out, you have put the cart before the horse so to speak. Those with whom I have argued this point in the past begin with not with your stated hypothesis (“If evolution is true, it could be a transitional species. If evolution is false, it couldn’t be a transitional species.”) but rather with the presupposition that there are no transitional species, but only separate and distinct species, therefore any species named cannot be transitional. I really believe that the only way these folks would be convinced would be (1) if there was a complete and unbroken line in the fossil record of every generation between the two species, and (2) if it could be shown by DNA that each animal (or perhaps plant) in that was indeed the biological offspring of the ones before and after it. That will never happen, first because only a small percentage of animals are ever fossilized, and second because it is ever rarer for retrievable DNA to be preserved in fossils. Therefore these folks have set themselves up a classic catch-22 situation, at least within the parameters of their logic. I think (whether intentional or not) that is behind your question, “Can science prove by the scientific method their claim that it was a transitional species?”

Would you agree that what I assume is your position–that evolution is false because it contradicts the Bible–is premised on the assumption, first, that Genesis is addressing the concept of distinct species rather than the theology of “competing” contemporary pagan religions? And if so, second, that those words can be lifted out of their context to address an issue that arose only thousands of years later?

Needless to say, I disagree that the end question is a matter of faith in God (or His Word) totally or in evolutionary theory (totally).

John

37 parsonsmike January 14, 2014 at 12:32 pm

John,
It seems to me John, that as long as there is missing evidence, evolution theorists will have a problem. They can’t prove their hypothesis.
Let me put it like this:
Say a man is murdered and some of the evidence points to you. You know that you did not kill this man. But the prosecutor brings his partially complete evidence to the grand jury and gets an indictment. Meanwhile, he tell his investigators to seek to dig up more evidence to solidify his case.
For the prosecutor, the truth he thinks he sees is a lie. He is sincere in his pursuit of justice but you are not guilty of the crime. The evidence turned up and maybe even other evidence gleaned viewed in the perspective of the prosecutor places you as the guilty one. But hopefully before the trial, your defense attorney, a P. Mason, will find the missing piece that points to the real murderer.
So let me restate my hypothesis:
If creation ex nihlo is true than there are no transitory species, and if it is false there are some, maybe these in question.

Evolution than has competition from the Word of God in explaining origins. They can not produce evidence to prove their theory. Nor can they explain the great complexities of life, both biological and social. Multiple events that singularly are quite improbable by themselves must coincide myriads of times to produce the biological complexities of life even in in the simplest of organisms much less the less simple ones. that they know this and gloss over it to preach their anti-god agenda shows that it is not science that drives them [in general] but disbelief in a personal God – a religious pursuit is what they are undertaking.

I think the Genesis story is true because it does both: it posits for us how God created, and it stands against competing pagan ideas BOTH then and now. For God most certainly wrote His Word not just to deal with the problems and concerns His people had when it was first read, but also to address falsehood throughout time and history.
Simply, it is a living Word. God still speaks today through was written long ago.

38 John Fariss January 14, 2014 at 1:19 pm

Mike your analogy is not valid. As a former detective in a metropolitan area, I know that a competent DA (merely competent, not exceptional) can get a Grand Jury to indict a ham sandwich for murder. In a great many crimes, including homicide, there is never anything except circumstantial evidence. Now you are right that a DA will instruct investigators to seek further evidence against the accused. However, the DA is under some constraints that no defense attorney is: namely that any exculpatory evidence discovered has to be turned over to the defense, whereas no defense attorney is allowed to turn over any evidence against his own client. The reason is that the DA is charged by the court system to seek justice, whereas the defense attorney is charged with defending his client by all legal means, to the best of his ability. This adversarial system is what makes the American system of justice work. And the “Perry Mason” system–where the defense attorney elicits a confession on the witness stand by someone else–makes good drama, but it just does not happen in real life, if at all, not once in ten thousand trials. In fact, what the defense attorney does is to introduce reasonable doubt toward his client. My point is: your analogy does not hold water.

Maybe here is where you and I most differ: creatio ex nihlo. You seem to be saying that it applies to the origin of each and every thing. I have never heard it put that way, only that it applies to the origin of matter, i.e., the universe itself. Can you show where it applies to everything, without the presuppositions of fundamentalism?

John

39 parsonsmike January 14, 2014 at 1:44 pm

John,
Well you got me.
But i wasn’t trying to be completely accurate as to how our justice system works, only to show that some evidence might lead some to convict an innocent person, i.e., to come to a wrong conclusion.
And certainly you would agree that in the end, at that great Judgment Day, one far better than our fictional Perry M. will reveal the truths you or I or you and I fail to see now.

And certainly if you are a theistic evolutionist, you are not going to agree that God created all the living world out of nothing including the swimmers, the flyers, the crawlers, the vegetation and so forth.
So besides what the Bible says about God creating all things and what it says in Genesis, where there even His greatest creation was formed out of the dust, what proof can I offer?
Most evolutionists day that man came from a lower creature, so that he evolved from something less. The Bible says he came from the dust and God breathed life into him.

Which do you believe?

40 John Fariss January 14, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Mike I appreciate the way in which you carried on our conversation, without questioning my faith, character, or anything else. I hope I have been likewise honorable toward you. If you ever find yourself in southern Maryland, I hope that we can get together and enjoy a cup of coffee or a meal. My final comment will be simply that I do not in the least question THAT God created all that there is; our difference is not there, but in how He created, whether in all things simply by divine fiat, or whether He used geologic and biologic processes. I seem to remember that there are two different Hebrew words, one meaning creation, i.e.. what we call creatio ex nihlo, and another meaning manufacture, that He used existing materials–i.e., Adam (in Hebrew, “The Adam”) out of dust, and Eve out of one of Adam’s ribs. He could have created all there is out of nothing, just as Jesus could have created wine at the wedding at Cana without starting with water; but He chose to transform one thing into another instead. I look forward to having that revealed to me, but suppose it will be on the other side of the grave, and I hope not to get in line for that in the next day or two. Best to you!

John

41 truthunites January 14, 2014 at 2:18 pm

As a former detective in a metropolitan area, I know that a competent DA (merely competent, not exceptional) can get a Grand Jury to indict a ham sandwich for murder.

That’s a killer ham sandwich!

;-)

42 SVMuschany January 12, 2014 at 1:57 am

While I am a YEC, I also believe that ultimately it is not a major point worth too much trouble (discussion yes, division absolutely not). That said, a belief in a literal Adam (and Eve) is vital and important for Christians. If there was not a literal Adam, then Paul’s arguments for Christ and His saving work in Romans makes no sense. Several thousand or several billion years? It ultimately does not matter. A literal Adam and Eve? It matters.

43 Tarheel January 13, 2014 at 10:35 am

Agreed!

44 Dave Miller January 13, 2014 at 3:36 pm

I will admit that I have trouble seeing the validity of the biblical arguments in the exegesis of Genesis 1 and 2 made by Old-earthers, but we ought not make this a test of faith or fellowship.

I find you Christians/Baptists can end up being wrong about a LOT of things – every time you disagree with me.

45 Dee Stover January 14, 2014 at 11:41 am

Do you think there were 24 hour days before the sun moon and stars were created and light and darkness were separated?
Hebraicly time and history are cyclical rather than linear in nature. I believe must be read with this context in mind to be understood. We have numerous sevens then new beginnings throughout scripture. Sevens inside of sevens…cycling…wheels within wheels possibly. Sabbaths, 7 feasts, 7 spirits of God, 7 churches, seals, trumpets, bowls….7creation days, 7 Hebrew words in Gen 1:1…so many more. New Heavens and new earth will be after the 7000th year…hmmm. Were we the first 7000 year earth? Does God recycle:)
Not saying I know for certain, but I don’t think we can dismiss the possibility.

46 parsonsmike January 14, 2014 at 11:54 am

Dee,

To your first question, maybe the day was the same amount of time even if there were no standards at that time to measure it.

47 Ben Coleman January 15, 2014 at 5:26 pm

What I want to know is – what does the consistent ‘there was evening and morning’ (even from the first day) phrase mean? As Dee points out, the mechanism for these didn’t even exist for the time they were first used. Evening and morning *where*? I sometimes wonder if by insisting on reading Gen 1 in a ‘Creation vs Evolution’ mode, we’re missing something there. The only thing I’ve so far been able to get out of that is that God doesn’t work in the dark. And I note that it says that God had created light and separated it from darkness, but it doesn’t say that light and darkness were cyclical – or is that supposed to be implied?

48 Dee Stover January 15, 2014 at 6:21 pm

Psalms 90:4 and 2 Peter 3:8 indicate that time to the Lord is very different than time is to man.

“For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday”
when it is past, and as a watch in the night.”
“… that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years,
and a thousand years as one day.”

I submit for your consideration that each of the sevens in the Bible are cycles and fabric in time and space. 7 words in Genesis 1:1 each are a millennium of time and represent what is contained in that millennium. I submit also that every other set of 7 in scripture fits this pattern and fills out the picture painted therein. Study, pray and ponder…or dismiss outright holding steadfastly to your own view.

49 Zack Stepp January 15, 2014 at 6:25 pm

Ben:

“What I want to know is – what does the consistent ‘there was evening and morning’ (even from the first day) phrase mean? As Dee points out, the mechanism for these didn’t even exist for the time they were first used. Evening and morning *where*?”

Perhaps I’m missing something in what you’ve said, but the first mention of “evening and morning” comes after God a) created earth, b) created light, c) separated the light from the dark, and d) called the light day and the dark night. Then, after all of that, we see the first mention of “evening and morning.” It’s not just that God separated the light and the dark, as you point out. He did more than that: v. 5 says that he established “day” and “night.” Seems to me that morning and evening fit pretty well with that.

50 Roger Simpson January 12, 2014 at 2:50 am

Christina:

You are right: organisms are not rocks. How do we get from rocks to organisms?

What is the feedback mechanism by which a batch of rocks which undergo various changes due to their environment become — incrementally over time — single cell organisms?

The micro evolution we see — selective breeding of dogs for instance — is 100 orders of magnitude less challenging than going from pond scum to people.

The Greeks had a crazy cosmology. Their cosmological model was that the universe was of infinite age and that it was unchanging with time. To them God and nature were the same thing. Given that the cosmic background radiation was not known to the Greeks, I guess they were doing a pretty good job with the data they had.

Now we have quite a bit more understanding of the universe. We have red shifts from distant objects that give us some metric to the finite but large size of the universe and also its age.

The problem that Darwin has now is that there is not enough time for his stuff to work.

Finches on Galapagos can adapt. German Shepherds can be bred by monks. Various viruses and animals can adapt to their environment.

However, it is an impossible leap to extrapolate this to the idea that people are the result from the output tossed off by stellar “matter generation factories”. The odds of this happening are worse than one chance in 10^10^10.

Also, you’d never get to square one due to radiation that would annihilate life. You would have to have some suitable place to carry on certain final stages of your experiment. For example, if you wanted to go from fish, to reptiles, to mammals, you would probably only be successful if you were on an earth like planet which has a very fine tuned ecosystem with oxygen, liquid water, organic material for food, etc. You would need a solar system where you have “Jupiter like bodies” that would run interference so most of the solar system space debris which would otherwise crash into the planet that you were using as your laboratory would find a home in an orbital ring away from that of your earth-like planet.

The problem with people and animals is that you can not build them in isolation. Each of them needs an incredibility complex eco-system in place. You need a diversity of plants and a mechanism like seeds or cuttings so these plants can reproduce.

You have to build your animals in the order that the food chain demands. Otherwise, you are wasting your time because the result of your labors are creatures that will starve to death.

You mention Ken Ham’s argument about Mt. Rushmore. I think you would be better off checking out stuff by Hugh Ross, Phillip Johnson and Michael Behe when it comes to evolution.

If you are actually open to looking at some stuff I’ll give you a reading list in a subsequent post.

Roger

51 Christina Henry January 12, 2014 at 11:47 am

Roger, you repeat your earlier mistake by assuming evolution must be random and must take a lot longer time than is available. Evolution is not random, it is cumulative. It happens at times gradually, at times in jumps but it is always progressing.

You ask about how life came to be, how we get from rocks to organisms, but of course you know that no one proposes we came from rocks to organisms. While theories vary, there is general consensus about the process of chemical and electrical factors which lead to basic organisms. Experiments have not reproduced the early earth, but have still been promising to show how organic life comes to be.

Besides, it is no proof either for or against evolution if scientists don’t have all the answers. If science can’t answer something, Christians are quick to shout, “See? It had to be God!” But of course science inevitably progresses and explains the natural processes behind the phenomenon so Christians jump on the next unexplained item, completely disregarding the former issue. So I explain to you that your random argument is invalid; you ignored my argument and moved on to something else only to return to your earlier claim.

You also mention the need for complex systems to support complex systems but again you show that you do not understand evolution. We aren’t talking about one organism developing increasing complexity on its own. Complex ecosystems mature together. Frogs don’t become frogs then look around the wasteland to wonder where all the insects are. Evolution is quid pro quo.

There is no need to belabor this. I will leave you with a final quote, something I’ve just read from Annals of the Former World by John McPhee: “In six thousand years, you could never grow wings on a reptile. With sixty million, however, you could have feathers, too.”

52 Ken Hamrick January 12, 2014 at 7:26 am
53 William Thornton January 12, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Nothing like a link to save a lot of space…

Would it be fair to say that you are among those who have bundled inerrancy, creationism, six day 6k young earth creationism such that Christianity and truth stands or falls on the acceptance or rejection of the whole bundle?

Do you object to competing views such as those of several here and of the OE views do some SEBTS profs, for example.

The sagacious Phillip E. Johnston dealt with the presumption of a very narrowly defined creationism toe decades ago.

I don’t see much of a solution here but do see some dangers.

At any rate you put a lot of thought into the piece linked and I have an appreciation for that.

54 William Thornton January 12, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Gotta watch Johnston and his “toe”

Read “two” …dang auto complete.

55 Ken Hamrick January 12, 2014 at 9:22 pm

William,

Reinterpreting Gen. 1 in such a way as to deny the “common sense, straightforward” meaning—for no other reason than because of the demands of the anti-supernatural, materialistic presupposition—destroys the authority of Scripture and deligitimizes Christian truth-claims.

Christians must, without compromise or fail, believe that Jesus literally and physically rose from the dead, so no believer should ever doubt the supernatural, miraculous nature of God’s acts as recorded in Scripture. That question should have been settled for us at the empty tomb.

I haven’t read Johnston yet.

56 William Thornton January 13, 2014 at 6:56 am

There is much in Scripture that cannot be interpreted in a “common sense, straightforward” way, but this exchange illustrates that the age of the earth is first an interpretive issue, unless I missed where Scripture states the age in a common sense, straightforward way.

There is a reason that a literal death and resurrection of Christ is in the BFM and the age of the earth is not. To juxtapose the two in this discussion diminishes the former.

57 Ken Hamrick January 13, 2014 at 8:04 am

We should have a hermeneutic that appropriately reflects the authority of an inspired Scripture—in other words, a common-sense, straightforward hermeneutic that assumes that every text of Scripture is a literal, historical account unless the text itself warrants a meaning that is other than literal. To do otherwise, and allow extra-biblical considerations to determine when the meaning is other than literal is to surrender the authority of Scripture. Scripture is sufficient to interpret itself and needs nothing from outside in order to accurately convey its meaning. It is Scripture, and not science, that is the ultimate authority of the truths contained within the Bible.

It comes down to the question of whether the reader gives God’s Word the benefit of the doubt, by interpreting Scripture according to Scripture alone and letting the text speak for itself, or whether the reader allows the so-called evidences and arguments from outside of Scripture (formed by those who do not give God’s Word the benefit of the doubt) to carry more weight than the text itself.

As for the chronology, the Bible presents that in a fairly straightforward way, with genealogies that are specific, detailed, personal and contiguous. Even if we allow for a supposed missing generation or two, there is no way that the 4000 or so years that the Bible plainly puts forth as the length of time between creation and Christ could be stretched beyond all recognition to 4 million or billion years.

The literal resurrection of Christ is in the BF&M because one cannot be saved without affirming it. The age of the earth is not essential to being saved, and and the SBC decided to be inclusive of more liberal beliefs regarding the age of the earth. However, I strongly disagree with your strange charge that, “To juxtapose the two in this discussion diminishes the former.” The two need to be juxtaposed, and Old-Earthers need to squarely address this valid criticism. Since the link was garbled in my last comment, here it is again: http://sbcopenforum.com/2013/09/20/the-delegitimizing-of-christian-truth-claims/

58 William Thornton January 13, 2014 at 9:23 am

So, we’re discussing various interpretive issues, the degree of literalness, and common sense (unless the text demands otherwise in which case an underlying presupposition might be sniffed out) readings, highly subjective stuff.

…which is part of the reason that the details of creation aren’t included in the BFM.

A creation/evolution discussion generally devolves into various interpretive issues among Christians because the subject has been hijacked by a very narrow and recent special interest industry which makes one interpretation, a very young earth, into the fulcrum for the entire body of truth.

I’m a creationist. Alan’s a creationist. You are. We can have fun with the details until one of us relegates the other to some degree of heresy or apostasy.

59 William Thornton January 13, 2014 at 9:31 am

Ken, you might stand back and look at what you have asserted here, that the resurrection and a young earth NEED to be juxtaposed.

60 Ken Hamrick January 13, 2014 at 9:36 am

No, there’s no heresy or apostasy. But there is a misguided, erroneous, eisegetical way to bow to the world’s anti-supernatural demands and attempt every conceivable way to shoehorn billions of years into what is obviously intended as simple, contiguous chronology of six literal days.

This is not an interpretive issue in the sense that the meaning is not clear; but rather, it is an interpretive issue because many find the clear meaning to be unacceptable in light of what the world tells them occurred.

61 Ken Hamrick January 13, 2014 at 9:37 am

Juxtaposed simply in the sense of looking at one in light of the other.

62 Ken Hamrick January 13, 2014 at 9:43 am

…And I know of no text in Scripture that requires us to discard our common sense. If the plain sense makes sense, then seek no other sense.

63 Ken Hamrick January 13, 2014 at 9:55 am

Here’s a quote from the linked article:

…We lost the high ground when the truth claims of Christianity were delegitimized. Prior to losing this high ground, the hatred for Christianity was hampered by a lack of legitimacy—there was no foothold in reason strong enough for a legitimate claim that the Bible was not true and divinely authoritative. Oh, the claim has always been there, but the legitimacy was lacking as long as there remained a foothold in reason strong enough for the legitimate claim that the Bible is true and divinely authoritative. The world could deny the Bible is true, but they could not prove the Bible is not true. This was the level ground of reason, to which was added the conscience, by which God pricks the hearts of men with the knowledge that He does exist, the Bible is true, and they are sinners. Together, reason and conscience served as the high ground of the Church in her battle to be a witness to the world.

The truth claims of Christianity—the authority of an inerrant and inspired Bible—were delegitimized (in the eyes of the world) as the world accepted as legitimate the truth claims of evolutionary science. The truth claims of evolution, including the billions-of-years chronology, gained legitimacy in the eyes of the world only gradually. But the sinful anti-supernatural bias of secular scientists fueled the over-confidence by which they dressed their claims in such an overwhelming certainty. That deceptive certainty made Biblical creationism ever more worthy of scorn and disgust. Many in the Church failed to notice the faulty anti-supernatural ground on which the evolutionists’ truth claims are based, and unintentionally helped give over the high ground to the enemy by engineering a compromise by which the irrefutable claims of science could be read into the text of the first chapter of Genesis. Hoping to preserve the truth claims of Christianity, they actually assisted in delegitimizing them—because in the face of these compromises, the world smiles and winks, knowing full well that the authority of Scripture has been undermined and the anti-Christian worldview has gained a new legitimacy.

64 William Thornton January 13, 2014 at 10:32 am

…which is why YE/OE discussions so often devolve and are probably not worth the effort.

But, I appreciate your thoughtful articles.

65 John Fariss January 12, 2014 at 11:16 am

I know I will eventually fall to the temptation to comment here, so I might as well do it now.

An outright rejection of evolution because in one way or another it contradicts Scripture requires a specific, and rather limited, interpretation of Scripture. More specifically, it requires one to accept two rather contradictory issues regarding Scripture: one, a 19th Century interpretation, popularly known as fundamentalism, and two, a 16th Century western European interpretative framework (interestingly, also the basis of the scientific method) which presupposes that every statement in the Bible can us used as propositional truth. It also pretty much requires one to ignore the “sitz im leben,” the situation in life, which various narratives were written to address. For instance, the situation originally addressed in Genesis was (apparently) the Babylonian belief that winter was caused by the death of the earth, and that every winter there was a danger of the world falling back into the chaos of pre-creation. And in order to renew life, the gods had to be appeased by various fertility rites, and that had to be done every spring. The Hebrew point was that God needed to bring order out of the chaos only once, not yearly. The interpretation of Genesis being God’s rejection of evolution ignores its original purpose.

FYI, I do not reject a literal Adam and Eve, especially when you understand the meaning of those “names.”

No more time.

John

66 Roger Simpson January 12, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Christina:

By definition, evolution is idea that the state of nature now is the product of long sequence of events. You rightly use the term “cumulative events”.
Given that the events are cumulative does not address the randomness of each event.

Are you positing some type of non-theistic “invisible hand” to orchestrate this? If randomness is not at work, and stipulating that theism is not at work, then by what mechanism “do complex ecosystems mature together”.

Regardless of the Bible and regardless of Christianity and regardless of any understanding that springs from theism, evolution is bankrupt to explain reality.

I agree that evolution could ultimately be demonstrated — at least in principle. But from the time of Darwin until now, the problems faced by evolution as a plausible model are increasing — not decreasing. This is because the complexity and fine tuning in nature is now known to be orders of magnitude greater than was the case in Darwin’s time.

For the purposes of this discussion, I’ll stipulate that Christians may use creationism as an escape mechanism to avoid objectively addressing scientific issues. That being the case, evolution just does not hold water.

I am interested in studying evolution. However, I don’t think there is much robust science going on to actually demonstrate that the theory is credible. For example, how can a reptile grow wings with feathers in a mere 60,000,000 years?

Christina, you can have the last word. I’ll watch from afar as evolutionists roll out credible models that have validity based upon empirical evidence.

67 Bill Mac January 12, 2014 at 6:33 pm

I’d like to thank Christina for coming into potentially hostile territory and making a reasonable and articulate case for her point of view. Even if you disagree, let’s treat her with respect.

68 Bennett Willis January 12, 2014 at 6:47 pm

I think that this discussion should be done “person to person” while walking through the paleontology hall at the Houston Museum of Natural Science–or similar if you don’t want to come to Houston. The displays there are hard to ignore or discount.

When you have to base some of your arguements on experiments that happened a long while ago and were not documented (and many left no records at all), science labors under a significant handicap.

69 Dean January 12, 2014 at 7:58 pm

I do not believe that Bro. Alan offered an attack on evolution but merely stated what he believed. It is refreshing to hear someone whose belief in Christ and the Holy Bible have led them to state what they support. There are many who carry the name of Christ who can only state what they are against.

However, some have taken this opportunity to speak of the science of evolution like it is settled and can’t be refuted. Such claims are fairy tales. Some scientists have lied and manipulated findings and results to support evolution and attack creationism. We lived with the Piltdown Man for forty years before that lie was revealed to be a combination of an orangutan and human jaw bone.

Those defending the science of evolution as irrefutable will have a difficult time explaining a system that “irreducibly complex.” The IC system is a single system with such interacting parts that contribute to the system’s basic function that if one of the parts were removed the system would cease to function. All parts must be in place for the system to function. This makes evolution of such systems an impossibility. Michael Behe speaks to this in “Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution.” He gives the example of such an IC in the Cilium.

Blessings on all, Dean

70 Roger Simpson January 12, 2014 at 8:08 pm

I agree with the idea of being respectful of all views. Evolution is not an idea that just fell off of the turnip truck. To engage it completely takes more heft than I have at my disposal. As in all discourse, the way forward is to lay out the case for one’s views in an irenic fashion.

Also I have to admit that cosmologies that are “creation based” are inherently based upon theistic pre-suppositions. Since theism is a truth claim based upon faith as well as reason, theists “cheat”. They can get by [or least attempt to get by] with cutting some corners relative to empirical evidence.

I hold that apologetics is a valid discipline and that Christian truth claims are reasonable. But that doesn’t mean we can reproduce them empirically. I can’t take a person, ordain them to be God’s son, hang him on a wooden scaffold, watch him die, put him in a grave and then observe him exit the grave alive three days later. I have to proceed with “just believing” this based upon solid epistemological scaffolding.

Relative to evolution (atheistic, theistic or otherwise) I don’t know, even in principle, how one that espouses that view could advance it short of empirical tests. Reason alone just doesn’t seem to cut it because as science has progressed in knowledge in the last century and a half evolution is becoming less reasonable all the time. So I don’t think it is “unfair” to ask evolutionists so show some empirical evidence to demonstrate the plausibility of their theory.

In summary, creationism is getting a free ride on the back of biblical inerrancy while evolution must jump over the threshold of empirical tests. Who says life is fair?

A caution to both sides, we can’t just assert something as a fact without some kind of basis. Both sides are guilty of shabby argumentation — myself included.

I’d say it is much easier to trash evolution than it is to build a air-tight case for any alternative.

One last comment. God reveals stuff to those who seek him. This applies to the “big questions” and also even the small ones such as cosmology. I think we do well to delve into epistemology and see, a la William Lane Craig, whether our worldview is at least “reasonable”.

The trouble with Pascal’s wager is that we can’t reproduce it and it is not subject to verification. So we can’t empirically verify that our choice in the wager is correct. I think the safe thing is to hedge our bets. If there is no God and we bet wrong then there is no harm. If we bet the opposite then the outcome for each of us is not optimal.

71 parsonsmike January 12, 2014 at 10:06 pm

Roger,
Your last paragraph is kind of mixed up in meaning.
If there is no God and we bet right, then how is the outcome for each of us not optimal?

72 Roger Simpson January 13, 2014 at 12:58 am

Parson Mike:

Thanks for pointing out my mistake in describing Pascal’s wager. I proofread stuff prior to posting but this error escaped my attention.

If there is no God then whatever we bet results in the same outcome. I guess we could say that in this case, regardless of our bet, the outcome would be “optimal”.

If there is a God then if we reject His offer the result is catastrophic.

My point is that we shouldn’t make our acceptance of God’s plan for our eternal life contingent upon our absolute certainty regarding God’s existence. We should embrace God’s plan for us and go forward from there in fellowship with him. If God turns out to be a fraud there is nothing lost.

My takeaway regarding to Pascal’s wager is that I don’t believe that holding to atheism or unbelief makes sense because it unnecessarily exposes a person to a high risk scenario. A person doing a rational cost/benefit analysis would choose theism — and respond affirmatively to God’s call.

73 Christina Henry January 13, 2014 at 2:11 am

There are two (well, more than two but two for now) problems with Pascal’s wager.

First, the wager is fundamentally selfish. It tells me to think about the consequences of belief as they relate to me without regard for anyone else. Well, if I believe in God and there is no God, I’ve lost nothing. But perhaps there is more at stake than just my own life. Pascal’s wager doesn’t take that into account. It’s all about me.

Second, and raised by the first, Pascal’s wager considers only the possible post-death ramifications of belief. If there’s a God and I believe in him, I get eternal paradise. If I don’t, I get eternal judgment. If there is no God, I’ve lost nothing. But what about life in this world? If there is no God yet I live by the dictates of the Bible, how much human experience is being cut off? If at the end of the day morality is what we make of it, how does Pascal’s wager justify a society that imposes certain moral expectations that originate from a book which claims divine status but is only another human book? Christianity imposes restrictions, both through individual decision (those who choose to be bound by the requirements of God) and through political/societal imposition (moral laws which are backed primarily or solely by religious views, such as opposition to homosexuality).

Furthermore, there are catastrophic, life-and-death consequences. Many Christians reject the idea of things like global warming or the possibility of an asteroid wiping out life on earth. One fundamental cause for this rejection is the belief that the world will only end when God says and how God says. We can’t end things by global warming because that’s not in the book of Revelation. We don’t have to worry about hypothetical alien invasion because God controls how the end comes. Pascal’s wager does not provide a way to take these into consideration. It’s all about me, what happens to me, whether or not things work out well for me. It’s a surprisingly selfish apologetic coming from people who are supposed to be selfless.

74 Ken Hamrick January 13, 2014 at 10:04 am

It doesn’t matter. Wagers may be about probabilities and uncertainties, but faith in Christ is about utter certainties. Those who truly put their faith in Him will never be faced with the consequences of believing in what is false.

75 parsonsmike January 13, 2014 at 5:34 pm

Roger,
A person doing a rational cost/benefit analysis would choose theism and respond positively to the Gospel?
Paul told us that if Christ was not risen we are to be most pitied of men.
The analysis then would need to take into account spiritual truths that are un-affirmable and that can only be known by faith.
Of course, if they are known by faith, one does not need to do a cost/benefit analysis to determine how to respond to God.

76 Matthew Newman January 13, 2014 at 8:39 am

Admitting one does not believe in evolution requires courage in our society. We get ridiculed when we don’t pretty regularly. As an engineer who doesn’t (which I am), it can be a challenge, but the Bible doesn’t speak of evolution and, frankly, I find the theory to be lacking.

http://oldlineelephant.com/2013/05/07/im-a-creationist/

77 John Fariss January 13, 2014 at 10:18 am

You said, “Admitting one does not believe in evolution requires courage in our society.” I agree with you; but it takes about the same amount of courage, perhaps more, to admit that one does “believe” in evolution in most Baptist circles. And almost as much as saying you are an Old-Earth’er, even if a creationist.

I put the e-word in quotes because I do not really like it. I prefer to use “believe” in discussing my faith in Christ, and reduce other matters to “acceptance” or “denial.”

John

78 John Fariss January 13, 2014 at 10:50 am

Excuse me: the “b-word,” not the “e-word.”

John

79 William Thornton January 13, 2014 at 10:39 am

One, possibly last by me, comment on the subject.

The YEC industry with its specialists is so successful that we have a heavy supply of clergy and laypeople who are experts in the arguments, having availed themselves of the latest YE response to dendrochronology, various dating methods, paleoclimatology and the like. Why not just declare that the appearance of age solves all possible dating problems and just not bother with the details. If things are not as they appear, if supposedly concrete evidence is actually false then there is no possible argument against whatever point one may wish to make. Call it winning an argument by YEC fiat.

As for me, I’m generally with Alan and appreciate his article.

80 Ken Hamrick January 13, 2014 at 7:34 pm

Unlike Ken Ham, I don’t try to argue the faults of dating methods much. There’s no need. The approach used by science is only legitimate if God did not in fact recently create the earth in a supernatural way—and such a biased anti-supernatural approach is incapable of arriving at a knowledge of the truth if God did in fact create supernaturally and recently. Therefore, the nature of the question of origins is determined by what actually happened. The nature of the question is not determined by one’s chosen approach to the question. If what actually happened was in some way a natural process, then the nature of the question is scientific and scientific evidence carries due weight. However, if what actually happened was a supernatural event (immediate creation out of nothing), then science has no place in the matter and scientific evidence carries no weight, as the nature of the question is religious. You see, the question is not as the scientist insists, “How old can we prove this rock to be?” but rather, “How ‘old’ was this rock when God created it?” This illustrates the faulty anti-supernatural ground on which the world’s truth claims are now based.

Scientists cannot detect and measure any trace of “miracle particles” left behind by the supernatural creation event in order to prove that a recent, supernatural creation occurred and determine how long ago it happened. But neither can it be disproven by the lack of “miracle particles”—any more than it could be disproven by scientific dating methods that presuppose that a recent, supernatural creation did not happen. Most who deny a recent creation presume that objectivity would give weight to physical evidence in a supposedly unbiased way; however, this would be a biased a priori denial of the real possibility of a recent supernatural event. When considering origins, it is just as biased to assume from the start that a recent creation did not happen as it would be to assume that it did. Giving any weight whatsoever to any physical “evidence” involves a biased, unjustified assumption that a recent supernatural creation is not a valid possibility—else physical evidence would be irrelevant.

81 parsonsmike January 13, 2014 at 7:57 pm

Ken,
Great point.
Where is the ‘like’ button when you want it?

82 Ken Hamrick January 13, 2014 at 8:10 pm

Thanks, Mike

83 William Thornton January 13, 2014 at 8:06 pm

I suppose I should thank you for making my point, rather wordily but quite explicitly.

84 Ken Hamrick January 13, 2014 at 8:24 pm

Are you lamenting that the opposing argument is too strong? Since the argument has not devolved into any anger or accusations of heresy, then what is the problem?

85 William Thornton January 13, 2014 at 9:39 pm

Well, no, the argument is not too strong though I grant that your , correctness assertions and categorical truth claims are. To simplify, You’ve ruled out evidence as having an anti supernaturalist presupposition and opposing biblical interpretations as failing the common sense test. Not a lot of basis left to even have a discussion.

I said that I appreciate that you’ve obviously thought a lot about all this but think that there may be a bit too much influence from one side.

My hacker and plodder opinion on these discussions is that too many YE creationists think they must be polemicists.

I thought the SEBTS conference linked above was very balanced and a splendid example of a helpful way to have these discussions.

86 Roger Simpson January 13, 2014 at 11:21 am

William Thornton:

Reasonable people can agree to disagree as to the age of the earth. However, when one side or the other posits stuff such as the speed of light is not constant over space and time then it does raise questions, at least to me, if the argument advanced is a top down rather than a bottom up argument.

Or to put it another way, I don’t think it is robust to choose which side of a debate you support first and then manufacture arguments to support it. A more solid apologetic is to work bottoms up. Take a look at observations and then do a bottoms up synthesis to determine a theory based upon a number of observations.

This whole idea of “the appearance of age” is just too much. There is neither any Biblical or empirical warrant for it.

The young earth view may be correct. There are a number of cogent empirical observations that support it. It is not necessary to invent un-observable mechanisms to justify the young earth view.

Personally, I believe that the age of the earth is an open issue. Maybe the age of the earth is 6,000 to 100,000 years old. At least that would be the time from the present to when Adam and Eve were around. The flood, which I hold as being universal (based upon a synthesis of Biblical and scientific understanding) happened more recently than Adam and Eve’s time.

I hold to an “old” universe — one that is about 13 billion years old. I think many Christians unnecessarily conflate the age of the earth with the age of the universe. I believe that the evidence we have to deny/confirm each of these values is sufficiently diverse such that we should sub-divide the problem and look at each question separately.

Of course, I’m open to discussing alternative viewpoints, but to have persuasive power, they have to be based upon reason and not contradict known physical laws.

87 Tim B January 13, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Things are not always as they seem. Here’s an article for you. http://news.yahoo.com/speed-light-may-not-constant-phycisists-133539398.html

88 John Wylie January 13, 2014 at 4:24 pm

Well unless Adam was created as an infant I certainly think there is some biblical warrant for the belief in a superficial appearance of age.

89 Ken Hamrick January 13, 2014 at 7:54 pm

Roger,

Those who posit changes in the speed of light are using the wrong approach. The God who created the stars, and Who created light that comes from the stars, also created—at the same time—all the light present between the stars and the earth (and everywhere else). It is inconsistent to think that God could create the entire universe full of stars, but then have the problem of not being able to create all the light trails between them—or that God could not create a universe already functioning as if it had long been functioning.

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 than deceiving, God openly admitted to creating the world, and told us plainly when and how long He took.

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.

The supernatural is not testable or observable. If we could take a scientist back in time to Eden to examine Adam, he could reasonably claim to be able to duplicate the level of physical maturity of Adam in another man, by observing a newborn throughout twenty years or so. Because he has observed such development in other people, he can reasonably apply this to Adam and theorize that Adam is approximately twenty years old (a rough guess… he was mature enough to be given a wife). However, what the scientist cannot do, is to actually observe how Adam came into existence. He can theorize, assume, and even declare his assumptions as scientific fact, but his science is inadequate to the task if Adam was supernaturally created, not naturally originated. The very practice of scientific inquiry into this matter is itself a presumption that nothing supernatural happened else scientific inquiry would be futile. Where God supernaturally acts, science has reached the end of all possible inquiry. The universe only “appears” older than it is to those who presuppose that such a state requires a certain amount of time to achieve; however, such a presupposition when applied to origins is a skeptical presupposition, biased against a supernatural, young-earth creation.

The Genesis text is not a scientific account—it is an historical account of historical events. If the earth and its contents resulted from scientific processes, then scientific investigation would be appropriate; but if the world resulted from a recent supernatural creation out of nothing, then science has nothing to offer regarding the matter, as the question is not one of science but one of faith.

90 Bennett Willis January 16, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Ken, what do you feel was God’s motivation for creating all the light between the stars so that it comes out just right for observers here on earth?

91 Ken Hamrick January 16, 2014 at 7:56 pm

“The heavens declare the glory of God.” He created it as He wanted it to be. Man was and remains the focus of God’s creation, because the ultimate reason for creation was so that Christ could die on a cross for the sin of the world, rise again, and thereby redeem to God a people saved by grace.

92 John Wylie January 16, 2014 at 8:03 pm

Outstanding answer Ken.

93 Ken Hamrick January 16, 2014 at 8:14 pm

Thanks, John.

94 Roger Simpson January 13, 2014 at 4:20 pm

Tim B:

I have read the article you cite. A first reading still leaves me with a lot of questions. This is the first I’ve heard of anyone coming out with a paper that suggests that the speed of light may not be constant. According to the news release, there are two different models posited. Both of which suggest the idea that the speed of light is not constant. I don’t know if there is any observable information (such as Hubble Telescope observations) that supports either model.

We know based upon observation that the speed of light is constant to many decimal places within our own local neighborhood [i.e. our solar system] for a number of reasons — one of which is that we have done what amounts to “radar triangulation” for the various bodies (planets, etc) in out solar system and everything syncs up.

But if the speed of light varies across vast distances then we could be wrongly interpreting distance and time information based upon Doppler red shift observations. The main support for any given age of the universe is based upon models which are dependent upon a particular (assumed constant over space and time) speed of light.

If it can be empirically shown that the speed of light is not constant for all time and locations in the universe then this would be as revolutionary as the discovery of the cosmic background radiation. It would likely be the most radical discovery in the area of cosmology in any of our lifetimes.

As a side note, we know that light has some “mass-like” properties due to the fact that we observe gravitational lensing. Also, a light ray can be bent when it goes though various media such as the lens in your glasses.

95 Tim B January 13, 2014 at 5:18 pm

The speed of light is something of an illusion anyway. According to physics, light is always the same speed relative to me no matter how fast I am moving. If I am standing on earth the light from the sun passes me at “c.” If I leave earth and head directly away from the sun at 10000 mph the sun’s light still passes me at the same “c.” If I leave earth and travel away from the sun at a speed just under “c” the sun’s light would still pass me at “c.” My opinion is that there is a lot about the speed of light left to be discovered.

96 Tim B January 13, 2014 at 5:44 pm

Let me add one more thing as an addendum to the above post. Einstein taught that as one approached the speed of light time would approach zero. Consequently, if I could be present at both the source of light and any other point (no matter how distant) at the same time, the light from that source would arrive instantaneously. While neither your or I can be at two places simultaneously, the Lord can. Consequently, from His perspective the light he personally created no matter how distant arrived at earth instantly because He was present in both places. That thought raises a great many ontological questions that might be considered, especially since light was created before man.

97 Bart Barber January 13, 2014 at 5:25 pm

Sometimes scientists and engineers miss God’s hand in things because, I think, they presume that God must be a scientist or an engineer: Why on earth would it be functional or efficient for God to have created an already eroded somewhat, already tectonically shifted somewhat, already having the light of stars from trillions of miles away kind of universe.

It makes more sense if you conceive of God as not only scientist and engineer but also as poet and artist. A “new” earth would be ugly. A nighttime sky showing only the light from a few of the closest stars would be ugly. What we have is beautiful and grand (as well as amazingly functional and efficient).

98 Christiane January 13, 2014 at 6:18 pm

well said . . .
any attempt to circumscribe or ‘box up’ the vastness of the Eternal fails to honor that we ourselves are AWARE that the more we ‘know’, the more we realized we do not know;
and among the wise of our kind, there is and always has been a recognition that our grasp towards understanding exceeds our reach, but still we reach out, because it is in us to seek the unknown . . . a human quality placed in us by the God Who made us for Himself

99 Dave Miller January 13, 2014 at 7:19 pm

Well said.

100 Alan Cross January 13, 2014 at 7:37 pm

Great point, Bart. That is a lot of what I was trying to say in just a few words. I have no problem with saying that God made something old. God is eternal, after all. God is old and young at the same time. He is outside of time.

101 Zack Stepp January 14, 2014 at 3:57 pm

I love the way you have put this, Bart.

I’ve always fallen along these lines, but I’ve never heard it expressed in those terms.

102 Dave Miller January 14, 2014 at 4:12 pm

Yep

103 Roger Simpson January 13, 2014 at 5:40 pm

John Wylie:

You raise a good point I’ve never considered.

Regarding Adam’s creation: I think a plain reading of the Genesis account suggests that he was created as an adult. Likewise Eve.

The fact many people described in the first chapters of Genesis lived such long lifetimes does suggest that there was a different (for want of a better term) “environment for life” back then. I’m not sure of the implication of this.

Is it a waste of time to use our understanding of biology, medicine, physics, chemistry, etc. when projecting back on what happened in the past?

Do I have to burn my Hugh Ross books?

104 John Wylie January 13, 2014 at 6:51 pm

Roger,

Thanks for your thoughtful response. No I actually like Hugh Ross and I do think that science can aid us to a certain extent to understand what has happened in the past, but insofar as the supernatural is concerned I don’t think science is sufficient because there is no way to observe the supernatural scientifically.

105 Ken Hamrick January 13, 2014 at 7:58 pm

But it is a waste of time to ‘scientifically’ presuppose that a supernatural creation by fiat did not happen, and assume that evidence might support a much chronology than God has indicated in Scripture.

106 parsonsmike January 13, 2014 at 7:37 pm

Roger,
You asked if it is a waste of time to use science as a way to understand what happened in the past?
Not if one starts with the Bible as a true record of the past. Who knows what understandings man can learn then?

107 Ken Hamrick January 13, 2014 at 8:36 pm

To Old-Earth Creationists:

Science is knowledge gained from observation; and scientists have observed millions upon millions of people and animals dying. Death is well known and understood. It is a scientific fact beyond dispute—a proven law of nature—that all living biological things die and then decompose. The claim that Jesus raised people from the dead and was even raised from the dead Himself is worthy of only scorn and perhaps pity from the scientific community. They would have you be ashamed for believing such a ridiculous and outlandish thing. Do you value their opinion? Are you ashamed or embarrassed? You shouldn’t be… and here’s why: We grant them no credibility on this question because the Spirit of God has revealed to us, with utter certainty, that the Bible is the true and inspired word of God and that Christ was literally raised from the dead; and the Bible reveals that the unbelieving world hates God and hates the truth, seeking to hide from both in a fog of rationalistic demands for tangible evidence. So which are you? Are you a believer in the supernatural acts of God in spite of the world’s scorn, or does the world’s insistence on evidence have you in a fog?

The scientifically sophisticated Christian—one who is enlightened by an open-minded acknowledgement of the authority and wisdom of science—can find an intelligent way out of this dilemma. He can find in his “hermeneutical toolbox” various ways to read the accounts of Christ’s resurrection in a less literal, less physical sense. After all, Christ did seem to walk right through walls, and we know scientifically that it is impossible for a real physical body to move through a wall in that way. As well, we are told in 1 Cor 15 that the kind of body we will have after the resurrection will be a “spiritual” body. But such a path of scientific hermeneutics leads to hell, not heaven. If you agree with me thus far, and if you find the idea of reinterpreting Christ’s resurrection to remove the supernatural miraculous quality of it to be unthinkable, then why would you think it’s OK to use that same scientific hermeneutic to reinterpret the account of a miraculous, supernatural six-day creation? And don’t blather about “evidence”—instead, tell me why you’re willing to believe with certainty that Christ miraculously and physically rose from the dead after three days (not three “epochs,” etc.), in spite of the fact that there is no evidence strong enough to scientifically prove that fact, but yet, you falter when it comes to a miracle no greater but only larger in scale? Why do you waver between a faith-based perspective that has no problems with any evidence for or against, and an evidence-based perspective that insists that evidence must be weighed and Biblical accounts of immediate supernatural events cannot be taken at face-value?

108 Roger Simpson January 13, 2014 at 11:10 pm

Ken:

Of course the creation is/was miraculous. This holds true regardless of when it happened or how long it took.

Science doesn’t even attempt to explain the first cause of creation.

Your argumentation seems to hold that accessing knowledge through empirical observation is — anti Christian. What about an epistemological approach that takes input from both worlds: science and Biblical revelation?

I am not arguing that the creation was old or new. All I’m saying is that when trying to get a total picture of what is happening / has happened we need to look at all potential information sources and weigh their relevance.

If I want to know where I am I look at the GPS in my car. The fact that it works is based upon a number of scientific premises such as a constant speed of light.

As you say, when we look at Christ’s resurrection this is clearly outside of science so the Biblical narrative is the one that informs us.

When we look at events regarding the Roman empire some of them are mentioned in the Bible and some information comes via other sources such as Josephus, Pliny, etc.

When we look at events at creation, we are looking back in time. We can discuss how relevant science is as a tool for looking back. Science does not trump Biblical revelation but reasonable people can agree to disagree on the exact way to interpret certain Biblical texts — given that we hold to the doctrine of the text being inerrant.

God reserves the right to do stuff according to “fixed principles” [science] most of the time. In fact, I’d say that God is a Nobel prize winning scientist to the nth degree given that there is an extreme degree of “fine tuning” in the universe. Some of this “fine tuning” relates to knobs that God has turned [you can call this knob turning either creation or science] to enable any type of life to exist or to enable and type of matter to exist beyond hydrogen.

Again, I’m not necessarily arguing for an old universe [and especially not for an old earth] but even if all of creation was old then the creation event (maybe as described by the Big Bang, or alternatively any other type of cosmology) screams out for a theistic interpretation. The whole universe is just too intricate to be the result of random activity.

Most of us agree we can’t exactly know the timetable going forward. Even Jesus says he “doesn’t know the day or hour” of certain future events.

This being the case aren’t we being a little puffed up to posit some the age of the earth – solar system – milky way Galaxy – universe?

I’d say our understanding of the Biblical text plus whatever knowledge we get from “science” might give us .001% of the information God had/has at his disposal regarding how he made the universe.

Maybe this argument is just about the same as arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Or maybe its just about as vexing as the argument de jour: free will vs. election vs. whatever other formulation has been advanced as to the shared implementation between us and God relative to salvation.

Here is my answer to your question [paraphrased] , “Are you a believer in the supernatural acts of God or of science”? My answer both, because science — properly understood — is a formulation how God’s creation works. What is needed is science that only has correct theories and hermeneutics that is 100% correct. Right now we have neither.

Fortunately, we have more than enough information to make all decisions that are important. There is nothing big contingent on understanding the timing of the creation event.

The Greeks had a horrible cosmology — namely they held that the universe was there forever and was not created. They held that the cosmos and the creator were the same thing. [i.e. they had a sea god, a sun god etc.] Paul told those guys at Mars Hill to get with the program and check out a different cosmology than they espoused. He informed them “God made the world and everything in it . . .” [Acts 17:24]. I guess that is a sufficient cosmology.

Roger Simpson — Oklahoma City

109 Steve Drake January 15, 2014 at 8:51 pm

Roger said:
“There is nothing big contingent on understanding the timing of the creation event.”

By ‘timing’ I assume you are relating to and mean a starting point that can be measured in years?

This is where I think Biblically you err. The very gospel itself is ‘contingent’ upon the age of the universe and earth. There is indeed ‘everything’ we hold dear about our redemption and our message to the lost riding on this. Your thoughts?

110 Christiane January 14, 2014 at 12:08 am

why limit God?

from nothing, He created all that exists

He sets the Natural Law into order

He also has the power to go beyond the natural order of things to do what we consider to be ‘miracles’

Isn’t is funny that we take a single blade of grass for granted,
when it is a ‘living’ organism (plant life),
and performs the tremendously complicated process of photosynthesis in the presence of sunlight,
and provides food for other living organisms (bovine, animal kingdom), who then process the simple sugars from photosynthesis and turn it into milk . . . a substance that is nutritious for human life ?

thousands upon thousands of ordered processes occurring at exactly the right moment and exactly in the right order for a single blade of grass to fulfill its purpose on this Earth . . . and we take it for granted, calling it ‘natural’ (which it is) and somehow dismiss it as ‘miraculous’ because of that?

we need to rethink the ‘natural world’ . . . and its order, and its processes, and the life forms within it, and the ‘cycles’ that are set into motion that are predictable and purposeful . . . are these so unworthy of our awe?

from nothing, we know that God made everything,
that He maintains it in existence,
and that He can interject His power at any moment in any way to affect His Creation . . . to calm a storm by His Word, to take the hand of a dead child and raise her to life . . . does it take this to create ‘awe’ in us so that we ‘believe’ in Him, we who could not see that He existed from His natural world?

What we know . . . that we are ‘made’ in the image and likeness of God, that our body is formed from the elements of the Earth, and that if we perish in the ocean, at the end of time, even the ocean will free us when it gives up its dead . . .

there is room enough in science and in faith for ‘awe’ and ‘wonder’ . . .
I suggest that people who take the natural world for granted might increase their faith by learning more about its magnificent and seemingly impossible complexity which stands in itself as a witness to the existence of God

think ‘breadcrumbs’ and take another around . . . you’ll be amazed at what you discover

111 Bill Mac January 14, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Just because there is a supernatural explanation for some things, that doesn’t mean there is a supernatural explanation for everything.

Without science, miracles don’t exist. It is precisely because we know scientifically that people don’t come back from the dead that the resurrection is a miracle.

112 Ken Hamrick January 16, 2014 at 8:23 pm

Bill,

The question is, why would you believe something so scientifically absurd as a literal resurrection from the dead, for which there is abundant proof that resurrection is impossible, and then balk at the straightforward testimony of Scripture regarding a recent creation by fiat in 6 literal days?

113 Christiane January 14, 2014 at 4:08 pm

when you think of all that exists originating from nothing,
even the ‘natural world’ is miraculous

114 Steve Drake January 14, 2014 at 9:09 pm

Christine,
Not sure I understand your comment ‘all that exists originating from nothing’. The ‘natural world’ is God’s creation ‘out of nothing’, but there is nothing ‘natural’ about the ‘natural world’ if you get my drift. Your comments?

115 Christiane January 15, 2014 at 12:23 am

Hello STEVE . . . sorry comment was so cryptic, but it was a sloppy reference to a belief in ‘ex nihilo’

which in orthodox Christianity, you may know means all that was created by God was made from nothing . . .

if you accept that God is Creator and Master of the Cosmos, then the ‘natural world’ and its laws and cycles and order are also of His doing

my comment means that we take a lot of His Creation for granted, as not ‘special’, certainly not ‘miraculous’ in our minds. . . nor even by true definition, but when we go back to the beginning and we understand that ALL that was made came FROM NOTHING,
that belief, it itself, ought to fill us with the same wonder and awe as His interventions that go beyond the natural world . . .

if we did not take so much for granted,
even the simplest existing thing in nature would seem a miracle to us also . . . and we would be more deeply moved to thankfulness and a greater sense of wonder at the majesty of God’s work

the poet William Blake speaks about seeing the sacred in the mundane with these words:
‘to see the world in a grain of sand . . . ‘

hope this explanation helps:
that among orthodox Christian people, it is believed that all matter in the material world was originally spoken into existence by God ‘ex nihilo’ . . .

116 Dee Stover January 15, 2014 at 1:54 am

I noticed the words ex nihlo in a few responses…out of nothing in the Latin…however Hebrew’ bara’ means to fatten. I just think we are missing something here. If we look at this as a cold case what will we find that has been missed? Here is one option to look at. http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/23_genesis_1.html

117 Dave Miller January 15, 2014 at 2:58 am

You made a simple, but understandable mistake, Dee. There are two words – one means fat, one means create. But it is nonetheless a mistake. No reputable Hebrew lexicographal authority I could find gives any support to your idea. Sorry.

Bara means to create.

118 cb scott January 16, 2014 at 2:11 am

Years ago I heard a native born Baptist preacher from the Southland explain the Hebrew word “bara” while preaching from the Book of Genesis.

He stated, “The word ‘bara’ means that God looked out over the void. Then He first reached over to the left side of void and got some nothing. Then He reached over to the right side of void and got the same amount of nothing. Then He brought both nothings together and spoke to it. Then that which was not, became and still is!”

119 Dee Stover January 15, 2014 at 9:21 am

Dave, this is classic Hebrew parallelism. The vav conjunction is linking two ways to say the same occurrance, rather than consecutives between v 1 and v 2. Fattened/filled and empty vpid earth.

120 Dee Stover January 15, 2014 at 9:21 am

Dave, this is classic Hebrew parallelism. The vav conjunction is linking two ways to say the same occurrance, rather than consecutives between v 1 and v 2. Fattened/filled and empty void earth.

121 Dee Stover January 15, 2014 at 9:24 am

Dave v 1-2 are overview then the following verses set about explaining the days of the filling process.

122 Dee Stover January 15, 2014 at 9:34 am

Seriously, take the Bible as cold case. We have had years of others telling us to think their way about it. Start by learning to forget Western step logic and adopt Hebraic block logic. Drop Greek abstracts and let the Hebraic concrete thought speak through the original languages. Scripture cries out to us …will we quiet all distractions and let thr Living Torah…the Aleph-Tav of Gen 1:1 and Revelation…tell His-story?

123 Dee Stover January 15, 2014 at 9:59 am

Create is an abstract thought so we are left with cut or fatten. In another example…Glory is abstract so we are left with liver…the heaviest organ which cleanses blood. We only have a full picture of the intent when we see it concretely. Our translations cut out half or more of the intent. Then we ignore the known literary devices and lose much more. EW Bullinger Companion Bible is excellent for teaching us Hebraic literary devices in an understandable fashion.

124 Steve Drake January 15, 2014 at 8:26 pm

Dee,
Not sure what your point is. Are you saying God did not create(bara) out of nothing (ex nihilo) everything that exists? What particular flavor of creation do you find yourself most agreeing with?

125 Dee Stover January 16, 2014 at 1:20 am

I lean toward what God says about it. I like to take it literally but see that there are so many layers God wants us to see more than the obvious. The real question is what am i missing if i think i have it all figured out? Before today i thought it was created from nothing…but i am seeing a distinction here as i study it again. He commanded light verbally to exist and it existed immediately! I think it did not exist prior. But as for the earth, He fattened..he did not command it to exist as the light…according to His very word He makes a distinction here. I am not saying God did not create earth from nothing, but that here he is not choosing to give that information. I just decided that until i know more i will ponder that he may have created earth from nothing prior to that and that there may be biblical and archeological evidence for prior civilizations and possibly a previous cycle of 7000 years …or not. But i am not afraid to ponder and pray through it. It is clear to me we have not scratched the surface of the Hebrew here.

126 Steve Drake January 16, 2014 at 9:11 pm

Dee Stover said:
“The real question is what am i missing if i think i have it all figured out?”

Ask this question about your salvation Dee. What answer do you come up with? Or are you not a Christian?

127 Dee Stover January 16, 2014 at 1:32 am

Remember God will make /create a New Heaven and New Earth…are we so arrogant as to believe God never did this before? I think all the cycles of 7s pretty much indicate this repeating plan.

128 Dee Stover January 16, 2014 at 2:16 am

I believe the Aleph Tav created and tav aleph spells cell in Hebrew for a reason. The entire Alephbet makes up the spoken word from God which creates. I believe that if you let that sink in as you study and ask God questions He will answer. If Jesus repeats himself about being Aleph Tav we need to ask Him where that is in the OT and quit ignoring Him.

129 Dee Stover January 16, 2014 at 3:14 pm

What if to create God cut down (bara) in order to fatten/shape (bara)? This just like in Revelation he will have His wrath the make new heavens and new earth…what if he is telling us that the scroll being rolled back to the beginning at the end is just that. That being the reason Isaiah tells us the end is told out of the beginning! Pondering the implications…

130 Bart Barber January 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

I think Dee has had a Hebrew class.

131 Dale Pugh January 15, 2014 at 7:06 pm

I think Dee thinks she had a Hebrew class.

132 cb scott January 15, 2014 at 11:00 pm

I don’t know if the problem is that she has had “a” Hebrew class or that she “thinks” she has had a Hebrew class. However, as I read her comment I had a hunger stiring remembrance of the fact that “liver” goes good with onions.

133 Christiane January 15, 2014 at 11:10 pm

C.B.
try it with onions and BACON – calf’s liver is best
and mashed potatoes and carrot-raisin salad (with pineapple)
and . . .

I’ll stop now. Happy New Year, C.B.
Take care of yourself and yours.

134 Dee Stover January 16, 2014 at 3:16 pm

And i like liver and onions hold the bacon.

135 Doug Hibbard January 15, 2014 at 11:41 pm

cb–did you get my email? Just making sure I had the right address.

136 cb scott January 16, 2014 at 1:51 am

Doug,

Of late and due to current events, my emails have been at an abnormally high volume on both my personal and work addys.

Therefore, please check this email address against the one you used: cbscott5512@gmail.com. Please resend the email. I shall respond.

Please know that I would never purposely ignore or delete an email from you.

137 Doug Hibbard January 16, 2014 at 11:37 am

Not a problem, cb.

I had the address wrong. Apparently, one cannot substitute a vav for a beth and have the message come across.

138 Dave Miller January 15, 2014 at 11:13 pm

I think when Dale and CB get together, things get interesting on this blog.

139 cb scott January 16, 2014 at 1:55 am

Dave,

I think that is because Duckman Dale and I both know “chopped liver” or “chopped Hebrew” when we see it.

140 Dale Pugh January 16, 2014 at 8:37 am

And I don’t think I like either “chopped liver” OR “chopped Hebrew.” I do like a “chopped ’49 Mercury” though. Those are some sweet custom hot rods.

141 volfan007 January 16, 2014 at 11:22 am

I like chopped steak….if it’s cooked right and has either grilled onions on top of it, or brown gravy…either one….doesn’t matter.

David

142 Bill Mac January 16, 2014 at 11:52 am

Liver is gross.

143 Dee Stover January 16, 2014 at 3:37 pm

I reject trusting brainwashing institutions which turn out memes, though I have utilized said institutions in the past. Hebrew was not my major, but Linguistics and dabbled in 6 languages…plus some seminary. I check what I have been taught because research and analysis is my bent and I have seen too many pat answers given. We are losing generations because we prefer pat answers to being real with uncertainty. I talk to many caught in cults and pat answers just won’t help them out of deception. I want to ask more questions rather than be so certain I’m not asking anymore. Hebrew is concrete and I’m not satisfied with putting it in an abstract box because your professor told you it was permissible.

144 cb scott January 16, 2014 at 5:39 pm

“Hebrew was not my major. . . ”

The above statement may be the greatest illustration of understatement in the history of SBC Voices comment threads.

145 Dean January 16, 2014 at 6:53 pm

CB, that’s cold! True and funny but cold! :)

146 cb scott January 16, 2014 at 9:44 pm

Dean,

Now you know the truth. Cold is my first name. ;-)

147 Dee Stover January 16, 2014 at 10:17 pm

If insults are taught in your seminary alma mater, I am very glad I did not study there and I have grave concern for your congregation. You have made my point for me.

148 cb scott January 16, 2014 at 10:28 pm

Dee Stover,

Insults??

OK. Here’s the deal.

Quite often in this thread and in others of which you comment, you throw “insults” at orthodox, conservative Christianity. You throw “insults” at those who teach and preach orthodox, conservative, biblical Christianity. You throw insults at institutions wherein orthodox, conservative, biblical Christianity is taught and where that which you declare to be truth is taught to be nothing more than what it is; Heresy.

149 Dale Pugh January 17, 2014 at 6:21 am

“I reject trusting brainwashing institutions which turn out memes…”
I consider myself insulted, Dee. I have grave concern for anyone who frequents your blog or listens to your quasi-linguistic teachings.

150 Dale Pugh January 16, 2014 at 9:21 pm

There’s such a thing as learning enough of a language to get into trouble but not enough to get out of it.

151 cb scott January 16, 2014 at 9:42 pm

Duckman Dale,

Have you ever noticed that folks in ministry who understand the biblical languages best make mention of it the least in sermons and in conversations pertaining to faith and those who understand it the least make mention it in every sermon and conservation even when ordering a hamburger at Buger King?

152 Dale Pugh January 16, 2014 at 10:17 pm

Well, yes, SEC CB, I have.
As a matter of fact, it should be an absolute rule of teaching and preaching that the use of the biblical languages should be restricted to only once every 30 minutes UNLESS one is actually teaching a language course. I dare say that the best Bible teaching I’ve ever heard came from people who never had a day of Hebrew or Greek in their lives.
I wonder at those who seem to think that the Bible can’t be understood in English, or Spanish, or German, or whatever language it may be translated into from the original languages by careful scholars who’ve studied for years in brainwashing institutions that are simply turning out memes. It’s amazing that the Bible can be trusted at all without the elevated knowledge of those who have the most sophisticated acquaintance with the true meaning of Hebrew and Greek properly translated into Hebrew so that it may be best understood.
But then I went to a brainwashing institution. What can really be expected of me?

153 SVMuschany January 16, 2014 at 10:51 pm

My Greek Prof in Seminary stated that the most dangerous (in a negative sense) Christian in the world is one who has had 2 semesters of Greek.

154 Dale Pugh January 16, 2014 at 11:04 pm

Your Greek prof never spoke truer words, SVMuschany.

155 Ben Coleman January 17, 2014 at 1:53 pm

I dare say that the best Bible teaching I’ve ever heard came from people who never had a day of Hebrew or Greek in their lives.

I have this sneaking suspicion that those people, while they might not have had Greek or Hebrew, knew something about what I call listening well – listening in such a way that what they hear actually bears a good resemblance to what the speaker intended to communicate. It’s not a common knowledge or skill, but is one that can go a long way when you’re trying to listen to what God says in His Word.

156 Christiane January 15, 2014 at 9:42 pm

STEVE DRAKE,

you made a comment “there is nothing natural about the natural world” and I am not SURE about your meaning . . . so I thought to ask if you would elaborate on that comment, if you care to do so. And thanks in any case.

157 Steve Drake January 16, 2014 at 8:52 pm

Christiane,
In coming to blogs on this subject, it is often quite difficult to determine from someone’s post their underlying philosophy and ultimate worldview. To thus was my error, for I assumed you may have been espousing the naturalist worldview. I reread some of your other comments above and now think that that was not at all what you were promoting.

My comment there is nothing ‘natural about the natural world’ was in concert with thinking you were espousing that line of reasoning, and was meant to indicate that God’s fiat act of creation, (He spoke it into existence) had noting ‘natural’ about it and everything ‘supernatural’ to do with it. Sorry for my confusion.

158 Roger Simpson January 15, 2014 at 11:41 pm

Steve Drake:

There are three cosmologies out there:

(a) Universe began at a finite time. This is consistent with the Christian worldview because God has always existed and he created everything “de novo” during the creation week

(b) Universe has been here forever. It was not created. This is the pagan view of the ancient Greeks and Romans. This is not a Christian view because the pagan view considers that creation and the creator are the same thing.

(c) The operation of the universe is in one huge cycle. This is the view of some eastern religions — India and SE Asia. This not consistent with a the single creation event described in the Bible.

To the extent that we are able to investigate cosmology scientifically, only one hits the mark. Also, that one happens to be consistent with the Bible.

When the Big Bang was first proposed, Fred Hoyle is quoted as saying, “now people might rush out to join the church of the Big Bang”.

During Darwin’s time people thought the universe was steady state. We now have virtually irrefutable evidence –through many observations — that the universe is both finite in size and in age. This fits with the Christian worldview. Fred Hoyle, who tenaciously held to a steady-state universe admitted that to the extent that his steady state model was supplanted by the Big Bang then this would be a boost to the Christian worldview.

Darwinism might have been defensible when Darwin came out with it in the middle of the 1800s when the steady state cosmological view was fashionable. But evolution is not credible any more.

Here is a thought project for you. I’m going to give you a jar of pond scum. I’ll give you 6,000 or 13,000,000,000 years. Your job is to build a person. You are intelligent but this is still a hard assignment.

Now let propose to accomplish the same thing using the Darwinian mechanism where there is no intelligence.

I argue the that the chance for success in these various thought experiments is the same, regardless of whether you are orchestrating the process or blind chance is at work. And it is also the “same” regardless of whether the process is allowed to run for 6,000 years or 13,000,000,000 years.

The complexity of making even some relatively simple protein is huge. You don’t know ahead of time what molecular structures would be useful. Looking back, we now know that to come up with molecules that are necessary for life you need to carefully join atoms together into rings and chains using about 2,000+ covalent bonds.

Christians, who hold to an inerrant Bible, can agree to disagree regarding the age of the earth (or more precisely the age of the universe) as long as the age is not infinite. Darwinian naturalism doesn’t stand a chance of being credible with any age of the universe that you choose — as long as it is finite.

159 John Wylie January 16, 2014 at 8:22 am

Precisely right Roger. Although I will say that even today several evolutionists are going back to the idea of matter/energy being eternal. They do this because even they recognize the weakness of the evolutionary theory apart from the eternality of matter/energy.

160 Steve Drake January 16, 2014 at 9:03 pm

Roger Simpson said:
“Christians, who hold to an inerrant Bible, can agree to disagree regarding the age of the earth (or more precisely the age of the universe) as long as the age is not infinite. Darwinian naturalism doesn’t stand a chance of being credible with any age of the universe that you choose — as long as it is finite.”

To this I disagree Roger. That we are in agreement and disagreement on the age of the earth is unfortunately the result of Christians not understanding their Scriptures. And here I am thinking of Christians who think that they can agree to disagree, or saying much the same thing that you are saying in that it’s a trivial or minor point not worthy of constructive discourse as long as we both agree the universe is not infinite. You unfortunately couldn’t be more wrong.

If you would like to understand why, please start asking questions. Are you schooled in systematic theology, by the way?

161 dr. james willingham January 16, 2014 at 4:17 pm

When I was an Atheist, evolution was the name of my game. I bought it hook, line, and sinker, as the saying goes. After my conversion, it took a while to realize there was a problem, a difference between the biblical account and what the science (so-called) textbooks tell us, whether of naturalistic or theistic evolution. In any case, I never gave the issue any real thought until a professor of Psychology set forth Ralph Elliott’s case for a primitive any mythological view of the first 12 chapters of Genesis in the latter’s The Message of Genesis.

While I did not become very much engaged at that point (I really did not know the Bible well enough, not so the evolutionary side though), I did began to dip into the issues, collecting works in all three areas. It would have been very easy to have accepted theistic evolution and got one with life, except I began to find works which presented all kinds of difficulties with that approach. Then came Morris and Whitcomb’s The Genesis Flood and other writers and their works. I took perhaps some 600 5×8 notecards, when other demands of life brought that research project to an end. Even so in taking American Intellectual History, I had the opportunity to study Social Darwinism, a view that was very much behind the Eugenics program and the sterilization of thousands of Americans and even more in other countries. Social Darwinism would be the philosophy of the Nazis, a justification for the extermination of millions, Jewish and otherwise. That the reality was beginning to come home is indicated in a work which I studied in the university on the subject of Social Darwinism and which cited the Kellogg Commission, a study group (appointed by Congress, I think). They suggested that the future for Germany was going to be exceedingly difficult due to the teaching of Darwinism, etc.

Anyway, as I began to look at the nature of the scientific method, I began to realize that there are problems with it. As one preacher, Dr. Jesse Moody, pastor of the FBC of West Palm Beach, said in the sixties, “We are suffering from the paralysis of analysis.” Basically, the method suffers from a lack of wherewithal to encompass more than the narrow limits of carefully drawn thesis. It runs into problems, when not only the thesis but also the null hypothesis might be true. Another way of putting it is to say that method needs to be more synthetical in order to take in two-sided and apparently contradictory ideas, both of which are necessary to explain a matter. Consider the fact that light is regarded as waves and/or particles. And then there are mathematical approaches like fractals, algorithms, as well as methods yet in need of development for extrapolating from known facts to unknown facts. Approaches to dealing with such issues must take into account matters like cognitive dissonance and creative dissonance, the former from science and the latter from sociology and counseling.

And, if you do not think science and evolution, even of the theistic variety has problem, let me call attention to a book on the science of God, written by a Ph.D. and published in 1998. The writer is skillful and cunning, if not disingenuous (sp.?). He writes of Ernest Haeckel, the German biologist, who developed the theory that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny, that is, that the embryonic stages repeat the stages of phylogeny. Then he says that if we take it to mean that the early stages appears very much like those of a fish. He actually says, that at that point, there is merit in Haeckel’s concept. But his Ph.D. from MIT is in another field altogether. While our textbooks repeat Haeckel’s view, which Darwin considered the best support for evolution, the truth is that Haeckel was sued in a court of law and found guilty of having falsified his drawings (sort of like our retouched photographs of beauties with their moles, wrinkles, pimples or what not removed) in order to make the stages more alike. Hardly a scientific practice. What is worse is that Haeckel admitted that he had falsified his drawings and pictures in order to make the two more congruous.

Public school texts even into the college programs will tell the story without even the ingenuity of the scientist mentioned above. There is more, but I shall leave it to those who really think our present day scientific method is really all that sound. In the meanwhile, I have a bridge in Brooklyn, I would dearly love to sell to you at bargain basement prices.

162 William Thornton January 16, 2014 at 8:17 pm

Whoever linked above the SEBTS conference on the age of the earth and the Flood did a good thing. I have enjoyed listening to it the past couple of days.

One thing was missing: any reference to the appearance of age, an argument that inevitably pops up in these discussions. Neither the two OE scientists nor the two YE scientists, nor the seminary profs, nor the moderator, nor the attendees who asked questions tossed out the old saw about stuff looking old but being young because God so created it that way – the geological features of the earth, the stars, the light from the stars, etc.

I’ll make the presumption here that all of the scientists, YE and OE alike, recognize that argument as being intellectually deficient and relegating any examination, any evidence as being meaningless. There would be no point in researching rates of decay, the various strata, etc. etc. if it is acceptable to simply declare the earth to be 6k or so years old and certainly no reason to have scientists making presentations of actual evidence.

I have appreciated Alan Cross’ article here and the discussion it has generated.

163 Ken Hamrick January 16, 2014 at 8:30 pm

You may claim the argument to be deficient, but you have yet to establish it as such. Disqualifying all material evidence does not in itself disprove the argument. And you do not represent the argument accurately. How old something is depends on how “old” is defined. We do not really hold to “Young-Earth” creationism, but Recent-Earth creationism. By the standards and definitions of secular science, what God created was created already old, and not just appearing old. But by the definition of how long it actually existed, it was brand new.

164 Steve Drake January 16, 2014 at 9:19 pm

Quite right Ken. 6000 years is quite old by any standards. We have been so brainwashed to think in millions and billions of years as foisted upon us by men in active rebellion against their Creator that the Church, and Christians who have the Scriptures and who should know better, have capitulated. I have enjoyed reading your comments. Keep it up brother.

165 Ken Hamrick January 17, 2014 at 11:51 am

Thanks, Steve. Glad to have your agreement.

166 cb scott January 16, 2014 at 9:55 pm

“6000 years is quite old by any standards.”

That’s a fact! These last 500 of it have really been rough on my hand-eye coordination.

167 Steve Drake January 16, 2014 at 10:02 pm

“Constructive” discourse CB. There may be many reading these comments who take your and Dale’s puns as not indicative of the Name by which you are so called.

168 cb scott January 16, 2014 at 10:17 pm

Steve Drake,

That may be because they do not actually have a true relationship with the One by whose “Name by which we are so called.”

For, if they did and had read His Book, they would know He used a similar methodology of communication quite often. Of course, the problem with our puns for many of them may be the fact that they have their “constructive” eye filled with a log.

169 Steve Drake January 16, 2014 at 10:22 pm

Do you have a question CB, or do you wish to continue to make light of a serious subject?

170 cb scott January 16, 2014 at 10:37 pm

Steve Drake,

Creation is a serious subject, I agree. However, I have found that some who discuss it constantly, tend to take themselves a little too seriously.

Loosen up a little, Steve Drake. Too much retentiveness causes one’s internal organs to cramp, and especially does it fog the brain.

No one has made light of a serious subject here. Unless, of course, you consider yourself to be the primary subject. Steve Drake, it was nothing more than levity. Take it as such and move on with your discussion.

171 Dale Pugh January 17, 2014 at 6:17 am

Steve, there’s nothing “punny” about what I’ve said. I’ve said it as straightforwardly as I intended.
The fact that you’re new here would indicate a lack of history with many of those who comment here, including Dee. The whole “you guys don’t really get the Hebrew” schtick is standard fair from her. It isn’t “constructive” because she doesn’t approach the languages “constructively.” She’s trying to re-invent the whole study of the languages and has turned it into a semi-gnostic approach to scripture, in my opinion. She has the right to her opinion, I have the right to mine, and you have the right to yours.
Sorry if I’m less repentant than you think I should be.

172 Dee Stover January 17, 2014 at 2:15 pm

I have posted archeological proof in the past to allegations that if seminaries dont teach it it cant be true. Much has been discovered in recent years that sheds old light on the study of Hebrew. I dont mind if you disagree and i regularly say so. But someone out there in blogland may choose to look into the research for themselves. I approach this from an archeological linguistics point of view. You approach from a traditional church view. Of course there’s friction. I just want to stck to point counterpoint. I’m sorry for when I strayed from that.

173 Dale Pugh January 17, 2014 at 4:13 pm

Actually, Dee, I’m an institutionally brainwashed biblical backgrounds/archaeology major from one of our SBC seminaries. I’m somewhat of an expert in the Dead Sea Scrolls, having made that the major focus of my research degree, which I admit was a master’s degree, not a PhD. It was 10 years ago, so maybe things have changed since then and I was just left out of the memo. So before you start marching out your archaeological linguistics, you might want to know who you’re dealing with.

Anywho, I don’t approach it from a traditional church view, whatever you think that is. I approach it from the view of someone who’s done the research and study. Someone who’s read the scholarly research. Someone who’s put the time and effort into the work of study. Someone who’s spent hours in the library attempting to glean from the past in order to better understand the present and future. Someone who’s talked to experts and gleaned from their teaching on various subjects within the field of archaeology and linguistics.
Believe it or not, I am aware of recent discoveries. Where we disagree, and this is common in scholarly work, is in interpretation. You say it sheds “old” light on the study of Hebrew. (I think you may mean “new” light, but I’ll let your statement stand on its own.) I say that it corroborates what we already know and substantiates the truth of scripture as we’ve had it preserved for us. There are no earth-shattering revelations that somehow make the ancient text suddenly more alive and vibrant to a select few, including yourself, who think they have some great new understanding that no one else has.
I also say that some of the most godly and powerful teachers of the Bible I’ve ever known never took one seminary course in their entire lives. They didn’t know Greek or Hebrew, and it wasn’t essential to their understanding of the great truths of scripture.
This is the last I’ll say on this topic.

174 Roger Simpson January 16, 2014 at 10:19 pm

Steven Drake:

I’m open to discussing our differing views. In order to have something definitive for me to discuss with you I believe it would be helpful if you:

(1) Indicate why you hold that the age of the earth is a key Christian doctrine.

(2) Indicate what ages you believe are correct ages relating to the creation of: (a) Adam and Eve, (b) the earth, (c) the solar system, (d) the Milky Way galaxy, and (e) the universe.

Then I’ll respond. My guess is that we likely agree on many of the points regarding our interpretation of the first Eleven chapters of Genesis. As far as I can tell from your comments, it could be that the only difference in our understanding is the age of the earth. For example, it may be the case the we are essentially in agreement as to when Adam and Eve were on the earth.

I really don’t have a hard-line view as to these ages. My problem with me Bible expositors is that they conflate holding to a high view of the Bible [i.e. inerrancy as defined by the Chicago Statement] with a particular view of the age of the earth.

My recommendation is that we agree to disagree and leave this discussion alone. But if further discussion could be profitable then I have no problem continuing a dialog.

As to me being schooled. I did take some seminary courses but I’m definitely not “schooled in theology”. The theology books that I have laying around here are: Akins [editor], Geisler, Chafer, Towns, Lewis & Demarest, Erickson, and Zuck & Bock.

Roger Simpson Oklahoma City

175 Steve Drake January 16, 2014 at 10:29 pm

Roger,
“I really don’t have a hard-line view as to these ages. My problem with many Bible expositors is that they conflate holding to a high view of the Bible [i.e. inerrancy as defined by the Chicago Statement] with a particular view of the age of the earth. ”

And why is that a problem for you? Would you say the same about the resurrection? the virgin birth? a God-man incarnate?

As to your point 1, who was the agent in Creation?

176 Roger Simpson January 16, 2014 at 10:22 pm

My previous note should say “. . . MANY Bible expositors”

177 Steve Drake January 16, 2014 at 10:45 pm

CB Scott said:
“Creation is a serious subject, I agree. However, I have found that some who discuss it constantly, tend to take themselves a little too seriously.”

Are you one of the blog administrator’s CB? I noticed there was no “reply” button at the bottom of your last post above. If a blog administrator and you don’t feel Dee’s posts are constructive, then simply block her.

Otherwise, as someone coming to this blog in just the past few days, I personally don’t find your joking puns and veiled insults at Dee to be in the spirit of Eph. 4:29.

178 Doug Hibbard January 16, 2014 at 11:00 pm

There’s no reply after a certain number of replies–the system is limited in how many it allows.

179 cb scott January 16, 2014 at 11:07 pm

Steve Drake,

No. I am not an administrator of this blog. I am a guy who works a lot of hours most every day with the “true” seriousness of creation.

I come here after having done so to read a few posts, the comments in those posts, make a few comments myself, some of which are serious, some of which are about sports, and many of which are no more than larks.

I also make a few comments to chill guys who are far too much in love with their own reflections in the pond. I come here to fight a Calvinist or two from time-to-time just for the fun of it, because I really don’t have anything against Calvinists and actually have a great number of friends who are Calvinists, but are not mad about being one. And finally I come here to learn a few things and to share a few things.

However, I never come here to take myself too seriously, because I know that most of the guys who come here don’t try to take themselves to seriously either, for they, like me, “work a lot of hours most every day with the ‘true’ seriousness of creation.”

And this is just a place they come to relax just like I do because most Baptist preachers don’t hang out in saloons to relax. Why not? They know that the use of alcohol as a beverage is unwise. ;-)

180 volfan007 January 16, 2014 at 11:14 pm

CB,

I had a rib eye steak tonight that made my tastebuds sing the hallelujah chorus in B minor! My wife had tenderloin that had been butterflyed….and, it was great, too! I wish you could’ve seen me digging into that thick, juicy rib eye…..if you’d been there, I could’ve taught you how to eat!

BTW, how do you say “steak” in Hebrew?

David

181 cb scott January 16, 2014 at 11:35 pm

“fattened” bovine “bara”-ed, medium-rare is “steak” in Hebrew.

182 Steve Drake January 16, 2014 at 11:15 pm

CB said:
“However, I never come here to take myself too seriously, because I know that most of the guys who come here don’t try to take themselves to seriously either, for they, like me, “work a lot of hours most every day with the ‘true’ seriousness of creation.”

There are plenty of other blogs you can post to which a non-serious, cavalier and joking manner would have quite a lot of appeal. I thought this is not one of them. I would suggest you either add to the discussion with questions, constructive comments and dialog, or stay out of it, and let those who do take it seriously learn from one another.

183 volfan007 January 16, 2014 at 11:35 pm

Steve,

Excuse me, but are you an administrator of this blog? I didn’t think so. And, a lot of us in here really enjoy CB’s wit and down home sense of humor, which is mixed with some wisdom. So, chill out, Dude.

David

184 Steve Drake January 16, 2014 at 11:38 pm

David,
Is this a “millennial” or “Generation Y blog”? I’ve got to be in the wrong place. Sorry, my bad, dude.

185 volfan007 January 16, 2014 at 11:41 pm

Steve,

Millennial? Generation Y? What in the world are you talking about?

David

186 cb scott January 16, 2014 at 11:47 pm

Vol,

“Millennial” means aged chicken roasted with yams in Hebrew.

“Generation Y” means Tacos in Hebrew.

187 volfan007 January 16, 2014 at 11:50 pm

I’ll take a Millenial, and 2 Generation Y’s, then. Sounds like a good meal.

David :)

188 cb scott January 16, 2014 at 11:59 pm

Good choice. Obviously, you are a man of culture who knows fine dinning when he sees it. :-)

189 cb scott January 16, 2014 at 11:40 pm

Steve Drake,

I shall now ask you the same question you asked of me.

Are you an administrator of this blog?

Here is another question for you. (since we are getting to know each other and becoming such good friends)

Do you still live with your mother and by any chance, is your room and “office” down in the basement?

190 cb scott January 16, 2014 at 11:55 pm

Steve Drake,

I will leave you alone . . . for now. Feel free to go on with your discussion about creation and such.

However, stop taking yourself so very seriously and please quit lingering so long when you look into the mirror. Just look, smile, make sure nothing is between your teeth, and go on. ‘Cause God loves you anyhow.

191 Dee Stover January 17, 2014 at 12:59 am

Chivalry is not dead. Thank you, Mr Drake. If I overstepped, I apologize. I believe that Jesus encouraged those who truly desired to learn from Him and it was the religious leaders He was stern with. My only desire is to learn and share what I have gained thus far to build on it. I don’t mind constructive criticism. I don’t expect people to agree with me. I desire iron sharpening iron. I just prefer not to be cut. I want to be a Berean not just accepting the status quo without delving deep as possible. If you think I’m wrong I need to know exactly why so I can do more research or explain my point more accurately. Someone asked if I’m saved. Yes, I asked Jesus in my heart in an SBC VBS at age 8. Classic. But then God came to me in a vision at 11 and called me out as with Samuel. I’ve been on this journey ever since. I can’t say I disagree with the Baptist Faith and Message…but there is a depth I’ve been called to that requires more of me. I read the Hebrew and Greek and have trouble feeling English can do it justice…though I know the masses choose to let others decide the meaning for them…though even experts disagree vehemently as we see here.
I believe in reading the creation story literally…and do lean toward creation out of nothing…but also see it as prophecy simultaneously…the parallels with Revelation stand out to me. I like to read what Rabbis write and they see Torah both literally and prophetically. So yes I have a non standard outlook on a basically standard foundation.

192 Ben Coleman January 17, 2014 at 3:17 pm

Are you one of the blog administrator’s CB? I noticed there was no “reply” button at the bottom of your last post above.

The reply button isn’t there because that’s the way the blog software works – when the indentation gets to a certain level, the reply button no longer appears under each comment – if you want to reply to one of those comments, and have it appear in line with the comment you’re replying to , you have to use the reply button for the comment *it* is replying to (unless, of course, threading is broken in the post, in which case all bets are off).

as someone coming to this blog in just the past few days

I’d suggest going and reading a few pages of back posts on this blog – you’ll find that the people here are quite capable of mixing the serious with the humorous, sometimes appropriately, sometimes not. The rule on the old USENET discussion system used to be that you should read the discussions for while before jumping in yourself, to familiarize yourself with what the community you’re about to interact with is like. It’s not a bad idea on a blog like this that has built up community around itself.

I do share your concerns about how Dee is being responded to, but what I see being violated isn’t Eph 4:29, but 2 Tim 2:24-25. I share the same questions the others have about what she’s saying, but I don’t see where ridicule, questioning her salvation and such fit in with ‘correcting with gentleness’ (or meekness, depending on what translation you’re using). There seems to be an attitude that once you’re convinced that a person is wrong enough, then being bold enough to correct them is sufficient love to show them, and you have cart blanch for what attitude you take in delivering the correction. *That* I don’t find to be biblical, or in accord with 2 Tim 2:24-25. I don’t know if Dave will agree with my application here, but I think this is what Dave Miller has been getting at in his posts about the tone we take in blog discussions.

193 Steve Drake January 16, 2014 at 11:50 pm

To whomever the administrator of this blog is: peace & blessings! A serious discussion of issues does not seem to be forthcoming.

To CB and David,
Peace to you brothers in Christ. May you continue to learn the wisdom and understanding of your fathers.

194 Chris Roberts January 17, 2014 at 12:15 am

Steve,

You aren’t by chance related to someone named Wiley are you?

195 Roger Simpson January 17, 2014 at 12:02 am

Steve Drake:

God is the agent of creation, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth . . . ” [Gen 1:1]

—————————

To All SBC connoisseurs:

We have pretty good BBQ here in OKC: to wit — Swadley’s on SW 89th and Western. If any of you ever have come here to trod on Sooner soil you should check it out. It is not cogent to argue for the supremacy of any particular BBQ joint in some emporium east of the Mississippi until you have surveyed the top joints here in Sooner land.

—————
I’m done for now. Over and out.

R K Simpson Oklahoma City

196 cb scott January 17, 2014 at 12:17 am

Well, Roger Simpson,

I might challenge Sooner B-B-Q when it comes to beef or pork against that found in Alabama as to which is best.

However, one thing is for sure. You Sooners’ abilities at fixin’ Barbequed Elephant is the best I have encountered in a long, long time. I will give you that.

197 Adam G. in NC January 17, 2014 at 12:54 am

I’d sooner put kerosene in my BBQ sauce than mayonaisse

198 cb scott January 17, 2014 at 8:51 am

“I’d sooner put kerosene in my BBQ sauce than mayonaisse”

————– which is exactly what you Tarheels do.

199 volfan007 January 17, 2014 at 10:08 am

CB,

:)

David

200 Christiane January 17, 2014 at 10:25 am

a North Carolina pulled-pork barbecue on a bun with COLESLAW is absolutely WONDERFUL!!!!!

you can never eat only just one,
and it probably gave the name to that famous Southern phrase for ‘over-eating’: PIGGING !

yum!

201 volfan007 January 17, 2014 at 12:56 am

I can take you to, at least, 5 BBQ restaurants around me, that would just make you smile like a Cheshire Cat, and say all kinds of nice things. Also, they’d make you say bad things about Oklahoma BBQ. I mean, don’t they use beef in Oklahoma?

David

202 John Wylie January 17, 2014 at 1:59 am

The best BBQ is the entire world is in Davis, OK. It’s called Smokin Joes.

203 volfan007 January 17, 2014 at 10:10 am

John,

A few ground rules, here…..any talk about BBQ has to be about PORK….beef doesn’t really count. So, does Smokin’ Joes cook BBQ, or do they grill steaks?

David

204 John Wylie January 17, 2014 at 10:45 am

They do both…however I reject your ground rules. I think beef brisket is wonderful BBQ. However, I would stack Smokin Joes’ pork ribs, and pork tenderloin up against anyone’s.

205 Doug Hibbard January 17, 2014 at 10:51 am

Vol, I must side with my OK friend here–a smoked brisket must also be included in BBQ.

As for me and my house, we eat the combo plate with pulled pork and smoked brisket at the Whole Hog Cafe.

Though my wife still has a strong preference for the dry ribs at the original Corky’s in Memphis.

206 Bill Mac January 17, 2014 at 11:11 am

Oh sadness. The only bbq that is bbq is beef brisket. Pork bbq is fine but pigs are better served when turned into bacon and sausage.

207 John Wylie January 17, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Doug,

I guess it’s the Okie/Texan in my but I didn’t even know until recent years that folks from the Deep South omitted beef from being considered BBQ. In Texas and OK every BBQ place has brisket as one of their biggest sellers. Pork ribs would be a close second.

208 volfan007 January 17, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Doug,

Whole Hog Cafe. That sounds like my kind of place. Of course, I’ve been called that a few times as well. Sigh.

David

209 Doug Hibbard January 17, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Those parts of the pig what don’t become bacon ought to be slow cooked, pulled, smoked, and served on a bun, a bed of nachos, or just straight up.

Whole Hog is a wondrous place. Especially the North Little Rock one, though I daresay that I’ve never hit a bad location. Friendly people–great food–if I lived nearer one, I’d be in dire financial straits.

210 Rob Ayers January 17, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Smile you when say that :-).

Rob

211 Steve Drake January 17, 2014 at 7:41 am

Roger,
“God is the agent of creation, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth . . . ” [Gen 1:1] ”

Yes, but more specifically the second person of the Godhead, Jesus. John 1:3, Colossians 1:16. Would you agree?

So when come to the work of Christ, we understand it in a least two areas: His work in Creation and His work on the Cross.

Now, think of Christ’s work in Creation from an old earth perspective over millions and billions of years and link that to His work on the Cross. Are there any cross-purposes with this scenario in your opinion?

212 William Thornton January 17, 2014 at 7:24 am

I merely note that I observed no YE or OE proponent who has a background in science is willing to exchange their data, experience, and body of knowledge for some modern docetism that bails them out of any and every prickly geological conumdrum.

Hate to say it, but it is inescapable to some here that Adam had to sin to be able to enjoy BBQ. Some have since further and deplorably sinned by putting strange, mustard based sauce on it, thereby disproving totally and absolutely that BBQ is evolving for the better.

213 cb scott January 17, 2014 at 8:47 am

Amen!!

214 dr. james willingham January 17, 2014 at 2:19 pm

Baloney! I have eaten barbecue from Arkansas, Missouri, Texas, South Carolina and North Carolina, to mention a few. All of it is blessedly addictive. I remember eating that strange barbecue in Orangeburg, SC, back in 70. A sauce over the barbecue, hash over the rice, some coleslaw. I utterly disliked it. And everyone served it at every event, practically, cause the producer catered for that small town. By the end of my second year, I was so addicted to what I had disliked that I could stuff myself with it. Once in the past 30 years, I drove a hundred miles out of my way to try, again, Duke’s barbecue. Alas! Someone had bought it out and added baked beans with it (I love baked beans, but it does not go with that barbecue). Purity in this case calls for the original. O, I forget we have a fellow from Miami in Cary who does a style of barbecue from there that I like. North Carolina is full of different barbecues. The South from the Carolinas to Texas and Kansas is Hog Heaven and Beef Heaven. Hey! I am eclectic in my counseling training and practice and so with my love of barbecue.

215 Ken Hamrick January 17, 2014 at 12:30 pm

William,

You stated:

I merely note that I observed no YE or OE proponent who has a background in science is willing to exchange their data, experience, and body of knowledge for some modern docetism that bails them out of any and every prickly geological conumdrum.

What in the world are you talking about? Do you even know what docetism is? Who is denying that Christ was incarnated in the same kind of physical body that we all have—and how would that bail anyone out of anything related to this discussion?? The only “prickly geological conundrum” here is the problem confronting your argument when a supernatural event precludes all evidence of its occurrence. No background in science is needed to correctly determine that Christ fed the 5000, that He walked on water, that He physically rose from the dead… or that He created the world by fiat in 6 literal days. I understand how you might find that to be frustrating, but a supernatural creation by fiat is what it is—and no amount of imaginative rhetoric will change the untestable, unprovable nature of a miracle. And yes, that pretty much sets aside what you have to offer on the matter.

216 William Thornton January 17, 2014 at 2:48 pm

Ken, my use of a modifier for “docetism” should have been sufficient to steer you away from the docetism Gnosticism of the early church.

I have said that I appreciate your energy in thinking of these things. Contrary to your attempt to assess my state-of-mind, I am not frustrated at all. I would be interested in your opinion of the SEBTS conference linked above if you have time to listen to it.

217 Doug Hibbard January 17, 2014 at 11:01 am

Here is my conclusion on the matter:

1. I assume that there is an all-powerful God of the universe who created it.

2. I take that, from His Word, the universe He created was good and perfect.

3. I take, from His Word, that the people, Adam and Eve, in it were good and free to make choices.

4. I take, from His Word, that the people brought sin into the world. This sin brought death.

5. I assume that sin had a greater effect on the nature of a good and perfect universe than I am capable of measuring.

6. I take, from His Word, that eventually a major aspect of Creation: a separation of “waters above” and “waters below” is broken in the Flood.

7. I assume, therefore, that while I can learn a great deal about the nature of the universe by studying what is and extrapolating what was before, there are barriers to the steady line that one draws into the past.

8. I further recognize that my knowledge of Hebrew, while sound, does not include a true understanding of the culture in which it was used. There are, after all, a great many idiomatic and euphemistic expressions in my own language that do not well translate, and certainly require explanation.

9. Therefore, I can be firm on one thing: God said He created, and we have recorded in Genesis how He said He created. My understanding of His ways may be informed and enlightened by studying the results, but the results have been around for quite some time–and sin has affected them.

10. My study of the existing universe to determine exactly how God created it is like finding a rack of ribs at the Memphis in May BBQ Festival on Monday morning cleanup duty. The ravages of time, weather, and bugs will obscure precisely how they were cooked, exactly when the sauce was placed on them, what seasonings were in the rub, and what wood was used.

I can, however, seek out who cooked them and find those details exactly. I can science it–and know that certain things did not happen, like that these are not lamb ribs–but ultimately, the source for method comes back to the word of the cook. Science may tell me exactly how the smoke got in, how it all worked, but the method and intention falls to the chef.

And God is far above the typical bbq cook. Though He hath flavored the swine first :)

218 Ken Hamrick January 17, 2014 at 12:34 pm

And if Jesus provided the wine at a wedding feast you attended, would science be able to tell where the grapes grew and how long they had been fermented and aged?

219 Bill Mac January 17, 2014 at 1:15 pm

Careful Ken. Everyone knows that wine wasn’t fermented ;).

220 dr. james willingham January 17, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Wow! Bill and Ken, you all have opened another whole can of worms. Now you might get to go fishing.

221 Benjiramsaur January 17, 2014 at 3:41 pm

There seems to have evolved 2 different species of theistic evolutionists:

1. Those who reject a historical Adam.

2. Those who affirm a historical (evolved via an animal)
Adam.

In relation to #2, it seems that the implication is that man is an animal-human in his nature. And that Jesus would also have to share in that same animal-human nature.

In other words, it bleeds over into Christology.

Accordingly, I wonder if this view is something akin to what the Monophysites did with Christ. They, if I understand Grudem correctly, combined Christ’s Divine and human natures together so that one new nature emerged. Hence Christ to them did not have 2 natures but one.

Now, TE might say that Christ has two natures. I expect many, if not all of them would. However, they seem to have combined an animal nature with a human nature so that there emerges a new animal-human nature. And if so, then Christ would have to share in this same animal-human nature (Hebrews 2:17).

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