1. Young Earth Creationism

The belief that the universe and all that is in it was created by God around ten-thousand years ago or less. They insist that this is the only way to understand the Scriptures. Further, they will argue that science is on their side using “catastropheism.” They believe that world-wide biblical catastrophes sufficiently explain the fossil records and the geographic phenomenon that might otherwise suggest the earth is old. They believe in a literal Adam and Eve, Garden of Eden, snake talking, and world-wide flood.

2. Gap Theory Creationists

Belief that the explanation for the old age of the universe can be found in a theoretical time gap that exists between the lines of Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. God created the earth and the earth became formless and void. Therefore God instituted the new creation which begins in Genesis 1:2b. This theory allows for an indefinite period of time for the earth to exist before the events laid out in the creation narrative. Gap theorists will differ as to what could have happened on the earth to make it become void of life. Some will argue for the possibility of a creation prior to humans that died out. This could include the dinosaurs. They normally believe in a literal Adam and Eve, Garden of Eden, snake talking, and world-wide flood.

3. Time-Relative Creationism

Belief that the universe is both young and old depending on your perspective. Since time is not a constant (Einstein’s Theory of Relativity), the time at the beginning of creation would have moved much slower than it does today. From the way time is measured today, the succession of moments in the creation narrative equals that of six twenty-four hour periods, but relative to the measurements at the time of creation, the events would have transpired much more slowly, allowing for billions of years.  This view, therefore, does not assume a constancy in time and believes that any assumption upon the radical events of the first days/eons of creation is both beyond what science can assume and against the most prevailing view of science regarding time today. This view may or may not allow for an evolutionary view of creation. They can allow for in a literal Adam and Eve, Garden of Eden, snake talking, and world-wide flood.

4. Old Earth Creationists
(also Progressive Creationists and Day-Age Creationists)

Belief that the old age of the universe can be reconciled with Scripture by understanding the days of Genesis 1 not at literal 24 hour periods, but as long indefinite periods of time. The word “day” would then be understood the same as in Gen. 2:4 “. . . in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.” While this view believes the universe and earth are billions of years old, they believe that man was created a short time ago. Therefore, they do not believe in evolution. They believe in a literal Adam and Eve, Garden of Eden, snake talking, and world-wide flood.

5. Theistic Evolution (with a literal Adam and Eve):
The belief that God created the universe over billions of years, using evolutionary processes to create humanity. At some time, toward the end of the evolutionary process, God, through an act of special creation, created Adam and Eve as the head of the human race. Some also believe that God did not use special creation, but appointed already existing humanoids as the representatives for humanity calling them Adam and Eve. They may or may not believe in a snake talking and usually believe that the flood was local.

6. Theistic Evolutionists (no literal Adam and Eve)
The belief that God created the universe over billions of years, using evolutionary processes to create humanity. Adam and Eve are simply literary and symbolic, representing the fall of humanity and the ensuing curse.

creation-evolution

Problems with the more conservative views:

  • Often does not recognize that the Bible is not a science book and was not meant to answer all our questions.
  • Can create a “believe-this-or-do-not-believe-anything-at-all” approach.
  • Can creates a dichotomy between the Bible and science.

Problems with the more liberal views:

  • Often assumes uniformatarianism for all of human history (i.e. the measurement of things today can be applied to the same in the distant past).
  • Can seem to twist Scripture to harmonize.
  • It is difficult to know when actual (not accommodated history) history in Genesis picks up (i.e. if Genesis 1-3 are allegory or accommodation, where does “real” history start? Genesis 4? Genesis 6? Genesis 12? What is the exegetical justification for the change?)

I believe that one can be a legitimate Christian and hold to any one of these views. While I lean in the direction of number 3, that is the best I think anyone can do—lean. Being overly dogmatic about these issues expresses, in my opinion, more ignorance than knowledge. Each position has many apparent difficulties and many virtues.

This is an issue that normally should not fracture Christian fellowship.

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C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. He can be contacted at [email protected]

    1,206 replies to "Six Views on the Creation/Evolution Debate"

    • Leslie

      Personally, thus far I have been vacillating between Young and Old. I admit, this is the first time I am hearing of Time-Relative, and to me, this makes more sense now. But I do not buy the evolutionary tinge to that.

    • C Michael Patton

      Leslie, here is an article that holds to a similar view as #3: http://www.aish.com/societywork/sciencenature/Age_of_the_Universe.asp

      I don’t agree with everything here, but it will get you thinking in the direction that #3 goes.

    • Greg

      CMP,

      My view, which is influenced by John H. Walton, is that Genesis 1, understood according to Ancient Near Eastern literary conventions, isn’t as vested in the current origins debate as we tend to think.

      It is a text focused more on the origins of various functions and the setting up of God’s “cosmic temple” and not a text explaining the physical origins of the universe.

      This view, while not only purporting to read the text “literally”, as in, how the ancients would have understood it, but it also has the helpful effect of divorcing scripture from this whole mess of an origins debate.

      So the age of the earth, evolution, and all that other stuff stands or falls on the scientific evidence, not on what scripture supposedly says. Science can do science unheeded, and scripture can do what it does best; the Christian isn’t stuck with having to choose one or the other.

      I think we should focus our efforts on what scripture is really saying and stop trying to force it to fit science, or force science to fit it. Just let them both be.

      P.S. – Where do you think this view, that Genesis 1 isn’t concerned with origins as we understand it, fits into the six options you gave above?

    • C Michael Patton

      Greg, I would agree to the extent that being dogmatic about this issue either way is not wise. This includes the conclusions that some people make with regard to comparing the early chapters of Genesis with ANE and making conclusions that are presented in a way that dismisses other theories. It is not that clear.

    • Gammell

      There are certain underlying beliefs that these views all hold in common, and those are the beliefs that I try to put the focus on for myself and when in conversation about this issue. In particular, that there is an eternal God who fashioned creation intentionally and set aside humanity particularly. I should think the implications of that shared belief are far more significant than anything up for grabs in a debate about the mechanics.

      Personally, I lean towards something along the lines of the fifth position based on my understanding of history, science and what the opening of Genesis was trying to convey. However, I have no particular attachment to evolution itself. (To be fair, that last bit is largely a discipline snobbery issue as a physical chemist. The softer a science, the less I trust it. Yes, I know it’s not a good reason, but there ya go.)

    • Greg

      CMP,

      I understand what you are saying. Do you ever think we will be able to get to a place where we can say “This is what Genesis is saying, and this is what science is saying, and there is no conflict” with a reasonable degree of certainty? I know there will always be disagreement, but will there ever be a time when we can cross out, say numbers 1 & 4, from the realm of possibilities? For example, a huge majority of Christians have crossed out geocentrism as a possibility because the science has advanced so much to make it a laughable conclusion, yet we know historically that that was not always the case. Do you think we will ever be able to do that for any of the options above?

      I get uncomfortable when scripture is used to guide science and science an interpretation of scripture. I don’t think its good practice to compare modern science with pre-scientific writings from a vastly different worldview, nor to search for hidden scientific meaning in writings that, for the most part, bear a very primitive view of the cosmos.

      I may be naive, but I think there is a reasonable solution to this problem. I just want to find it.

    • Ben

      CMP,

      Would you say that number three (closest to your view) is basically Russell Humphreys’ white hole cosmology? I have not followed up on that in many years. I recall him advocating the development of other possible creationist cosmologies. I was curious as to whether he had any recent competition. I don’t know how closely you follow those kinds of things, but I thought I would ask.

      Ben

    • Leslie

      Michael, thanks for the link. Dr. Schroeder’s article is quite insightful. The Time perspective sheds more light to the issue.

    • Leslie

      Oops … “on the issue.”

    • Matt

      Thanks for another great post. This issue always seems to come up when Christians talk together; even if it’s just a passing comment. It is often assumed that Christians cannot believe in evolution (and can’t be anything other than Republican!). Me, I lean somewhere between 4 and 5. Do I count that as fact? No way; as you said, we can only lean in a certain direction. One thing I am 100% sure of is the fact that God created everything; how He chose to do that doesn’t really matter that much to me.

      A very interesting book on the subject of Evolution and Christianity is “The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief” by Francis S. Collins. A good read whether you believe in evolution or not.

    • Nate

      Good post, especially your final point about the potential for any of these readings to be a faithful Christian’s readings. I tend to historicize origin-stories, whether they be bronze-age Hebrew stories or Victorian-age English stories, so I’d hold “science” historically complicated in the same ways that I’d hold ANE cosmology complicated.

      For that reason and others, I’d want to hold Greg’s “let science be science” suggestion at arm’s length at least–since the Victorian age, “science” has drifted away from its place as Theology’s handmaiden and rather set herself up as a queen to whom Theology should be subject (if she hasn’t tried to behead Theology yet). I think the (recent) history of materialism and Christian theology and their dispute over science words ought to give us more pause than that.

    • bethyada

      I didn’t understand what you meant by 3 but have read the site and it is not it’s own position, it is a variant of day-age theory, number 4. It is just saying that God’s time (special unspecified place in the universe) is 6 days. There are significant issues with the article linked to (not time-dilation which is legit).

      This is not the same as white hole cosmology which is a variant of YEC. This is trying to solve the starlight problem. All positions have a starlight problem, in the evolutionary scenario the starligh problem is called the horizon problem.

    • bethyada

      I vote for 1. Obviously I don’t see most of your problems as existing.

      * Often does not recognize that the Bible is not a science book and was not meant to answer all our questions.

      Irrelevant. If the Bible talks to a problem then it talks to it. The Bible doesn’t tell us the number of reptiles God created, or the age Jesus was weaned; it does tell us Jesus was born of a virgin from the tribe of Judah.

      * Can create a “believe-this-or-do-not-believe-anything-at-all” approach.

      Would take some time to tease this out, but you will have elements of what you think you have to believe, even if it doesn’t easily fit your current theological outlook. But you don’t dismiss it.

      * Can creates a dichotomy between the Bible and science.

      Personally I don’t think it does, but the bigger issue is people in general do not really understand what is meant by “science.” The types of “science” that YEC battle with have more in common with history than experiment. That is: there is the same evidence for everyone to see with each side offering competing interpretations.

      One really has to grasp the nature of empirical science and historical science to be able to debate the issue of dichotomies. Here is a helpful debate between a creationist and a sceptic over creationism.

      The YEC position is exegetically sound and has, in general, the historical backing of the church since it inception. That does not guarantee its truth. But it disconcerting that Christians dismiss it when on talking to them it is clear that they are ignorant about the pertinent issues. If you are going to disagree (strongly) with something, at least know what it is you disagree with.

    • Jake Blues

      I think this post gives a decent summary, although I am always very cautious about trying to discuss these various views in short form like this given how complex and multi-disciplinary the issues are.

      For me, I think the discussions of this sort often focus too much on science vs Scripture and whether Scripture is or is not supposed to be a science textbook. For me, this misses the point, which is namely, are the implications of whatever view one espouses compatible with the nature of God as revealed in Scripture?

      We recently went to see Earth, the new Disney film, and my 7 year old daughter left the theater in tears halfway through the film, aghast at the horror of animal death that the film vividly and gleefully (albeit not graphically) displayed. (My rant about what a morbid, gruesome film outfit Disney is will have to wait for some other time…) The question is raises is for me is, is this the way things were supposed to be, or is this a consequence, a punishment? Even here I don’t think the question is necessarily easy; with one option, you have animals being punished with suffering for our screw-up, which seems like a bummer for the animals; with the other option, you have animal suffering hard-wired into the fabric of creation, which also seems like a bummer for the animals.

      My point is mostly that it’s a question worth wrestling with, and I would even go so far as to say it is THE question worth wrestling over. I would like to see discussions engaged along these lines, and see people address the implications of their views, rather than simply state that Gen 1 is or is not intended to be taken literally.

    • Stephen Miller

      On this one I have to agree with bethyada. Not only has this not been a controversy for long, too often the arguments come at this the wrong way. Is Genesis a scientific handbook? No, but it is a historical document, which means it presents things as history. If I deny this, where does that lead me? At what point does the story become “true” or “accurate”?

      A quote by Richard Bozarth seems to be in order

      “Christianity has fought, still fights, and will fight science to the desperate end over evolution, because evolution destroys utterly and finally the very reason Jesus’ earthly life was supposedly made necessary. Destroy Adam and Eve and the original sin, and in the rubble you will find the sorry remains of the son of god. Take away the meaning of his death. If Jesus was not the redeemer who died for our sins, and this is what evolution means, then Christianity is nothing!”

    • Dr_Mike

      I lean more toward a variant of the so-called Gap Theory, although the variance doesn’t really allow for a gap. I first heard it explained by Bruce Waltke but, as he admitted, it didn’t originate with him: it began, rather, with Jewish rabbis who struggled with God having appeared to have created a mess, i.e., a creation that was “formless and void.”

      Rather than a gap between Gen 1.1 and Gen 1.2, this view posits that Gen 1.1 does not describe original creation but only the origin or beginning of the created order in which we now live. The Bible elsewhere refers back to original creation, e.g., Jn 1.1, but not in Genesis: Moses is limiting his description and explanation to the world in which he/we now find ourselves.

      Gen 1.1 is a thesis statement that explains what will be developed more fully in what follows. Gen 1.2 describes the condition of the earth at the time God began his acts of salvation, i.e., the separating of what is good from what is evil (e.g., the light from the darkness, the land from the sea). The earth, in this view, is in its chaotic state due to judgment having been executed upon it (due, perhaps, to the sin and subsequent judgment of Satan, the ruler of this world).

      This view allows time for the geological record, the fall of Satan, and other problems encountered by some of the other views.

      The greatest – and perhaps only – weakness of this view is that it is conjectural. But that, of course, is a problem shared with all the others.

      Waltke wrote about this in some length in his five-part series “The Creation Account in Gen 1.1-3,” the initial installment appearing in Bibliotheca Sacra, 132:525 (Jan 75).

      It is heuristic reading, at the very least, from an OT scholar.

    • Joshua

      Here are the two “strengths” I see from the YEC view (theologically speaking):

      It appears to me that they can deal with Romans 8:19-22 (i.e. creation being subject to futility as a result of our sin) and 1 Cor. 15:21-22 (i.e. the idea of Christ being a “second Adam”) the “easiest”.

      I think if you could figure out a way to explain why the earth is screwed up (i.e. why there is death and suffering here [in light of the “good” creation]) and convince me that the Apostle Paul (and the Gospel writers) didn’t think Adam was a literal historical figure who is the “first born” of all mankind, the last couple explanations would be more plausable.

      Or if I’m simply mis-interpreting these passages, please correct me.

      Thanks.

      Your brother in Christ,

      -Josh

    • havoc

      Michael,

      3 and 4 usually are presented with a local or “universal” (i.e. affecting all humanity) flood perspective, not world-wide.

    • EricW

      CMP wrote:

      3. Time-Relative Creationism
      .
      Belief that the universe is both young and old depending on your perspective. Since time is not a constant (Einstein’s Theory of Relativity), the time at the beginning of creation would have moved much slower than it does today.

      Is that indeed what Einstein’s Theory of Relativity states?

      While my brief searching shows that Gravitational Time Dilation per his theory has been demonstrated, for it to be of any measurable or effective consequence for making evolutionary time take eons and not days, wouldn’t the earth’s mass have to be so huge that the type of lifeforms we have today couldn’t resemble or come from those created during such a slow-time situation?

      I’m just asking the basis of your reliance on Einstein for position 3, esp. since you say you lean in that direction; I have no physics knowledge to speak of.

      So I’m asking: Can one really find support from Einstein for position 3 being a real-world possibility? I.e., would Einstein say that scenario 3 is a real possibility for a creation model, given the world and life as we know it?

    • j

      I was expecting a view 7, along Walton’s lines and appealing to genre considerations. Then it finally showed up in post # 3 by Greg. Glad that got added.

      Considering the genre may lead a person to take one of CMP’s 6 views, but as Greg suggests, it may also simply lead to a degree of agnosticism about the actual historical events of creation.

    • Nick

      I vaguely remember reading a view that holds standard old earth dating, but says Genesis 1 is literal days. When God spoke he was philosophically giving already existing things purpose by defining them. I don’t remember what it said about evolution. Is this just an obscure view, or does it have a name?

      I’m #6 for the simple reason that I trust scientists more than I trust theologians. I can’t accurately evaluate the data on my own as I am neither a qualified scientist or theologian.

      I like to think there is an artistic beauty to evolution. If I draw a picture, I don’t plop it down all at once. I draw one line at a time, and gradually the picture fills out. As a programmer, I also like the idea that earths creation was coded 16 billion years ahead of time in the Big Bang singularity. No divine intervention is needed afterwords because it was all programmed in.

      As a side note, I know Adam from The Mythbusters wants to disprove YEC on the show. Don’t know if it’ll ever happen, but it would be interesting.

    • Ryoore

      What about Exodus 20:11?

      I don’t see how views five and six can be compatible with this verse.

    • a different Joshua

      From my observations, an increasing number of theologically conservative Christians are embracing the seemingly inescapable data of an old earth (4.5Byo) and universe (13.7Byo), recognizing a whole bunch of impossibilities (not just improbabilities) with a world-wide flood, and trying hard to see how the seemingly unbroken evidence of tens of thousands of years of human history mesh with Genesis without making a mockery of it.

      Some are trying to push Adam back another 30-50k years into the past, and claiming that the genealogies are simply incomplete.

      Some are giving up and embracing #6.

      One of the more interesting takes I’ve read in the past few years is from Richard Fischer at HistoricalGenesis.com. Unfortunately, the website isn’t nearly as well put together as the book it’s selling, but you can get the general idea. His view seems to fall between the cracks in these 6 categories, as he makes a case for Adam, Cain, Seth, Noah, etc… being pretty significant historical figures in Mesopotamian history.

      I haven’t if I agree with him, but it’s worth a look if you haven’t been satisfied with the gaps in your current view.

    • John C.T.

      Interesting post. I would disagree, however, with the description and labelling of the two ends of the spectrum as “liberal” vs. “conservative”. If conservative is understood as conserving a historic position, then the labelling is wrong because the old earth position also has an ancient pedegree, at least as long as the young earth view. If conservative is understood in terms of how one handles scripture, then the labelling is wrong because old earthers can, and many do, believe in inerrant scripture and that they are correctly understanding God’s words as he meant them to be understood. If conservative / liberal is understood theologically, as J.G. Machem and other writers over the last 80 years have understood it, then the labels do not apply because liberal refers to one’s position with respect to Christ (deity, incarnation, resurrection). Furthermore, the label “liberal” has a generally pejorative connotation in American evangelical churches and is typically taken to imply that a position is Biblically and theologically suspect–which old earthers would deny. So, if it is necessary to create a linear spectrum (which I do not think it is), I suggest that more appropriate labels be used.

      I also note that you neglect to describe the literary approach, which does not view Genesis one as describing either actual days or successive periods of time. According to the literary view, the creation story is told using literary conventions that are not intended to be interpreted as describing actual days or successive periods of time.

      Although often associated with particular views of creation, one’s understanding of the flood is not necessarily dependent on one’s view of creation. Hence, it is possible to be a “YEC” and believe in a local flood (though that would be rare), and also possible to be an old earther and believe in a local flood (much more common).

      Lastly, although implied by your “dichotomy” comment, your descriptions of the problems with so-called “conservative” views does not adequately express the problem that there is zero science that supports YEC. The YEC’s do try to grapple with the science, but their theories are speculative, untestable, or outright wrong. And by science I mean science as understood in the western scientific community, which is the community that YEC’s scientists allege that they are addressing. That is not to say, though, that YEC is not a possible Biblical interpretation–it is–but it is not one that currently has any viable or valid scientific support. Support is NOT the same as pointing out problems or unaccounted for data in current scientific theories.

      If it is indeed true, as the Bible states, that the heavens declare the glory of God and that the natural world provides evidence for God, then the lack of natural science validity and viability is a very significant issue and merits particular attention in any description of YEC as a position.

      Regards,
      John

    • EricW

      It’s turtles all the way down.

    • Mr. Dictionary

      Please define “day” for me.

      Do you mean “day” as in a 24 hour rotation of the Earth at this very moment?

    • John C.T.

      EricW is correct, given that the alternative interpretation of “formless” is turtles (by way of Hittite etymological origins). Hence, “In the beginning . . . and it was turtles and void . . .”, or in some manuscripts recently translated from the Old Syriac “. . . and it was turtles and turtles . . .”

    • Cadis

      Nick,

      I don’t know if it would prove anything but I can guarantee it would be funny. What I would like to see the Myth Busters tackle is the Big bang theory. It could be their final episode. What a way to go out, then we would all know for sure.

      Myth Buster’s in the creation debate , that certainly would be interesting! 🙂

    • John T III

      If I may respectfully disagree with you on one of your points Michael, Holding firm to one of the views of creation is a good thing. Do not be afraid to stand firm on what you believe to be the truth. The New Testament is full of verses that tell us to stand firm in the truth and that there are points where it is “either or.”

      The ignorance comes in when you try to force someone to believe or live by your stance on the truth. At that point you become just as bad as a Pharisee.

      The thing to do (I am not claiming it easy to do) is to give your reasons why you believe it and then let the other person do one of two things, accept it or reject it.

      Oh and if I may ask a question, while the bible I agree is not a science book, has there ever been anytime when something scientific in the bible has proven false or been shown to be mistaken?

      • Val

        Yes.

    • Craig

      I have to agree with John C.T. on the “conservative vs. liberal” labels concerning the views of creation. The problem, as I see it, is that from a certain theological standpoint YEC is conservative and theistic evolution is liberal. But that’s not true for all theological standpoints. Within the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), for example, I would guess that the labels would be reversed with theistic evolution being the conservative view.

    • irreverend fox

      What about a view which holds that God created everything fully mature and with the appearance of age? All observations of Adam would have indicated he was a (perhaps) 28 year old man, yet was less than an hour old in actual age. The same would go with trees, grass and the animals. Why then not extend that to everything else, including the planet and the universe?

      It seems to me that God created everything fully developed and mature 10,000 years ago or less…and so of course the age of the earth would appear to be fully mature (billions of years old).

    • Cadis

      I’ve not made up my mind on the issue. I’ve not dedicated allot of time pondering the various creation views. I lean toward the gap theory. I see a validity in viewing the creation as stages that reflect God’s salvation plan of man, to which A.W. Pink made me aware.

      I don’t get too upset over the various views unless they openly contradict and distort a major doctrine plainly taught elsewhere in scripture. i.e. if Adam was not a historical person it presents a tremendous problem for Romans 5.

    • dac

      What Greg said in post #3 and CMP’s point #3 (which I do not find mutually exclusive)

    • Jugulum

      Hmm… This is a good opportunity to raise a question that’s been bugging me about Flood geology. A possible Scriptural problem, not a scientific problem.

      One of the major ideas of YEC is that most of the “geologic column”–the various layers of sedimentary rock–was laid down during the Flood. (And most of those fossils were animals that died during the Flood.) It was laid down on top of the originally-created rock. So if an area has these layers of sedimentary rock, then they came from the Flood.

      OK. So, what’s the situation with Mesopotamia? Is Mesopotamia on rock that was deposited during the flood, or originally-created rock? Does the Flood Geology explanation of the rock layers fit with what Genesis says about the Garden of Eden?

      Because the way I read Genesis, it seems like Mesopotamia has to be original rock, not deposited rock. Because Gen. 2 talks about the 4 rivers, including “And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.” So the land couldn’t have changed significantly during the flood, or those rivers would have been buried under massive layers of rock! They wouldn’t be the same rivers. (At best, our current rivers would be named after the originals–but this passage is using them as reference points! They have to be the same rivers.) So, whatever the geology of Mesopotamia is… It couldn’t come from the Flood.

      Since I thought of this, I haven’t been able to look into the geology, so I don’t know whether this is an issue. Maybe Mesopotamia is on the “oldest” rock–if so, that would answer my question.

    • Susan

      Fox, You have hit upon what I believe is probably the case: A literal 6 day creation with instant-age. If God can speak the world into existence in all of it’s extravagant detail, why is it so hard for Christians to believe that God would also have made it with complete maturity….fully developed trees, ‘old’ rounded mountains….stars who’s light had already reached the earth etc.. Sometimes I get the impression that some Christians can ascribe partial power to God in creation….. but somehow can’t wrap their mind around His unlimited power. Why would God need to start the first trees from seed? The first chickens from eggs? The first mountains jagged ‘young’ mountains…. and make everyone wait forever to finally see the first light of the stars because it took time for the light to reach earth?

    • Jugulum

      Susan,

      Yes, we have to take Appearance of Age into account. But there are different kinds of appearance of age–some that are reasonable, others that aren’t.

      For instance, the vast majority of people would agree that fossils in the rocks could not be reasonably attributed to appearance of age. Fossils seem more firmly to demonstrate things that happened. That would be deception on God’s part.

      On the other hand, take soil, or mature trees. If a scientist looks at one of those that was created 5 minutes ago, he’ll think that they’re old. Because trees grow from seeds, and soil comes from erosion. If God’s going to create them instantaneously at all, then the appearance of age comes built-in.

      I divide it two ways: “Functional” appearance of age, and “non-functional”. Non-functional appearance of age has no explanation for why God would add those particular details–the details seem to show stuff that actually happened, in a deceptive way.

      So, Susan, I have a major problem when I come to things like starlight. If you just imagine starlight as featureless white light, then you could say, “Maybe God created the starlight en route”. Because that starlight is a video. We see supernovas more than 10,000 lightyears away. If you want to explain that by saying “God just made the light en route”, then you’re saying that God inserted a video recording of a star exploding, when the explosion never happened and the star never actually existed!

    • Jake Blues

      Fox, the difficulty with that view is the fossils that are buried within those rocks. When we see a fossil, we interpret it to correspond to an actual creature that actually lived at one time. If the “appearance of age” thesis conjectures that those creatures did not really live, then you have the fossil record essentially presenting a false history, which could be spun to seem as though God was purposely being deceptive by planting “false” evidence in the ground.

      EDIT: I see Jugulum has addressed this same issue.

    • Jugulum

      Whoops. I should have said, “But that starlight is a video”, not “Because that starlight is a video”.

    • irreverend fox

      Jake,

      While I admit that does cause a question (what’s with the fossils and did they actually live?) about my belief, I don’t think it would necessarily lead to suggesting God misled or something like that. I’m not sure any theory is air tight or without mysteries…at the end of the day I do believe mine makes the most sense of both the Biblical account and scientific discovery. All other views must on some level discredit one or the other. My view is the most consistent (and humble!!!), even with lingering questions regarding the nature of fossils.

    • C Michael Patton

      Greg, I don’t like to compare YEC with geocentricm like a lot of people are fond of doing. One has to do with what the physical struction earth right now (observable and testable) and the other has to do with what what happened thousands or billions of years ago (neither observable or testable).

      Will YEC or OEC be taken of the table legitimately someday? I don’t know, but I doubt it should. Creation itself it too radical. It is too much, in my opinion, to ever assume that we know how it all went down and what was going on with the physical laws, that were themselves being created out of nothing!

    • John C.T.

      Great point Jugulum re the four rivers; I’d never thought about that before. Very interesting.

      It seems to me that the heavens could not declare the glory of God if they were declaring things that never happened and that do not exist.

      There are, moreover, two important aspects of the instant age theory that need to be addressed. First, there is a difference between apparent age that is related to a specific state or organization of molecules. That is, when we look at Adam a minute after he was created as an adult, or at wine a minute after Jesus created it, there is no historical information present; no way of determining how old either is just from looking at them. The wine is just a particular combination of alcohol molecules and other molecules. We only suppose a particular age because of our observations of other jars of wine and other adult men and we have seen that it takes time for those other men and jars of wine to come to a specific state. So, when we see those objects with that particular state (of “maturity”) WITHOUT any knowledge of that object in prior times we assume that the same historical process was at work that we observed elsewhere.

      However, star light is not like that. Starlight actually contains information, it is in fact like a video. What we get with star light is not just a particular state of photons, but a continuous record of the creation of photons over time.

      Second, when God does engage in instantaneous creation, he lets us know that he’s done it. His creation of the world which operates according to regularity, is an indication to us that we should interpret the physical world according to that regularity. Indeed, that view of the world is what set western science apart from all other cultural approaches to science and led to / fostered the explosion of science. Christians believed that God created the world to operate according to regularities and that we could observe and analyse the universe (entire books have been written about the impact of the Christain world view on science).

      Regards,
      John

    • Jugulum

      CMP,

      Careful saying that what happened thousands or billions of years ago is neither observable nor testable.

      Things that happened in the past are not directly observable. Neither is the interior of the earth–but we can use indirect means to make measurements of things we can’t observe directly. (Of course, the more indirect we get, the easier it is to make mistakes of interpretation.) And then there’s astronomy–when we’re looking at distant light, we are looking into the past, pretty directly. (Of course, with astronomy, we can’t set up arbitrary experiments. Our observations are limited to what the sky gives us.)

      It’s harder to observe past events, because our observations are less direct, and we can’t set up arbitrary experiments. But theories about the what happened in the past are testable, through indirect observation of what happened.

    • C Michael Patton

      Wow, I can’t believe the shape of things on the poll. YEC, 21, the rest falling way behind.

    • C Michael Patton

      John, when I said that the best we could do is lean, I was speaking specifically to this issue. You know me better than that than to start pointing out places in scripture that say we can take a stand.

      On his issue, in my opinion, we will never have enough knowledge this side of heaven to make a definite pronouncement. That does not translate into Michael saying that we should never take a stand!

    • Susan

      Another thing in favor of a literal six day creation is that time has been marked by seven day weeks ever since…. the seventh day being the day of rest, established by God, in creation.

    • Jake Blues

      @ Jugulum:

      Regarding post #34, the YEC explanation for this wouldn’t be that Mesopotamia is in some way geologically different from the rest of the world, and somehow “survived” the flood intact; rather it would be that the rivers mentioned in Gen 2 are different rivers that existed prior to the flood and shared the same name (and I guess that goes for Assyria as well). This isn’t entirely inconceivable — we’ve all heard of New York, New Hampshire, New Jersey, etc. However, this explanation does raise an authorship question — specifically, I think it suggests that Gen 1-2 (at least) were either written or handed down by someone other than Moses, and Moses acted as a sort of “editor” for this portion (at least) of Genesis. This view isn’t universal among YECs but it is reasonably widely held.

    • EricW

      So how does “the appearance of age” deal with the fact that the universe “appears” to be billions of years old? I.e., is God still deceiving us and making us think that something that is actually 13 billion light years away is in fact only 10,000 light years away? To what extent must Genesis 1 describe the creation of “the heavens” (i.e., the universe and outer space) and the earth versus “the skies” (i.e., our atmosphere) and “the land/earth”?

      And how much validity is there to theories or claims that the speed of light has significantly changed, and if so, when did such a change supposedly occur? I.e., when did light “slow down” to 186,000 mps?

    • #John1453

      Except, Susan, that Genesis does not state that the seventh day had an evening and a morning (leading some to interpret that it has not ended). Furthemore, there are no lights to indicate 24 hour days until the fourth day, so there is no way of know how long the light and dark lasted in the first three days.

      In addition, Genesis does not actually state that God did anything on any of the denoted days. The narrative describes what God did, and then describes the passing of a day and night. It is in fact possible to interpret the narrative as describing the actions of God occurring over a period of time, and then an announcement by God that things are good, and then the passing of a day. The day could be a completely separate day, marking out a division between stages, or it could be the day on which God declared things to be good, or it could be the day on which things are both created and declared good. It’s not actually clear.

      Finally, Genesis 2:4 states, unequivocally that it only took God a day to do the entire creation sequence: “This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made earth and heaven.” (NASB).

      BTW, John is by far the most common North American male name. It is also quite traditional and gets used frequently with other traditional names. Hence it’s difficult to find a moniker that I can use consistently across blogs. It seems that, like passwords, strings that use letters, numbers and symbols have the greatest likelihood of being unique. I will therefore now try to go by “#John1453”, or “#John” (aka “number John”) for short on this blog.

      Regards
      #John

    • cheryl u

      #John,

      I assume you are the former John C.T.? Since you signed off “regards” like he does and since he is the John that has commented recently here?

      Just so I know for sure here or this could be even more confusing!

    • Cadis

      # John

      The ten commandments seem to indicate Moses excepted the six days as 24 hr days.

      “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth..” Exodus 20:11

      more than Moses excepted if these were written in stone by the finger of God. God seems to more than imply 6 days (?)

    • Jugulum

      #Jake,

      I think you must have skimmed my comment, because I addressed that idea.

      Because Gen. 2 talks about the 4 rivers, including “And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.” So the land couldn’t have changed significantly during the flood, or those rivers would have been buried under massive layers of rock! They wouldn’t be the same rivers. (At best, our current rivers would be named after the originals–but this passage is using them as reference points! They have to be the same rivers.)[bold added]

      I don’t think that explanation is at all compatible with what Genesis actually says. If Genesis just said, “The four rivers were named the Euphrates, the Tigris, etc.”, then it might work, though it would be a stretch. But Genesis is using these rivers as reference points, and talking about where those rivers flow.

      When people do that, I think they’re committing the same error that OECs fall into: Accepting interpretations that don’t really fit with the exegesis, in order to save their theory.

    • Cadis

      * God seems to more than imply 6 days* should read ..It is more than just implied but that God was stating creation was 6 literal 24 hr days. It seems to be a set in stone declaration (no pun intended)

    • […] the Creation/Evolution debate is a swamp of options and details without clear channels, a post from Parchment and Pen gives the six basic options in the controversy and what is at stake.  This post might really be […]

    • Jugulum

      Cadis,

      I think Gen 1-2 is pretty heavily on the “6 regular solar days” side. But I really don’t understand why people think that Exodus 20:11 adds weight to that. We know that “yom” can mean both “regular day” and “long period of time”, in general. It would make just as much sense in my mind, if it was:

      “Six solar-days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh solar-day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. … For in six day-ages the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day-age.”

      In other words, suppose Gen 1-2 had something like this: “The Lord God created the heavens and the earth in seven days. And the first day of creation was many years, as the Lord created the lights of the heavens. And the second day …”

      Are you saying that God would have to reword Exodus 20:11, if Genesis 1 read this way?

    • #John1453

      Yes, #John is the former John C.T.
      Sorry for the lack of clarity.

    • #John1453

      Hmm, it appears that Exodus 20:11 contradicts Genesis 2:4, because Genesis 2:4 unequivocally states, in the clearest literal language, that the entire creation activity took only one day. God said it took only one day, so that would appear to settle the matter.

      Regards,
      #John

    • cheryl u

      I tend to agree with Cadis that the Exodus 21:11 passage adds weight to Genesis one likely meaning solar days also. Since the Exodus passage equates the six days of work and then the seventh day of rest for mankind with the six days of work and then the seventh day of rest that God did, it seems to me that it is logical to assume that they were all solar days. Reading one as long periods of time and the other as literal twenty four hour days does not seem like a natural reading of this verse at all.

    • cheryl u

      Sorry, I meant Exodus 20:11.

    • Cadis

      Maybe Jugulum, but he makes the Sabbath holy I think that gives some extra weight to a 24 hr. or the day the Lord rested after his work. The direct correlation between our week and days here in Exo 20:11 to that of creation I think more than implies that we are comparing apples and apples. But I do understand what you are saying.

    • Jake Blues

      Jugulum,

      I agree, the author of Genesis is using them as reference points; but who is the author of that section of Genesis? If Moses was not the original author of that section, but something more like an editor, then this section could contain the words of the original author, who was referring to reference points that were present in *his* day, not in *Moses’* day.

      I don’t know if this is persuasive or not but I have heard this “multiple authors” view expressed before; I don’t know how widely it is held.

      I don’t know that the alternative options are especially persuasive either, though:

      Option 1: Mesopotamia’s geology didn’t change at all during the flood but everywhere else did.

      Option 2: Moses made up the bit about the flood, apparently unaware of the implications of having a geological feature like a river survive the flood intact.

      Option 3: The flood was a local flood, so the geology was actually unchanged by the flood — BUT Moses nevertheless got the geography wrong in Gen 2

      Option 4: Genesis is poetry

    • cheryl u

      # John,

      Thanks for the clarification.

      Regarding your comment #55, I don’t think there is a contradiction here. Genesis 1 says in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and the earth was without form and dark. Then it goes on talking about creating light and naming day and night. And then it says it was the first day. As I understand this verse and the ones following, the heavens and earth were created in one day–the rest of the days were spent in creating what was in the heavens, on the earth and the seas. Notice that in the Exodus verse it talks about the heavens, earth, the sea and all that is in them being made in six days.

      The Genesis two verse, is seems to me is just speaking about that first day of creation while the Exodus one is speaking about all six.

    • cheryl u

      A correction:

      As I reread Genesis chapter two, I don’t think the argument I made in my last comment regarding “the day” of creation makes any sence. It does seem to be speaking of all of creation, not just the first day. So, it seems there is a contradiction here or a different use of the word day.

    • #John1453

      Actually, there is most likely a contradiction because the phrase “this is the account of” (Hebrew “toledoth”, which translated everywhere else as “generations of”, but basically means origins or histories) is a set Hebrew phrase. That means that author has provideds going to provide an account of the entire period, which then means that the remainder of the verse is also referring to that period. This literary construction is known as a colophon. The colophons in the Book of Genesis all have a similar form such as “This the book of the generations of Adam” (chp. 5), or “These are the generations of Noah”. After the Hebrew word “toledoth” / “generations” / “account”, there is the name of the person who is signing off this section of the history, and in some cases a list of his descendants then follows. It is important to note that the “generations of” phrase is a conclusion, not an introductory phrase. Hence, verse 4 is looking back at the entire creation period and then uses a time descriptor for that period, calling it a “day”.

      Faced with this apparent contradiction, one must then resolve it and the resolution is not immediately apparent if we only look at the verses from 1:1 to 2:4 (v. 2:5 starts a new section). Once we go beyond that section we then are taking into account all the relevant parts of God’s written revelation. This revelation does include Exodus 20:11, but it also includes all the other material as well. When looking at all that material, it is at least just as reasonable to arrive at an interpretation of the days in Genesis as not being 24 hour periods as it is to arrive at the conclusion that they are 24 hour periods.

      Indeed, Origen (c. 185-254) was quite cogniscent of the probelm of 24 hour days and did not hold to it. In Contra Celsum (VI: 50-51, 60), he countered Celsus’ complaint that Genesis has some days before the creation of the sun, moon, and stars. Origen replied, “In what we said earlier [in his lost commentary on Genesis] we criticized those who follow the superficial interpretation and say that the creation of the world happened during a period of time six days long . . .” Origen also wrote, “What person of any intelligence would think that there existed a first, second, and third day, and evening and morning, without sun, moon, and stars?” (De Principiis IV, 3, 1).

      References to the creation events, such as Exodus 20:11, can be seen as using a summary statement to refer to the entire story (and the proper interpretation of that story), or as an analogical statement. That is, if the Genesis creation story is either a literary framework, or an anological description (God describes his work by way of analogy to Hebrew work days), then the six days of the Hebrew week are established by analogy. That is, the analogical relationship is not one of 24 hour days to 24 hour days, but seven periods to seven periods (where the length of each period is not relevant).

      Regards,
      #John (formerly John C.T.)

    • Jugulum

      Cheryl,

      Right, a different use of “day”. The Hebrew word there, “yom”, is sometimes used for “normal day”, and sometimes for “period of time,” as in “Back in my grandfather’s day…”

      And in Gen 1 & 2, we have it switching from one meaning to the other, pretty easily.

      That’s partly why I think Ex. 20:11 doesn’t help decide the issue.

    • JJoe

      I really don’t get the controversy. Why would I take the word of a 2000 year old book written by people who really didn’t even understand the concept of science over the word of scientists?

      I find the notion that the Bible is an authoritative source for science, and to a large extent, history to be difficult to understand.

      I was reading a recent issue of National Geographic last night where letters to the editor were challenging an article on Herod which stated there is no evidence that he massacred first born children. NatGeo didn’t back down. Because at a certain point absence of evidence is indeed evidence of absence. Or else we’d be finding UFOs, according to some books.

      Coincidentally I also gave up on wading through the ginormous amount of detail about Herod written by Josephus, his biographer, and of course there’s no mention of a massacre there.

      I don’t deny the Bible is true but all of this hair-splitting is unnecessary when we use our God-given reason rather than a book, that may have been inspired by God and suitable for instruction, but was written by men.

    • cheryl u

      Jugulum,

      I still think it is very awkward to read the Exodus twenty verse switching back and forth between the two meanings. It is not only spoken of that way in Ex. 20:11, by the way. The same thing is said regarding the sabbath in at least one other place. Don’t have the reference handy right now.

      Another reason I think Genesis one is probably speaking of 24 hour days is the repeated usage of “and the morning and the evening were…”. Do prolonged periods of time designated as a day have an evening and a morning? Unless I am missing something here, it seems to me that to use those terms if they were not referring to literal days would be an almost certain way to lead to a lot of confusion.

    • Rey

      I have something sorta like 4 with an allowance of a modified 5 though I guess it can work with a 3. I guess it’s either a 4.5 or a 7?

      Specific Creative Days, without a reference to how long they are, they are specific Creative Days where God gives a divine creative fiat. These specific Creative Days are separated by Other Normal Days (not knowing how long they are). So each Creative Day (where God speaks) is sequential (there’s only 6) and called DAY and the time frame between can be whatever length.

    • Greg

      CMP,

      I’ll let the comparison issue go, even though I think its a good one.

      You drew a distinction between the reliability of things observed now versus those things that occurred in the past. I really don’t think you can dismiss that evidence so easily, or even call it into question. You may want to look into it more before you do so. There may be a lot more to the scientific method and how it can be used to tell us information than you are giving it credit for.

      Jake, Re: #59
      Option 3 is the best, although there is no need for Moses to be in error over the earth’s geography. We need to stop thinking things like this, stop being arrogant over our particular level of knowledge versus that of the ancients. To them the world was a lot smaller than it is for us. It encompassed their general region and that place alone because that is all that they knew of.

      The flood was a local flood. The writer of Genesis spoke from his perspective, his knowledge of the world, and we have no instance where God attempted to correct this. This is all scriptural.

      To help understand the flood we need to understand the ancient’s world. The world to them was a flat disk surrounded by waters all around, with mountains surrounding the outer edges of the disk, making a shape like a bowl, which supported the foundations of heaven. These foundations held up the firmament, spoken of in Genesis 1:6-8, which is where the sun, moon, and stars where placed, and which held back and separated the waters above from the waters below (Genesis 1:7). All this together created a space for the people of the earth to live in. Picture a snow globe, except with all the water on the outside instead of the inside.

      If you will remember in Genesis 1:2 the earth started out covered in water. There was no separation of these waters because there didn’t exist yet a firmament to do that. God’s creative activity involved Him forming a in this primordial cosmic ocean a place for humans to live and thrive. This is the whole focus of the creation account! This is all that is good about it! God set up his cosmic temple and made a place for the bearers of His image to inhabit.

      Fast forward to the flood and you see God opening up the floodgates of heaven to allow the water that was located above the earth (Genesis 1:7, not rain!) to fall down and return the earth to its original state prior to God’s creative activity.

      We must remember all of this when we interpret the flood and the creation account. The moment we allow unrelated modern scientific knowledge to directly influence us, we do violence to scripture and move from exegesis to eisegesis. Don’t even think about the age of the earth when you interpret Genesis, or what a day means, or where evolution and dinosaurs and starlight and global floods and continents and fossils all fit in.

      That’s all our stuff. Its none of their stuff. All this meant nothing to them, and the best thing we could ever do in this whole debate is remember that.

    • cheryl u

      #john,

      Quoting from your comment above, “Origen also wrote, “What person of any intelligence would think that there existed a first, second, and third day, and evening and morning, without sun, moon, and stars?” (De Principiis IV, 3, 1).

      That seems more than a little misleading on Origen’s part. After all, it was said than in the first day God created light, separated light from darkness and called the light day and the darkness night. (How they existed with out the sun, etc. I do not know). However, since there was a day and a night on the first day, why would it be impossible to say that there was an evening and a morning?

    • Michael D

      As the resident EO on the list, I would recommend the reading of St Basil the Great’s Hexaemeron (Greek for the 6 days of creation). It is a series of sermons on creation given in the 4th century. Here is a link:
      http://www.fisheaters.com/hexaemeron.html

    • Bruce

      Michael, where are you placing the Framework view in these categories? I assume within number 4?

      Francis Schaeffer used to say that there will be no final conflict between Scripture and science when all the data is in and God’s special revelation and general revelation are accurately interpreted.

    • Rey

      William Lane Craig has an audio on his site that covers some 11 I think it was interpretations of Genesis 1. Pretty interesting.

    • Jerry Brown

      I don’t know if it was thousands or billions of years, and the only One I know who really knows isn’t talking about it. 🙂

    • Susan

      #John, in post#48 you state:
      “Finally, Genesis 2:4 states, unequivocally that it only took God a day to do the entire creation sequence”
      Then you go on in subsequent posts to say that there is a contradiction in scripture.

      NET translation:
      Gen. 2:4: This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created–when the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.

      You can access this translation (for which Daniel B. Wallace was the New Testament senior editor) at Bible.org , if you would like to check for your yourself. There are also extensive translator’s notes which are printed in the Bible and might also be available at that site as well.

      Cadis and cheryl….good points!

    • Jake Blues

      @ Greg, Re: #68, I am all for taking the author’s worldview and intent into account when we try to understand what a particular book is communicating. Thus, I have no problem, for example, with considering Matthew’s account of the Resurrection to be a stylized gloss that is not primarily concerned with a chronological, play-by-play account of the exact details of that event. However, I am very uncomfortable with a position that requires that we should consider a writing Inspired that an author intended to communicate something that he believed to be factual but that in reality was false. I don’t see how God can inspire a false history or how that makes the book in question any different than the historical accounts of other contemporaneous peoples. I don’t think that’s a particularly arrogant position. The author interrupts his narrative to specifically call attention to the fact that there are four rivers, two of which are the Tigris and the Euphrates, that shared a common source — but this is simply not the case, and it will not do to say “well, it was true for him”. I think that does much more violence to Scripture, personally.

      And that notwithstanding, the age of the universe problems go beyond reconciling scientific observation with Scripture; as I discussed in comment 14, there are worldview implications that must be considered.

    • anon

      What about the belief that Adam and Eve were monkey’s until they ate the forbidden fruit and as punishment God made them human. Hoo hoo ha haaaaa!

    • #John1453

      Susan, you are correct to notice that the NET Bible does not use “day”. However, the word “yom” (Strong’s number 3117) occurs in the Hebrew text of Genesis 2:4. That is why some translations (ESV, NASB, RSV) use the word “day” in their translations. The fact that yom is not always to be translated as “day” and so implying a 24 hour or solar day, is evidenced / proved by the fact that the NET translation uses “when” instead of “day” to indicate the period of time when God did the creating (i.e., the entire creation period).

      In regard to Cherylu’s point, as noted by me above, by Origen, and others over the last few thousand years: if there is no sun, there is no solar day and thus no way of telling how long (in hours or solar time) the day lasted or how long the night lasted. My point in quoting Origin was not that I believe him to be correct, but to note that 1800 years ago Biblical commentators and teachers were aware of the problem and believed that it was within the range of acceptable Christian belief to answer that some of the days were not solar days or 24 hour days.

      In addition to the problems with CMP’s description of the various views, I would add that his description makes it appear as if all are valid and available interpretations. That is like saying that the swoon theory, the body theft theory, and the hallucination theory are all just as factually and historically possible as the resurrection theory of Jesus disappearance from the tomb. But a number of recent books (mainly by evangelical authors) have made it clear that some of those explanations are completely untenable as historical theories. So also with theories of the age of the earth and the interpretation of Genesis. Yes, it is true that those theories (and others not described) have been put forward as potential explanations. It is not true, however, that all are equally tenable or acceptable explanations or that one can merely lean into any one of them. There is not, for example, even one smidgeon of supporting evidence for the relative time theory and it is a completely discredited speculation. There is also not any scientific evidence at all for a young earth, and so it’s potential support lies exclusively in the fact that “yom” is most frequently used in extent (ancient) written Hebrew to refer to a 24 hour period. It is, nevertheless, an acceptable and orthodox approach to hold that if the Bible demands it (e.g., successive 24 hour days) then one must stick to it until scientific understanding changes.

      But one must ask, “why?” when that translation (successive 24 hour days) is not demanded by the Biblical text. “Why?” when alternate explanations have been acceptable to Christian teachers for over 1800 years. If (1) these other, non-24 hour day, interpretations are orthodox interpretations, and legitimate interpretations using valid hermeneutic methods, and allow one to hold to an inerrant Bible, and (2) our understanding of God’s creation keeps confirming [continued]

    • #John1453

      . . . and (2) our understanding of God’s creation keeps confirming ever more strongly a multi-billion year old universe and earth, then why not hold to one of the orthodox interpretations that is consistent with God’s natural revelation? To continue to hold to a YEC 24 hour interpretation in the face of God’s natural revelation and in face of equally orthodox interpretations is to create an unnecessary and very damaging stumbling block both to Christians and to non-believers.

      Regards
      #John

    • Conservative Heretic

      You can’t read the story of the wedding at Cana and make sweeping conclusions about Jesus’s view of the use / condoning of large quantities of alcohol at weddings. That wasn’t the point of the story. That’s not the question being answered.

      Are you really so sure that the questions being answered in Genesis 1 have anything to do with the age of the universe and the duration of the creation period?

      I consider myself very conservative theologically, but I have to put myself nearer to #5 with a literal ANE Adam and Eve.

      This hebrew lesson from a friend eased my conscience about Eden, local floods, and other tensions (in fairness, he could be wrong and I wouldn’t know it):
      In Hebrew
      “Earth” is the same word as “Land”
      “Man” is sometimes “ish” and sometimes “Adam.” Our English bibles treat them as synonyms. The Hebrew might not have meant to.
      “Mountain” is the same word as “Hill” or “Hill Country”
      “All” is often limited in scope
      “Mist” or “Fountains of the deep” might be used in related languages to refer to “tidal-based irrigation systems”

    • Gammell

      EricW writes:

      So I’m asking: Can one really find support from Einstein for position 3 being a real-world possibility? I.e., would Einstein say that scenario 3 is a real possibility for a creation model, given the world and life as we know it?

      Relativity makes my head hurt, but after some digging, I think it can theoretically fit into the physics of relativity. I was surprised by that.

      The non-constant nature of time only works on differing frames of reference. One observer based on Earth may see a story taking billions of years according to his clock, while another observer in a different frame of reference may see the same story taking six days according to his clock. Both clocks are true to their frame of reference. If the second observer were near an utterly massive body or moving away from the Earth at very near light speed, that scale of difference would be possible according the time dilation equations. (Specifically regarding your big Earth objection, it’s the second observer that would have to be near the utterly massive body, not the observer on Earth.)

      So the third position would hold that the opening of Genesis was written from a frame of reference not on the Earth where this creation account really did take six days. It should be possible to calculate potential frames of reference that would match the gravitational/inertial difference required, but that’s beyond my grip on relativity to do intelligently. I believe the contention is that the second frame of reference would be placed near the big bang where there’s a lot of mass in one place, and expansion away from it. From the start of creation, as it were.

    • bethyada

      jugulum Careful saying that what happened thousands or billions of years ago is neither observable nor testable.

      Things that happened in the past are not directly observable. Neither is the interior of the earth–but we can use indirect means to make measurements of things we can’t observe directly. (Of course, the more indirect we get, the easier it is to make mistakes of interpretation.) And then there’s astronomy–when we’re looking at distant light, we are looking into the past, pretty directly. (Of course, with astronomy, we can’t set up arbitrary experiments. Our observations are limited to what the sky gives us.)

      I think Patton is correct here. You are stating that 2 different things are indirect, but they are indirect in fundamentally different ways. The interior of the earth is theoretically testable, repeatably testable, we just lack the technology currently. But historical claims are not testable in this way. They happened and we try to recreate the event. Even recent events can be like this, for example forensics. We look at things in the present and infer the story of the underlying event.

      Thus eyewitness testimony is relevant for the historical type. We could infer the number of sunspots in 1537 based on current patterns, but finding a reliable note from someone who counted them at the time would be more useful. Likewise someone who witnessed a crime is valid evidence.

      Whereas interior of the earth questions are not testimonial like this. And if they were we can check by repeating the experiment.

      It isn’t that something is infered, it is rather that something happened once in the past, it doesn’t happen repeatedly.

      You are partially right about starlight, but not fully. That is because we are looking at information carried on the starlight. But this tells us something happened, it does not tell us when something happened, that is inferred by assumptions. Those assumptions may seem reasonable, though as with everything in physics, all assumptions must be questioned. Relativity would be a good example of where our assumptions have been incorrect.

      You are however correct to state that appearance of age in starlight is different from a created tree or person. Supernovas happened, they are not false information buried in the light by God.

    • bethyada

      The mention of “day” in genesis 2:4 is of little consequence, and I suspect that john knows this and is throwing it in for controversy. The Hebrew word for “day” is known to have a range of meanings, similar in some ways to the English word “day.” Creationists do not claim that genesis 2:4 means a literal day, they know it doesn’t as well as anyone else.

      The reason for the insistence on day meaning ~24 hour period, ie. a single rotation in Genesis 1 is entirely context. The word is identified with a number and with the term “evening and morning,” both of which would imply a 24 hour day by themselves, even more so when used together. There are even other meanings in Genesis 1. Verse 5 has the word “day” clearing meaning “daytime.”

      The fact is that the YEC view is fully consistent with the text.

      Now one may argue that due to other hermeneutical considerations (either textual or extrabiblical philosophy), that Genesis 1 means other than a literal 6 days. What one cannot do however is claim that Genesis 1 does not or cannot textually mean 6 days.

    • bethyada

      To continue to hold to a YEC 24 hour interpretation in the face of God’s natural revelation and in face of equally orthodox interpretations is to create an unnecessary and very damaging stumbling block both to Christians and to non-believers.

      So if I am convinced that natural revelation points to a young earth (which I am), then I am free to also hold to a YEC reading of Scripture?

      While I strongly think that Genesis 1 means that only a YEC interpretation is viable, that is my view now. What convinced me however was just as much (and possibly more so) is the science.

    • #John1453

      bethyada, what you stated in post 82 is what I agreed with earlier. Belief in seven 24 hour days is consistent with the text, but not demanded by the text in Genesis 1. I’m not throwing Genesis 2:4 in merely for controversy, and I do think it is relevant–which is a position consistent with many who have written on this topic.

      However, the fact remains that there is zero science supporting a young earth. There are (unsupported) speculations by YEC’s, but a speculation is not a proof or a factual support. There are critiques by YEC’s of various dating methods, but none of those critiques are sufficient to overturn the methods as a whole and either have sufficient responses or would merely shave a few hundred million years off the estimated age.

      The lid on the coffin, and the nails in the coffin, and the burying of the coffin in the ground, is light. There is no scientific answer to that brute fact. The only response of a YEC is to indicate that light was created in transit with false information by God to give an appearance of age. Not only is there no scientific support for such a speculation (obviously), but there is no biblical support for it either. In fact, there is biblical support against such a view: the Bible states that God cannot lie.

      Furthemore, and I think this has great significance, God associates light very closely with himself. I’m not saying that light is part of God in a panentheistic sense, but that it is not likely that God would associate himself so closely with light and then embed false information in it.

      For any teacher of the Bible to even indicate that YEC is still a valid interpretation open to Christians is, to say the least, not warranted.

      The very fact that senior, well respected, evangelical scholars who believe in an inerrant Bible can disagree on the interpretation of Genesis, and can continue that disagreement for hundreds of years, indicates that not one of the interpretations is a slam dunk and incontrovertible.

      Moreover, seven 24 hour creation days is not linked only to YEC, one can believe in 7/24 and still believe in an old earth.

      YEC is not an option open to Christians, but it is also not relevant to salvation or to fellowship.

      Please note that I am not name calling, or indicating that YEC’s are not Christian, etc. I am simply stating that they are incontrovertibly wrong, and that they should therefore drop that belief. Many Christians come to belief in YEC because they were taught it as children, or taught it by a trusted Christian, or did not know other options were available. Once they become aware of the other options, and the nature, meaning and significance of light, they then have the responsibility to choose one of the options that are open to Christians.

      Regards,
      #John

    • rayner markley

      Christians are in the position of having two sources of information about origins: The Bible, claiming to be a divine revelation, and science, claiming to read evidence in the natural world. These two sources attempt to explain two different sets of data. Genesis addresses the knowledge and beliefs of a particular ancient people about the world they were living in. Science takes into account our much deeper and wider knowledge about the world. I wouldn’t expect the same explanations to satisfy both parties. For instance, the very first verse of Genesis, consistent with the local view, talks of ‘the heavens and the earth’ as if they are two different realms, while we understand the heavens to include the earth. If we were still receiving divine revelations today, those revelations would have to take our views into account. God does not use science that is beyond what we already know.

      Trying to reconcile the two sources produces mental contortions like the ones outlined in Michael’s six views, none of which are very satisfactory in my view. Nor is it even essential to harmonize the two. On earth Jesus believed the Genesis account of origins as did the people of His time. He did not have to teach them anything new along that line. He was teaching the way of life to a world where the need for new life was evident all around. How the world got into that mess was not important to that message.

      And now what do we do with these two witnesses if we cannot easily make them consistent with each other? I believe we understand each in its own context. God used ancient beliefs, whether true or false, and likewise God can use modern beliefs. God works with us not to instruct us on the origin and history of nature but on right living with each other and with all nature.

    • CMP,

      Regarding the poll. You have 1 YEC position, 5 OE positions, 1 none of the above, and 1 not decided yet.

      This breaks down to 38% YEC, 45% OE, 10% not decided, and 7% none of the above.

      I know that I am an undecided, but am definitely in the OE camp, just not sure where I fit. Those who are none of the above probably do not hold to a YEC position.

      Whichever way you look at it, YEC is definitely a minority position among your readers, even if it is the most popular.

    • P.S. It would be interested to do a followup poll that would break down Evangelicals versus non-Evangelicals on the issue.

    • cheryl u

      bethyada,

      Can you tell us more of what it was in the science that convinced you to believe a young earth position? I guess I am specifically wondering if you know how or if what has been said about the information received in light is interpreted differently by scientists reaching this conclusion.

    • Steve Bartholomew

      Whew!! The volume of responses to this article certainly attests to the intense interest in it. I didn’t have time to read all of them, so perhaps what I am going to say has already been said …

      A critical point that is very often completely missed in this debate is that THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION IS AN ATTEMPT TO EXPLAIN HOW THE WORLD CAME INTO BEING APART FROM A CREATOR (i.e. God). In fact, it is not difficult to see that this is the theory’s raison d’etre (reason for existence). The theory, in other words, blatantly advocates atheism. Consequently, ANY theory that in any way condones evolution – and aside from YEC, ALL of the theories you present definitely do this – lends support, either directly or indirectly, to this blasphemous idea.

      Proof for the above contention can be found in any textbook that promotes the theory of evolution – which includes, of course, virtually every science textbook found in our nation’s public schools.
      NONE of these books seriously acknowledges the possibility that God was involved in the evolution of the world, much less of living creatures. Furthermore, virtually none of them mention a single word about the Genesis Flood, as either a worldwide or local event.

      None of the comments I read here indicate that the authors recognize this fundamental truth about the theory of evolution. From a Christian perspective, however, this truth should be the STARTING POINT in any debate about this matter! Failure to recognize it plays right into the hands of the Father of Lies.

    • Richard

      John,

      You wrote: “However, the fact remains that there is zero science supporting a young earth. There are (unsupported) speculations by YEC’s, but a speculation is not a proof or a factual support. There are critiques by YEC’s of various dating methods, but none of those critiques are sufficient to overturn the methods as a whole and either have sufficient responses or would merely shave a few hundred million years off the estimated age.

      The lid on the coffin, and the nails in the coffin, and the burying of the coffin in the ground, is light. There is no scientific answer to that brute fact. The only response of a YEC is to indicate that light was created in transit with false information by God to give an appearance of age. Not only is there no scientific support for such a speculation (obviously), but there is no biblical support for it either. In fact, there is biblical support against such a view: the Bible states that God cannot lie. ”

      Have you read (for example) the RATE (Radio Isotopes and the Age of the Earth) project technical reports?

      Are you familiar with Mary Schweitzer’s findings of soft tissues, branching vessels, cell like structures, etc in T-Rex bones?

      Or are you just trusting to the judgment of others?

      Since you mentioned “proof”, what proof of a 4.5 billion year old earth can you present?

      Since you seem to believe in the current consensus views, can you even explain how a single star was formed?

    • #John1453

      Hmm, rereading my post 84 and it lacks flow.

      I believe that it is not responsible for Christians to believe in or to teach YEC because the Bible does not explicitly and conclusively address the age of the earth. The Bible does not demand that one believe in either an old earth or a young earth, nor does it exclude either belief. In addition, hundreds and hundreds of years of interpretation have left this question open. Well respected church fathers, and theologians, and teachers, and scholars, including believers in an inerrant Bible, have found it possible to believe in either a young or old earth when interpreting the Bible alone (i.e., without reference to natural revelation). No one interpretation can claim to be so persuasive that it is the only reasonable one to hold.

      God’s natural revelation informs us that the world and the universe is billions of years old (just as His natural revelation informs us on how fire works, how gravity works, how nuclear explosions work, etc.). The more we learn about light and about natural processes, the more it is confirmed that the universe and the earth are billions of years old. There is no scientific issue that raises any questions about that. This is unlike, for example, the time when Newtonian physics was being questioned and then relativity and quantum physics were developed. There was at the end of the 19th century phenomena (e.g., black bodies) and questions, etc., that required answering. Answering these questions led to Einsteinian and then Quantum physics. It is important to note, though, that the earlier physics (e.g., Newtonian) were not thrown out and are still valid; they just don’t explain all phenomena.

      That is extremely unlike the science of rock formation, radioactive decay, and light. In those sciences, the more we learn the more our conclusions regarding dating are confirmed and there are no unexplained phenomena or questions that have the potential to overturn what we have learned and concluded.

      If the Bible clearly had God revealing, “The earth is 10,000 years old”, then we would have to accept that and wait for science to catch up. But that is not the case.

      Christians should therefore be explicit about the fact that the Bible does not demand or exclude a particular age for the earth, and be explicit about the fact that they can accept whatever science finds for the age of the Earth. Christians should also be explicit about being able to accept, and in fact accepting, the results of investigation of God’s natural revelation. That is, accept the fact that the world is old and tell new and nonChristians that that is consistent with the Bible. It is unwise and irresponsible to do otherwise.

      Regards,
      #John

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    • Duncan

      ‘God’s day is like a thousand years’

    • Duncan

      The reason scripture brings in this literal but inexact statement is directly related to the genesis account.

      ‘On that day you will die’

      Adam lived a little longer than 24hrs if I remember rightly.

    • Jake Blues

      @ #John, the difficulty with that is that one is forced to either select Michael’s Option 6 above (theistic evolution), or else one is simply cherry-picking those parts of “the results of investigation of God’s natural revelation” that one happens to like. I do agree with you, however, that it’s not the age that’s important, it’s the sequencing — what caused what? As I pointed out in comment 14, the question is whether death and suffering predate or postdate the fall of Man. Option 6 actually requires going further even than saying that death is hard-wired into creation: it directly implies that God uses death as a crucial tool in His creative process. There is perhaps a Scriptural case to be made for such a view but in my limited experience, advocates of this position tend to spill relatively too much ink belittling those benighted YEC bumpkins and relatively too little ink engaging some of the philosophical implications that their view entails.

    • cheryl u

      #John,

      If you have told us which of CMP’s options you believe to be correct, if any, I don’t remember–and I simply don’t have the time to go back through this whole thread to find out! Would you please enlighten, or re-enlighten me?

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      Adam and Eve are historically factual.

      Use the grammatical-historical method of hermeneutics.

      In the beginning God…

    • Jugulum

      Rayner,

      Christians are in the position of having two sources of information about origins: The Bible, claiming to be a divine revelation, and science, claiming to read evidence in the natural world.

      I wouldn’t put the parallel between the Bible and science. Science is based on the interpretation & exploration of physical data. The data is the parallel. Science is the parallel of exegesis.

      So, exegesis is to the Bible as science is to the physical world.

    • #John1453

      Um, I’m not really committed. I grew up being taught the 7/24 view, but not dogmatically, but which I mean it was the only view taught but it wasn’t a big issue that it is in some areas. I read stuff coming out of Moody. In college I went to a debate where some guy named Duane Gish (I think) presented the creationist side and thoroughly embarrassed himself. In Bible college I learned about different potential views on Genesis c. 1, but I wasn’t convinced enough to come to a firm decision. I’d read one article and be convinced one way, and then read the next and be convinced the other way. And, in the circles I hung with it never really came up as a discussion point, so I never had to explain or defend any of the views.

      It wasn’t really until I started learning about intelligent design and the apparently insurmountable problems within Darwininian evolution that I started thinking more seriously also about the age of the earth. It didn’t take long to figure out that the science of age was nowhere near the state of indecision, argumentation, and flux that the science of evolution is in. I realized that for all the relevant purposes, the science of age was settled and not going to change in any way that would affect the age of the earth (once you get past a few thousand years, one can’t really call onesself a YEC).

      I have always enjoyed languages, and made them up as a kid and learnt them at university, including Greek and Hebrew, and I got a four year degree in linguistics. So issues of intepretation have also always intrigued me.

      In my reading, I realized that the seven day belief could be held apart from the age belief. So that puts me squarely in the camp of . . . . any view but a young earth. What’s the old expression? Is one pre-Trib, post-Trib, mid-Trib, or . . . pan-Trib? I’m pan-Trib—-I think it will all pan out in the end. Same with creation. It will all pan out.

      In the mean time, I’m impressed by, but not convinced to the point of espousing it, Ross Hughes old earth creation viewpoint (sort of a day age thing, I think). But I’m more convinced by either an analogical view or literary framework view of Genesis 1:1 to 2:4. But not convinced to the point of certainty or dismissing other views. I certainly see a lot of merit in the 24 hour day view (for at least days 4, 5, and 6). I’m not convinced that the days are immediately subsequent to each other. i could even go for the gap theory, though I wouldn’t base it on the interpretation of the words in the first verse (I’m not convinced that interpretation of the Hebrew is correct), but I could see the gap(s) coming anywhere from the start to the end of the passage (1:1 to 2:4).

      [cont.]

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      Jugulum: “So, exegesis is to the Bible as science is to the physical world.

      Use the grammatical-historical hermeneutic for sound exegesis.

      Be appropriately cautious of higher-criticism methodology when exegeting.

      Adam and Eve are factual persons.

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. (See Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy).

      Science is fallible human enterprise.

      In the beginning God…

    • Jugulum

      TUaD,

      Jugulum: “So, exegesis is to the Bible as science is to the physical world.

      Use the grammatical-historical hermeneutic for sound exegesis.

      Be appropriately cautious of higher-criticism methodology when exegeting.

      Adam and Eve are factual persons

      Uh… Was that a response/criticism to what I said? Or just a general comment on what constitutes good exegesis?

    • Jugulum

      Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. (See Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy).

      Science is fallible human enterprise.

      And exegesis is fallible human enterprise, and physical data is completely factual.

      Hence what I said to rayner.

    • Jugulum

      P.S. I’m not saying that the Bible and the physical data are perfect parallels. The Bible is fundamentally communication in language.

      Physical data is not quite communication in the same sense. (There are senses in which it is general revelation, and does communicate. But physical data is simply… physical facts.)

      And that may have relevant implication for dealing with conflicts between interpretation of the Bible and interpretation of physical data. But I think it’s important to keep in mind that it’s not “science vs the Bible”–it’s interpretation vs interpretation.

    • #John1453

      I am quite ardent, though, about an old age, particularly since I’m somewhere out in the Armninian fields, or an adjoining grassy area, but not in the Calvinist pasture. If I were a Calvinist, then the issue of the age of the earth will not affect the number of redeemed people, which has been preset by God. Being in the other field(s), I believe that the number of the redeemed has not been set, and that the issue of the age of the earth can be something that dissuades a person from being saved or from continuing in their salvation. I am, for example, currently talking with someone (unsaved) about Christ who would ditch the whole thing if he had to swallow a young earth. If I did not have an alternative to YEC, that fact would probably stop the conversation until he had some existential or other crisis that made it possible for him to ignore or look past the young earth issue. I have an alternative, so it’s not an issue in our conversations and we talk about other things.

      Regards,
      #John

    • cheryl u

      Thanks, #John. (I find myself still wanting to call you John C.T. Old habits die hard you know!)

      I guess I am curious as to where you put Adam and Eve in all of this, assuming you believe they were literal people. As I understand it, the age of the earth at 6000 years or so has been calculated from the geneaological records in the Bible as closely as possible from what is given us there.

      If we think mankind has been around a lot longer then that, it seems to me we are creating another whole set of problems with our understanding of the Bible. Then we have to say that the genological record is nowhere near accurate or that there were large groups of people left out of it or explain it in some other way. What is your take on that issue?

      As you can maybe guess, I have been exposed almost exclusively pretty much all of my life to Christians that believed YEC was the truth and anything else was very much frowned upon.

      And from the looks of the poll results, there are a lot of others that still hold to this view.

    • #John1453

      I don’t mind what people call me on this blog . . . as long as it’s not late for dinner (yes, lame humour, but my free will failed me). typing John C.T. in replies is fine as there is not another one on this blog (yet), and it won’t affect my bank balance (once upon a time another similarly named John made a withdrawal at my bank, but the bank took it out of my account instead of his).

      I do think that he was an actual physical human and that he passed on his genetic material.

      I think Adam was created long after the earth. I’m fine with any long period of time located anytime prior to Adam’s creation.

      As for the amount of time from Adam till now, I’m flexible. All Bible interpreters acknowledge that the list of descendents of Adam contains gaps (the whole beget thing refers also to great grandfathers, etc., not just immediate fathers). So one can pile up a great number of years in the gaps.

      What I haven’t thought a lot about is the presence of cave paintings and bones and tools that date to 10,000 or more years ago. H. Ross has a solution that accounts for it. On the other hand, errors in dating in more recent things can make a significant difference: is the cave painting from 7,000 or 17,000 years ago is only 10,000 years but of big significance, whereas, is the earth 8.6 or 6.6 billion years old is a 2 billion year difference but not significant in relation to YEC as either is outside of YEC time.

      BTW, the thing I don’t find convincing about Ross’s work is the matching of a specific creation day to a particular period in the earth’s history. I personally find what he does too much of a stretch and that the literary approach seems more sensible. But then, I am more familiar with language and literature.

      Perhaps if CMP is looking for a new post to start, and is short on topics, he could have someone guest-write on the issue of light and the age of the earth. It’s fine for me to say that YEC has no biblical or scientific answer to that fact, but most people are not convinced until they’ve had a chance to express their views and wrestle with the topic (and I don’t expect people to be convinced simply on my say-so).

      Regards,
      #John

    • Richard

      Well, we’ve seen dogmatic statements that the earth is billions of years old, but no evidence or reason for the belief has been provided. The most typical answer boils down to “that’s the current consensus view of science and I don’t think it’s likely for the majority of scientists to all be wrong about that.” However, the consensus view of science has often been completely wrong … consider, for example, the completely ridiculous idea that “invisible germs” might be causing surgery patients to die, and that we should sterilize scalpels prior to use. The scientific view was certain that this was impossible, and chose to ignore the evidence presented.

      So it’s wise to at least allow the possibility that the supposed proof of an old earth is actually a flawed interpretation. There is a growing volume of data that suggests precisely this. As an example, Dr. Terry Mortenson (http://www.answersingenesis.org/events/bio.aspx?Speaker_ID=20) has a PhD in the History of Geology and is an expert in what happened when the young earth view (which had been the consensus) was replaced with an old earth view. Anyone who would like to learn about this could begin here: http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2004/0828turning_point.asp

      Regarding what conclusions science has actually reached, there is a great deal of evidence that the earth is young. Interested parties could take a look here for starters:

      http://www.answersingenesis.org/get-answers#/topic/age-of-the-earth
      http://creation.com/answers
      http://www.icr.org/evidence/

      Christians are called to compare everything with scripture and to be wise. We have an obligation to carefully consider teachings that we receive.

      I really appreciate this discussion. One very important theological question that has been brought up earlier, but not addressed: Is physical death the result of sin?

    • Steve Bartholomew

      To John 1453 …
      If you haven’t already, I encourage you to read my previous comment (#89). It appears that you are a Christian, but you, like so many other Christians, do not grasp the fact that the theory of evolution is an attempt to explain how the world came into being apart from God. In its pure form – the form that is taught to every youngster in evey public school in the US – it is entirely atheistic.

      Furthermore, every theory that accepts the “ancient” age for the earth lends support to evolutionary theory. Contrary to what you have suggested, there is a great deal of evidence for a “young” earth (6-10,000 years old), as well as plenty more evidence that the ancient age REQUIRED by the TOE is a complete myth. Despite your apparent wisdom, it certainly appears that you have not read much creationist literature.

      I say this in Christian love, but your derogatory remarks about Young Earth Creationists is very hurtful to the spread of the truth about God’s Word. Although, as I said, I believe that you are a Christian, you are guilty of the condemnation in Romans 1:22: Professing to be wise, they became fools.

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      Jugulum: “Uh… Was that a response/criticism to what I said? Or just a general comment on what constitutes good exegesis?”

      Just a general comment.

      On another note, I have run across some “higher-criticism” folks and some “theistic evolution” folks who don’t affirm a historically factual Adam and Eve in the beginning chapters of Genesis.

      In this particular regard I think they are false teachers.

    • rayner markley

      Thanks, Jugulum, for straightening out the parallels.
      Both scripture and physical data require interpretation. Physical evidence is rather close to us; we are physical beings and are intimately familiar with the physical world. This helps us to interpret on a physical level. On the other hand, divine revelation comes from elsewhere. Interpretations of Genesis seem to fail to make sense on the physical level because they assume that God is revealing His own knowledge of the origins. We need only to acknowledge that the Genesis details are based on local belief, and the tension between science and scripture evaporates into a non-issue.

      So, old and young exist side by side. In physical terms, we see multiple evidence for the old. Folks in scripture times though, unable to look at that evidence, leaned to a young understanding of origins. Somehow, the young view is much more intimate: Imagine—the world is only a few thousand years old—you can almost reach out and touch it—you can feel the ages advance right up to ourselves, and soon the age will be complete and it will be all over and we will be with God where we belong. Compare this flight of fancy with the impersonal billions of years and incomprehensible billions of miles in our universe and the distant God of it all. There is a considerable appeal for the young, aside from its truth value.

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      John CT1453: “I believe that it is not responsible for Christians to believe in or to teach YEC because the Bible does not explicitly and conclusively address the age of the earth.”

      Steve Bartholomew: “I say this in Christian love, but your derogatory remarks about Young Earth Creationists is very hurtful to the spread of the truth about God’s Word. Although, as I said, I believe that you are a Christian, you are guilty of the condemnation in Romans 1:22: Professing to be wise, they became fools.”

      CMP: “I believe that one can be a legitimate Christian and hold to any one of these views. … Being overly dogmatic about these issues expresses, in my opinion, more ignorance than knowledge. Each position has many apparent difficulties and many virtues.

      This is an issue that normally should not fracture Christian fellowship.”

      Hmmmm, how’s ’bout everybody join hands together and sing “In His Time”?

      😉

      P.S. I have real heartburn with neo-Darwinian macro-evolution. Professing Christians who profess neo-Darwinism make me wince.

    • cheryl u

      rayner,

      “Interpretations of Genesis seem to fail to make sense on the physical level because they assume that God is revealing His own knowledge of the origins. We need only to acknowledge that the Genesis details are based on local belief, and the tension between science and scripture evaporates into a non-issue.”

      Is this part of Scripture not inspired by God then? If you believe it was inspired, you are saying that the local beliefs were false–they didn’t have the facts–but God stated them in that way anyway? If you believe that all Scripture is inspired by God (II Timothy 3:16), then you seem to be saying that God told something that was an outright lie here so the local people could understand Him.

      If I have misunderstood something that you are saying here, please let me know. But I can not understand your statements in any other way.

    • #John1453

      re Steve Bartholomew. So far I’ve said nothing about evolution, however, to respond to your concern I will indicate that I personally do not believe in evolution. I don’t think that there is sufficient science to support it, and being a believer in the nonmaterial (God, etc.) I have access to explanations that materialist scientists do not. Materialist scientists are stuck with evolution, because they lack any other potential materialist explanation. (as an aside, please note that evolution and old age earth do not automatically go together).

      In regard to YEC, I have indicated that I sympathize with those that believe in it because of where they start from (e.g., only option taught to them, etc.), and I was in that place at one time too. However, once one undertakes any rational investigation of its claims, one finds that there is zero science supporting YEC.

      Regards,
      #John

    • Richard

      John wrote:

      “In regard to YEC, I have indicated that I sympathize with those that believe in it because of where they start from (e.g., only option taught to them, etc.), and I was in that place at one time too. However, once one undertakes any rational investigation of its claims, one finds that there is zero science supporting YEC.”

      While you may believe this, it is not a true statement. As an example, I was an atheist until an upper division college student; studied science and math and became a Christian as an adult. Furthermore, after considerable study I came to believe in the YEC position. There are many, many others with similar stories. I know many PhD scientists that were old earth evolutionists until adults and are now Christians and YEC.

      Richard

    • cheryl u

      OK,

      We have one person here stating there is absolutely zero science supporting YEC. We have another person stating that there is. Now obviously, they can not both be right!

      A person like myself that is not a geologist, physicist, or astronomer has to rely on the research of others to make a decision–or else just let the Bible speak for itself in the way that seems to be the best exegesis of the text.

      We have those that believe in an old earth saying that “science” that says the earth is young is clearly false. On the other hand, we have scientists that believe in a young earth say that they interpret the same evidence in a completely different way and the the old earth folks are completely wrong! So how is the layperson to know what to believe? Sounds to me like a “he said, she said” situation. There is no way that we can be expected to fully understand all of the implications here of what is correct and what is not correct.

    • Greg

      Steve Bartholomew,

      Re: Post #89 & 108.

      I think you misunderstand the scope of the theory of evolution. It has nothing to do with the origin of the world, only the origin of species.

      I’m sorry to point this out, but this is a great reason why many Christians oppose evolution. They don’t understand it at all. Their opposition is based off of ignorance. If you think it has anything to do with the world coming into existence, then you just don’t understand it.

      Your comment about it being “entirely atheistic” is not accurate and implies a misunderstanding of science in general. All science, even the kind you accept and benefit from, operates under the principle of methodological naturalism. It does not assume that nature is all there is; it merely notes that nature is the only objective standard we have. Supernaturalism is not ruled out a priori; it is left out because it has never been reliably observed.

      Science does not include anything that leaves no evidence that might be tested. Hypotheses that can be asserted but never supported are not part of science. However, these untestable phenomena are only removed from scientific consideration; they are not ruled out from life entirely. People are free to accept or reject them as they please, and science has absolutely nothing to say on the subject. Science not only rules out the acceptance of divine influence; it also rules out the rejection of divine influence.

      Evolution is not alone in its naturalism. All science, all engineering, all manufacturing, and most other human endeavors are equally naturalistic. If we must discard evolution because of this philosophy, then we must also discard navigation, meteorology, farming, architecture, printing, law, and virtually all other subjects for the same reason.

      Steve, I would love to see you be consistent in your rejection of ALL “atheistic” science. Until that occurs, I just can’t take your objections seriously simply because you don’t.

      “Contrary to what you have suggested, there is a great deal of evidence for a “young” earth (6-10,000 years old), as well as plenty more evidence that the ancient age REQUIRED by the TOE is a complete myth. Despite your apparent wisdom, it certainly appears that you have not read much creationist literature.”

      Steve, be cautious quoting Romans. It’s not looking too good in your corner, to be honest.

      What is this evidence for a young earth? Can you show me? Can you demonstrate it? And what of the “myth” of an old earth? Can you give me scientific, peer reviewed evidence that isn’t influenced by a reading of Genesis?

      I’d be interested in seeing your top three evidences for a young earth. But before you give them, look them up here: http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/

      I’ve they are answered there, I wouldn’t bother posting them. You still can, but it probably wouldn’t last very long as a legitimate piece of evidence.

      In my reply to Richard I’ll post some evidence that suggests an old earth.

    • Greg

      Richard, Re: Post #90

      “Have you read (for example) the RATE project technical reports?”

      Unfortunately the RATE project produced nothing of value for YEC. You can read an evaluation of it here: http://www.asa3.org/ASA/education/origins/rate-ri.htm

      T-Rex here: http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CC/CC371_1.html

      “Since you mentioned “proof”, what proof of a 4.5 billion year old earth can you present?”

      Here is some: http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CH/CH210.html
      1. Radiometric dating shows the earth to be 4.5 billion years old. (http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CD/CD010.html)

      2. If the earth is old, then radioactive isotopes with short half-lives should have all decayed already. That is what we find. Isotopes with half-lives longer than eighty million years are found on earth; isotopes with shorter half-lives are not, the only exceptions being those that are generated by current natural processes.

      3. Varves are annual sediment layers that occur in large lakes. They are straightforward to measure, cover millions of years, and correlate well with other dating mechanisms.

      In seasonal areas, sedimentation rates vary across the year, so sediments often show annual layers distinguished by texture and/or composition. We can be confident that the layers are seasonal because we see the same sorts of layers occurring today. Even if they were not seasonal, the fineness of the sediments is often such that each layer would require several days, at least, to form. Some formations have millions of layers, such as the varve record from Lake Baikal with five million annual layers, and the 20,000,000 layers in the Green River formation. They must have taken hundreds of thousands of years to form at the very least.

      Dates obtained by counting annual layers of varves match dates obtained from radiometric dating. One varve formation, covering 45,000 years, was used to calibrate carbon-14 dating using terrestrially produced leaves, twigs, and insect parts that also appeared in the sediments. The varves were easy to count because they included an annual diatom bloom.

      Varves record climate changes, too, since climate affects the amount of sediments. Climate is affected by orbital cycles known to occur at about 400,000, 600,000, and million-year periods (the so-called Milankovitch cycles). Climate cycles of these durations occur in the varve records. For example, Lake Baikal contains annual layers from twelve million years ago to the present. These sediments contain periodic changes matching the orbital cycles.

      4. The abundance and distribution of helium changes predictably as the sun ages, converting hydrogen to helium in its core. These parameters also affect how sound waves move through the sun. Thus one may estimate the sun’s age from seismic solar data. Such an analysis puts the age of the sun at 4.66 billion years, plus or minus about 4 percent.

      Richard, based on suggestions I gave Steve, can you give me evidence for YEC?

    • Richard

      Cheryl, you have a good point. That is the dilemma that we get in if we base our beliefs only on what others say. Then we have to decide who we are going to consider an authority.

      BTW, an earlier post of mine from a couple of hours ago is still being moderated, but once visible you’ll see that I provided several links that anyone interested can follow to begin thinking for themselves.

      My post 90 above mentions the non-fossilized T-rex bones that have been found. This is solid physical evidence that these bones are not 67 million years old as believed. Notice that I’ve asked for evidence showing the earth is billions of years old and so far none has been provided.

      Since my earlier post is not visible, I’ll repeat one item. Is physical death the result of sin? Scripture clearly says yes (in old and new testament). All old earth scenarios say no, physical death has always accompanied life.

      Richard

    • Greg

      Richard,

      Look above please. 🙂

      About physical death and sin…I’m not sure about that.

      A close reading of Genesis, Romans, and Revelation raises a few questions.

      1. Sin coming into the world brought about spiritual death, not necessarily physical death. Either that or the serpent was right (Genesis 3:4) and God was wrong about them dying on that day (Genesis 2:17). Clearly Adam and Eve did not physically die the day they ate of the fruit (Genesis 5:5). Unless of course a day doesn’t mean a day…. 😛

      2. Further, the option for them to live forever was still open to them, as long as they had access to the Tree of Life (Genesis 3:22). This was something God Himself admitted.

      3. Even if Paul is referring to physical death, then he’s only doing so in regards to humans bearing the divine image at the most. He never makes a clear pronouncement on non-human death (Romans 5:12) prior to the fall.

      4. There is reasonable evidence in the Bible that immortality was conditional upon the person having access to the Tree of Life. We see this plainly in #2 above, and in Revelation, where the Tree of Life reappears and is granted to the one who conquers (Revelation 2:7) and used for the healing of the nations (Revelation 22:2) and taken away from any who alter John’s Revelation (Revelation 22:19).

      Richard, can you show me where scripture clearly says yes to your question?

    • Richard

      Greg re: post 118

      Regarding the RATE project. I’ve read the reports and seen conference presentations. I have both technical volumes in my office. I’ve also read the ASA analysis you referenced as well as a response that undermines those conclusions:

      http://creation.com/helium-evidence-for-a-young-world-continues-to-confound-critics

      Are you putting your faith into the ASA report or have you studied the subject yourself? Most are so convinced they already know the answer that they don’t really think about it.

      Regarding the T-Rex bones. The talkorigins doc you referenced is typical in stating that the bones are indeed millions of years old because “This formation has been reliably dated by several independent methods”. So I assume that you believe that is sufficient. However, I do not, as many times a formation has been “reliably dated by several independent methods” only to have its age redetermined later to be very different. To the unbiased, this should cause a bit of doubt in just how guaranteed these determinations are…

      BTW, in your reply to Steve you essentially said that if talkorigins says it, then it must be true. Sorry, but I don’t have faith in that source of truth.

      —-

      Greg also wrote :”I think you misunderstand the scope of the theory of evolution. It has nothing to do with the origin of the world, only the origin of species.” This is incorrect. To correct it one would need to restrict it to Darwinian (or neo-Darwinian) evolution. The terms “stellar evolution”, “cosmic evolution”, and “chemical evolution” (for origin of life) are in common use within the scientific community.

      Perhaps you are not familiar with the words of Theodosius Dobzhansky, “Changing Man,” Science, Vol. 155 (1/27/67), P. 409:

      “Evolution comprises all the stages of the development of the universe: the cosmic, biological, and human or cultural developments. … Life is a product of the evolution of inorganic nature, and man is a product of the evolution of life.”

    • Richard

      I appreciate Greg’s comments regarding physical and spiritual death. Here’s an excerpt from the book “Refuting Compromise” which provides some biblical arguments addressing the idea that ‘spiritual’ and not ‘physical’ death is the penalty for sin:

      ** Adam’s sin just brought spiritual death?

      [Hugh] Ross … claiming that the death referred to was ‘spiritual death’, not physical (Creation and Time pp. 60–61):

      —start Ross quote

      ‘“Death through sin” is not equivalent to physical death. Romans 5:12 addresses neither physical nor soulish death. It addresses spiritual death. … He died spiritually. He broke his harmonious fellowship with God and introduced the inclination to place one’s way above God’s.

      ‘In the same manner, it has been established that 1 Corinthians 15:21 (“since death came through a man”) also must refer to spiritual death rather than to physical death. As the following two verses explain, “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then when he comes, those who belong to him” (verses 22–23).’

      —end Ross quote

      But this is amazing, since the whole of 1 Corinthians 15 is about the bodily (physical) Resurrection of Christ, who was physically dead. In fact, Ross, in the quote above, neglected to quote the second half of 1 Corinthians 15:21. This makes it very clear that the death Adam brought was contrasted with the bodily Resurrection brought by the Last Adam, ‘For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.’ If Adam died only spiritually, then, logically, Jesus must only have needed to rise spiritually. This goes against the whole tenor of Paul’s chapter, and a non-bodily resurrection would have been nonsense to Jews.

      ** The actual Curse

      Even Genesis itself shows that Adam’s punishment could not just have been spiritual death. In Genesis 3:19, God pronounces judgment on Adam:

      ‘In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.’

      Returning to the dust can mean only physical death, and there would be no point to this punishment unless there was no physical death before. Otherwise, Adam could have said,

      ‘So what? That was gonna happen to me, anyway!’

      Actually, in one sense, the Curse of physical death has a benefit to man, in that it prevents an even worse evil: living forever in a state of sin. And it provides the means of redemption, via the physical death of the God-man Jesus Christ on the Cross.

      Richard

    • Greg

      Richard,

      “The terms “stellar evolution”, “cosmic evolution”, and “chemical evolution” (for origin of life) are in common use within the scientific community.”

      Sure they are, but is that what you meant? In a debate that hadn’t brought those terms into discussion, only biological evolution, if that’s what you meant it would have been helpful had you expanded upon it.

      If you want a further write up on T-Rex, here: http://www.talkreason.org/articles/DinoBlood.cfm

      The ASA paper makes this claim: “In this book, the authors admit that a young-earth position cannot be reconciled with the scientific data without assuming that exotic solutions will be discovered in the future. No known thermodynamic process could account for the required rate of heat removal nor is there any known way to protect organisms from radiation damage. The young-earth advocate is therefore left with two positions. Either God created the earth with the appearance of age (thought by many to be inconsistent with the character of God) or else there are radical scientific laws yet to be discovered that would revolutionize science in the future. The authors acknowledge that no current scientific understanding is consistent with a young earth. Yet they are so confident that these problems will be resolved that they encourage a message that the reliability of the Bible has been confirmed.”

      Since you have the books in question, was this claim true? Can the YEC position be reconciled with the scientific data? If so, how?

      Further, about helium, the ASA paper had this to say: “The authors argue that by extrapolating data on the rate of helium diffusion in minerals, the high concentration of helium in zircons can only be explained by a young earth. However, the data presented were taken in conditions of laboratory vacuum and actual diffusion rates in field conditions are known to be considerably lower, by as much as a factor of one thousand or more. The RATE researchers claim to have meticulously accounted for all crystallographic features. However, the diffusion rate of noble gases in minerals is so complex both theoretically and experimentally that helium concentrations are not considered by geochronologists to be reliable for any dating implications.”

      What is your comment on that?

      You hold your particular interpretation of the Bible in high regard, which is why you are a YEC. But because you have a prior commitment to something, I simply cannot trust your assessment (but I can understand your very quick rejection) of any science that does not directly affirm your prior commitments. I have a very hard time believing that YEC can honestly assess the scientific data for an old earth, or evolution, or anything contrary to their deeply held tradition because they aren’t committed to learning, only an interpretation.

      I even question the validity of that interpretation in previous posts (#3 & #68).

    • Greg

      Richard,

      Are there any areas of scripture that indicate immortality was present in humanity prior to the fall and independent of their access to the Tree of Life? If they already possessed immortality, why was the tree even there?

      What about reason #1 that I gave above? When did they die? That day, when God said they would, or not, which the serpent said?

      The curse, which you bring up, didn’t take effect until they were banished from the Garden. Which means they were barred access to the Tree of Life, and thus immortality.

      Context supports this understanding anyways. The dust to dust curse wouldn’t occur if they still had access to the Tree of Life, as even God admits.

    • Steve Bartholomew

      John re: # 114 … You suggest that the primary reason people believe in YEC is that it is “the only option taught to them …” As well as being completely untrue, it is also very condescending. Richard’s rebuttal to your claim (# 115) is excellent. I, too, was a devout believer in the TOE before my eyes were opened to the Truth about God’s creation 30 years ago (the ONLY theory of origins that I was taught growing up, by the way, was the TOE).

      Re: Greg’s comment (# 117) … “I think you misunderstand the scope of the TOE. It has nothing to do with the origin of the world, only with the origin of species.” Once again, Richard is ready with an excellent rebuttal, which includes the fact that “the terms ‘stellar evolution,’ ‘cosmic evolution,’ and ‘chemical evolution’ are in common use in the scientific community” (nice job, Richard!).

      Greg makes it clear that the foundation of the TOE is NATURALISM (i.e. random NATURAL events) which, by definition, excludes SUPERNATURALISM (i.e. God). It is perfectly obvious that true believers in the TOE – like Greg – believe that naturalism is the foundation for the development/evolution of the ENTIRE UNIVERSE, not just life, as Greg argues. The idea that the TOE applies only to the development of life implies that the development of the world prior to this point may not have been driven entirely by naturalism, implying still further that God, or a Creator, may have been involved in the process. Be honest, Greg, do you believe this … that God orchestrated the evolution of the world up until the origin of life, at which point naturalism took over?

      To ALL … this is a fascinating blog, eh?

    • #John1453

      YEC’s have NO method for dating the earth. They have no dating method that provides a recent date for the age of the earth, and thus NO science in SUPPORT of young earth. I emphasized the word “support” to ensure that readers note the distinction between support of one’s position and critique of other positions. All YEC’s have in relation to dating, at most, are critiques of various methods of dating the earth.

      YEC’s take as a given that the Bible indicates a recent age for the earth (it does not, but that has been addressed above), and then try to throw water on dating methods that show an ancient earth. Aside from the fact that their critiques continue to be shown faulty, all a critique can do at most is to prove that we have no scientific method for dating the earth (i.e., if all scientific methods fail, then there is no valid method, and hence not date).

      Even looking at Richard’s post, he provides as “evidence” a T-Rex fossil that has some tissue that is not fully converted into stone. He claims that this proves that the dinosaur is not millions of years old. Aside from the fact that Mary Schweitzer still believes the dinosaur is millions of years old, note that Richard is relying on western science. He takes as scientifically true that bones turn into stone fossils at a certain rate that takes millions of years, and then points to a fossil that is not completely stone and declares that it can’t be millions of years old or it would be fully stone. In for a penny, in for a pound—-if you accept the science of bone to stone fossil creation you can’t back out when that same science gives you a date of millions of years or when that same science provides an explanation for why some tissue does not fully turn to stone.

      Even the RATE project itself acknowledges that its interpretation of the data in favour of a young earth works ONLY IF major assumptions are made, and that its interpretation raises very significant problems that the RATE project writers acknowledge have not been solved. For example, their interpretation of the data only works if one ASSUMES (i.e., not proven) that radioactivity in the time of Noah was a million times greater than today. How could Noah survive the radiation? The RATE project does not know, and does not even have a speculation, but remains “confident” that the issue “will be” solved. That’s their science? Coming up with a solution that creates more and greater problems than it solves?

      What many people do not realize is that there are numerous methods of dating, not just a few. But even if they could successfully cast doubt on all the multiple radiometric dating methods, there is no scientific answer to the layers of sedimentary rock or to light from stars.

      [cont.]

    • #John1453

      The YEC postion is rife with holes and assumptions from beginning to end, and the YEC’s admit it. But the YEC answer in each case is to say that they are confident they will find a solution. Why are they confident? Because they believe the Biblical text gives them no way out, that the earth has to be young and that therefore the science will eventually turn out to support that allegedly God given age. YEC is a precommitted ideological belief in a young age in search of a science to support it. The relatively few scientists involved in YEC are backed into a corner by their committed belief in a young earth. So when the science does not support their belief, they spout “we’re confident the evidence will be found”. YEC’s have been forced over the decades to abandon pseudo-scientific belief after pseudo-scientific belief because science incontrovertably demolished those beliefs. Many of their former treasured “proofs” have not only been shown to be wrong, but shown to be foolish and fanciful. The more we learn each year, the more former “proofs” YEC relinquishes, and the greater the confirmation of ancient age.

      Again I ask, “why?”, “why stick with a young earth belief?” The Bible does not provide any indication as to the date of the earth. Sure, if one makes certain initial interpretations, then one can arrive at a final interpretation that is consistent with a particular age; different initial interpretations will lead to a different interpretation that is consistent with a different age. For example, though the Hebrew word “yom” has a range of meanings, if one interprets all yoms in Genesis one to be 24 hour periods, and if one assumes that the first three days (with no solar day) had a period of light and dark that was 24 hours long, and if one assumes that each day followed the next without a gap, and if one assumes that there was no gap between initial creation and the first day, then one arrives at an interpretation of the first week lasting 168 hours.

      Of course, one may have some good reasons for making these initial interpretations, I’m not denying there could be some support for the interpretations. I’m just pointing out that the Biblical text is consistent with more than one set of interpretations and so consistent with more than one age of the earth.

      The initial interpretations / assumptions of the YEC are not demanded by the text. The text is open to other interpretations. Other interpretations also have solid reasons supporting them.

      Death knell for YEC: light (actually, all forms of radiation) from stars.

      Regards,
      #John

    • rayner markley

      Cheryl,
      All scripture is inspired but not everything in it is God’s knowledge. I do not characterize Genesis as a lie: it is an accurate statement of local beliefs. The tension comes when young earthers consider Genesis as scientific knowledge–contrary to what they may claim, by the way. I have no problem with people understanding Genesis at face value and learning the beliefs that God used in guiding ancient believers and indeed many believers up to the present. We simply need to separate science from theology. The history of the universe and life on earth are questions for the former to answer, not the latter. Theology deals with how God uses those answers in spiritual applications.

      I would like to point out re Richard and Greg’s debate that Genesis nowhere speaks of spiritual death. Only one death is indicated throughout the book, as far as I can see, and that is physical. The notion of God referring to spiritual and the serpent to physical in Genesis 3 seems to be an interpretation devised so that both can be telling the truth. As it turned out, neither had been entirely up front about the consequences of disobedience. God had not warned of the other curses, for example. Besides, if God were talking about spiritual death, why did physical death and physical curses result from it at all?

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      If I had to choose between only these 2 options:

      (A) Neo-Darwinian macro-evolution with abiogenesis as is frequently taught in public school biology textbooks

      or….

      (B) Young-Earth Creationism

      and I had to pick one, and I couldn’t say neither, then…

      I’d pick Young-Earth Creationism.

      Easy pick. Not even close.

    • #John1453

      CMP has oddly, and unnecessarily, conflated the issues of old age/ young age, evolution/creation, and the interpretation of the language of Genesis 1. Among other things, this has resulted in his categorization failing to include some interpretive solutions respecting old age, and likewise failing to include options dealing with evolution and creation. Moreover, his categorization has created a linkage between age of the earth and evolution/creation that is not necessary except in the case of YEC (which does not allow any time whatsoever for evolution). Similarly, a particular choice regarding the interpretation of Genesis does not necessarily force one into a particular view of either the age of the earth or evolution. For example, one can believe that the Genesis should be interpreted by way of literary framework or analogical days and still believe in a recent earth.

      The conflation of the issues has led to comments that respond to some of the old/young age discussion as if evolution were linked to it, which is not the case. Most recently, there is the dichotomy presented by TUaD between Neo-Darwinian evolution and YEC. If one were to set up a binary choice, then the more appropriate opposition is between Darwinian evolution and special creation by God of species and humans. Those who believe in an old earth do not necessarily reject special creation nor do they necessarily accept materialist evolutionary theories.

      In addition, the opposition between special creation and Darwinian evolution fails to capture the range and nuances of the various theories. For example, some Christians believe that God built into his creation a seed-like design such that the unfolding and developing of the universe is inherent in the original creation event. Much like an acorn looks nothing like an oak tree but inevitably develops into a full tree, so the original big bang looks nothing like a universe with a planet earth with life but the development of the earth and life was inevitable given the design of the bang.

      Or one can have theories of evolution where God directs the process, and directly intervenes from time to time (merely using the term “theistic evolution” fails to capture the fact that there are a number of quite different theories that have God using some variety of evolution).

      Returning to TUaD’s post, like him I am unconvinced by Darwinian evolution (of any variety), but unlike him I don’t find that thrusts me into the arms of YEC. The rejection of evolution does not require the rejection of an old earth. There are several varieties of special creation that I could accept, and none of them would require me to choose between an old and young earth.

      Regards,
      #John

    • Lisa Robinson

      Rayner, you don’t consider the fact that the eyes of Adam and Eve were open, they were ashamed and they hid from God a sign of spiritual death?

    • Greg

      Steve,

      Re: #125

      “Once again, Richard is ready with an excellent rebuttal, which includes the fact that “the terms ’stellar evolution,’ ‘cosmic evolution,’ and ‘chemical evolution’ are in common use in the scientific community” (nice job, Richard!).”

      Actually, no. He misspoke the first time and I pointed it out, then he replied that he meant his inflated definition all along, even though there had been no mention of it in the blog prior to his response to me. Only biological evolution had been brought up, so it was very natural and obvious to read his comments in that light.

      “Greg makes it clear that the foundation of the TOE is NATURALISM (i.e. random NATURAL events) which, by definition, excludes SUPERNATURALISM (i.e. God). It is perfectly obvious that true believers in the TOE – like Greg – believe that naturalism is the foundation for the development/evolution of the ENTIRE UNIVERSE, not just life, as Greg argues.”

      Please don’t put words in my mouth, I didn’t say any of that. I pointed out that ALL science is based off of methodological naturalism, not just the kind you do not like.

      Please read up on it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methodological_naturalism#Methodological_and_metaphysical_naturalism

      You’re entire post is completely inaccurate and ignores all that I said in my first response to you. Please go back and carefully read it and at least try to understand what was being said and not what you just want to hear.

      And I believe I had a question for you: Since all science is based off of methodological naturalism, which you seem to have a problem with, why don’t you reject all of it? You are inconsistent if you don’t. Most YEC are, both in the science they reject and accept, and in their interpretation of the Bible.

      “Be honest, Greg, do you believe this … that God orchestrated the evolution of the world up until the origin of life, at which point naturalism took over?”

      I’m not even sure your statement makes sense. I believe in the sovereignty of my God. Whether He chose to guide evolution at every point from the beginning to now, or whether He carefully designed the laws of the universe to get us here according to His will, I don’t know.

      By the way, I also asked you for evidence of a young earth. Can you provide some? I’m not the only one to have asked this question of YEC either.

    • Greg

      Rayner,

      Re: #128

      “I would like to point out re Richard and Greg’s debate that Genesis nowhere speaks of spiritual death. Only one death is indicated throughout the book, as far as I can see, and that is physical. The notion of God referring to spiritual and the serpent to physical in Genesis 3 seems to be an interpretation devised so that both can be telling the truth. As it turned out, neither had been entirely up front about the consequences of disobedience. God had not warned of the other curses, for example. Besides, if God were talking about spiritual death, why did physical death and physical curses result from it at all?”

      How come the Bible tells me that, prior to my regeneration through Christ, I was dead? Certainly my body was alive. Now either I was physically dead, or I was alive, according to you. Which is it?

      I say I was spiritually dead, which seems rather consistent with the whole of scripture.

      Physical death resulted because humanity was barred access to the Tree of Life. Even God makes that known! Could you respond to what I had written in posts #120 and 124?

    • #John1453

      Here is some wisdom from Saint Augustine, one of the most well respected scholars and teachers in the history of Christianity, from something he wrote about 1,600 years ago:

      “Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking non-sense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of the faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although ‘they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.'”

      (Augustine, “The Literal Meaning of Genesis”, vol. 1, ch.19, in “St. Augustine, Vol. 1: The Literal Meaning of Genesis”, series: Ancient Christian Writers, by John Hammond Taylor (Editor) Newman Press (January 1, 1982)). One can take a look at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0809103265?tag=savedbygracemini&link_code=as3&creativeASIN=0809103265&creative=373489&camp=211189

      One need only do brief web surfing to find comment after comment by nonChristians, both scholarly and not, who mock YEC and also Christianity because of the YEC pseudoscient.

      Regards
      #John

    • Dave Z

      Well, everyone is probably headed over to the new thread now, but I just gotta say that while there has been much well thought out discussion, conducted (mostly) with admirable respect, I think that both #John1453C.T. and Greg have produced very compelling support for their positions.

      I’m also surprised by the survey. I’d have expected the two Theistic Evolution options to be swapped and the Gap Theory to have come in higher. And I would not have predicted the dominance of YEC.

    • #John1453

      It is as if YEC’s had a plot of ground that they were mining for gold, surrounded by the other gold mines of Atheists and OEC’s (old earth). Every time the YEC’s find a shiny gold tinted rock they run off to the town assayer yelling “eureka”, only to be told that they only found iron pyrites. The other mines also bring their ore to the town assayer, who informs them that some of it is iron pyrites, and some is actually gold. The YEC’s declare, “that can’t be gold, God told us there is no gold in those mines”. So they hike off to the assayer and start disputing with him about the tools and machinery and chemicals he is using, etc. Time and again the assayer, and the other miners, point out where the YEC’s have gone wrong. “Well!”, respond the YEC’s, “Gold told us there is only gold in our mine”. So they trudge back to their mine and keep digging. The hole they are digging for themselves keeps getting deeper, but the assayer keeps sending them back after finding, yet again, that they have only dug up iron pyrites. Eventually, the townspeople gather on the hills of slag around the YEC mine to watch the entertaining digging by the YEC’s, make jokes to each other about it, and wonder to each other if the YEC’s even know the difference between real gold and fool’s gold.

      As an example of the sort of thing that Augustine wrote about, I quote two items I quickly found on the web:

      From the bibleandscience.com website: “In 1857 Phillip Gosse wrote Omphalos which means “belly button” in Greek. This was at the time when geologists were saying the earth is very old. He believed that God created the earth to look old. . . . Some believe that God created all these fossil bones of animals that never really lived in order to test our faith in God. Some believe that scientists are putting these fossil bones together wrong and create monster dinosaurs that never really existed. Others say that Satan created these fossils in order to deceive us. Are the fossils we find in the ground from real animals or are they fake created by God to test us? . . .” (the B&S site is an OEC site, but they note that some Christians have believed such things).

      A post by justanotheratheist at richarddawkins.net regarding the recent discovery of a giant toad fossil: “Mmm..I wonder on which of the six days god thought up this beauty. Oh no, wait. He didn’t. He just put the fossil there to test our faith, like a gadzillion other fossils. Yes, that’s it. Just in case T Rex etc etc etc wasn’t enough to lead us astray from the path of creationism, let’s slip in a jumbo sized hopper as well. He sure does have a pesky sense of humour, this god fellow. Or there again, perhaps he had [nothing] to do with it?”

      The foolishness of God that we are to die for is the foolishness of the gospel of Christ, not the foolishness of stupidity.

      Regards,
      #John
      Regards,
      #John

    • EricW

      While some YECs think that God created fossils to test the faith of Christians, I think God created YECism to try the patience of OECs. 😀

    • Greg

      Steve and Richard,

      Steve said this:
      “A critical point that is very often completely missed in this debate is that THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION IS AN ATTEMPT TO EXPLAIN HOW THE WORLD CAME INTO BEING APART FROM A CREATOR (i.e. God).”

      And I replied that the theory of evolution has nothing to say about the origin of the earth, only the origin of species. (And I’ve pointed out to Steve that all science is an attempt to explain phenomena apart from a creator, not just evolution or anything else he doesn’t like.)

      Richard, you disagreed and returned with a quote that supposedly said otherwise.

      In my reply to Steve in post #132 I mistakenly attributed Steve’s original comment to you, which I apologize for.

      But, my reply to Steve in post #117 still stands and is very valid even though you (Richard) tried to reinterpret and correct Steve’s obvious blunder. It is very clear from Steve that he was referring to the theory of evolution in regards to biology, not anything else.

      And my reply to you, Richard, is also valid because there had been no previous mention in this blog of the expanded definition of evolution which you countered with.

    • Steve Bartholomew

      Re: Greg # 132 … Your rebuttal of my comments, Greg, are based upon the distinction between “Naturalism” and “Methodological Naturalism.” Here are definitions of these two terms:

      Naturalism [from now on, N]: A philosophical position that all phenomena can be explained in terms of natural causes and laws. In its broadest and strongest sense, naturalism is the metaphysical position that “nature is all there is, and all basic truths are truths of nature.”

      Methodological Naturalism [MN]: MN is concerned with acquiring knowledge … It requires that hypotheses be explained and tested by reference to natural events. Explanations of observable effects are to be considered to be practical and useful only when they hypothesize natural causes (i.e., specific mechanisms, not indeterminate miracles).

      You stated, Greg, that with MN, “Supernaturalism is not ruled out a priori; it is left out because it has never been reliably observed.”
      This statement provides both the guiding principle of MN (“Supernaturalism … is LEFT OUT …) and the basis for this principle(“because it [SN] has never been observed.”).
      Needless to say, this basis rejects the great number of supernatural events recorded in the Bible. In fact, rejection of these SN events is a prerequisite for belief in MN. Furthermore, belief in these SN events precludes belief in either N or MN. In other words, if one believes in the SN events recorded in the Bible, he will not believe in either N or MN, for they are mutually exclusive; the existence of SN events disproves both N and MN.

      In conclusion, both N and MN – which is the foundation of the TOE – reject the truthfulness of the SN events recorded in the Bible … and my claim in # 89, that “The TOE [which is based upon N and/or MN]is an attempt to explain how the world came into being apart from a Creator” is entirely accurate. One more time … if one believes in the historical accuracy of the SN events recorded in the Bible, he cannot believe in either N/MN, because these 2 things are mutually exclusive.

      Steve

    • Richard

      re Greg post 132 wrote:

      “And I believe I had a question for you: Since all science is based off of methodological naturalism, which you seem to have a problem with, why don’t you reject all of it? You are inconsistent if you don’t. Most YEC are, both in the science they reject and accept, and in their interpretation of the Bible.”

      Let’s think about this a bit. There are only 2 cases. Either naturalism is true or false. If naturalism is false (and why would anyone be reading a theology blog if they believed naturalism?) then methodological naturalism (ie “science” defined by Greg) is incapable of reaching all truth – even about the physical world. Any instance in which the supernatural has acted beyond the currently understood “natural laws” would cause effects that “science” is incapable of properly interpreting. Thus if God really did what the plain reading of scripture says about origins (and the flood), then “science” by itself will never be able to properly interpret the evidence. Instead, the evidence must be interpreted such that there is no supernatural influence at all. So, it is illogical to expect “science” to always reach proper conclusions. NB – I am NOT anti-science at all; I only advocate understanding its limitations.

      The extent to which this gets taken by some who avow a belief in God is interesting. I had a chance to speak briefly with Dr. John Polkinghorne (Templeton award winning physicist and theologian) a few months ago and he essentially said he believes the following:

      1. His understanding of the “nature of God” requires that God not “capriciously” interfer with his creation.
      2. Thus many of the miracles recorded in scripture did not really occur, scripture is simply wrong.
      3. He thinks there is room for God to interact with his creation thru quantum indeterminancy.

      I suggested that if my understanding of the “nature of God” differs somewhat from his, then my conclusions about which miracles really occurred could differ from his. He agreed. I then said, then you are saying that truth is relative, and he agreed. Note also, Dr. Polkinghorne’s personal understanding trumps scripture…thus man is the source of truth, and man’s understanding judges the truth of revelation.

      Richard

    • Richard

      Could God have communicated the truth about origins in Genesis?

      It is often claimed that due to the pre-scientific nature of the original audience of Genesis, God could not communicate to them the truths that we (the enlightened) understand today (usually meaning the big bang and biological evolution). To refute this claim Dr. Mortenson wrote a short piece “Genesis according to Evolution” (http://creation.com/genesis-according-to-evolution). Here’s part of what God could have written:

      ‘When God began to create the heavens and the earth, he expanded a small grain of dust and said, “Let there be light.” And it eventually became so. From this grain of dust, over many great ages he formed the stars and then the sun and finally, after a long age, the earth and the moon. And the earth was hot and dry. There was no water anywhere on the earth. Slowly, God caused the seas to come forth, and from the water he formed exceedingly small creatures in the sea and he said, “Be fruitful and multiply and be slowly changed into fish and plants of the sea and creeping things and animals and plants on the land and birds in the sky.” And after thousands upon multiplied thousands of years, as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashore, it was so. But in those days there were terrors on the land and in the sky, and many also fell prey to a host of terrible plagues. Animals were eating each other, and killing with poisonous stings, and from time to time many of the creatures that God had made died and were buried and were no more. But new ones arose to take their place.

      ‘Then after a further number of long ages, God said, “Let us make man in our image.” So God took one of the animals that had arisen, which looked like a man but was not, and God breathed His spirit into this creature so that it was changed into a man. And God called him Adam. In like manner God made a woman also and Adam called her Eve.2 And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” And it was so. And from this first pair came all the people of the earth.’

      So let’s drop the failed argument that God couldn’t communicate accurately, and instead pay attention to what He actually did communicate….

      Richard

    • EricW

      A critical point that is very often completely missed in this debate is that THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION IS AN ATTEMPT TO EXPLAIN HOW THE WORLD CAME INTO BEING APART FROM A CREATOR (i.e. God). In fact, it is not difficult to see that this is the theory’s raison d’etre (reason for existence). The theory, in other words, blatantly advocates atheism. Consequently, ANY theory that in any way condones evolution – and aside from YEC, ALL of the theories you present definitely do this – lends support, either directly or indirectly, to this blasphemous idea.

      So:

      Is the theory of gravity an attempt to explain the attraction of objects apart from a creator (i.e., God)?

      Are the theories of quantum mechanics attempts to explain the behavior of particles at the subatomic level apart from a creator (i.e., God)?

      Is the theory of digestion an attempt to explain the way people utilize food apart from a creator (i.e., God)?

      Is the theory of automobile mechanics an attempt to explain the way the internal combustion engine works apart from a creator (i.e., God)?

      The last I looked, “God” and “creator” are left out of most discussions of gravity, quantum mechanics, metabolism and automobile engines. Why? Because they are atheism-promoting theories, whether by design or default or coincidence! 😕

    • Richard

      Greg, regarding the scope of evolution you wrote:

      Richard, you disagreed and returned with a quote that supposedly said otherwise.

      Do you disagree that the quotes I posted show “evolution” is more than biological? If you don’t, disagree, then why say “supposedly”?

    • Dave Z

      Richard writes:
      “man’s understanding judges the truth of revelation.”

      Of course it does. I don’t believe there is any other option, even for your position. Based on your understanding, you have decided to accept a YEC position, with all it’s implications. Your understanding (reasoning) has led you to choose to believe that the Bible presents trustworthy revelation, therefore you believe it. You have decided the Bible is authoritative, therefore you submit to its authority. But even then you present arguments to support your belief – arguments appealing to reason, or understanding.

    • Richard

      An example of the limits of science to explain what is observed:

      How are stars formed?

      Understanding how stars are formed has proved to be a difficult task…

      What we know is this: Stars form in huge clouds of molecules and dust, called Giant Molecular Clouds (GMC). These clouds can range from tens to hundreds of light years in diameter and contain enough material to make thousands to millions of stars.

      Stars don’t form alone but in clumps or clusters of dozens to thousands of stars when a portion of the GMC is compressed, increasing its gravity and causing it to collapse.

      As it collapses, the large fragment breaks up into smaller fragments which eventually become individual stars. Observations show that the birth weight of stars can range from a few percent to 50 times the mass of the Sun.

      It is not known for certain what causes the initial compression of a GMC fragment. There is evidence that shock waves play a role. These shocks could come from a supernova explosion, or fierce winds blowing from a cluster of newborn stars, or from a collision of the entire galaxy with another galaxy.
      http://chandra.harvard.edu/resources/faq/sources/stars/stars-12.html

      Note that all 3 potential causes for the initial compression assume that stars ALREADY EXIST. This is not at all an isolated statement. Look it up yourself if interested.

      Abraham Loeb of Harvard’s Center for Astrophysics says:
      ‘The truth is that we don’t understand star formation at a fundamental level.’
      (Marcus Chown, ‘Let there be light’,New Scientist 157(2120):26-30, 7 February 1998.)

    • Richard

      More on the failure of naturalistic science to explain the origin of the universe around us:

      –Critics of recent creation ridicule the belief that a universe so vast, composed of so many diverse phenomena and processes running at diverse rates, could be fit into a few thousand years. They are less likely to acknowledge the many and severe problems with an old, evolutionary universe. Some of these problems have become accentuated in recent months. Any cosmological system is going to have its share of challenging phenomena to explain. Before casting stones, a little humility is in order.

      –A strange cartoon graced the cover of Science News last fall (10/08/2005) that serves as a symbol for a whole class of problems for evolutionary astronomers. It showed a star-shaped old man in a stellar maternity ward. With its title, “Crisis in the Cosmos? Galaxy-formation theory is in peril,” the article exposed a running theme in astronomy: as far back as we look, stars and galaxies appear mature.

      –“Imagine peering into a nursery and seeing, among the cooing babies, a few that look like grown men,” Ron Cowen quipped. “That’s the startling situation that astronomers have stumbled upon as they’ve looked deep into space and thus back to a time when newborn galaxies filled the cosmos.”

      –Other recent findings echo this theme of “mature at birth.” Consider three examples from March of this year:

      * The Spitzer Space Telescope found clusters of galaxies a third of the assumed age of the universe.
      * UV and infrared surveys found “ubiquitous” galaxies at redshift 6.7, corresponding to 5% the assumed age.
      * The Swift satellite detected a gamma-ray burst 12.8 billion years old in the assumed time scale. “This means,” said Nature (3/9/2006, p. 164) “that not only did stars form in this short period of time after the Big Bang, but also that enough time had elapsed for them to evolve and collapse into black holes.”

      –More examples could be cited. These findings corroborate a January 8, 2002, NASA press release that was considered astonishing at the time: based on Hubble surveys, “the grand finale came first” in stellar and galactic evolution. As far back as telescopes look, they see mature creation, not evolution.

      –Add to this other problems with evolutionary views. Theories of star formation, galaxy formation, planet formation, globular cluster ages, universal expansion and much more—including some of the best-established ideas in astronomy—have had their share of upsets.

      –In a sense, this is how science works. No “fact” of science should be immune from challenge by new findings. What this teaches us, though, is that cockiness is out of order. Critics of recent creation should not be the first to throw stones.

      From a 2006 article at http://www.icr.org/article/mature-at-birth-universe-discredits-evolution/

    • #John1453

      Though there are things we don’t fully know or understand (that seems to be what Richard means by limits), what we do know and understand all points cumulatively to a very old earth. Among the many indicators of an old earth are:
      layers of fossilized forests
      layers of silt
      layers of ice
      layers of sedimentary rock
      recorded (i.e., present in rocks) changes in the earth’s magnetic field
      ancient metorite impacts
      stalagmite and stalactite formation in caves
      radiometric dating
      radioactivity decay
      isochron dating
      fossilized coral reefs
      contintental drift
      buried mountains
      buried canyons and river channels (in sedimentary rock)
      amber (fossilized tree resin)
      cobbles (pebbles of conglomerate rock)
      burrows of organisms in sedimentary rock
      fossilized animal tracks
      fossilized marks of raindrops
      continuous tree ring records
      records in rocks of long term cycles of galactic or solar fluctuations in radiation
      the Great Stone Dome batholith off shore of New Jersey, U.S.A.
      the creation of large, thick salt beds (e.g., the Salina Salt beneath Michigan)containing pollen, algae, and meteorite dust
      soil formation and fossilized soil horizons
      volcanic deposits and gaseous pollution in sedimentary rock
      the formation of coal
      unconformities in sedimentary rock (e.g. in the North Sea Broad Fourteens Basin)
      overthrusts along fault lines
      etc.
      etc.
      As an example of one of the above, the Green River Formation of the western United States contains up to six million layers of deposited silt, representing about three million years of sedimentation.

      The testimony of geophysicist Glenn R. Morton, a former YEC, can be found at http://home.entouch.net/dmd/gstory.htm. Morton has also written, ” I am a physicist who went into geophysics. I was a committed young-earth creationist when I came out of college and indeed held that position until I was 44 years old. (I published a lot in CRSQ [note: Creation Research Science Quarterly] in the early 80’s. But the geologic data, which I work with every day, simply didn’t support what the young-earthers, including me, were saying. I finally came to a point where I could either admit the facts of geology or remain a young-earther and know in my heart that I was not being truthful with myself or others.”

      The testimony of another former YEC, Dr. Joshua Zorn, is an excellent illustration of Saint Augustine’s comments (found in an earlier post of mine above). His testimony can be found at “The Testimony of a Formerly Young Earth Missionary”, http://www.asa3.org/ASA/resources/zorn.html . Dr. Zorn provides several tragic lessons that he has learned including the negative spiritual implications of YEC, and concludes by writing, “As I write this paper, I see YECS literature becoming more and more widely distributed in the growing churches in my corner of the former Soviet Union. We are sowing the seeds of a major crisis which will make the job of world evangelism even harder than it is already. Lord, give us wisdom!”

    • rayner markley

      Lisa,
      I’m saying that Genesis does not make a distinction in terms between ‘spiritual death’ and ‘physical death.’ Nor does God–and the serpent is able to play with the word ‘death’ isolating the physical reference and ignoring the other.

      Was Adam and Eve’s shame a sign of spiritual death? It may be intended as a sign of a broken relationship. In a good relationship, we have do not have the shame. Adam and Eve broke the relationship when they trusted the serpent’s advice over God’s. They gained something, but had lost more than they gained.

      Greg,
      I agree about physical life being dependent on the tree of life. We have then in the garden a tree of physical life and a tree of moral life. Adam and Eve could not live a moral life without that knowledge. They could only obey or disobey authority. Though God told them the penalty of eating the fruit, he did not say what the benefit was. The serpent figured that out used it to entice.

      Spiritual death? I’m talking only about Genesis. Yes, it becomes a strong teaching eventually.

    • cheryl u

      Rayner,

      I don’t think I am following you here. You say that they couldn’t live a moral life with out eating of the forbidden tree and that it was a benefit. Are you then saying that it was a good thing they disobeyed or that God was deliberately keeping something good from them by forbidding it to be eaten?

    • Richard

      John posted a list of supposed indicators of an old earth.

      For those unfamiliar with the basics of how dating methods work, there is a good entry level article here:
      http://creation.com/how-dating-methods-work

      Just to show that the items in John’s list do not preclude a young earth view, I’ll select one or two and post a reply later.

      And just to show that YEC’s also have lists of friendly dating indicators, below is a list of a few that imply a young earth. John can (and probably will) claim that these are all misinterpreted, etc and really indicate an old earth — I can respond with documentation that this is not the case, etc…

      What’s happening is that all data is subject to interpretation, and it’s impossible to know exactly what happened in the unobserved past…in fact without the ability to do repeatable experiments some would claim that “origins science” is not really “science” at all. It’s certainly not the same as the operational laboratory science that give us our technology…

      If someone wants to investigate themselves, it’s not really that difficult to understand. Many of the techniques are rather simple to grasp. To see from the YEC perspective, there are many articles available here:
      http://creation.com/young-age-of-the-earth-universe-qa

      A few of many young Earth dating methods:

      Pressure remaining in oil deposits
      Decay of the Earth’s magnetic field
      Supernovas found vs. occurrence rate
      Turbulence remaining in Saturn’s rings
      Size of Mississippi river delta
      Concentration of elements in ocean
      Age of the history of mankind
      Total number of prehistoric bodies
      Rotational speed of the earth
      Amount of volcanic sediment
      Lack of new star formation
      Existence of short term comets
      Amount of cosmic dust in solar system
      Temperature of the earth
      Earth to moon distance
      Stalagmite growth rate
      Niagara falls erosion rate
      Size of the fossil beds
      Clustered galaxies
      Rate of coal formation
      “White hole” cosmology
      Carbon-14 in level in all organic matter
      Existence of distant spiral galaxies
      Thermal activity on the moon
      Helium in the wrong places
      Erosion rate of the continents
      Tree ring chronology
      Concentration of salt in the ocean
      Sea floor sediment depth
      Cosmic dust accumulation on the earth
      Mutational load of biological life
      Size of the earth’s human population
      Poynting-Robertson Effect
      Meteorites in the earth’s sediment
      Sun diameter & earth/sun distance
      Polystrata fossils
      Average depth of topsoil
      Lunar crater pattern and distinctness
      Polonium halos
      Salt in the dead sea
      Ice cap accumulation rate
      Human artifacts in the fossil record

      Richard

    • rayner markley

      Cheryl, I think we are off topic, but I’ll try to explain briefly.
      I mean that people who are simply following commands are not making moral decisions themselves. So their acts are neither good nor bad. Yes, though gaining moral knowledge came at a terrible cost, it was a benefit. It promoted Adam and Eve above the animals and gave them a power like gods. God did not want that to happen, but He allowed it.

      Speaking personally, I see our having a moral sense (conscience) as a good thing. It is one of the major features that distinguishes us from the animals; I cannot imagine being human without it. Let me ask, can we really be in the image of God if we are without the knowledge of right and wrong?

    • Richard

      Now let’s examine radiometric dating from John’s list. Does it really prove an old earth?

      Potassium-argon method: http://creation.com/how-potassium-argon-dating-works

      Briefly, potassium decays to the gas argon. The relative amounts of each are measure from a specimen, some initial conditions are assumed, and the amount of time it would take to produce what was measured is calculated. However, if the date is calculated as too old (meaning more argon was measured than expected), then it is claimed the there is “excess argon” that somehow got into the sample and is not the result of potassium decay. If too young an age is calculated, the it is claimed that argon escaped from the sample. Since argon is a gas it can move fairly easily. Very convenient…

      Now a real world example of how it radiometric dating works in practice. Several times a date was “securely” and “reliably” dated by multiple methods…only to be discarded later.

      A layer of volcanic ash in East Africa, called the KBS tuff, became famous through the human fossils found nearby.1

      Using the potassium-argon method, Fitch and Miller were the first to measure the age of the tuff. Their result of 212–230 million years did not agree with the age of the fossils (elephant, pig, ape and tools) so they rejected the date. They said the sample was contaminated with excess argon.2

      Using new samples of feldspar and pumice they ‘reliably dated’ the tuff at 2.61 million years, which agreed nicely.

      Later, this date was confirmed by two other dating methods (paleomagnetism and fission tracks), and was widely accepted.

      Then Richard Leakey found a skull (called KNM-ER 1470) below the KBS tuff, a skull that looked far too modern to be 3 million years old.

      So Curtis and others redated the KBS tuff using selected pumice and feldspar samples, and obtained an age of 1.82 million years. This new date agreed with the appearance of the new skull.3

      Tests by other scientists using paleomagnetism and fission tracks confirmed the lower date.

      So by 1980 there was a new, remarkably concordant date for the KBS tuff, and this became the one that was widely accepted.

      Which illustrates that, contrary to popular belief, the dating methods are not the primary way that ages are decided. The dating methods do not lead but follow. Their results are always ‘interpreted’ to agree with other factors, such as the evolutionary interpretation of geology and fossils.
      References and notes

      1. For more information see Lubenow, M.L., The pigs took it all, Creation 17(3):36–38, 1995; .
      2. Fitch, F.J. and Miller, J.A., Radioisotopic age determinations of Lake Rudolf artifact site, Nature 226(5242):226–228, 1970.
      3. Curtis, G.H., et al., Age of KBS Tuff in Koobi Fora Formation, East Rudolf, Kenya, Nature 258:395–398, 4 December 1975.

      All the gory details here — it’s actually quite funny!
      http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2006/0816dating-game.asp

    • #John1453

      Though not strictly on topic, specific dating schemes are related, and if others are interested I’m willing to continue responding to Richard. Before I begin, however, I draw to your attention the difference between the science in the fields of evolution and geological dating. In evolution there are fierce disputes and debates, and creationists regularly used them to embarrass the evolutionists. But the evolutionists don’t care; there is science at stake and career advancement. There are no such disputes and debates in the field of geological dating; there are no such disputes about the methodology and trivial disputes about the dates arrived at (I use the word trivial, because the disputes are over a few million years in estimates of hundreds of millions, which is of no help to the YEC). In addition, the critiques of creationists or intelligent design theorists have caused significant responses by evolutionists and changes or corrections to theories, and even outright abandonment of former lines of evidence. The critiques of YECs have caused no changes whatsoever in the field of geological dating. NONE.

      An excellent overview of radiometric dating is given by Dr. Roger C. Wiens at http://www.asa3.org/ASA/resources/Wiens.html. Dr. Wiens has a PhD in Physics, with a minor in Geology. His PhD thesis was on isotope ratios in meteorites, including surface exposure dating. He was employed at Caltech’s Division of Geological & Planetary Sciences at the time of writing the first edition. He is presently employed in the Space & Atmospheric Sciences Group at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

      From his preface: “Radiometric dating–the process of determining the age of rocks from the decay of their radioactive elements–has been in widespread use for over half a century. There are over forty such techniques, each using a different radioactive element or a different way of measuring them. It has become increasingly clear that these radiometric dating techniques agree with each other and as a whole, present a coherent picture in which the Earth was created a very long time ago. Further evidence comes from the complete agreement between radiometric dates and other dating methods such as counting tree rings or glacier ice core layers. Many Christians have been led to distrust radiometric dating and are completely unaware of the great number of laboratory measurements that have shown these methods to be consistent. Many are also unaware that Bible-believing Christians are among those actively involved in radiometric dating. This paper describes in relatively simple terms how a number of the dating techniques work, how accurately the half-lives of the radioactive elements and the rock dates themselves are known, and how dates are checked with one another. In the process the paper refutes a number of misconceptions prevalent among Christians today.”

      Regards,
      #John

    • #John1453

      Potassium-Argon, or K-Ar, dating is useful for ages from around 1 million to a few billion. The reason there is a difference is the respective half life of the radioisotopes.

      The radioactive decay rate (or half life) has been established for all naturally occurring radioisotopes to well within 1% accuracy, and that rate is not disputable. The concentrations of various isotopes in geological and archeological samples can be determined by mass spectrometry to well within 1%, and that accuracy is not disputable.

      The problems in any type of radiometric dating is to be certain that the ratio of parent isotope to daughter product has not been altered by some external method such as natural or artifical contamination. The accuracy can be determined mathematically when multiple data sets from multiple samples are obtained. Therefore, radiometric dates will almost certainly be accompanied by a “+/-” notation giving the reliability of the data. The more samples are collected and analyzed, and the closer they are to each other, the higher the level of certainty is on the resulting data.

      YEC’s will point to disputes between scientists over dates at a particular site, and ignore the fact that the scientists are disputing errors of a few million years in an estimate of hundreds of millions of years. Furthermore, YEC’s ignore the thousands of dates obtained around the world using this method where there is no dispute and the ages obtained are considered accurate.

      Dr. Kevin Henke is Professor of Geological Sciences at the University of Kentucky. He has written a number of articles exposing and refuting YEC’s critiques of radiometric dating methods. In one of his critiques he concludes, “For scientists that want errors well-below +/-1%, the precision and accuracy of Argon-Argon (Ar40-Ar39) dates for different standards or samples may not always comply with these strict requirements. However, from the perspective of young-Earth creationism, these errors are far too trivial to serve their needs.” (from “How Serious are Errors in Ar40-Ar39 Dates and How Good are Their Monitoring Standards?”)

      G. Brent Dalrymple is a geochronologist with 40 years experience and publishing in this area, a pioneer in the identification of excess argon in igneous samples, and an outspoken critic of young-Earth creationism. Two recent, well received publications include: Dalrymple, G. B., 1984, ‘How Old is the Earth?: A Reply to “Scientific” Creationism,’ in Proceedings of the 63rd Annual Meeting of the Pacific Division, American Association for the Advancement of Science, vol. 1, pt. 3, Frank Awbrey and William Thwaites (Eds). And: Dalrymple, G.B., 1991, The Age of the Earth, Stanford University Press, Stanford, California, USA.

      And of course, the death knell for YEC: light.

      Regards,
      #John

    • Greg

      Richard,

      Can you provide any evidence for a young earth by people or organizations who do not have a prior commitment to an interpretation of scripture?

      And just to point this out, but science is always in constant motion. Just because something cannot be explained now does not mean it can never be explained.

      Post #141:

      “So let’s drop the failed argument that God couldn’t communicate accurately, and instead pay attention to what He actually did communicate….”

      OK, lets do that.

      Genesis 1:6-7
      And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so.

      Genesis 1:14-17
      And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth

      1. The Bible says the expanse was made to separate the water below it from the water above it.
      2. The Bible says the sun, moon, and stars were placed in the expanse.
      3. Thus, there is water above the sun, moon, and stars.

      Further scripture supports this:

      Psalm 148:3-4
      Praise him, sun and moon,
      praise him, all you shining stars!
      Praise him, you highest heavens,
      and you waters above the heavens!

      This view doesn’t fit modern science very well. But it does fit quite nicely within an Ancient Near Eastern worldview. Of course this idea is all hogwash to you, because God wasn’t writing to people in the Ancient Near East, but to people like you who have wonderful modern concepts of Truth that must be satisfied, and the only ones who can truly understand it 3,000 years after it was written.

      I’ll repeat my claim: Any interpretation that attempts to find modern science, in any form, in scripture ignores the historical context and does violence to scripture through eisegesis.

    • Greg

      Richard,

      “A few of many young Earth dating methods”

      Going from memory, many of these “methods” have been disproved or shown to ignore outside factors. Many of them are on the Talk Origins website I provided here: http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html

      Please, please, please check these things first before you go touting them as evidence for your position. As John so nicely put it, much of what your bringing to the table is nothing but pyrite gold.

      I said previously if you want to get into this, give me three of your best reasons for a young earth, from non-Christian sources, and we’ll look at them. I see John has already commented on your potassium/argon post.

    • Greg

      Richard, I’d like you to interpret these two scriptures for me:

      Genesis 7:17-24
      The flood continued forty days on the earth. The waters increased and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. The waters prevailed and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the face of the waters. And the waters prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered. The waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep. And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, livestock, beasts, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all mankind. Everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. He blotted out every living thing that was on the face of the ground, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens. They were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark. And the waters prevailed on the earth 150 days.

      Genesis 8:13-14
      In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried from off the earth. And Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and behold, the face of the ground was dry. In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth had dried out.

      I have a few questions:
      1. In Genesis 7 is the entire earth covered with water?
      2. In Genesis 8 is all the water on the earth dried up?
      3. If it’s not all dried up, how come you don’t take 8:14 literally like the rest of the narrative?
      4. Can you justify why you change your hermeneutic mid-stride?
      5. If you do take it literally, how come we still have water present on the earth?
      6. If “earth” means the global earth in chapter 7, why wouldn’t it mean that in chapter 8 as well?

      Keep a few things in mind:

      1. The Hebrew words for “earth” in 7:19 and 8:14 are the same.
      2. The same global language is used in both sections of scripture.
      3. In 8:13 Noah saw that the ground was dry, in 8:14 the narrator of Genesis states the earth had dried out. Both perspectives are presented.

      I make the charge that YEC are inconsistent in their interpretations, and only interpret the text in a fashion that favors a prior commitment. I do not think you can interpret these passages consistently according to the parameters YEC has imposed on scripture regarding a truly global flood.

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      John CT: “Returning to TUaD’s post, like him I am unconvinced by Darwinian evolution (of any variety),…”

      Love it!!!

      Love it!!!

      Love it!!!

      If anything, I’m really just against neo-Darwinian evolution and abiogenesis.

      I’m agnostic between a young earth or old earth.

      Firmly advocate a literal Adam and Eve.

    • bethyada

      cheryl u Can you tell us more of what it was in the science that convinced you to believe a young earth position?

      It was a while ago so to mention which specific evidences at the time were convincing would be difficult. But many of the problems with evolutionary theory and the fact that creation theory gave much better explanations was convincing. It wasn’t as if I was predisposed to evolution, but I don’t remember having much of a creationist upbringing. State school and not covered in church. Statements like the days could be long because the sun wasn’t made till day 4 seemed reasonable at the time (though I no longer think like this). But if you take John’s list in comment 137, I do not view that as evidence for an old earth or evolutionary theory. All of it fits easily within a creationist paradigm, and some of the points are much more convincing for creationism once you look into it in some depth.

      For example, fossilised tracks and raindrops means that such phenomena must have been covered very quickly. Tracks, and especially raindrops, disappear very quickly. Whereas Flood geology states that the fossilisation process begins very rapidly. So mud from the flood would cover tracks etc very quickly after it formed. And there was plenty of rain during the Flood to allow fossilised raindrops. Whereas the evolutionary paradigm states that the fossilisation process happens very slowing. But the tracks, or dead organisms would be degraded before they could be preserved. This is understood by several evolutionists so there is a move toward catastrophism within evolutionary circles. They postulate multiple catastrophes as opposed to creationists who propose 1 main one.

      So the whole thing is somewhat ironic. Creationists are mocked for believing in catastrophic phenomena, then evolutionists realise that the solution to fossilisation is catastrophe which they borrow from the creationists, then they continue to mock the creationists.

      Just to be clear,

      natural selection,
      genetic inheritance,
      plate tectonics, and
      catastrophic geology

      were all first described by creationists.
      are all

    • bethyada

      cheryl u I guess I am specifically wondering if you know how or if what has been said about the information received in light is interpreted differently by scientists reaching this conclusion.

      I don’t quite get what you are asking here. Several comments have been made about light in this thread.

      The issue is that God can create with an appearance of age, but most suggest that it would be at the level of what is required for creation. So several different types of rock as a foundation for the earth is reasonable, to claim that fossils of animals were created in the position to make it look like they were buried despite never existing seems not congruent with God’s nature. Thus most creationists, and most people, think fossils represent real animals.

      Now God created stars but they are a long way away, and Adam would not have seen them until the light travelled here. Now God could have created the light in transit which I think is fits with necessity of appearance of age. The problem is that this light carries information. It carried information about what each star is made from, and how fast it spins, becoming brighter (nova), and when it explodes (supernova), etc. Now I happen to think that the first 2 of these pieces of “information” are legitimate to put into created light in transit. But putting in information for the star’s destruction if it never happened seems a little like creating fossils of animals that never existed. Thus creationists think that supernova represent true star destruction.

      So the problem is: how did the light get from the star to earth in so short a period?

      Now this is a real problem. However the stellar evolutionists have exactly the same problem. The temperature of space is uniform and there is not enough time for light to have travelled across space to equalise temperatures, even with billions of years. This is well recognised by evolutionists and is called the “horizon problem.”

      Before we propose any solutions what is extremely important to note is that both creation theory and stellar evolutionary theory have a light travel time problem.

      Even if we do not know what the solution is, it is logically invalid to dismiss creationism because of the light travel problem in favour of evolution when it has exactly the same problem. Goose and gander and all.

      Now as it so happens, solutions are proposed by both schools. Now one may favour one over another, but if your solution has no scientific validation, it is tenuous to use the solution as proof of the truth of your theory. All you can do is claim you have rescued your theory.

      The main solution of evolutionists for the light transit problem is the inflationary big bang model.

      Creationists have proposed

      c decay
      white hole cosmology
      Carmeli cosmology

      While c decay (slowing of the speed of light) is out of favour with most creationists, I have some time for it.

    • rayner markley

      Genesis was written for people who believed in a steady state, but we believe the universe is expanding. The reason that we can see to the limits of the universe (provided we have strong enough lenses) is that at one time it was all very small and very close to us. While space and the objects in it are expanding, the speed of light is constant. Therefore, I don’t see a light transit problem.

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      Greg: “And just to point this out, but science is always in constant motion.”

      Thanks for pointing out fallible human enterprise.

      Greg: “Just because something cannot be explained now does not mean it can never be explained.”

      Sounds like a Biblical Inerrantist!

    • Richard

      Greg,

      Going from memory, many of these “methods” have been disproved or shown to ignore outside factors. Many of them are on the Talk Origins website I provided here: http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html

      Please, please, please check these things first before you go touting them as evidence for your position. As John so nicely put it, much of what your bringing to the table is nothing but pyrite gold.

      First, talkorigins is not the source of all truth, and they have not “disproved” the claims of creationists related to dating methods. Please try reading the published rebuttals from the creationist scientists to the talkorigins stuff before you go touting them as having been refuted.

    • Richard

      Greg, (post 157)

      Genesis 7:17-24
      The flood continued forty days on the earth. The waters increased and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. The waters prevailed and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the face of the waters. And the waters prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered. The waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep. And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, livestock, beasts, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all mankind. Everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. He blotted out every living thing that was on the face of the ground, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens. They were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark. And the waters prevailed on the earth 150 days.

      Let’s see there are at least 7 qualifiers used (eg, ‘all’, ‘every’, ‘everything’, etc) that make if very plain that the entire globe was covered with water. Do you disagree with this?

      Genesis 8:13-14
      In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried from off the earth. And Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and behold, the face of the ground was dry. In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth had dried out.

      Here there are NO GLOBAL qualifiers related to the term “earth” at all. Thus, the context clearly allows this to mean a partial drying of the earth — specifically in the vicinity of the ark. There is no contradiction here at all.

      I have a few questions:
      1. In Genesis 7 is the entire earth covered with water?
      2. In Genesis 8 is all the water on the earth dried up?
      3. If it’s not all dried up, how come you don’t take 8:14 literally like the rest of the narrative?
      4. Can you justify why you change your hermeneutic mid-stride?
      5. If you do take it literally, how come we still have water present on the earth?
      6. If “earth” means the global earth in chapter 7, why wouldn’t it mean that in chapter 8 as well?

      my answers:
      1. clearly yes
      2. clearly no
      3. I do consistently interpret the text
      4. I did not do so.
      5. red herring —
      6. answered above…

      I make the charge that YEC are inconsistent in their interpretations, and only interpret the text in a fashion that favors a prior commitment.

      I’ll make the charge that you appear to have a prior commitment to NO GLOBAL FLOOD, and thus are trying to force a contradiction into the scripture text that is not there to justify disbelieving what it clearly says.

    • Richard

      John,

      The radioactive decay rate (or half life) has been established for all naturally occurring radioisotopes to well within 1% accuracy, and that rate is not disputable.

      There was a 10 yr battle over what the age of skull KNM-ER 1470. The context is critical — this was a battle over which fossil finds were going to be more important, and the age assigned to skull 1470 was very much in dispute. In this process many papers were published and it is amazing to watch how this progressed. See http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2006/0816dating-game.asp for the details. Below are a couple of interesting items related to “not disputable” decay rates. [I was personally amazed when I first read this many years ago.]

      Anthony J. Hurford, A. J. W. Gleadow, and C. W. Naeser, “Fission-track dating of pumice from the KBS Tuff, East Rudolf, Kenya,” Nature 263 (28 October 1976): 739. “Using these techniques and a value for the 238U spontaneous fission decay constant of 6.85×10-17 yr-1 we have obtained ages on standard zircons which agree very closely with their independently known ages.”

      This result was 2.44 Myr and correlated with previously published ages using “independent” methods.

      However, in the 16 June 1977 issue of Nature appeared a letter from G. A. Wagner of the Max Planck Institute in West Germany. Wagner maintained that there is uncertainty as to the spontaneous fission constant of uranium 238, and that Hurford et al. should have used a different constant:

      … many fission-track specialists no longer use the 6.85×10-17 yr-1 value, but now use as the decay constant 8.46×10-17 yr-1; there are good reasons for this preference. If this higher value for the decay constant is used, the fission-track age of the pumice in the KBS tuff recalculates to 1.98 Myr, which would lend support to the K-Ar age measured by Curtis et al.

      Hurford et al. defended their use of the uranium 238 constant by saying:

      “When it is used in conjunction with the fission track glass standards of the U.S. National Bureau of Standards, we get the best agreement with the K-Ar ages of co-existing minerals and we use it for this reason.”

      In other words, the true value of the spontaneous fission constant of uranium 238 was unknown. At least two values were currently in use. In matters of fission-track dating, one is thus free to use the value that gives him the answer he is looking for. The difference in the two dates is almost half a million years in dealing with a date of only about two to two-and-a-half million. 1.98 vs 2.44 Myr is a difference of 23%. That hardly seems like precision dating.

    • Richard

      Regarding radiometric dating, John wrote the following:

      There are no such disputes and debates in the field of geological dating; there are no such disputes about the methodology and trivial disputes about the dates arrived at (I use the word trivial, because the disputes are over a few million years in estimates of hundreds of millions, which is of no help to the YEC).

      Apparently he did not read my post 152 very carefully. The differences in calculated ages can be enormous, and the published dates are often selected dates from a wide scatter. Regarding the KBS Tuff (and thus skull 1470), the calculated age started at 212-230 Myr, but the expected age was much smaller due to associated fossils. That is, they knew what age they wanted to begin with. They wrote:

      “From these results it was clear that an extraneous Argon age discrepancy was present…It would only be possible to date this tuff by careful extraction of undoubtedly juvenile components for analysis.”

      So they state that they will have to deliberately select young components for analysis…thus throwing out the others.

      Now keep in mind that the finally accepted date was about 1.88 Myr. In other words, less than .9% of the lower bound of 212 Myr calculated by K-Ar.

      Further, in 1969 an age of 2.61 Myr was determined by multiple techniques (after discarding the K-Ar 212-230 Myr age). Then in 1974 the same scientists (Fitch, Miller) published another study to confirm this. They dated 10 samples with calculated ages from .52 Myr to 2.64 Myr and concluded that this confirmed the age of 2.61 Myr.

      In 1975 Curtis, et al, determined an age of 1.6 – 1.82 Myr (scatter of 1.5 – 6.9 Myr). In refuting the 2.61 Myr date determined by Fitch and Miller, they criticized the samples used, the dating method selected, and their laboratory technique.

      Also, see my post about the use of 2 different uranium decay “constants”, and hopefully you begin to get a feel for how these techniques are really used. All calculated dates are subject to a filter of what date was expected.

    • Richard

      First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. (2 Pet 3:3-7)

      Peter believed in a global flood, and prophesied that scoffers would come who “deliberately” forget about two things: 1 – the creation documented in the first chapter of Genesis, and 2 – the global judgement of the flood. He implies that they do so to ignore the coming judgment. This prophecy began to be fulfilled in a big way with the advent of uniformitarian geology, which deliberately replaced flood geology. see http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2004/0828turning_point.asp

    • Richard

      Bethyada addressed the light travel time problem, and the fact that it exists for both YEC and big bang cosmologies. I’d like to add that the “inflation” solution proposed for the big bang has no known physical cause to either start it nor stop it – and thus is pure speculation to rescue an otherwise failed model (the big bang).

      Fact is that there is no model of origins completely consistent with known physical laws. This is no surprise to a creationist, of course.

    • cheryl u

      bethyada,

      I think you understood what I asked. Thanks for your answers.

    • John the Fisherman

      It really bothers me that in the year 2009 we are still debating if a 2000 year old book, written by people who had no concept of science as we know it, accurately describes the creation of the earth and mankind.

      When said book tells us that there’s water in the heaven and that the earth was created in six days, among other things? It’s disillusioning to me as a parent when my daughter has a friend who is taught in school that there were no such things as dinosaurs.

      Do you know how that makes us look? Placing the Bible at the center of science, with the role of science being to prove the Bible is correct rather than to advance our knowledge of God’s creation?

      You may not care how we look to the rest of the world, but I think an image of a world leader is important to our security. The less rational we appear, the less respect we get.

      Further, there are a great many examples of people losing their faith when they get to college and learn that what they took as fact is metaphor.

      When our interpretation of scripture is so misaligned with the facts on the ground that it turns people away from God, rather than demonstrating the majesty of God, then we are doing wrong.

      Theological debates are interesting — until they reach the point of damaging our nation and our children, and increasing the rise of atheism.

    • Richard

      There is the implication from several here that the consensus scientific view is accurate about the age (and hence origin) of the universe. I’ve posted earlier on the difficulties in accounting for the first stars. BTW, similar problems exist in explaining galaxies, cluster, super clusters, etc. No one has even attempted to respond.

      If a theory which purports to explain the universe can’t explain stars and galaxies, then exactly how good is it??

    • mbaker

      John the Fisherman,

      I haven’t commented as yet on this thread, but have been keeping up with all the posts.

      You stated that:

      “When our interpretation of scripture is so misaligned with the facts on the ground that it turns people away from God, rather than demonstrating the majesty of God, then we are doing wrong.”

      I believe in OEC for that very reason. It seems to me that God’s natural laws would certainly hold up to scientific scrutiny much better under the OEC scenario. And vice versa. Except for the theory of evolution, one can then see a harmony in a great many respects without dismantling the Bible accounts, or insistence that proven scientific facts are wrong.

      Notice I say proven. Evolution remains a theory.

      I don’t believe that evolution, however, could have put things in the perfect natural order they are, regarding life. That’s why I believe if the theory now held by science were true, we would have lots of human beings still in various stages of emerging from reptiles, fiash, or the newest discovery “Ida”, which the evolutionists are so excited about.

      So an OEC, with a literal Adam and Eve, who were created when all was in perfect order to give them everything necessary for physical survival and the cognitive thought to make decisions other than instinctual ones, plus the spiritual understanding to know right from wrong, as well as to be able to know and speak with God directly, would certainly make more sense to me in the context of what you are saying.

    • Dave Z

      Does it bother anyone else that in Genesis 1:16, the moon is described in the same way as the sun – a light. Matter of fact, a great light. Yet the moon is not a light, i.e., does not generate light, but is a reflector of the sun’s light. I would think that everyone would agree on that, and view the Genesis description as limited by ancient understanding, but not literally true or accurate. But then why take everything else literally?

      For those who insist the Genesis account is literally accurate, do you also insist the moon is a great light in the same or similar way as the sun? I would think you’d have to to be consistent.

    • Richard

      Genesis does not say that the moon generates light, nor that the sun generates light. However, they both are the source of light that reaches the earth, are they not? So it’s completely consistent to understand that they both are lights.

      BTW if one really wants to get picky, and light is just part of the em spectrum, then the moon does radiate doesn’t it.

      Is a headlight on your car a “light” or not? In most cases a bulb generates the light, but it is reflected outward by the encasing structure. One is not inaccurate to refer to it as a “light”.

    • Richard

      Below is part of a response to the question about creationists taking the Bible “literally”.

      (see http://creation.com/why-do-you-take-the-bible-literally, and http://creation.com/should-genesis-be-taken-literally for more info on this)

      —–
      Thank you for contacting [us]. I think you’ve misunderstood how we interpret the Bible. You incorrectly state that we take the Bible literally, which we don’t, although we understand that the events recorded in Genesis are literal history. Let me explain in more detail to avoid confusion.

      The Bible gives us principles of interpretation in 2 Corinthians 4:2 and Proverbs 8:8–9:

      Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God (2 Corinthians 4:2).

      All the utterances of my mouth are in righteousness; There is nothing crooked or perverted in them. They are all straightforward to him who understands, And right to those who find knowledge (Proverbs 8:8–9).

      In other words, we are to read and understand the Bible in a plain or straightforward manner. This is usually what people mean when they say “literal interpretation of the Bible” (this phrase is common among those not well-versed in hermeneutics). I try to use the term “plainly” so I don’t confuse people.

      Reading the Bible “plainly” means understanding that literal history is literal history, metaphors are metaphors, poetry is poetry, etc. The Bible is written in many different literary styles and should be read accordingly. This is why we understand that Genesis records actual historical events. It was written as historical narrative, as outlined in Should Genesis be taken literally?

      Reading the Bible plainly/straightforwardly (taking into account literary style, context, authorship, etc.) is the basis for what is called the historical-grammatical method of interpretation which has been used by theologians since the church fathers. This method helps to eliminate improper interpretations of the Bible.

      For example, I once had someone say to me (who was not a Christian), “the Bible clearly says “there is no God’ in Psalms 14:1.” When you look up the verse and read it in context, it says:

      The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good (Psalm 14:1).

      So the context helps determine the proper interpretation—that a fool was saying this.

    • Dave Z

      Richard,

      That’s the kind of quibbling away at the plain text that I expected.

      The moon is not a source of light, just as the headlight is not a light, in spite of the name. If the bulb in the headlight were to fail, you do not still have light, regardless of what you call the thing.

      If the sun were to stop working, it would be plain that the moon is not a light.

      I don’t buy your argument. If you’re going to take the Genesis account literally, you can’t switch back and forth. To be accurate, the text would have to say that God made a light and a reflector of light. But that is not what it says. It says the moon is a light. You should be arguing that it really is.

    • Richard

      Dave,

      Try reading my post on interpreting the Bible in the plain straight forward manner.

      Taking your logic to its conclusion it is inaccurate to say that the sun is a source of light. Rather one would need to describe the precise matter/energy reaction occurring with the sun that actually results in the light.

      Since light travels from the moon to the earth it *is* a source of light to the earth.

    • Steve Bartholomew

      To Richard:

      Richard, I want to extend my hearty thanks for your wonderful defense of YEC in this blog! You have put a tremendous amount of time and thought into your comments. I greatly admire your persistence! It is very obvious that you have done a great deal of research into this fascinating, and vital, subject.

      As my posts (#s 89, 109, 125, & 139) indicate, I too am a devout believer in YEC. I would very much like to maintain contact with you when this blog dies and was wondering if you could send me your email address. If you have reservations about this, let me know, and I will send you mine.

      Warm regards from your Christian brother

      Steve

    • rayner markley

      Genesis 1 acknowledges the sun as a source of light and a timekeeper. It misses the fact that the sun makes life on earth possible, perhaps deliberately in order to discourage sun worship.

    • Susan

      About the moonlight issue: God was communicating to people that there was a body which gave light during the day, the sun and a different body which gave light at night, the moon. “God made the two great lights– the greater light to rule over the day, and the lesser light to rule over the night. He made the stars also. God placed the lights in the expanse of the sky to shine on the earth” Gen.1:16-18

      Do not the sun and the moon, and stars shine on the earth? Yes. How exactly do you think God should have worded this, so that people of all times could understand it? He spoke in straightforward terms which all could observe and understand. I heard Hank Hanegraaff speak briefly of the creation debate the other day. He said, “Sometimes we are asking questions which the text (God) wasn’t intending to answer.” God told us the basics of creation. He didn’t enumerate all of the technical details, or we would have a Bible so big we couldn’t lift it. Even the narrative of Jesus’ birth, for instance, is very lean… stated concisely and simply. Sometimes it’s worth asking: Why did God give us THIS information? Why didn’t He word it another way? You have to consider the broad audience which God intended to communicate with…. namely, ALL of mankind.

    • Dave Z

      Susan writes:
      “Sometimes we are asking questions which the text (God) wasn’t intending to answer.” I agree. I just think it applies to the seven day creation as well. I have no issue with the wording of Genesis. The point is that if someone insists on a absolute literal reading, then the moon must be a light, not just a reflector. The sun and moon are fundamentally different, yet Genesis would indicate they are similar. If taken literally, as YEC folks insist.

      I have not researched this; it hit me only today, but I think someone with no other source of information would assume from the text that the only difference between the sun and the moon would be “greater” and “lesser.”

    • Greg

      TUAD,

      Re: #162

      “Thanks for pointing out fallible human enterprise.”

      You’re welcome. I’ve also pointed out the idea of having access to incomplete data do to inherent limitations, whether human or technological. Not knowing the right answer isn’t always due to our fallibility.

      “Sounds like a Biblical Inerrantist!”

      It’s called keeping an open mind to the possibility of new evidence shedding light on things that are not understood today. YEC might do well to keep this concept in mind concerning current studies in the Ancient Near East and the light they shed on interpreting Genesis.

    • Susan

      I have no problem with calling the moon a ‘light’ personally. I guess it all comes down to how you define light. Genesis 1:3-5 describes God’s introduction of light to the world BEFORE He created the sun. So, perhaps when you are the creator of the universe, you are not limited to certain objects which generate light. Perhaps God’s definition of light differs from yours. As I see it the moon casts light on the earth at night, to the extent that it even produces shadows. It IS a light in the nighttime sky. I think that you are being nit-picky, but I will give you a different tidbit to chew on. This note appears in the NET translation of Genesis:

      “Two great lights. The text goes to great lengths to discuss the creation of these lights, suggesting that the subject was very important to the ancients. Since these “lights” were considered to be deities in the ancient world, the section serves as a polemic (see G Hasel, The Polemical Nature of Genesis Cosmology”). The book of Genesis is affirming that they are created entities, not dieties. To underscore this the text does not even give them names. If used here, the usual names for the sun and the moon (Shemesh and Yarih) might have carried pagan connotations, so they are simply described as the greater and lesser lights. Moreover, they serve the capacity that God gives them, which would not be the normal function the pagans ascribed to them. They merely divide, govern, and give light in God’s creation.”

    • Greg

      Richard,

      Re: #164

      I respect your justification for your inconsistency, but its not good enough. I tried to help you keep a few things in mind, namely that the Hebrew word used for “earth” that was attached to all your qualifiers was the same word used in 8:13-14 for “earth”. Remember that in 8:13 the word for “ground” is different from that for “earth”, so your excuse that it referred to the vicinity of the ark is unfounded. Clearly 8:13b refers to Noah’s immediate location, but 8:14 provides the narrator’s “universal” point of view.

      Looking at how “erats” is used in Genesis, your interpretation cannot be supported .

      “Erats” is used often and consistently within Genesis up until chapter 10 (I stopped looking after that), and unless the context is obviously referring to a limited geographical area, like land through which a river flows (Genesis 2:13), it is used in a global sense. You cannot make a case based on an absence of global qualifiers. The qualifiers that Genesis does use to imply “erats” doesn’t mean “earth” are examples similar to 2:13, where the context explicitly implies a limited area, such as:

      Genesis 1:10
      Genesis 1:11
      Genesis 1:12
      Genesis 1:24
      Genesis 2:11
      Genesis 2:12
      Genesis 2:13
      Genesis 4:16
      Genesis 10:5
      *These are from the NET Bible.

      I didn’t find any areas without qualifiers where “earth” didn’t mean “earth”. So your claim that the context doesn’t allow for a global earth in 8:14 because there are no global qualifiers present is not consistent with its usage in Genesis. A localized usage brings an obvious context with it. Genesis 8:14 does not have that, so there is no reason to read it like that.

      Further, when the narrator refers to certain times, as he does in Genesis 7:11-12 and Genesis 8:13-14, he uses similar terminology. In the first case “erats” is used in a global sense. There is no reason to assume the second and third occurrence of “erats” should be understood differently from the first, especially given the fact there are no localized qualifiers used.

      “Thus, the context clearly allows this to mean a partial drying of the earth…”

      It just “allows” it to mean this? I think I detect a lack of certainty in your wording.

      But my charge for inconsistency still stands. Even now you have demonstrated that it is OK to flip back and forth between a global and local perspective as it suits your needs, even when the context does not allow it. I think you should pick a perspective and stick with it.

      “I’ll make the charge….”

      It’s not as easy as “The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it.” I cannot understand how you can interpret scripture ignoring it’s historical context and expect it to be correct. Your problem is your worldview; its not scripture’s.

      If you understand the ANE worldview of the original author of Genesis and its original audience, all of these problems go away. The creation account, the flood account, and modern science…..none of these are problems anymore.

    • Greg

      Richard,

      Re: Post # 143

      “Do you disagree that the quotes I posted show “evolution” is more than biological? If you don’t, disagree, then why say “supposedly”?”

      Because I can’t check your quote for contextual accuracy, and YEC are notorious for quote mining. I still don’t think Steve’s usage of it implied the broad definition which you returned with, but I’d be content to settle the matter by simply asking Steve what he meant by it when he wrote it. I trust him to give an honest answer.

      Onto another subject, I’m interested in what your opinion of post #155 is. I went through and found out what God was communicating in Genesis 1. Like the flood account, I’d like to hear your interpretation of the verses I posted.

    • Richard

      Greg, you wrote:

      I cannot understand how you can interpret scripture ignoring it’s historical context and expect it to be correct. Your problem is your worldview; its not scripture’s.

      If you understand the ANE worldview of the original author of Genesis and its original audience, all of these problems go away. The creation account, the flood account, and modern science…..none of these are problems anymore.

      ————
      Greg it would help our discussion immensely if your would answer these questions. My answers are yes, yes, no.

      Do you believe that the Genesis flood covered the entire planet earth?

      Do you believe that the author of the flood account intended to communicate that it covered the entire planet earth?

      Do you believe that the author of the flood account intended to communicate that the entire planet was dry in 8:14?
      ————

      You are insisting that the text itself in Gen 8:14 can ONLY mean that the entire planet dried out. Given your hermeneutic, it appears that the flood account *is* historically inaccurate. The author erroneously stated that the entire planet earth was dry in verse 8:14. This implies that either the author was ignorant of the state of the earth (ie that there are lakes, oceans, etc.), or didn’t understand how to use Hebrew properly.

      I disagree with your linguistic analysis and assertions.

      ————

      Now regarding worldviews:

      Let’s see if I understand yours correctly; it appears to contain the following:

      1. universe and earth have been proven ancient by science

      2. author of Genesis had an ANE worldview

      3. an ANE worldview for author and audience makes it impossible to communicate historically accurate information about the creation and flood.

      Related to just those 3 items, my worldview contains:

      1. science has not proven the age of the earth or universe

      2. the author of Genesis includes the inspiration of God, and is NOT restricted to an ANE worldview such that falsehoods must be communicated

      3. the is nothing in the ANE worldview, nor the Hebrew language that prevents accurate communication of the events of creation and the flood. Please see my post 141 for an ANE and Genesis vocabulary compatible account of the big bang and evolution.

      So it seems that you believe that either the author of Genesis was unable or unwilling to communicate historical events correctly. At this point the OE folks I’ve encountered usually say one of two things:

      1. Genesis is simply inaccurate and not inspired (the “liberal” approach), or
      2. The intent of the Bible is not to convey history, nor scientific information, but rather to communicate “spiritual truths”.

      Do you believe either of these?

    • EricW

      So if there was a worldwide flood in Genesis 6-9 that killed all but the 8 on the boat, why does Genesis 4:20-21 refer to the living descendants of Jabal and Jubal, the sons of Lamech through his two wives? Wouldn’t their continued existence to the author be better explained by a widespread but local flood?

    • cheryl u

      Eric W,

      I’m not sure I am following your question in comment # 87. However, I did note that the Lamech in Genesis 4 is a different Lamech than the one that is mentioned in Genesis 5 that was Noah’s father. The Genesis 4 geneolgy is the line of Cain. The Genesis 5 geneology is the line of Seth. Does that change anything in your question or am I still not following you?

    • EricW

      cheryl:

      It doesn’t change anything in my question. If Jabal’s and Jubal’s descendants were destroyed in the flood, then how can they be said to be the fathers of those who (in the author’s day) dwell in tents and herd and play music? Genesis 9:18-19 suggests that the earth/land was repopulated solely by Shem, Ham and Japheth, of Noah, of Seth’s line. Yet Genesis 4 posits at least two groups of still-existing peoples (tent-dwelling herders and musicians) who came from Cain’s line. Thus, Genesis 4:20-21 seems to require the flood to have been a local one, not worldwide.

    • cheryl u

      EricW,

      Thanks, now I understand what you were saying.

    • cheryl u

      Supposing the flood was just a local flood instead of world wide, I wonder what the purpose of saving animals of all kinds would of been. Would they not have just moved back in and repopulated the area after the waters dried up?

      I also wonder if the flood was just local how all the mountains could of been covered? Those things don’t make sense to me at all if the flood wasn’t world wide.

    • Richard

      Noah’s three sons had wives. Perhaps two of them were descendants of Jabal and Jubal. Come to think of it, I don’t think we know the lineage of Noah’s wife either…

    • EricW

      I think that is a s-t-r-e-t-c-h. It seems to me that if they had married into Seth’s line, whether by marrying Noah or Noah’s sons, their descendants would no longer be traced through Cain’s line. Genesis 4:16-24 is clearly showing Cain’s lineage, not Seth’s.

    • Richard

      You consider it a stretch, but it is not impossible. Thus there is no necessary contradiction between the Gen 4 account and the Global Flood account, and this can’t logically be used to claim the flood is local only. Even Hugh Ross calls the flood “universal” meaning all humans outside the ark died…(someone let me know if he’s changed his position on that).

    • EricW

      Aren’t the lineages in Genesis largely, perhaps exclusively, patriarchal? If so, then Genesis 4:20-21 does not included Sethites. I think trying to account for Jubal’s and Jabal’s descendants as coming from marriages to descendants of Shem, Ham and Japheth is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. There were no descendants of Jubal and Jabal if the flood was worldwide and killed all but the 8 in the boat.

    • Richard

      Eric, notice how your premise is only a possibility, not a certainty:

      perhaps exclusively

      If so, …

      but then your conclusion is absolute:

      There were no descendants of Jubal and Jabal if the flood was worldwide and killed all but the 8 in the boat.

      This is incorrect logic. You are trying to force a conclusion that is not sustained by your argument. Rather, you can only conclude:

      “If scripture always and exclusively defines descendants only through an exclusively male lineage, then (and only then) one can conclude that the global flood precludes “descendants” of Jubal and Jabal from continuing post flood.”

      Scripture nowhere maintains this definition of descendant, and furthermore if it did, then Jesus would not be a descendant of David and it is a rather important theological truth that Jesus is the “son of David”.

    • EricW

      Richard:

      I didn’t say “Scripture always and exclusively.” I spoke/asked only about Genesis. And I believe in early Genesis, and perhaps all of Genesis, lineages are patriarchal.

    • cheryl u

      EricW,

      I am not sure what the answer is to the verses you have brought up in chapter 4 of Genesis.

      However, they not only seem to contradict the ones you mentioned earlier about Noah’s descendants repopulating the earth, they seem to totally contradict what Genesis 6:5-8 says was God’s purpose for the flood.

      Those verses say that He was grieved and repented of having created man because of his wickedness and that he decided to destroy him (wipe him out, obliterate him) from the face of the earth. Noah was spared because he was a righteous man. That certainly doesn’t sound like only some of the people were killed in a local flood.

    • Richard

      Eric,

      Ok, I understand. Can you explain what this verse means:

      “Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.” Gen 7:23

      BTW, it’s OK to admit that the reason for not believing in the YEC position (including global flood) is due to a belief in what science has proven. That is a very common position. For example:

      Pattle Pun is a molecular biology lecturer at Wheaton College, Illinois, and he admits that the obvious meaning of Genesis is the YEC position. But he rejects this not for grammatical reasons, but to fit ‘science’. Pun also has an M.A. Theology from Wheaton.

      ‘It is apparent that the most straightforward understanding of Genesis, without regard to the hermeneutical considerations suggested by science, is that God created the heavens and the earth in six solar days, that man was created on the sixth day, and that death and chaos entered the world after the fall of Adam and Eve, and that all fossils [sic — creationists would say ‘most’] were the result of the catastrophic deluge that spared only Noah’s family and the animals therewith.’

      Reference

      Pun, P.P.T., Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation 39:14, 1987; emphasis added.

    • EricW

      Richard:

      The verse means what cheryl u says – i.e., Genesis 4:20-21 is problematic for Genesis 6-9, and vice-versa.

    • Steve Bartholomew

      Richard,

      I would appreciate your response to my post #178. If you are not interested, all you have to do is say so.

      Thanks
      Steve

    • Richard

      Steve, sorry, I just forgot to reply. I’m open to any discussion with anyone interested and can be reached at CreationMythOrMiracle-at-att.net

    • Richard

      Eric, well we can agree to disagree. Given what you’ve written, what part of Genesis 1-11 do you think is historically accurate?

    • Richard

      More on the intended meaning of creation and flood accounts.

      Oxford Hebrew scholar, Professor James Barr, on the meaning of Genesis

      ‘… probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1–11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that: creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience the figures contained in the Genesis genealogies provided by simple addition a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the biblical story Noah’s flood was understood to be world-wide and extinguish all human and animal life except for those in the ark.’

      Reference James Barr, Oriel Professor of the interpretation of the Holy Scripture, Oxford University, England, in a letter to David C.C. Watson, 23 April 1984. Barr, consistent with his neo-orthodox views, does not believe Genesis, but he understood what the Hebrew so clearly taught. It was only the perceived need to harmonise with the alleged age of the earth which led people to think anything different—it was nothing to do with the text itself.

    • cheryl u

      Regarding the Genesis 4:20-21 verses, could someone with some knowledge of Greek please respond to this question I have?

      According to a lexicon I checked, the verb forms in both of those verses could speak of either past, present or future action. Is that correct? In other words, are those verses perhaps saying that those folks were the father of those that had in the past (preflood) dwelt in tents, etc.?

      It seems to me that this could be possible time wise. If I counted correctly, Jabal and Jubal were the 6th generation from Cain and Noah was the 8th generation from Seth. There were long lifetimes in those days and the chance to do a lot of living in the time of those generations!

    • #John1453

      One reason that I have stated that YEC has no scientific support in favour of a young earth, is that they have no method for dating any of the earth’s. They cannot date one rock at 4,000 years and another at 6,000 years, etc.; they cannot date rocks at all. According to YEC ALL the rocks that make up the earth were created within 1657 years of each other, because there are 1657 years from the first day of creation to the last day of the flood (assuming no gap before or during the days of creation, and no gaps in the Genesis geneologies).

      Did you get that? Every single rock you can pick up. Every single rock drilled up from the earth. Every single one was created within a period of 1657 years, and only two events created all rocks: 1st day of creation and the flood.

      Christian scientists who are open to various interpretations of Genesis (i.e., not irrevocably committed to an interpretation that the earth is youg or old), are not precommitted to a particular type of geology or particular results for dating the earth. The same goes for most atheist scientists and scientists of other religitions that also have creation stories. These scientists have their results published, and critiqued by other scientists, and are persuaded by developing science.

      Because radiometric dating utterly refutes their biblical interpretations, the YECs (young earth creationists for those just joining) are committed to undermining the reliability of radiometric dating because they are precommitted by their interpretation of Genesis to a young earth. YECs must make sure that NONE of their ‘research results’ (I use that term loosely) offends their theology, and cannot scientifically deal with any honest and carefully performed research that fails to support their biblical interpretations.

      Although all science is in a state of development, some areas understand and know quite well the order and regularities that God has designed into the universe and earth. Dating is one such area. Thousands of radiometric datings are made every year and very few have problems of calibration, etc. that YEC’s make so much of. Challenging the hard science of the date of the earth would be like saying that science will overturn our knowledge that the world is a globe (not flat), or overturn our understanding of the body’s circulatory system, or our understanding of nuclear fusion in the sun.

      The last example is quite apropos, because at one time people thought that the sun was burning gas (like a gas stove), or that the heat was caused by the slow collapse and contraction of the sun. Those theories were overturned by the 1930’s as scientists began to understand nuclear fusion. No one has been to the sun, but no one will dispute the science dispute the science behind our understanding that it works by nuclear fusion (well, except for YEC nincompoops like Hovind, who was trying to promote the sun collapse theory as late as the 1990s).

      #John

    • Steve Bartholomew

      Greg

      In post #185 (to Richard) you expressed doubt about what I meant by the word “evolution.” In #117 you said to me, “I think you misunderstand the scope of the TOE. It has nothing to do with the origin of the world, only the origin of species.”

      Techinically, you are almost correct. For the most part the TOE is indeed concerned mainly with the development of life. Ignoring the matter of inorganic/chemical evolution, there is one major exception to this general truth, however: the origin of life. Generally speaking, the TOE describes the processes by which one species of life evolves from another. However, at the point of life’s initial origin such a description is not possible, for life does not exist at this point. One of the fundamental laws of science is biogenesis, the principle that life begets life. It has never been disproven, At the point of life’s origin, however, evolutionists assume that life evolved entirely through random natural events from nonliving chemicals – in direct contradiction to the law of biogenesis.

      One can avoid this potential dilemma, of course, by claiming that the TOE does not address the origin of life – out of sight, out of mind. Such a claim would ignore the fact, however, that virtually all high school biology textbooks teach the theory set forth above – that life evolved through random natural events from nonliving chemicals. One may claim that the origin of life is outside the TOE, but in the textbooks our youth are learning from, the two subjects are inextricably linked.

      to be continued …

    • Steve Bartholomew

      Greg (continued)

      The real question here, though, is not exactly what period of the earth’s history the TOE does or does not cover. The real question is whether its proponents, especially those responsible for producing its teaching materials, believe that a supernatural Being, a Creator, had anything to do with the process they are promoting. And it is perfectly obvious from the textbooks on the subject that they do not, that they believe that the world evolved, from the very beginning (think Big Bang), through random natural events. Such an opinion, of course, is in direct contradiction to Scripture (as well as the evidence from nature, I – and many others – believe). Looking a t the big picture, one group believes that God, or a Creator, had absolutely nothing to do with the creation, while the other claims that He was its primary source.

      What about you, Greg? Do you believe that a supernatural Being had anything to do with the creation/development of the natural world, whether of living species or anything else? Do you believe that the DNA in a human cell, containing information equivalent to that contained in 25-30 complete sets of the Encylopedia Brittanica, evolved from nonliving chemicals completely through random natural events? If you do believe that a Creator was involved in the process, could you please tell me exactly how and where you believe this involvement occurred.

      thank you kindly

      Steve

    • Steve Bartholomew

      Richard

      I tried the address you gave me and it didn’t work.
      Here’s what I tried:

      CreationMythOrMiracle.at.att.net
      I tried it both with and without caps.

      Please help!

      Thanks

      Steve

    • Richard

      Steve, replace “.at.” with “@”

    • cheryl u

      Obiviously in my last comment I meant someone with a knowledge of Hebrew, not Greek! Think I’m tired this a.m.

    • #John1453

      YEC’s commonly criticize radiometric dating by bringing up geologically complicated situations where the application of radiometric dating is challenging. These difficult sitations are either naively or misleadingly characterised as the norm, rather than as the exceptions they are.

      There is no way for a geologist to choose what numerical value a radiometric dating of a rock will yield. The lab data are determined by the rocks themselves, not by preconceived notions. Radiometric rock dating data are found thousands of times a year, most of the time it is not controversial and there are known and reasonable explanations for the dates obtained. When data is obtained that is inconsistent with other dates obtained for the same type of rock or the same geological formation, scientists look for explanations. But they don’t automatically accept or reject the dates obtained (unlike YECs).

      Because there is such a vast amount of data behind the current methods of dating, and the current understanding the earth’s rocks, and because there are known reasons for variation in isotropes (essentially, the radioactive stuff used in dating), it is statistically likely that an explanation will be related to the isotrope system. But the geologists and geophysicists do not assume the answer, they investigate and look again at the data, reanalyse the sample, collect more samples, rigorously look for contamination, etc.

      Richard’s so-called problem: “KBS tuff” near Lake Turkana in Africa, which is a layer of redeposited younger volcanic ash (source of young dates in testing) and contains a mixture of minerals from the eruption and from older eroded rocks (source of older dates). It was problematic to date in 1969, not only because it is “young” rock nearer the lower limit of potassium-argon (K/Ar) dating, but also because of the more primitive technology available in 1969. However, it is an ATYPICAL sample, i.e., not a typical sample. The vast majority of samples are not like this and are much eaiser to date and most samples do not give rise to any debate among scientists at all (and note that even the “young dates” are too old for YEC to work). The only reason that scientists spent so much time debating the dates of these young rocks was because of the associated hominid fossils found in them. Note: the problems of dating these rocks is a unique fact related the particular geography of the area and do NOT throw in doubt the dates othousands of other rocks.

      Kevin R. Henke, PhD: “Why do some geologists lose their patience with YECs? It’s because we work hard to solve environmental problems (e.g., use of radiometric dating to estimate the long-term stability of nuclear waste sites, Fleck et al., 1996), locate oil and ore deposits and try to meet the other needs of our society. In response to our hard work, young-Earth creationists just fill up their car tanks with gasoline found by applying the geologic time scale and spit in our faces . . .”

    • Richard

      For anyone interested, John’s post 206 is yet another in which he attacks a YEC strawman. The claims he makes about what YECs believe are simply false (and I should know as “I are one”). Also he continues to make adamant claims about the reliability and accuracy of radiometric dating techniques without even making any attempt to deal with the specific secularly published data that I presented in my posts 152 and 166. John just claimed that the 212-230 Myr K-Ar age calculated for KBS Tuff was wrong because of the “primitive technology” of 1969, but notice that he provided no documentation for this. Also, if true, then all pre-1970 K-Ar dates are to be doubted?? Give me a break.

      When a date less than .9% of the calculated K-Ar date is the one accepted, a skeptical person will take notice.

      For anyone truly interested in what YECs think and why, I’ve provided several links…check it out for yourself. Or post questions here if you wish. I’ll repeat a couple of links here:

      Dating of Skull 1470: http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2006/0816dating-game.asp

      Potassium-argon method: http://creation.com/how-potassium-argon-dating-works

      Q & A about radiometric dating: http://creation.com/radiometric-dating-questions-and-answers — here are many specific examples of anomalous radiometric dates being calculated.

      I assume that John, Greg and probably many others believe in the big bang (I’m happy to be corrected!). I used to Notice that I showed from secular literature that the existence of stars can’t even be explained in that model and, again, not one single attempt at replying.

      So you’ve got specific documentation of severe difficulties with the OE models and their underpinings, vs adamant declarations that no such problems exist.

    • Steve Bartholomew

      Eric

      I’ve been following the interesting discussion of Gen. 4:21 & 22, and it occurs to me that you may have overlooked something quite critical. The description of Jubal as “the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe” cannot be literal, for Jubal was obviously not the physical father of all those who play the lyre and the pipe. Like, he certainly wasn’t the actual father of David … or Elvis Presley!

      One of the dictionary definitions of “father” is “a person who has originated or established someting: [like] the father of modern psychology [Freud], the father of our country [Washington], or the father of Rock and Roll [Chuck Berry, Alan Freed, Elvis, Bill Haley … take your pick]”
      A similar use of the word is found occasionally in the Bible, as in Gen. 17:4, in which God said to Abraham: “As for Me, behold My covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations.”

      Taken in this sense, Gen. 4:21 could simply be saying that Jubal was the first in a long line of musicians who play these instruments, just like Chuck Berry (or whoever) was the originator (i.e., father) of Rock and Roll.

      I hope this is helpful!

    • EricW

      Steve B.:

      That might be helpful. I’ll see if the Hebrew “father of” in that text and context can be understood that way, or if other explanations are also valid.

    • Steve Bartholomew

      Eric

      I know a little Greek, but no Hebrew. I’m interested to see what you discover.

    • cheryl u

      Here is one of the definitions from Thayer’s Lexicon of the word for father in that verse: “5) originator or patron of a class, profession, or art”

      What are you finding, Eric?

    • EricW

      The phrasing in Genesis 4:20-21 does seem unique to these two. I.e., pretty much all the other “father of”s in Genesis 1-11 have a specific person’s or persons’ name(s) following the “of,” not a “those who” or “all those who.” Genesis 10:16-18 extends it to tribal names, but that’s still not the same as “people who do” such and such.

      FYI, I used the NASB, not the Hebrew text, for the above, but it’s a pretty literal translation.

      cheryl u: I think you mean Brown-Driver-Briggs, not Thayer (which is NT Greek, not OT Hebrew).

      Steve B. and others who suggest that the phrasing that Jubal and Jabal were or could have been trade-originators, not literal fathers, may be right. Thanks.

    • cheryl u

      EricW,

      Thank you for the correction in your comment above.

    • #John1453

      Richard, post 213, “without even making any attempt to deal with the specific secularly published data that I presented in my posts 152 and 166. John just claimed that the 212-230 Myr K-Ar age calculated for KBS Tuff was wrong because of the “primitive technology” of 1969, but notice that he provided no documentation for this. Also, if true, then all pre-1970 K-Ar dates are to be doubted??”

      Sigh. I did not claim it was wrong because of the technology used. What I stated was that the KBS Tuff was a difficult type of rock to date (because it was composed of both younger and older materials) and that the difficulty was greater in 1969 than today because technology was not as advanced 40 years ago. It does not logically follow from what I said that all pre-1970 dates are to be doubted, it only logically implies that the technology in 1969 was better than in earlier decades and not as good as now.

      Richard does not address the fact that most rock types are dated without dispute by potassium-argon (k-ar, using the abbreviations for those elements) or argon-argon.

      The dating of the KBS tuff was debated for about a decade, and then scientists converged on a date, and this debate can be followed in the pages of the journal Nature. For example, Nature 283, 368 – 372 (24 January 1980), “KBS Tuff dating and geochronology of tuffaceous sediments in the Koobi Fora and Shungura Formations, East Africa”, R. E. Drake*, G. H. Curtis*, T. E. Cerling†, B. W. Cerling† & J. Hampel* *Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of California, Berkeley, California, †Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, “Over the past decade, tuffaceous horizons within these two sedimentary formations have been mapped and dated by K−Ar and fission-track techniques . . . We report here new 40K−40Ar dates and revised values for previously published dates which give a mean age of 1.8plusminus0.1 Myr for the KBS Tuff. This estimate suggests contemporaneity between the KBS Tuff and Tuff Units H2 and H4 in the Shungura Formation, lower Omo River Basin, Ethiopia, and with Bed I at Olduvai Gorge.”
      [cont.]

    • #John1453

      As indicated by the next citation, the KBS tuff controversy has been settled, and a number of tuffs in Africa have now been dated and the relationships between them described.

      “Sequence of tuffs between the KBS tuff and the Chari Tuff in the Turkana Basin, Kenya and Ethiopia”, Brown, Francis H., Haileab, Bereket, and McDougall, Ian. Journal of the Geological Society, 2006, vol. 163 (1), pp. 185-204. Abstract of article: “This paper describes a sequence of tuffs between the KBS and the Chari Tuff of Omo Group formations in Kenya and Ethiopia. These tuffs have recently been shown to be 1.87 ± 0.02 Ma and 1.38 ± 0.03 Ma in age, respectively. The sequence of tuffs that is derived is consistent with 40Ar/39Ar ages reported separately, and provides the stratigraphic framework for interpreting those ages. Further, new correlations are established to the Konso Formation in southern Ethiopia. As drainage from the Ethiopian Rift to the Omo-Turkana Basin developed after deposition of the Konso Formation, pumice clasts in tuffs of the Omo-Turkana Basin probably were transported there by the Omo River. The tuffs are divided into five groups on the basis of their stratigraphic position in relation to extensive ash layers. The sequence of tuffs has import for the placement and age of archaeological sites in the Koobi Fora Formation, and for ages of mammalian faunas (including hominids). Many tuffs were deposited during a 90 ka interval during which Mediterranean sapropels are lacking, suggesting that Nile flow was reduced, and that the level of a lake that occupied the Omo-Turkana Basin at the time was low. Thus the record of climatic influence on deposition in the Omo-Turkana Basin, previously shown for the Kibish Formation (≤200 ka). extends at least to early Pleistocene time.”

      Tuff is challenging to date because it involves volcanic sediment, and the KBS tuff involved sediments of several different ages, which made it even more challenging. The KBS Tuff was particularly famous because of the personalities involved (Leakey, etc.), which also made the dispute unusually contentious. However, the normal process of publication of results and the investigation of those results by other scientists (i.e., the normal scientific process) worked. What the resolution of the KBS tuff controversy indicates is that while difficult, the difficulties can be overcome and dating is possible.

      YEC does not have any scientific method for dating rocks that shows that rocks were formed in two events, spaced about 1700 years apart, with the first event occurring about 4004 years ago (if they are consistent in using geneologies for dating) or about 10,000 years ago (some YECs allow for geneological gaps). The YEC scientists cannot get their work published in standard geological journals because their claims are like UFO abduction stories.

      Rock dating is a hard science and becoming more precise and well founded as the decades roll by…

    • Greg

      Steve,

      Re: #208

      “What about you, Greg? Do you believe that a supernatural Being had anything to do with the creation/development of the natural world, whether of living species or anything else? Do you believe that the DNA in a human cell, containing information equivalent to that contained in 25-30 complete sets of the Encylopedia Brittanica, evolved from nonliving chemicals completely through random natural events? If you do believe that a Creator was involved in the process, could you please tell me exactly how and where you believe this involvement occurred.”

      One of my main points has been an emphasis on correctly interpreting the scriptures free of any influence of modern science. I am all about understanding its original meaning, and to do that accurately you must adopt an ancient worldview.

      I am a Christian, and have been for ten years. I believe the Bible to be the inspired, inerrant Word of the Living God. I read Genesis as Moses intended, as the ancient Israelites just after the Exodus read it, to the best of my ability. I see a creation account, similar to other Ancient Near Eastern accounts, which focuses on the creation of functions and functionaries. I see the pagan mythology of the day replaced with Yahweh as the supreme Creator and Sustainer of the cosmos. I see nothing of nature, but only God working and ruling the universe from the vantage point of His cosmic temple above the heavens. I see God creating things, not physically, but functionally. To the ancient Israelite, a thing didn’t begin to exist until it had a function and a name.

      This is seen throughout the entire creation account. God assigning function and names to things over and over again, each day. This was important to the ancients. This meant everything to them (as an aside, notice how Adam, made in the image of God, spends the 6th day naming animals. He is a representative of God here on earth, and so acts like Him in a limited capacity).

      Steve, have you ever read Genesis and noticed the significance of God naming things and assigning them functions? This is what the creation account is all about! Yet if you never saw that, how can you expect your interpretation of it to be correct? We tend to focus on the origin of physical things, and that misleads us.

      We have to remember its not about us. We have no right to impose our requirements on scripture in any form. We cannot define a narrow definition of truth independent of the historical and cultural context and expect it to adhere to it. Interpreting scripture does not work that way. The ancients don’t even believe something exists in the same way we do, so what makes us think our narrow, Western, post-Enlightened definitions of truth are the same as theirs?

      [Continued]

    • Greg

      [Continued]

      I see the world as the ancients saw it (described in post #68), and understand the way it functions as the ancients understood it. I understand the significance of the days of creation and what it meant to them, not us. I know the purpose of the creation account, used to give the newly freed Israelites hope and reassurance that their God will take care of them so they need not return to the gods of Egypt.

      First and foremost, the creation account was written and received by people steeped deeply in Ancient Near Eastern culture and knowledge. They did not know of the world as we do now. God did not try to reveal it to them. Any hermeneutic that tries to find modern knowledge in ancient scripture is doing violence to the text. My #155 post to Richard highlights one of these aspects of the ANE view of the world. This presents a difficult interpretation for a YEC because it very clearly reflects the worldview of the ANE. That is what they believed about the world.

      Interpreting Genesis is not an easy thing to do. We need to be aware what the significance a creation account had to an ancient person. We have to know their worldview, how they believed the gods acted in creation, how they saw the heavens and imagined the world to be. We need to know their literary conventions, how to recognize them and make sense of them. In a word, we need to understand their entire worldview and find out what was important to them and how they expressed it.

      Only after all this can we finally look at Genesis and declare what is going on. If we ignore all the above and look at the plain text, accepting it “literally”, then we will end up with a sorry understanding of its meaning, one that’s highly invested in our own worldview and devoid of any ancient meaning originally ascribed to it.

      Young earth creationism, gap-theories, progressive creationism, any old earth creationism that finds modern science in scripture or scripture revealing modern science, anything at all that is the sole product of modernistic and Post-Enlightened ways of thinking is all wrong in relation to Genesis.

      Genesis was written TO the Israelites FOR our benefit. It answered and spoke to THEIR questions and concerns in life, not ours. It’s not about us, at all. If we do not understand that, then we do not understand Genesis.

      A YEC can argue all they want about radiometric dating or whatever, and it will still all be wrong. Their entire starting point is wrong. Any position that does not start with the ancient perspective will be wrong. The problems all start with worldview. If that is off, then the end result will be also.

      [Continued]

    • Greg

      [Continued]

      Steve, how do you read Genesis? Through your eyes or ancient eyes? What do you think is the most important?

      Concerning your question: Scripture does not speak on those things and science cannot detect divine actions within the created order. So I do not have an answer to your question on exactly how and where God’s involvement occurred. That is unanswerable.

      Here is what I can say with certainty: God is totally sovereign. He orders, works, and plans His creation as He sees fit, whether that be ordaining various laws of the universe to work towards His overall purpose or whether He guides every particle of matter in creation. I don’t know which, and aside from divine revelation we can never know that. All I know with certainty is that He’s got the whole world in His hands, and I like it like that.

      Genesis is not vested in the modern debate on the origins of the cosmos, world, or life. Not as we want it to be. Genesis answers question relevant to an ancient Israelite. He didn’t replace all that they already believed about the cosmos. He took all that and reinterpreted it in light of Himself. God accommodated Himself to those He created; He spoke their language; He used conventions they would understand and find meaning from. His revelation reflected Ancient Near Eastern Cosmology because that is what they knew. Communicating God’s total control over the universe is the reason why the creation account was given.

      Because of that, I am free to believe what the science reveals about God’s created order at present. I have no theology invested in science, and I don’t have to fight a useless and loosing battle with any and all science I have a bone with.

      In short, I accept God’s special revelation through Holy Scripture and His general revelation through the created order. The only conflict in my life that exists between special and general revelation is that which YEC, OEC, etc. cause in their persistence to conform scripture to their own ideas.

      [Finished]

    • Greg

      Richard,

      Re: #186

      Do you believe that the Genesis flood covered the entire planet earth?

      Yes, according to the cosmology of an Ancient Near Eastern person.

      Do you believe that the author of the flood account intended to communicate that it covered the entire planet earth?

      See above.

      Do you believe that the author of the flood account intended to communicate that the entire planet was dry in 8:14?

      Of course not. That contradicts scripture and experience. What I did do was show how YEC is hermeneutically inconsistent. Put through that method of interpretation, we get this obvious contradiction. I’m not trying to undermine the authority of scripture. I wanted to highlight an inconsistency in the YEC hermeneutic.

      You are insisting that the text itself in Gen 8:14 can ONLY mean that the entire planet dried out.

      ONLY according to the YEC hermeneutic of face-value literalism devoid of the above mentioned contexts.

      Given your hermeneutic, it appears that the flood account *is* historically inaccurate.

      Reminder: this is according to a YEC hermeneutic. That has been my original assertion since I first asked you to interpret the flood account passages. I wanted you to use the YEC method and paint yourself into a corner. You did that and that’s all I needed.

      I disagree with your linguistic analysis and assertions.

      Can you show me where I’m wrong?

      Further, interpret Post #155 please. I’ve had to ask you twice now.

      On Worldviews:

      1. universe and earth have been proven ancient by science

      Science doesn’t prove, it gathers and makes sense of evidence. Evidence highly suggests an old universe and earth. Its possible all this may be overthrown tomorrow, but not very probable.

      2. author of Genesis had an ANE worldview

      Of course. Why wouldn’t he? What sort of worldview do you think he had? A western one?

      3. an ANE worldview for author and audience makes it impossible to communicate historically accurate information about the creation and flood.

      Only according to our western worldview. Its wrong to impose our standards on scripture. I believe he communicated cultural and theologically accurate information about the creation and flood according to that which God divinely inspired him to do. All God intended to communicate through those accounts were accurately and faithfully conveyed to the original audience. This was done in a manner they would understand and which would speak to their particular situation.

      To the ancients, gods ruled the functions of the universe. Thus, their survival depended on pleasing these gods (hence sacrifice). Egypt believed this, and the Israelites spent 400 years there. Of course they adopted this understanding (Joshua 24:14). After the Exodus they were wandering in the wilderness, a desert wasteland hostile to life. They needed reassurance God was in control of the functions of the world and He would protect them, and that Egypt’s gods were useless.

      [Continued]

    • Greg

      [Continued]

      The creation account established that fact. It took their ANE cosmology, rejected the pantheon of gods ruling the functions and reinterpreted it in light of the one True God. Moses wasn’t stupid. He knew what the Israelites needed, so under divine inspiration he gave it to them in a way they could understand.

      The whole account makes sense in light of this.

      Your Worldview:

      1. science has not proven the age of the earth or universe

      See my answer to #1 above. John seems to disagree with you, and I think we are both waiting on positive evidence for a young earth.

      2. the author of Genesis includes the inspiration of God, and is NOT restricted to an ANE worldview such that falsehoods must be communicated

      Can you explain post #155 to me? What other worldview would make sense to the original audience? Why would God not speak to them accordingly? Because He needs to satisfy the definitions of “truth” according to a 21st century audience?

      And what of these falsehoods? Their ancient cosmology worked for them because it answered all the questions they needed answered. As civilization progressed, harder questions needed answering, so our views changed. We do the exact same thing today. See below.

      3. the is nothing in the ANE worldview, nor the Hebrew language that prevents accurate communication of the events of creation and the flood. Please see my post 141 for an ANE and Genesis vocabulary compatible account of the big bang and evolution.

      I read it, and it would have been completely useless to the Israelites. The version you gave is the product of a foreign worldview. It answers nothing that the Israelites were asking. Why would God have given them something they couldn’t understand? God would need to overthrow their entire worldview if he gave that account. Everything, from their definition of ontology, their understanding of creation, cosmology, theology, how the world works, “nature”…..everything.

      Why would God even give them that version? Why not the 18th century version of cosmic origins? Or the 19th century, or 22nd, etc. etc.? At one time all those were (or will be) the “correct” versions, only to be overthrown or modified down the line. What makes you think what we believe today through science will be the same a century from now? Science has always been incomplete and will always be incomplete. What works is what is real, until something better comes along.

      Should God just update his revelation every century to conform to the “modern” science? This is ridiculous. Genesis was written for ancient Israelites in the ANE, not post-Enlightened moderns. An account like that would benefit no one except those who could understand it.

      [Continued]

    • Greg

      [Continued]

      Since the creation account is about functions and functionaries, which all humans throughout all times experience and deal with, the account we now have is all that is necessary. It speaks to the universal human experience and so transcends time, space, and culture. It is not about physical origins. Stop reading it like that. It is about the creation of functions relevant to humanity.

      That is the beauty and elegance of God’s divine revelation.

      So it seems that you believe that either the author of Genesis was unable or unwilling to communicate historical events correctly. At this point the OE folks I’ve encountered usually say one of two things:

      1. Genesis is simply inaccurate and not inspired (the “liberal” approach), or
      2. The intent of the Bible is not to convey history, nor scientific information, but rather to communicate “spiritual truths”.

      Do you believe either of these?

      I don’t understand how you jump from the creation account to the entire Bible. It is good to interpret each book according to its original intent and then draw application from it.

      I read Genesis as the Israelites who received it read it. I interpret it in its historical, cultural, and literary context to understand its original intent. Then, in ways remaining faithful to its meaning, I draw application from it. For example, from the creation account I get something like this: http://www.kididdles.com/lyrics/h005.html

      P.S. – My response to Steve deals more with my understanding of the creation account from the perspective of an ancient Israelite. (Post #222-224)

      Sometime tomorrow I will make a list of resources that explain this subject further, many of which can be listened to or watched online.

      I’m getting weary writing all these responses. If you’d like to look into the resources and draw your own conclusions, I’d be happy to draw the discussion to a close. Its been good talking with you.

      [Finished…Finally!]

    • #John1453

      Thank you Greg for the effort you put into your latest series of posts. It was quite interesting and informative, and a usefully different approach from the one I’ve been taking.

      I’m going to do a post on sedimentary rock, and then a further one on light, which I think should suffice for the science end of things.

      My list of dating methods in post 147 was intended to indicate that there is a wide range of phenomena that is used for dating, and that there are many lines of converging evidence. That such phenomena exists is inherent in the way God designed the universe. He is a god of order, not chaos, and has designed the universe with inherent order and regularity. It is so orderly that scientists, everyone, uses the words “laws” and “constants” in their description of the universe. Thus we take about the law of gravity, Planck’s constant, Newton’s gravitational constant, etc.

      These regularities include many things that allow us to learn about the earth’s history, and to give dates to objects—-including rocks. As I noted in post 153, an excellent overview of dating the earth is given by Dr. Roger C. Wiens at http://www.asa3.org/ASA/resources/Wiens.html.

      The lack of science supporting the YEC position on the age of the earth (the flood and evolution are separate issues), results, in part, from their fundamental approach. Among the options for interpretation of Genesis chps. 1 & 2 that have been developed by and are held by evangelical scholars who believe in an inerrant Bible, the YEC’s choose seven 4-hour days. Then, although a belief in seven 24-hour days does not necessitate a concomitant belief in either an old or young earth (i.e., either is possible, neither is excluded), they choose young.

      [cont]

    • Richard

      Greg,

      Our discussion has been enlightening as you have explained your reasoning for your conclusions. Thank you.

      ——————–

      In the claimed contradiction in Gen 8:14, you wrote:

      Reminder: this is according to a YEC hermeneutic. That has been my original assertion since I first asked you to interpret the flood account passages. I wanted you to use the YEC method and paint yourself into a corner. You did that and that’s all I needed.

      You think the YEC hermeneutic leads to contradictions if consistently applied to the flood account. It’s a shame that you didn’t read my post 174 as you are NOT using the YEC hermeneutic, but one you’ve made up to force a contradiction.

      ——————–

      You wrote:

      Do you believe that the Genesis flood covered the entire planet earth?

      Yes, according to the cosmology of an Ancient Near Eastern person.

      Do you believe that either the flood covered the entire planet or it did not, and precisely one of those possibilities is true? Or do you not believe in objective truth at all? If you disbelieve in objective truth, then it’s logically impossible to have a meaningful discussion about what did or did not occur.

      You’ve made it very clear that you believe that someone with an ANE worldview *must* believe falsehoods, they are incapable of understanding reality even if it is told to them. Including something as simple as whether or not the flood covered the entire planet. Many (you included?) believe that the flood was not really global, but of limited extent, but that the ANE worldview prevented God from communicating that simple fact to them. Rather he had to tell them a falsehood to satisfy their worldview. This is absurd…please tell us what part of the ANE worldview prevents understanding a limited extent flood; especially since the Egyptians (and Israelites) were VERY familiar with this type of event!

      ——————–
      (cont.)

    • Richard

      [continued]

      earlier in post 68 you wrote:

      We must remember all of this when we interpret the flood and the creation account. The moment we allow unrelated modern scientific knowledge to directly influence us, we do violence to scripture and move from exegesis to eisegesis. Don’t even think about the age of the earth when you interpret Genesis, or what a day means, or where evolution and dinosaurs and starlight and global floods and continents and fossils all fit in.

      That’s all our stuff. Its none of their stuff. All this meant nothing to them, and the best thing we could ever do in this whole debate is remember that.

      “Its none of their stuff. All this meant nothing to them” — this is your assertion and is foundational to the entire position that you take. You are claiming that God did not communicate accurate history to them for this reason, and furthermore, even if He’d tried, they would have been unable to understand it. First, I don’t buy your assertion. Second, even if true, it does NOT prevent God from communicating history accurately.

      ——————–

      Re the creation account, you wrote:

      It took their ANE cosmology, rejected the pantheon of gods ruling the functions and reinterpreted it in light of the one True God. Moses wasn’t stupid. He knew what the Israelites needed, so under divine inspiration he gave it to them in a way they could understand.

      The whole account makes sense in light of this.

      First, notice that you have Moses as the primary source deciding what should be communicated….

      Consider this possibility:
      The ANE cosmology was indeed false, and God told what really happened in Genesis. This dose of reality gave the Israelites what they needed, ie. a proper understanding of who God is in relation to His creation (including man). It also automatically rejects the false pantheon of gods. The whole account makes sense in light of this.

      ——————–

      You believe God communicated falsehoods via scripture, but “what of it”

      And what of these falsehoods? Their ancient cosmology worked for them because it answered all the questions they needed answered.

      You believe He could not have done differently, because the original audience was incapable of understand the truth (ie “what really happened”).
      ——————–
      (cont.)

    • Richard

      [continued]

      Post 141 shows that God could have used Genesis-like terminology and concepts to communicate something like the big bang and evolution. You wrote

      I read it, and it would have been completely useless to the Israelites. The version you gave is the product of a foreign worldview. It answers nothing that the Israelites were asking. Why would God have given them something they couldn’t understand? God would need to overthrow their entire worldview if he gave that account. Everything, from their definition of ontology, their understanding of creation, cosmology, theology, how the world works, “nature”…..everything.

      So your assumption is that ones worldview prevents “understanding” anything not contained within that worldview
      (hence ANE couldn’t understand post 141)

      Why would God even give them that version? Why not the 18th century version of cosmic origins? Or the 19th century, or 22nd, etc. etc.? At one time all those were (or will be) the “correct” versions, only to be overthrown or modified down the line. What makes you think what we believe today through science will be the same a century from now? Science has always been incomplete and will always be incomplete. What works is what is real, until something better comes along.

      I used that version precisely because many claim that science has proven the big bang and/or biological evolution, and that these truths could not have been communicated to the original audience of Genesis. Despite your objections, this version refutes that claim. (note: I’m not saying that you’ve claimed that.)

      Should God just update his revelation every century to conform to the “modern” science? This is ridiculous.

      Of course not. His revelation does not need updating as it is true.

      Genesis was written for ancient Israelites in the ANE, not post-Enlightened moderns. An account like that would benefit no one except those who could understand it.

      A few points arise from your reasoning:
      1. Scripture was given only to answer the questions the audience was asking.
      2. Information not conforming to a receiver’s worldview can not be understood.
      3. item 1 precludes God communicating what He chooses to communicate.
      4. From a current vantage point 1000’s of years removed, you think you understand the Israelite worldview.

      However, you admit that our understandings of science move change and move forward. This new information was understood within the previous worldview and in fact modified that worldview. This proves item 2 is false, and removes your reason for God communicating falsehoods in scripture.

      ——————–

    • cheryl u

      Greg,

      I agree with Richard that your idea that God deliberately communicated falsehoods in Scripture because they couldn’t understand anything else and it would change their whole world view if he did to be a bit absurd and contradictory to Scripture itself and even to your own statements.

      You have said that God reinterpreted what was happening in light of Himself–changing people from believing in the paganistic view of the day. Was that not changing their world view?? And much of Scripture is written precisely to change our world view from a secular one to one based on true knowledge of Him and His ways. Why do you automatically assume that God could not or would not change their world view in other ways? There is certainly some inconsistency in what you are saying here as far as I can tell.

    • EricW

      Greg wrote:

      #227: … Sometime tomorrow I will make a list of resources that explain this subject further, many of which can be listened to or watched online.

      I’m looking forward to your list of resources.

      It seems to me that if one extends/applies your reasoning/viewpoint of the creation account to the accounts of the creation of Adam and Eve and the Garden and the Fall, it could create problems for Paul’s and the NT’s soteriology and Christology.

      Anyway, thanks for the lengthy explanation of your hermeneutic.

    • cheryl u

      Greg,

      Do you honestly believe that everything that God has communicated to us in the Bible is only to answer the questions we have been asking? God does indeed know what we need, and sometimes we may very well need to be told things that we were not asking about! He is the one that makes the decisions about what He needs to communicate, not us or our “felt needs” to use a modern term.

    • Steve Bartholomew

      Greg

      In #129, Richard records this exchange between you and himself:

      Richard: Do you believe that the Genesis flood covered the entire planet earth?
      You: Yes, according to the cosmology of an Ancient Near Eastern person.

      You have gone to great (!!!) lengths to defend your position that Scripture, particularly Genesis, was written to people of the Ancient Near East, and that it must always be interpreted with this fact in mind. Your reply to Richard suggests that you believe that although the Genesis account of the Flood would have been interpreted by the people it was written to as worldwide, in reality it was not.
      Your perspective ignores the simple truth that there is objective reality. As Richard pointed out, in regards to the Genesis Flood, in other words, either it ACTUALLY WAS world-wide, or it was not. The TRUE extent of this flood is not dependent upon anyone’s interpretation of an account of it.
      Similarly, either God ACTUALLY created the world – as the 1st verse of the Bible claims – or He had nothing to do with it (as the theory of evolution claims (and I mean the TOE in the broadest sense here, of course)).

      Recognition of the existence of ABSOLUTE TRUTH is fundamental to the search for any truth. For example, belief that the Genesis Flood could actually have been both world-wide and local reveals a fundamental flaw in one’s approach to logic. It ignores the reality of absolute truth. The Flood either was worldwide or it wasn’t. It cannot have been both.

      I must add here that you have shown remarkable resilience defending your position, and I will not be at all surprised to see your disappearance from this blog at any moment. If this event is imminent, but you still read this comment, I wish you the very best in your continuing quest for the truth!

      Steve

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      EricW: “It seems to me that if one extends/applies your reasoning/viewpoint of the creation account to the accounts of the creation of Adam and Eve and the Garden and the Fall, it could create problems for Paul’s and the NT’s soteriology and Christology.”

      Yes. And precisely why I emphasized a historically factual Adam and Eve in my previous comments.

      “Theistic Evolution” and a historically factual Adam and Eve are a lovely combination.

    • Richard

      K-Ar dates and precision, an example:

      Regarding the age of the Devils Postpile basalt, Dalrymple calculated a K-Ar age of 0.94 ± 0.16 million years. Notice the stated precision of the age. However, there is more (http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/geology/publications/pp/554-D/sec4.htm)

      A potassium-argon age determination of 0.94±0.16 million years was reported by Dalrymple (1964b) for the andesite of the Devils Postpile. A redetermination on a second split of the same sample yielded an age of 0.63±0.35 million years. Because the amount of potassium in the sample and the percentage of radiogenic argon relative to total argon are so low in both of these determinations, they indicate little more than that the age of the andesite probably is between a quarter of a million and a million years. It is thus possible to reconcile these data with an age of approximately 0.7 million years for the tuff of Reds Meadow, which the andesite unconformably overlies.

      Now notice that the *same sample* yielded two differing calculated ages, but there is overlap. If the stated precisions of the ages meant what such precisions normally mean, then the proper conclusion would be that the age is actually in the overlap, which is .78 to .98 Myr. However, that is not what is concluded, rather they say the age is “probably” between .25 and 1 Myr, and thus reconciles with an approx .7 Myr age for the associated tuff. In this example the stated precisions are not believed to be factual. These precisions result from the application of the K-Ar measurement techniques and age determination algorithm, so where does the fault lie? If it’s the measurement technique, then they did not know the precision of their own instruments. The algorithm has many assumptions which must be made related to the geological history of the sample…these assumptions are not known to be true, thus they can be adjusted later to allow different conclusions to be reached.

      Notice that the USGS now says that age was “seriously in error” (http://geomaps.wr.usgs.gov/parks/depo/dpgeol4.html):

      Less than 100,000 years ago, basalt lava, which was to become the Devils Postpile, erupted in the already glaciated valley of the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River. The age of volcanic rocks can be estimated by study of the radioactive decay of elements in the rocks. Previous estimates for the age of the Postpile basalt, ranging from about 600,000 years to nearly a million years, are now thought to be seriously in error. Although an exact age for the Postpile flow still is not known, we believe that an age of less than 100,000 years, based on radiometric age determinations on rocks thought to be correlative, is more reasonable.

      Notice that the new much younger age is not a function of the originally dated samples at all….it has been determined because rocks are “thought to correspond” to the erroneously dated basalt.

    • #John1453

      [continuing post 228 by #John1453]

      The YECs then take their young earth position and claim that it is the only permissible one for evangelical inerrantists, and claim that because their (fallible) interpretation is correct, God has therefore declared that the earth is young. If God has declared that the earth is young, then, obviously, any science that disagrees with that fact must be wrong and will eventually be overturned or will succumb to the miracles of God that prevent dating to be derived from the regularities that God has embedded in the nature of His universe.

      That this is the case is readily acknowledged by YECs, “For Bible-believing Christians, God’s Word is our starting point: our presupposed foundation through which we interpret and balance fallen man’s ideas, including those derived scientifically. Although some may consider this a foolish faith, everyone has such faith in something. But which is foolish: faith in the unmovable Word of the omniscient creator God or faith in man’s fallible, changing ideas?” at http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2008/02/04/do-creationists-reject-science

      Consequently, no matter what results are obtained, the YECs will reject them if they do not correspond to their allegedly “Biblically derived” age of 4004 years, or 6,000 years. The rejection occurs regardless of the science, regardless of how carefully experiments are done, regardless of the continually supported theoretical grounding of so-called secular science. [I used quotes around because of their assumption that there is only one acceptable interpretation of Genesis 1 & 2]

      YECs frame the debate as if the issues of worldview that they raise are relevant to the dating of physical specimens and that the difference between them and so-called secular science comes down to one of “worldview”. Not even in the same ball park. Christian evangelical geo-physicists who believe in an inerrant Bible and atheists and Bhuddists, and Hindus, etc. do not reject young dates for rocks because of a pre-commitment to a belief in an old earth. Christians and atheists, etc. follow the science that is based on the observed regularities and constants and processes that can be observed (regularities, etc. that God put there).

      In addition, the age of the earth and evolution are not of necessity bound together. It is possible to both reject evolution in favour of creation and still accept an old earth. The only relevance of world view in the physical sciences is that one work within the constraints of the physcial world as one finds it and observes it. A pre-existing commitment to a specific age of the earth is not, and should not be, a part of the world view of scientists engaged in the hard sciences. Scientists should (and do, except for YECs) follow what God has put before them to observe.

      Regards
      #John

    • #John1453

      Cherylu and Richard, please read Greg more carefully and take the time to understand what he writes. He is NOT stating that God lied to Moses, etc., or that God fed them falsehoods or that God deliberately mislead them, or that God did not think that they could not handle or understand the truth.

      Greg is recognizing that ANE peoples had their own way of framing and talking about the truth, etc., and that God would have and did talk to them from within that framework. That framework is not our framework. An ANE person would not have said or believed that God was misleading them or giving them falsehoods.

      But since Greg is doing a good job of dealing with the issues of language and culture, I’ll let him respond when he gets time.

      Greg, you did a lot of work, and deserve a breather, but please do give us more. I have heard of or read about some of what you are writing about, but not all and you are presenting them well.

      Regards,
      #John

    • Richard

      John,

      I read Greg very carefully and thought about what he said.

      You wrote:

      Greg is recognizing that ANE peoples had their own way of framing and talking about the truth, etc., and that God would have and did talk to them from within that framework. That framework is not our framework. An ANE person would not have said or believed that God was misleading them or giving them falsehoods.

      You are saying that an ANE person, even though told something that is historically inaccurate, would not believe that they’d been misled. So it appears that you are also saying that an ANE person is incapable of understanding some rather straight forward propositions. Either the entire planet was covered, and all persons outside the ark died, or that did not happen.

      I guess there may be one other logical possibility. The ANE might not have a concept of truth capable of distinguishing between historically accurate vs inaccurate accounts. That would certainly NOT be the case, however, for an OT Biblical worldview as they were told to distinguish a true prophet from a false prophet by the correctness of their predictions. This requires that their worldview be capable of such a distinction. Scripture is quite clear that its audience is capable of distinguishing truth from falsehood, including in Genesis.

      To borrow a phrase from Jack Nicholson, you both seem to be saying to the ANE, “You can’t handle the truth”

    • #John1453

      Richard quotes, “are now thought to be seriously in error.” as if that disproves all radiometric dating of rocks. He ignores the fact that such errors do not occur in the thousands of datings that are done around the world. YECs point out the relatively few datings that are disputed as if that invalidates the entire methodology. Not only does that seriously misrepresent both the methodology and the history of its use, but it fails to acknowledge how and why the disputes are resolved.

      The disputes result from published work that is held out for the review by, and challenge by, of their peers. The result of this process is that the scientists learn more about dating and why formerly suprising dates are obtained (once the nature of the apparent “problem” is understood, the result is no longer surprising and would be expected in similar circumstances in the future.

      Even though some of the ancient Greeks figured out that the world was a globe and not flat, that assertion was still disputed for hundreds and hundreds of years. Some Biblical commentators or teachers even pointed to the use of “four corners of the world” in the Bible as proof that God was telling us that the world was flat. God said it, so evidence and reasoning to the contrary must be wrong. Eventually, however, the evidence for a spherical (actually, not a perfect sphere, more like a squashed pear, but I digress) earth continued to pile up. Now no Christian disputes the fact that the world is a sphere.

      The same is true with respect to the dating of rocks. Not only is the direction of our learning only going one way–to an old earth–but the science behind it has been confirmed for so long that it is on par with our knowledge that the earth is a sphere. YEC is not an option that is on the table and it is a serious misteaching for anyone, especially those who hold themselves out as giving a teaching or advice in this area, to state otherwise.

      The fact that a young earth is not an option for Christians is a separate issue from the interpretation of Genesis (unless one goes beyond the language used therein and uses certain assumptions to infer a young age). With respect to interpretation, it is entirely warranted to state that one can have leanings but not be absolute (at this time). Indeed, that is the conclusion that the 1982 evangelical conference on inerrancy came to with respect to the interpretation of Genesis (and the Chicago statement on inerrancy, etc.). The leading lights of evangelicalism agreed that one can believe in inerrancy and not be dogmatic about one specific intepretation of Genesis.

      Regards,
      #John

    • #John1453

      Before I move on to a post about sedimentary rock, I will briefly respond to Richard’s post 240 [as an aside, I observe that some bloggers write in the first and second person, while I write in the third person. My style is a result of my educational and work background, and I would hope that no one infers anything from the use of different relational vantage points in the posts on this thread].

      Greg may wish to express things differently, but from my understanding of the type of interpretation he has put forward, an ANE person transported to the present day would not say that he had been lied to or mislead. He would respond with something like, ” Greece, Egypt, and Babylonia [i.e., insert scope of knowledge] was the entire world in my time. And that is what “the whole world” [i.e., the corresponding ANE term] meant in my time. We had no idea there was anything else. Whole world meant to the limits of what we knew, not some bizarre sphere thing. But it’s not even like we spoke of limits, and presumed that there was a limit beyond which there was something else. We did not have maps with “there be dragons” around the edges.”

      A bit wordy, but like Mark Twain wrote, it takes time to write a short letter / reply.

      Because it is possible to interpret the Bible as consistent with either a universal or local flood, and hold to an old earth, I am not taking any position on the scope of the flood in this thread. I believe that the propagation of YEC beliefs in a young earth is a far more serious problem, and I’ll stick with that topic.

      Regards,
      #John

    • Steve Bartholomew

      John

      In your comment #242 you stated:
      Because it is possible to interpret the Bible as consistent with either a universal or local flood, and hold to an old earth, I am not taking any position on the scope of the flood in this thread.

      As I stated in #235 there is such a thing as objective reality. In other words, the TRUTH is that the Genesis Flood either was worldwide or it wasn’t. Like I said, this truth is completely independent of what was written about it or how people interpret what was written … and the truth about this matter makes all the difference in the world in arriving at a proper understanding of God’s Word.

      Steve

    • Richard

      John,

      You completely missed the point of my post on K-Ar dates. The point is that the technique itself can be properly applied by practitioners such as Dalrymple and generate erroneous results. The fact that the results are erroneous CAN NOT be determined from within the technique. The “serious errors” can only be detected when the calculated dates are compared to something else.

      Thus radiometric dates are not an absolute chronometer.

      In logic, when an algorithm has been shown to produce erroneous results it is disproved and no longer used. You can’t overcome this by continuing to use the algorithm and getting results that seem good. As the old saw goes “even a broken clock is correct twice a day”.

      If I gave you a rock, and the K-Ar results from a lab showing a calculated age of, say 3.5 ± .25 Myr, would you know how old it really is? If you say yes, then what if the results had been .94 ± .16 Myr as in the case of Devils Postpile?

      The truth is that if a particular age is expected, then the calculated age is compared to that and discarded if it disagrees. See the KBS Tuff example. If the initial K-Ar result (Fitch, Miller 69) had been 2.5 – 3.0 Myr it would have been accepted, but it was 212 – 230 Myr and so discarded as being the result of remixing. Again, the calculated result does not stand on its own. The technique by itself can’t detect “bad” results.

      Furthermore, there are numerous documented cases of discrepant dates calculated, including those of rocks of known age. Of course, there have been attempts to explain away most of these, but often even these explanations tend to illustrate the problem.

      So we differ in our approach of what we accept as compelling evidence. I recognize the inherent limitations of radiometric dating. You keep mentioning the “thousands” of datings which are not disputed. The fact that they are not disputed does not mean that they are correct. Dalrymple’s K-Ar date for Devils Postpile were wrong even BEFORE it was disputed.

      Also, I’d recommend you read the actual RATE project reports and not just Henke, et al’s analysis of them.

      BTW, don’t repeat talkorigins or Wien’s work for my benefit. I’ve already read them. BTW here is a response to the Wiens article http://creation.com/images/pdfs/other/5292wiens_dating.pdf.

    • #John1453

      Re post 243 and objective reality.

      Like anyone else that is afraid to walk in front of a speeding bus, I believe in an objective reality.

      The question with respect to Genesis 1 & 2, is what “objective reality” is described therein. Based on language alone, one cannot at present definitively exclude either a young earth or old earth. The language used is consistent with / can be understood as describing either a young earth or old earth objective reality, in so far as we currently understand the language used (ancient Hebrew).

      So yes, God knows what in fact did happen. The language (I don’t mean language = “Hebrew” but language = the words and literary style) He used in Genesis does not provide sufficient information to conclusively determine whether the earth is old or young.

      However, the regularities and physical nature of reality that he designed does allow us with great confidence to discern the age of the earth. Furthermore, apart from the confidence we have in the age (i.e., confidence expressed as an age +/- some years), we know for certain that the earth is not young. As certain as we know that the earth goes around the sun, and that the heme circulatory system is composed of the heart, arteries, veins and capillaries and that oxygen exchange occurs in the lungs.

      Regards,
      #John

    • Joshua

      Richard,

      It still seems you are missing the point in what Greg is trying to say.

      Let me ask you this question (and please correct me Greg if this isn’t the direction you were trying to go):

      If I say to you, “the sun rises in the morning and set in the evening?”

      Would you say yes or no?

      If you say yes, does that make you a liar (since we know its the earth thats rotating around the sun and not vice versa)?

      Don’t both “yes” and a “no” to this basic question ring true depending on the context in which it is asked? Or would you claim someone a liar if they told you that the sun sets in the evening?

      The cultural context of the question is just as important as the cultural context of the answer and it seems impossible to think that ANE people thought in the categories that you are demanding since they are of modern inventions.

      I think thats what Greg was trying to get at. Its not a matter of them being “stupid” its just a matter for them thinking in different categories based upon their cultural and historical context. I mean you can see this reality just by looking at the vast difference between Western society and Eastern Society (although globlization has caused this divide to diminish). They just think differently on A LOT of things than we do; and its not even that they simply disagree with us, its that the questions that we ask (and vise versa) just wouldn’t “come up” in their minds because they think in different categories.

      Your brother in Christ,

      -Joshua

    • Richard

      John wrote:

      Greg may wish to express things differently, but from my understanding of the type of interpretation he has put forward, an ANE person transported to the present day would not say that he had been lied to or mislead. He would respond with something like, ” Greece, Egypt, and Babylonia [i.e., insert scope of knowledge] was the entire world in my time. And that is what “the whole world” [i.e., the corresponding ANE term] meant in my time. We had no idea there was anything else.

      Once again this implies that God, whose knowledge is NOT limited as you imply for an ANE, is incapable of communicating accurately. It’s also not as easy as just trying to define what you think “whole world” meant to an ANE. The flood account uses many more absolutes. Here are some examples:
      ————-
      all people,

      all life under the heavens,

      every creature that has the breath of life in it,

      I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made,

      all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered,

      The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than twenty feet,

      Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died,

      I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth
      ————-

      In fact it’s hard to image what else God could have said to make the point that it is global. Furthermore, it it were local, then God’s covenant has been broken as we’ve had many very serious local floods since. (although I suppose you could argue that His covenant only meant another local flood of equal magnitude wouldn’t happen…pretty weak)

      Also, if that weren’t enough, Jesus himself said:
      “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.”

      John, please explain how a local flood covers all the mountains to a depth of 20 feet for weeks at a time? This defies the laws of physics.

    • Dave Z

      Richard writes:
      “Furthermore, there are numerous documented cases of discrepant dates calculated, including those of rocks of known age.”

      Just wondering what dating method you accept to arrive at a “known age” for a rock.

      ( I don’t know how you guys post those block quotes with the bar on the left. And italics and other formatting. Wish I did)

    • Richard

      Dave Z,

      I was referring to rocks formed from volcanic flows that were witnessed. We really do know when that happened.

      To get the quote bar just put
      [blockquote] to start it, and [/blockquote ] to end,

      but replace ‘[‘ and ‘]’ with the “less than” and “greater than” symbols respectively.

    • Dave Z

      Thank you for the tips Richard.

      So, while the volcanic rocks may be new in form, the minerals they’re made of are as old as the earth. It’s just a change of state. Does that affect dating methods? Is the half-life (or whatever) clock reset to zero? Do they count as new rock or just solidified magma?

    • mbaker

      This has been one of the one most interesting discussions I’ve read on creationism so far, on all sides.

      Here’s my question, and I hope it is not over simplistic:

      The 6,000 years old debate of YEC’s : Is that predicated on strictly a 24-7 hour day and seven day week, as in our definition of time, or upon that verse in scripture which says a day in the Lord is like a thousand years?

      Seems to me that would make a big difference, as all I’ve ever heard from YEC’s to back up their whole hypothesis is that one scripture.

    • Richard

      Joshua,

      I appreciate your post. Your example of “sun rise” and “sun set” language is an example often used when challenging the “literal” interpretation of scripture.

      The statements about the movement of the sun and earth are literal in a phenomenological sense. In other words, a phenomenon is described from the viewpoint of the observer. We do the same thing today as we (even evolutionists) speak in everyday discourse about the sun rising and setting, even though we know much more about how the solar system works. From the observer’s position, that is exactly what happens.

      This is not the case for the flood account.

      I borrowed this answer from an article addressing this point (and related others) raised by J.P. Moreland in some detail here, it’s well worth reading: http://creation.com/are-biblical-creationists-cornered-a-response-to-dr-jp-moreland

      you wrote:

      The cultural context of the question is just as important as the cultural context of the answer and it seems impossible to think that ANE people thought in the categories that you are demanding since they are of modern inventions.

      I absolutely agree with you about the importance of context. Please read my post 141 and let me know why that couldn’t have communicated the basic outline of the big bang and evolution to the audience of Genesis. What categories of “modern invention” are required?

      Also, the distinction between a global or local flood, all people outside the ark dying, etc don’t require any modern concepts to be understood.

    • Richard

      mbaker,

      God defined what a “day” is in the text itself, the first time it was used. “And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. ” It’s a period of dark and light.

      See post 204 to see that Barr admits this is what the text communicates (even though he does not believe it). There are many good discussions of this from a YEC perspective. A couple of links:

      http://www.christiananswers.net/q-aig/aig-c011.html
      http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v16/i3/day.asp

      a book chapter on this:
      http://creation.com/images/pdfs/cabook/chapter2.pdf

      plus info on Genesis (not just days) can be found:
      http://creation.com/genesis-questions-and-answers
      http://www.answersingenesis.org/get-answers/topic/genesis

      Furthermore the creation week is not only in Genesis. It’s the reason we have a 7 day week. In defining the sabbath in the 10 commands Ex 20:11 says:

      “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

    • Richard

      Now to the accepted age of the earth itself.
      From http://creation.com/flaws-in-dating-the-earth-as-ancient

      Flaws in dating the earth as ancient

      by Alexander R. Williams

      In 1986 the world’s leading science journal, Nature, announced that the most ancient rock crystals on earth, according to isotope dating methods, are 4.3 billion years old and come from Jack Hills in Western Australia.

      W. Compston and R.T. Pidgeon (Nature 321:766–769, 1986) obtained 140 zircon crystals from a single rock unit and subjected them to uranium/uranium concordia (U/U)1 and uranium/thorium concordia (U/Th)2 dating methods. One crystal showed a U/U date of 4.3 billion years, and the authors therefore claimed it to be the oldest rock crystal yet discovered.

      A serious problem here is that all 140 crystals from the same rock unit gave statistically valid information about that rock unit.3 No statistician could ever condone a method which selected one value and discarded all the other 139. In fact, the other 139 crystals show such a confusion of information that a statistician could only conclude that no sensible dates could be extracted from the data.

      A further problem is that the 4.3 billion-year-old zircon, dated according to the U/U method, was identified by the U/Th method to be undatable. An unbiased observer would be forced to admit that this contradiction prevents any conclusion as to the age of the crystal. But these authors reached their conclusion by ignoring the contradictory data! If a scientist in any other field did this he would never be allowed to publish it. Yet here we have it condoned by the top scientific journal in the world.

      This is not an isolated case. I selected it because it was identified by the journal editors as a significant advance in knowledge. Another example is the work of F.A. Podosek, J. Pier, O. Nitoh, S. Zashu, and M. Ozima (Nature 334:607–609, 1988). They found what might have been the world’s oldest rock crystals, but unfortunately they were too old!

      They extracted diamonds from rocks in Zaire and found by the potassium-argon method that they (the diamonds) were six billion years old. But the earth is supposed to be only 4.5 billion years old. So Podosek and friends decided they must be wrong. They admitted, however, that if the date had not been contradicted by the ‘known’ age of the earth, they would have accepted it as valid.

      (cont.)

    • Richard

      [continued]

      This clearly shows two fundamental flaws in long-age isotope dating.

      First, the dates are readily discarded if they do not fit the preconceived notions of the experimenter. Such a practice is not acceptable in any other field of science because it destroys the objectivity upon which science has built its reputation. Isotope dating is therefore not the objective, absolute dating method it is often claimed to be.

      Second, it is impossible to tell, from the isotope information alone, when the dates are right and when they are wrong.

      When I presented this and similar criticisms of isotope dating to a gathering of the Lucas Heights Scientific Society (Sydney, Australia) in 1989, the only response that came from the chief of the division responsible for isotope dating at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization was the question, ‘Do you have a better dating method?’

      I said ‘No’, and he appeared to be satisfied that if there are no better methods of dating, then these are good enough. But can you ride a bicycle into the past simply because no one else has a better time-machine? Of course not. In the same way it is absurd to argue that an inadequate method is adequate because nothing better is available.4

      References and notes

      1. Uranium/uranium concordia—this method involves graphically comparing the 238U/206Pb ratio with the 235U/207Pb ratio.
      2. Uranium/thorium concordia—in this method the 238U/206Pb ratio is graphically compared with the 232Th/203Pb ratio.
      3. The rock unit involved is a metamorphosed sandstone (quartzite) in which the zircon crystals represent grains eroded from source rocks (e.g. granites) and deposited with the sand. Thus the ‘ages’ of the zircon crystals represent the ‘age’ of the source rock(s) and not the ‘age’ of the quartzite.
      4. Further details of these examples can be found in my fuller technical article on this subject in the Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal 6(1):2–5, 1992.

    • Richard

      Interesting, related reading. Well known astronomer Halton Arp has been publishing observations which cause problems for the Big Bang since the 60’s. He has experienced several decades of what it’s like to do science when you don’t “toe the line” with the consensus establishment. His book “Seeing Red: Redshifts, Cosmology, and Academic Science” is quite interesting if you have an interest in cosmology. Chapter 10 is titled “Academia” and is an expose on how academia and refereed journals stifle new ideas. I know this is contrary to what we generally think (at least it was for me). He comments on the role money plays…

      Arp does a good job of explaining and exposing what really goes on. Anyone with an interest in science should read it.

      BTW, Arp is no creationist (in fact he’s antagonistic) so you needn’t worry about bias 🙂

      “If you take a highly intelligent person and give them the best possible, elite education, then you will most likely wind up with an academic who is completely impervious to reality.” -Halton Arp

    • Steve Bartholomew

      John

      The objective reality I was referring to was the extent of the Genesis Flood (worldwide or local), not the age of the earth … and the point was that IN REALITY it either was worldwide or it wasn”t, regardless of how the pertinent Scripture verses are interpreted.

      The same is true of the age of the earth, of course … IN REALITY, it is a certain # of years old. Again, this reality is not dependent on the culture of those investigating it, or their interpretation of related evidence.

      Finally, there is abundant evidence, both physical and otherwise, that the Flood was indeed worldwide (I can guess what response this comment is going to generate!).

      Steve

    • Richard

      Evidence of young earth:

      Just want to mention on specific topic. Russ Humphreys (creationist PhD physicist and cosmologist) created a YEC model for the formation of planetary magnetic fields. He made specific predictions from this model that contrasted with the standard evolutionary model of the solar system. The predictions from Russ’s model differed measurably from the standard one thus making it a good test for distinguishing between them. These predictions were published prior to the Voyager 2 fly by which gathered the measurements needed to test the model.

      Predictions made:
      The Creation of Planetary Magnetic Fields (http://www.creationresearch.org/crsq/articles/21/21_3/21_3.html)

      Predictions fulfilled:
      Beyond Neptune: Voyager II Supports Creation http://www.icr.org/index.php?module=articles&action=view&ID=329

      Other related articles about the YEC model of magnetic fields matching observations:

      Mercury’s Magnetic Field is Young! http://creation.com/mercury-s-magnetic-field-is-young

      Magnetic Message from Mercury http://creation.com/magnetic-message-from-mercury

      The earth’s magnetic field: evidence that the earth is young
      http://creation.com/the-earth-s-magnetic-field-evidence-that-the-earth-is-young

    • #John1453

      Sedimentary rock creation is a mechanical or formulaic process, by which I mean deterministic. Take particles, add pressure to remove spaces between the particles and to create heat and facilitate chemical reactions, and add chemical reactions to create the bonds between the particles and “voila”, one gets sedimentary rock. The specific processes, and the amount of pressure, heat, time and chemical reactions are all known and can be tested. It’s a deterministic process like creating steel from iron, or creating porcelein from clay, etc. Depending on the type of sedimentary rock, that process takes from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of years. In fact, we can observe particles (clay, etc., whatever the starting material) in the various stages of rock formation, and relate those stages to different ages.

      The science of fluid dynamics and the actions of suspended solids are also well known and not in dispute. The process of sedimentary lithification (rock creation) cannot be speeded up by flooding, even (especially) on a global scale so as to result in rock formation in a few thousand years (I don’t believe there is any research at all that indicates that flooding speeds up rock formation). There is no combination of water and flooding etc. that can cause lithification and produce sedimentary rock within the one year time frame of the Noahic flood, nor would deposited sediments have lithified (turned to stone) in the next 4,200 years.

      Furthermore, there is no process that would turn the sediments into stone and then cause the various rock formations that can be observed, including bending, shears, overthrusts, etc. in the space of a only a few thousand years. It is pure speculation, not within the realm of possibility, to suggest otherwise. We can and do understand these basic physical mechanical processes and they do not and cannot produce what we observe in only a few thousand years, nor as the result of solids suspended and deposited in a flood.

      In addition it is not physically possible for a flood to deposit the layers of rock observed, and especially not the thousands of thin layers of fine material found in various locations, such as the Green River Formation in the U.S. (up to 2,600 feet of layers averaging only 0.18 millimeters in thickness (.007 of an inch). YECs also cannot explain why these finely layered deposits do not occur even over the entire world, but only in localized areas that are structured the same as active lake beds that we can observe today.

      ***

      As indicated in an above post, I’m not addressing the issue of whether the flood is local or global. I only discussed ANE worldview because Greg’s last post implied a break in his posting on that topic, and because it pertained in part to the interpretation of Genesis 1 & 2.

      Regards,
      #John

    • #John1453

      Richard states that he and I “differ in our approach of what we accept as compelling evidence.” That does not even begin to describe what is going on here.

      It is not possible for Richard to accept as valid any data or analysis of data that contradicts his YE (young earth) beliefs. He starts with the premise that God has stated that the earth is young, and is committed to that premise above all else. Sort of a “God said it, I believe it, that settles it” approach to the physical sciences. That is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a scientific approach to anything.

      Because of the commitment to a belief that cannot be changed regardless of what YE (young earther) or others observe, any evidence or analysis that suggests otherwise is immediately and permanently rejected by YEs. It is not even possible for it to be true.

      So the YEs always, immediately and without ceasing try to discredit any observation or analysis that suggests YE is wrong and that OE (old earth) is correct. It MUST be wrong according to their committed belief, so there is no point in trying to determine if it is correct, or to think of why it might be explainable as correct. If the YEs cannot find some mud to throw on the wall, they retreat to “we haven’t determined the error yet, but we will”, or “it is an example of the miraculous power and intervention of God”.

      Their entire so-called system of YE dating consists of nothing but alleging that unexplained observations invalidate all of, and entirely, the various methodologies of dating. The YEs have no methodology (or methodologies (plural) appropriate to the various types of rock) for consistently and reliably dating rocks to either 4004 B.C. (creation date) or to 2250 B.C. (date of the flood). None.

      The result of the YE beliefs is that an entire area of knowledge that God has set before us is ruled out of play and completely inaccessible to us.

      In all other areas of the physical world / universe we can use our God given gifts of observation and analysis to describe and understand the universe that God has created. We can understand combustion, nuclear fusion, the growth of plants and animals, friction, gravity, fluid behaviour, the formation of dew, etc. But the YEs hold that we cannot use observation and analysis to study rocks and determine their age. When we study rocks using the same scientific methods and understandings that we apply to all other areas of knowledge, we come up with an ancient earth (over 4.5 billion years) and an even more ancient universe. But the YEs have an unchanging and irrevocable commitment to a 6,000 year old earth and so therefore what we learn from observation and analysis must be wrong and completely rejected.

      Christian, evangelical, inerrantist Non-YE scientists do not have this commitment. They follow the evidence and analysis that normal science, the science everyone else uses to investigate other physical phenomena, and follow it wherever it goes…

    • cheryl u

      #John,

      I’m wondering about something. Maybe you have told us elsewhere and I don’t remember. I wonder what profession you are in–it seems you said something about teaching?? You have so much info available I’m just wondering if you are maybe a science teacher or professor? (If that is information you don’t want to give out in a blog, I certainly understand. Thanks.)

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      My preference is for the YEC’s and the OEC’s to lay down their swords and instead team up to fight against the far more deadlier enemy of neo-Darwinian evolution and abiogenesis and their compromising enablers known as theistic evolutionists.

    • #John1453

      re post 261

      I have 4 university level degrees: 3 year B.A. in theology/biblical studies. 4 year degree in linguistics. law degree. master of environmental studies.

      I am a lawyer who helps people build things. Everything from houses to hospitals to power plants (I’m currently working on both, in fact).

      I deal with heritage issues, preparing and responding to requests for proposals, environmental assessments, building permits, zoning, lobbying, signage, municipal infrastructure, roads, etc. anything necessary to go from idea to shovel in the ground.

      I regularly work with all kinds of consultants and scientists: hydrologists, geologists, biologists, zoologists, heritage consultants, traffic engineers, civil engineers, land use planners, noise specialists, architects, odor, vibration, light and shadows, electrical engineers, etc. I set terms of references for their work and review their reports at various stages of investigation and drafting. In addition to working with these specialists and these topics on an individual basis, I often manage teams of consultants as I guide projects through the development process or when I litigate approvals (planning approvals, environmental approvals, by-law infractions, etc.). Consequently I prepare them as witnesses and prepare cross-examinations of the other sides’ witnesses (often more than one party is involved in the litigation). For cross-examinations, I have to understand their science, their observations, their math, their analysis, their methodology and expose their errors. The cross examination of experts is one of the most fun parts of my practice.

      I don’t settle for poor reasoning, poor math, poor science in my experts, or in the experts of the other side(s).

      I go to a non-denominational independent evangelical church that’s been around for almost 100 years. It’s not cessationist, as far as I know, but not charismatic or pentecostal either. My mother took me to church as a kid, but my father was not a believer until I was 16. I didn’t believe in God from the time I was in grade 8 until some point during my Bible college degree, but even that wasn’t fixed until some point during my linguistics degree. Evolution, the flood, and old v. young earth, were never issues for me, though I have been aware of them. I’ve read more on those topics since leaving university, and the more I’ve learned, the more I’ve become convinced that Darwinian evolution is not true and that the earth is old.

      Regards,
      #John

    • #John1453

      Re post 262: YEs are like the crazy old uncle that comes to the Backyard BBQ one is throwing for the neighbourhood. Sure he’s family, and sure you love him, but he’s still embarrasing.

      It is not possible to work with YEs because they practice junk science and completely lack credibility. They would be of no use in dealing with the scientific establishment. Intelligent design advocates have made more headway in the last decade against random unguided evolution than YECs have made in 100 years (well, that’s not saying much since YEs have made no headway at all, but rather been a negative). Intelligent design has actually forced the scientific establishment to respond to their critiques of evolutionary theory and to their scientific work on probability, astronomy and cell level biology).

      Regards
      #John

    • Richard

      Regarding John’s recent posts:

      It’s critical to acknowledge the difference between observational laboratory science, and extrapolations back millions or billions of years into the unobserved past.

      [sedimentary rock formation] takes from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of years.

      Fact is that observational data constantly shows up that contradicts that statement. Rocks are observed forming quickly, but OE believers are content to place these data points on the shelf as somehow inapplicable to the unobserved formation of other rocks.

      ——————————-
      from Creation 17(2):7–9 March 1995
      http://creation.com/focus-172

      Rocks forming in months

      Stones measuring up to a foot across are forming in a Norfolk (UK) marsh in a process which is happening in a few months or years.

      Small (and not so small) black lumps of rock are forming, as bacteria thriving on rotting vegetation produce ‘an iron-rich form of limestone, which acts as a mineral cement, binding the sand and mud together.’

      Geologists have dug up similar stones before, which ‘often contain beautifully formed fossils.’ These fossils show a lot of detail of the soft flesh, ‘as it had no time to rot before the rock formed around it.’

      Geology Professor Max Coleman, who works for BP, is keen to study the marsh. The rock is ‘forming faster than anyone had ever believed possible, with one stone creating itself in just six months.’

      Eastern Daily Press (UK), October 5, 1994.

      Creationists have long pointed out that hardening of sediments into rock is mainly a matter of the right cementing substances being present, and doesn’t require millions of years.
      –end quote–

      and from Creation 21(3):7–9 June 1999
      http://creation.com/focus-213

      We previously reported (Creation 17(2):8, 1995) that mud was turning into solid rock in Norfolk salt marshes in a matter of months.

      Now Max Coleman of the University of Reading has found out that this happens due to the co-operative action of two types of bacteria that live in seawater. The resultant stony deposits are of iron sulphide and iron carbonate.

      Coleman believes that such deposits, because they happen so quickly, could easily preserve fossils ‘before they can rot.’

      New Scientist, p. 25, 19 September 1998.

      At the time of the Genesis Flood, many of the creatures buried rapidly would have been covered in (often salty) mud.

      The action of such bacteria might help explain the rapid hardening needed for beautifully preserved fossils, which are plentiful (and are impossible to reconcile with slow hardening over long time-spans).
      –end quote–

      So not only are rocks forming fast than they “believed possible”, but now they’ve figured out how it’s occurring. This single example is sufficient to show that John’s assertions are false. However, there are MANY such examples.

      (cont.)

    • Richard

      [continued]
      What John described is the textbook statements of uniformitarian geology. This proposes that only current processes and only operating at the currently observed rates are to be used to explain how geological structures formed. Of course, this approach is completely falsified IF there really was a global flood.

      One good example of how the OE logic works by looking at polystrate fossil trees. These are fossil trees that extend through many of the layers usually considered to have been slowly laid down over a long period. They exist in many places.

      Examples with photos may be seen here:
      http://creation.com/polystrate-fossils-evidence-for-a-young-earth
      http://ianjuby.org/jogginsb.html

      The problem is to explain how the tree remained there long enough for the sediment to pile up around it. Here is how this is explained by non-creationist OE geologist Derek Ager:

      ‘If one estimates the total thickness of the British Coal Measures as about 1000 m, laid down in about 10 million years, then, assuming a constant rate of sedimentation, it would have taken 100000 years to bury a tree 10 m high, which is ridiculous.

      ‘Alternatively, if a 10 m tree were buried in 10 years, that would mean 1000 km in a million years or 10000 km in 10 million years (i.e. the duration of the coal measures). This is equally ridiculous and we cannot escape the conclusion that sedimentation was at times very rapid indeed and at other times there were long breaks in sedimentation, though it looks both uniform and continuous’ [emphasis added].

      Note he says “we cannot escape the conclusion that sedimentation was at times very rapid indeed and at other times there were long breaks in sedimentation, though it looks both uniform and continuous” The formation looks like it was uniformly and continuously deposited, but where the polystrate trees are it MUST have been “very rapid indeed”. A YEC geologist would go with the observation and say since it looks uniform and continuous, it really is and the entire deposit occurred rapidly. An OE geologist has to just state, without observational data, that there were “long breaks in sedimentation” implying that the appearance of uniformity and continuity is false. Now which interpretation actually consistent with the observations?

      This falsifies uniformitarianism, and thus the basic required assumption upon which John’s entire argument for sedimentary rocks stands.

      The OE simply cannot allow for a global flood as it completely undercuts his belief in an old earth. Now consider the nature of the arguments presented in this forum for not accepting the Genesis account as global…
      (cont.)

    • Richard

      [continued]
      John wrote:

      When we study rocks using the same scientific methods and understandings that we apply to all other areas of knowledge, we come up with an ancient earth (over 4.5 billion years) and an even more ancient universe.

      and

      Christian, evangelical, inerrantist Non-YE scientists … follow the evidence and analysis that normal science, the science everyone else uses to investigate other physical phenomena, and follow it wherever it goes…

      Not quite correct, in no area other than “origins science” is it assumed that we can extrapolate current observations billions of years into the unobserved past. This extrapolation *assumes* condition & processes have remained unchanged for this period, so it rules out any notion of a global flood or recent creation. Since these are ruled out by the starting *assumption* it is illogical to conclude that they have then been *proven* to be ruled out. This is the logical fallacy of assuming the conclusion, and John would never allow a legal opponent to get away with this. In fact, this assumption is methodological naturalism which assumes there is no supernatural (Greg, for example explicitly states this in his post 117). I’m not saying John, Greg (or anyone) disbelieves in the supernatural. I am saying that this approach to science is invalid if there is a God who actually intervened in His creation. (see my interaction with Dr. Polkinghorne in post 140) Since I believe that God has intervened as documented in the creation and flood accounts, I don’t accept these extrapolations.

      I don’t think it can be stated more clearly than by evolutionist Dr. Richard Lewontin, who wrote:

      ‘We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfil many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.’

      The conflict between OE and YEC scientists is that YEC’s do not restrict science to methodological naturalism. It is completely illogical to believe that naturalistic science is capable of determining correct conclusions about a reality in which God exists and acts. In precisely those areas in which God acted, naturalist science will get it wrong.

    • cheryl u

      # John,

      Thanks for your reply. It sounds like you have a fascinating profession and career!

      Everyone,

      It seems to me from what has been said by both sides here that all involved in this question are operating from some presupposed assumptions to one degree or another. Not just the young earth folks and not just the old earth folks either.

      And I am still finding the poll results here fascinating.

    • Richard

      I’ve greatly enjoyed this forum, and thank all who’ve participated.

      John believes he can read my mind:

      It is not possible for Richard to accept as valid any data or analysis of data that contradicts his YE (young earth) beliefs. He starts with the premise that God has stated that the earth is young, and is committed to that premise above all else. Sort of a “God said it, I believe it, that settles it” approach to the physical sciences. That is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a scientific approach to anything.

      Because of the commitment to a belief that cannot be changed regardless of what YE (young earther) or others observe, any evidence or analysis that suggests otherwise is immediately and permanently rejected by YEs. It is not even possible for it to be true.

      This is another straw-man. FWIW let me provide a bit of my background. I have a degree in abstract math with an interest in mathematical foundations and logic, and a life long interest in science. I spent a couple of decades as a software/system engineer designing and implementing military software driven systems (becoming the Software Technical Director), involving secure communications, autonomous weapon systems, ship board control networks, etc. My career involved analysing and understanding complex systems and their interactions. I’m extremely aware of what happens when one works with incorrect starting assumptions, or ignores observational data because it does not fit ones model.

      I entered college as an atheistic evolutionist. In abstract math, the name of the game is analysing proofs for correctness. After I became a Christian, I was made aware of scientific evidence inconsistent with the standard evolutionary interpretation. I happened to be taking a class in stellar evolution, and I noticed that all of the information was moving forward from an assumed initial condition. I simply asked my physics prof to explain what preceded that condition and quickly found that he could not justify his start point. In fact, upon analysis, his earlier starting assumptions led quickly to contradictions, and so were not logically valid to build his model upon. Two things shocked me; 1 – how shallow the basis was for stellar evolution; 2 – the fact that I had failed to apply the critical thinking that I used every day in math classes to evolutionary science material. This caused me to have a great deal of interest in the subject of origins and I’ve been studying it pretty much continuously now for 33 years. I’ve consistently found that serious analysis of the models that support OE positions show fundamental problems with these models. This is not to say that the YEC models are perfect by any means. Please note that I’ve said earlier, science can not prove what happened in the unobserved past. One can only analyse the various models for reasonableness.

      Thus I’ve yet to see any reason to not believe the straight forward meaning of Genesis.

    • Richard

      It’s been implied, if not outright stated that YEC scientists are blinded by their bias, but OE scientists are objective. I agree with what Stephen J. Gould said:

      ‘Our ways of learning about the world are strongly influenced by the social preconceptions and biased modes of thinking that each scientist must apply to any problem. The stereotype of a fully rational and objective “scientific method”, with individual scientists as logical (and interchangeable) robots is self-serving mythology.’

    • Steve Bartholomew

      Following up on Richard’s refutation of John’s claims re: the great lengths of time required for the formation of sedimentary rocks (“tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of years” – post #259) is this article from a British magazine, New Civil Engineer (Web site: http://www.nce.co.uk) from Feb. 1, 2002:

      “A ground improvement technique that creates natural calcite cement in soil and rock has been developed by two Australian scientists. [This] process … in effect creates rock from sediment in days rather than aeons. The calcite in-situ precipitation system (CIPS) involves combining two water-based, non-particulate and non-toxic solutions and injecting or permeating the mixture into a porous material such as sand, soil, or rock.

      The solutions react on mixing to produce calcite or calcium carbonate crystals that precipitate on grains, forming a rind and creating bridges between adjacent grains, cementing the material together and increasing mechanical strength and stiffness. And because pore spaces and throats essentially remain open, porosity and permeability, and hence the material’s drainage characteristics, are maintained.

      This allows repeated applications of CIPS to achieve the required strength.

      The technique is now being marketed worldwide by Edward Kucharski and Graham Price, and another researcher, Bob Middleton, working as Lithic Technology.”

      (cont.)

    • cheryl u

      Richard,

      I want to thank you for providing us with some background info too. It really does help to know where people are coming from when they are strongly arguing for or against a case! I think everyone reading here will benefit from the statements both of you have made.

      Richard, # John and Greg,

      It is obvious that all of you have put a considerable amount of time into this subject. I would like to thank all three of you for your contributions so far.

      Greg,

      If you are still here, I would really like to hear some background from you too. Like I said above, it does help to give perspective to a discussion to have that info from the main contributers.

      Again, I would really like to thank all of you.

    • Richard

      In defining the 6 different positions for the poll. I’d like to suggest a couple of points.

      3. Time Relative Creationism – This is actually a subset of YEC as it encompasses one class of YEC origin models.

      4. Old Earth Creationists – generally do not believe in a global flood as that would undercut the very methods used to reach the OE interpretation of geological data.

    • Steve Bartholomew

      RE: John’s post #264, in which he states:

      “YEs are like the crazy old uncle that comes to the Backyard BBQ one is throwing for the neighbourhood. Sure he’s family, and sure you love him, but he’s still embarrasing.

      It is not possible to work with YEs because they practice junk science and completely lack credibility. They would be of no use in dealing with the scientific establishment.”

      Such arrogant, ad hominem attacks are a common weapon in opponents of YEC, and are an indication of the character of the people who employ them. Not very Christian, to say the least.

    • Richard

      Just in case anyone actually thinks John’s assessment of YEC scientists has any relationship to reality. Here’s a partial list of a couple hundred or so PhD listed here (some overlap):

      http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/bios/default.asp

      http://creation.com/scientists-alive-today-who-accept-the-biblical-account-of-creation

      Just to hilight the type of nut cases John is talking about:

      Dr. John Sanford,

      Sanford’s Bio: Cornell Professor of 25 years (being semi-retired since 1998). He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in the area of plant breeding and genetics.

      He founded 2 successful biotech firms, Biolistics and Sanford Scientific. Most of the transgenic crops grown in the world today were genetically engineered using the gene gun technology developed by Sanford.

      He still holds a position of Courtesy Associate Professor at Cornell.

      Dr. Sanford was an evolutionist until late in his career, when he began challenging “the primary axiom”. His account of becoming a creationist is here:

      http://www.benabraham.com/html/respected_cornell_geneticist_r.html

      BTW, he is also a very humble, polite Christian man.

    • cheryl u

      “YEs are like the crazy old uncle that comes to the Backyard BBQ one is throwing for the neighbourhood. Sure he’s family, and sure you love him, but he’s still embarrasing.”

      I wonder how the 44% of the poll’s participants that have now been likened to a crazy old embarrassing uncle feel about that statement!

      You know, if a person has someone they consider to be a crazy old uncle, you may think that to yourself and maybe even say it to other family members, but you don’t usually say so to the uncle involved, unless you plan on creating a large amount of hard feelings.

    • #John1453

      Before moving on to the issue of light, I would like to further address the issue of bias address the issue of so-called “errors”, the so-called proofs of YEs, and some additional matters arising in recent posts.

      Further thoughts on bias:

      Even atheist scientists are open in regard to the dates obtained from rocks; unlike YEs they don’t immediately and absolutelly reject a date as impossible but rather investigate it and try to determine the causes for the date that resulted with the data obtained from the sample are put into the model. Because geology and dating of rocks has a pedigree that predates evolution, and because geology has long indicated older dates, and because a database and model of rock dates has been build up, there are expectations regarding dates to be obtained. (And remember, the belief in an ancient earth has an even longer pedigree). The dates are not rejected; they are investigated. The results of the investigation are increases in knowledge regarding rocks and the formation of rocks and the ability to incorporate ever more data into the old earth model.

      Reading minds:

      It is not a matter of reading minds; it is a matter of what YEs say they are committed to and what they believe in. YEs are committed to a belief in a young earth because they believe that God has said that the earth is young. Since God cannot lie, any data or methodology that results in an old earth date must be rejected. For a YE, it is not possible for the earth to be old.

      Any so-called investigation by the YEs is directed only at discrediting the old earth result. If the YEs cannot discredit (I use that term loosely) the dating with existing science, they claim that they will be able to discredit it in the future, or that God has intervened in some way.

      Science quotes and world views and the impossibility of knowledge:

      The Richard Lewontin quote was made specifically in relation to evolution. That field is rife with competing models, unexplained data, etc. and is facing significant challenges from intelligent design researchers. That field of science is very much UNLIKE the field of geography and geophysics, and his quote is not applicable to those fields. The science of geology is like the science of internal combustion engines, nuclear fission (and reactors), or bridge building. It works, it produces good results, and the explanatory models are extremely robust and capable of explaining a large range of phenomena and of incorporating new phenomena.

      To say that a geologist’s world view so affects their work that correct knowledge is impossible is like stating that sicentists would come up with icompatible theories of combustion and how car engines work, or incompatible theories of nuclear fission and how nuclear reactors work. When dealing with the hard sicences and currently observable processes (i.e., including rock formation) one does not arrive at incompatible theories and models. Using the same methods used in other hard sciences (experiments, field work, falsification, mathematical modelling, testing predictions, etc.) scientists consistently come up with old earth dates and are continually able to explain new phenomena and incorporate new phenomena into their models. By claiming that this entire field is wrong because of something they believe God said, YEs make knowledge in this area impossible to obtain.

      [cont]

    • #John1453

      Alleged assumptions

      Neither I, nor the geologists I know, start with an assumption that all processes of rock formation have been uniformitarian since the world began. Geologists acknowledge that there are different processes that create rock, and that the formation of rock is affected by a number of factors. However, the fact that some processes are quicker or uneven does not mean that it is impossible for other processes to take a long time and to occur at a more even rate. And there is excellent, overwhelming evidencde that some processes did take a very long time. Because of their own investigations, and the previous investigations and work of others, it has been demonstrated that some rock has formed over millions of years. But that is a conclusion derived from field data, experiments, mathematical modelling, and the testing of predictions. It is, now, a conclusion so well supported for such a long time that it is not open fundamental challenge (i.e., it would be like saying our understanding of nuclear fission is open to fundamental challenge).

      So-called proofs

      YEs point to phenomena not yet explained,or to one end of a range of phenomena, or to phenomena that is only partially understood as if that undermines the entire field of knowledge. For example, they point to rocks that form quickly as if that proves that all rocks form quickly. There are a great number of types of rocks, some form much more quickly than others, some form much more slowly. The existence of quick forming rocks does not disprove the existence of slow forming rocks. The formation of quick forming rocks is not a common phenomena, and is not well understood, but that has no bearing on the well understood processes behind the formation of shale from mud, etc. And whatever is the relevance of rock formation in a marsh? YEs claim that all rocks were either instantly formed in their present state on the first day of creation, or formed by a massive flood.

      YEs also point to some rock samples that have produce significantly varying date estimates as if that invalidates all dating (I’d call it pot shot science). However, the vast majority of rock samples do not produce a wide range of dates; they produce dates within a narrow range. Rocks with widely varying dates are in the minority of samples, and as they are investigated it is found that there are explanations for the range–such as the rock being composed of young and old material, or the rock being affected by particular geological processes. The issue of varying dates leads to the next topic, below.

      [cont]

    • #John1453

      So-called “errors”.

      YEs misdescribe and mischaracterize variations in rock dates as “errors”. A date variation is only an error when it results from experimental error (broad definition, including mistakes in sample collection, sample preparation, running of experiments, noting of observations, use of math in analysis, etc.). If the variation is not a result of experimental error, then it is merely an anomaly that appears not to be explained by the current dating paradigm. Closer observation and analysis may show that the data is explainable in the current paradigm. Or there might be a phenomena not previously observed and explained (which expands the paradigm). Or the paradigm / model may need to be adjusted.

      Lack of model

      Because of their claim that all (well nearly all, there are the small amounts of new rock created in a few marshes) rock that came into existence since creation was formed in a global flood, YEs are committed to the flood being the explanation for rock creation (especially sedimentary rock). But they have no idea how the flood could do that. YEs do not have a model of fluid dynamics, suspension of solids, chemical reactions, action of minerals under pressure, etc. for rock creation during a flood; they only have a variety of vague and untestable speculations full of large and unwarranted assumptions. Furthermore, our understanding of these physical processes excludes the possibility of forming during a global flood the types of rocks and rock formations we observe.

      Regards,
      #John

    • Richard

      Unfortunately John’s latest series of posts simply contain more false statements about YEC beliefs such as:

      YEs claim that all rocks were either instantly formed in their present state on the first day of creation, or formed by a massive flood.

      along with more blatant assertions that the OE interpretation is an essentially proven fact. Notice the predicted inclination to take actual observations such as the rock formation that I documented, and try to minimize it as if it doesn’t matter. Recall the geologist who wrote it up stated

      The rock is ‘forming faster than anyone had ever believed possible, with one stone creating itself in just six months.’

      so the real geologist admits the observation violated their models (that why it would be thought impossible). John just asserts it doesn’t matter and has no implications related to the validity of the models. — nuff said.

    • #John1453

      My comments re the crazy old uncle and junk science should be read in the context of my earlier remarks about the varied reasons that people hold YEC beliefs, the responsibility of Christian leaders (including pastors and teachers and scholars), and the nature of science.

      Many people hold beliefs not because they have personally investigated them but because they were taught them or because they were held by people they trust, etc. So, for example, I’ve never done nuclear research or conducted experiments with nuclear fission but I believe in nuclear fission (and fusion) and in the explanations given for how these phenomena and processes work. Many people hold YE beliefs for these reasons, or because it is the default belief of their church or denomination, etc. Of course, these are not the only reasons, but are illustrative of the many reasons for holding beliefs apart from personal investigation.

      So many people hold YEC beliefs that are valid when personal investigation is not undertaken, and no one can investigate all their beliefs, nor does everyone have the time, energy or desire to investigate YEC closely). That is one significant reason why it is important for Christian leaders not teach or advise in relation to YEC until they have made a proper investigation of it.

      YEC is junk science, it is not a legitimate available option, and it should be heavily criticized for being junk, and it should be rejected by Christian leaders. I make no bones for saying so.

      I have tried to remain conscious in my postings of the fact that not all YECs hold their beliefs because they are involved in the YEC movement, but for other, and valid, reasons (see above). I do not intend to make fun of such people and I therefore apologize for not properly framing the crazy uncle line and retract it. At the time I was writing it, I was still mentally responding to the comment about YECs and other Christian scientists working together to oppose evolution. I meant it to refer to, and only to, the YECs that hold science degrees and work for organizations like ICR or AIG (i.e., one could not invite them to work in legitimate geological societies because of their lack of credibility).

      I did not mean for that phrase to describe those who read this site and hold YEC beliefs for valid reasons, however, I will completely withdraw and apologize for that statement even in regard to the YECs who work for AIC and AIG.

      I will continue on my previous path of opposing YECs for reasons related to science, facts, rationality, and the nature of the universe and world that God created, and the manner in which God relates to the world he created. I will also continue to emphasize the harm done to God’s kingdom by YEC beliefs and to support Saint Augustines comment:

      “Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their

      [cont]

    • #John1453

      St. Augustine: ““Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking non-sense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of the faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although ‘they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.’”

      And, in case anybody read quickly and missed it: I apologize for the crazy uncle statement.

      Regards,
      #John

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      Why is the infighting between YEC’s and OEC’s fiercer than the fighting they do against neo-Darwinian evolution? Why not team up against neo-Darwinian evolution and their compromising enablers, the theistic evolutionists?

      It reminds me of the fierce squabbling between Calvinists and Arminians. Why don’t they just both team up against unbelieving philosophies and religions?

    • cheryl u

      John,

      Apology accepted.

    • Richard

      John, thanks for the apology.

      It’s unfortunately that John has not read creationist geology literature (or has completely discounted it) and so just continues to state that there are no models. There is much ongoing research into flood models being documented within the literature, including such major concepts as catastrophic plate techtonics pioneered by Dr. John Baumgartner, whose bio is below – he is well qualified in the appropriate areas of science. I don’t know about you, but I’m not willing to let John’s assertions, or the current opinion of consensus science, cause me to completely ignore ongoing scientific investigations.

      Upon realizing that Noah’s Flood involved a planetary-scale tectonic catastrophe, he left Campus Crusade to begin a Ph.D. program in geophysics at UCLA in order to obtain the expertise and credentials to address the problem of the mechanism of the Genesis Flood at a professional scientific level. His Ph.D. thesis research involved the development of a 3-D spherical-shell finite-element model for the earth’s mantle, a program now known as TERRA.

      Upon completing his Ph.D. in geophysics and space physics, he accepted a position as a staff scientist in the Theoretical Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he continued his research in planetary mantle dynamics, including the potential for catastrophic mantle overturn. He presented his work describing this mechanism for the Genesis Flood, now known as ‘catastrophic plate tectonics,’ at six International Conferences on Creationism held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

      Dr Baumgardner’s technical work at Los Alamos included development of a new global ocean model for investigating climate change. He served as a member of the Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth (RATE) team and led the RATE research effort on carbon-14. He retired from Los Alamos in 2004 and joined the Institute for Creation Research in 2005 where he helped develop a state-of-the-art computer program named Mendel’s Accountant for modeling of the processes of mutation and natural selection. In 2008 he joined Logos Research Associates, a collaborative network of Christian research scientists whose focus is origins and earth history issues from a Biblical perspective.
      Education

      * B.S., Texas Tech University, Lubbock, 1968
      * M.S., Electrical Engineering, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, 1970
      * M.S., Geophysics and Space Physics, University of California, Los Angeles, 1981
      * Ph.D., Geophysics and Space Physics, University of California, Los Angeles, 1983

      Unless someone indicates an interest, I’ll stop bothering to respond to John’s bald assertions.

      BTW, I hope John addresses what Derek Ager had to say…and what it means for the geological models…

    • Susan

      TU&D, I wouldn’t call this fighting. Furthermore, it’s odd that you keep making such remarks as this, given the rude and disrespectful…and accusatory way you addressed Dr. Daniel B. Wallace on his last thread. I know him personally, and all I can say is that you have grossly misjudged him…and his heart. OK, so that was another thread. I think that this (current thread)) has been a pretty decent and interesting discussion, personally.

      John, if you don’t mind my asking, I would be interested to know what you believe about Jesus. Do you believe that He is God in human flesh, born of a virgin? Do you believe that He died and subsequently rose (bodily) from the dead?

    • Richard

      If we want to bring in “church fathers” opinions; in Luther’s time, there was a belief that the creation must have occurred in a single day. He wrote the following;

      ‘I have often said that whoever would study Holy Scripture should be sure to see to it that he stays with the simple words as long as he can and by no means departs from them unless an article of faith compels him to understand them differently. For of this we must be certain: no simpler speech has been heard on earth than what God has spoken.’

      Commenting on the days of creation, Luther stated:

      ‘When Moses writes that God created heaven and earth and whatever is in them in six days, then let this period continue to have been six days, and do not venture to devise any comment according to which six days were one day. But if you cannot understand how this could have been done in six days, then grant the Holy Spirit the honor of being more learned than you are. For you are to deal with Scripture in such a way that you bear in mind that God Himself says what is written. But since God is speaking, it is not fitting for you wantonly to turn His Word in the direction you wish to go.’

      BTW, this does not mean I agree with everything Luther said…that is certainly not the case. But I appreciate his attitude toward scripture.

    • Richard

      John, do you believe that the flood was global in extent? If not, why not?

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      Susan,

      Dr. Wallace was being rude, accusatory, disrespectful, and insulting in his strawman caricatures of Christians who affirm inerrancy.

      I was calling him on it. I firmly stand by every single comment I made on that thread.

      BTW, Dr. Wallace’s work is very good. Usually. And I’ve given him positive feedback oftentimes. However, he was grossly and badly mistaken in his strawman remarks on that thread. Further, I’m sure that he can handle the feedback that he was inappropriately caricaturing fellow Christians with his potshots.

      And with regards to this thread, yes, I regard the comments being exchanged as infighting.

      So there’s two points of firm disagreement between us.

    • #John1453

      I particularly apologize to cherylu if she is a YEC, because I respect her contributions to CMP’s blog.

      ***

      re post 282: It is not possible to work with YECs on issues of the creation of life, evolution, rock formation and dating, other dating of the age of the earth and universe, and (global) flooding because they do not practice good science (as I have described), they reject the possibility of natural knowledge with respect to some areas of God’s creation (as I discussed in previous posts), and they lack credibility. YECs have not published anything of recognizable significance in the relevant fields of science that has had any impact on the course of those fields. In fact, they are viewed very negatively.

      In contrast, and in relation to the issue of evolution, intelligent design theorists have been able to influence the agenda of evolutionists, force the dropping of some (formerly) alleged evidences of evolution, force a significant number and range of responses from evolutionists, and get published in industry standard and very well respected journals.

      Unfortunately, the reality is that the taint is so heavy that any significant association with them causes their taint to rub off on the non-YEC scientist and to bring the non-YEC scientist’s work under that pall of suspician.

      ***

      How is “YEs claim that all rocks were either instantly formed in their present state on the first day of creation, or formed by a massive flood” not a true statement? I did qualify my statment to acknowledge that small amounts of rock appear to be created in marshes, and of course volcanoes do produce some rock also. But the ICR and AIG materials claim that earth as a whole (including all its rocks) were instantly (with a word) created 6,000 years ago and that the sedimentary rock we observe (which is by far the greater amount of crustal rock we observe) was all laid down during the flood. There is very little rock formation leftover that is not accounted for by these two processes. Furthermore, the additional rock formation processes (i.e., the ones that have been observed as occurring quickly) are not ones that could have occurred during the flood, and, in any event, have only produced an extremely small portion of all the rock that exists today. Steve’s post #171 describes a human way of forming cement and not a natural rock formation process and is not relevant. That is, the resulting cement is similar to a form of cement found in nature, but the process by which it is created is not (injection of chemicals, etc.).

      ***

      Richard fails to note that I have drawn attention to the fact that geologists have a number of rock formation models, depending on the type of rock created. So it is not that there is a single overall rock formation ediface that topples when faced with the phenomena of rapid rock creation. The rapid rock creation phenomena is investigated, and a natural (i.e., not miraculous) explanation is arrived at. [cont.]

    • Richard

      John claims that the Lewontin quote is applicable only to biology. Read it for yourselves and see if it does not deal with the nature of science itself.

      He then goes on to say:

      The science of geology is like the science of internal combustion engines, nuclear fission (and reactors), or bridge building. It works, it produces good results, and the explanatory models are extremely robust and capable of explaining a large range of phenomena and of incorporating new phenomena.

      I’ve shown examples in which the observations were contradictory to the geological model (rapid rocks, for example). When was the last time anyone we had an observation that contradicted the model of internal combustion?

      Notice that John never answered this question I asked him:

      If I gave you a rock, and the K-Ar results from a lab showing a calculated age of, say 3.5 ± .25 Myr, would you know how old it really is?

    • Richard

      John wrote:

      But the ICR and AIG materials claim that earth as a whole (including all its rocks) were instantly (with a word) created 6,000 years ago and that the sedimentary rock we observe (which is by far the greater amount of crustal rock we observe) was all laid down during the flood.

      Please show us where it is claimed that ALL sedimentary rock was formed during the flood.

      Also, reread Genesis 1. The earth was created on day one, dry ground does not appear until day 3, so “rocks” may not have been created until day 3 as the creation was being molded into shape.

      You are continuing to make false claims about YEC beliefs. I’d guess from your posts that you simply can’t bring yourself to waste time reading what YECs write. If this is so, then you’re not qualified to comment on it. If it’s not so, then you need to read much more carefully.

    • Dave Z

      TUaD:

      Why not team up against neo-Darwinian evolution and their compromising enablers, the theistic evolutionists?

      John explains that, with Augustine’s comments to back him up. YEC teachings harm the gospel by making Christians, in the eyes of anyone accepting an OE theory (almost everyone), appear to be fools. So the teaching should be discouraged.

      This is not a discussion to have in front of unbelievers, but it often ends up that way and discredits all of us.

      And I’m reminded of Paul’s several warnings to Timothy and Titus about avoiding arguments and controversies. But is that possible in a search for truth?

      That said, John seems to have a more open mind about the whole thing (though I’m sure Richard disagrees) while Richard does seem to be in a position where he cannot seriously consider and must reject any evidence for an old earth. It really is no different than an atheistic scientist rejecting any possibility of the supernatural. When realistic possibilities are ruled out, the only option left is to grasp at any available straw and call it truth.

      Is the term “eisegesis” applicable to the interpretation of physical data?

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      Dave Z: “Is the term “eisegesis” applicable to the interpretation of physical data?”

      The conceptual idea behind your question is applicable. I see “eisegesis” at work and on display by those neo-Darwinian evolutionists who are guided by philosophical and methodological naturalism.

    • #John1453

      Richard also fails to effectively respond to the fact that one process for rock formation does not invalidate other processes. Different processes for rock formation can and do all exist at the same time. Though Richard has support for rapid rock formation in a marsh (which I do not deny), that does not refute the fact that sedimentary rock is created (slowly) in other parts of the world.

      Furthermore, the marsh rock creation process is not a process that would occur during a flood, nor one that accounts for all the observable sedimentary rock that one observes.

      I have not merely made “bald assertions”, but rational arguments. If Richard cares not to respond, I’m OK with that.

      ***
      Flood Geology

      On the flood, it’s not a bag of hammers that I’m going to carry in this thread (I have my leanings, but I’m still agnostic on the point, and so I’m not going to try to convince anyone else of something I’m not even convinced of).

      Baumgartner’s model does not account for the features we find in rocks around the world, so I don’t see how it’s relevant to the dating of rocks (more on this below). The fact that Baumgartner’s model has never been able to get a hearing outside of the ICR and AIG circles (unlike the ideas of intelligent design, which have had significant and wide influence) speaks volumes as to its credibility and validity.

      His credentials are not relevant in so far as he is committed to a 6,000 year old earth for theological and not scientific reasons. Rather than investigation the nature of God’s created universe in respect of rock formation and age dating in the same manner as we would investigate any of the other phenomena that God established, he starts with a theological commitment to a date and to two significant periods of rock formation and then tries to imagine how a global flood would create all of the non-day-one-of-creation rock that we find.

      EVEN IF one believes that the flood is global, one does not need to subscribe to a young earth. One can believe both in an old earth and a global flood. If the earth is old, then the immense volumes of sedimentary rock would have been laid down and formed during the millions of years prior to the flood. Then along comes the flood four and a half thousand years ago which laid down more deposits.

      ***

      On Luther. I’m down with him. So are the evangelical inerrantist scholars who signed the Chicago statements on inerrancy and hermeneutics and who agree that old and young earth are both acceptable interpretations of the words in Genesis 1 & 2.

      Regards,
      #John

    • Richard

      Notice also that the Pattle Pun comment in post 199 has been ignored. He makes it VERY plain that it is the beliefs about what science has proven “then hermeneutical considerations suggested by science” that forces one to interpret the creation and flood accounts differently than the traditional one (ie YEC).

      Also, the James Barr quote in 204 has been ignored.

      Both of these men disbelieve in the YEC position, but both are honest enough to state that this is what the bible actually says.

      This is why the discussion about what science has really proven is important.

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      John CT!!

      Do I see some (positive) movement in your disposition and attitude towards YEC’s here?

      #164: “It is not possible to work with YEs because they practice junk science and completely lack credibility.”

      #194: “On Luther. I’m down with him. So are the evangelical inerrantist scholars who signed the Chicago statements on inerrancy and hermeneutics and who agree that old and young earth are both acceptable interpretations of the words in Genesis 1 & 2.

      😉

    • Dave Z

      One could “agree that old and young earth are both acceptable interpretations of the words in Genesis 1 & 2” and still disbelieve one or the other on the basis of some sort of evidence. To say that both are acceptable interpretations does not mandate that one or the other is true. On the other hand, YEC does say it mandates one. Matter of fact, I suspect YEC could not affirm that both are acceptable. Their whole premise lies in the thought that there is only one proper interpretation.

    • #John1453

      Richard’s comments in post #290 give the impression that he does not to understand, or is not familiar with, what a geological model of rock creation is, nor the nature and existence of multiple models of rock formation as they are discussed in geological literature.

      There is no single model of how all rock is created. There is a model for creation of rocks in marshes, for creation of pumice, etc. by volcanoes, for creation of aggregates and conglomerates, for creation of limestone, and various models for fomration of various types of sedimentary rock, and for the formation of metamorphic rock. The existence of a model for the creation of volcanic rock, or marsh rock, does not invalidate the model for the creation of sedimentary rock. They are different explanations for different types of phenomena.

      At one time it was theorized that the sun was combusting gases (i.e, combustion of flammable gases in the presence of oxygen). We now know that it is fusion that generates the heat and light and plasma and heavier elements, etc. (another scientific model (fusion) that is now fully confirmed and not ever to be overturned). However, the existence of a model for the oxygen combustion of hydrogen gas here on earth does not invalidate the model of fusion of hydrogen in the sun. Both models coexist and explain different phenomena.

      It is therefore incorrect to describe the various models of rock formation processes as contradictory and exclusionary, i.e., either one or the other, either fast or slow. I note that this false and incorrect presentation of contradictories also relates also to Richard’s mischaracterization of “errors” in relation to geological dating, so it appears to be a faulty premise that permeates much of the reasoning he has presented here.

      In so far as my claim regarding the two major periods of rock formation for YECs, Richard appears to be outside the mainstream of YECism as I understand it. Since he is more familiar with YECism, perhaps he could expand on this, or indicate how he differs from the YEC mainstream.

      Quotes from the AIG website:

      “How do you explain the enormous fossil record in the sedimentary rock layers around the earth’s surface? Evolutionists tell us that it took millions of years of geological processes. Creationists have shown that these fossil-bearing rock layers were produced by catastrophic events consistent with Noah’s flood. ”

      “On every continent are found layers of sedimentary rocks over vast areas. Many of these sediment layers can be traced all the way across continents, and even between continents. . . . Sediment layers that spread across vast continents are evidence that water covered the continents in the past. Even more dramatic are the fossil-bearing sediment layers that were deposited rapidly right across many or most of the continents at the same time. To catastrophically deposit such extensive sediment layers implies global flooding of the continents.”

      Regards,
      #John

    • Joshua

      Richard,

      So if I get the gist of what your saying:

      1) Well over 90% of the geologists (YEC simply isn’t a very popular view in the academic fields) believe that the earth is very old

      2) They believe this because they have faulty methods based upon erroness pressuppositions, so they, essentially, “made up” these huge numbers to fit with the Theory of Evolution and “fudged” the numbers when things didn’t work out right…

      Is this right so far?

      If so, why wouldn’t scientists (who are fairly “cut throat” when it comes to discovering new things), debunk this in an instant even if they didn’t believe in YEC? I mean if I have the ability to throw out a couple hundred years of research and propose a new theory that is actually valid; don’t you think I am going to pursue that with all my might because it will “make my name great”?

      Yet no one has…

      What is your reason as to why there is such a low percentage (and this is clearly in the lower single digits) of the geologists in the world who believe in a Young Earth?

      Curious your thoughts.

      Your brother in Christ,

      -Josh

    • #John1453

      Re post #296. I’m in the same place. I completely agree (and have posted before) that looking at the words alone, one can come to either a 24/7 creation week, or a much longer period of time. In that regard I completely agree with CMP’s comment on leanings. The differences between the interpretations result from the fact that words cannot be interpreted naively, solely from within the framework of one’s own culture. All words are merely cups (sounds, graphemes)that have to be filled with meaning. What is relevant to the filling of those cups? How do we deal with what is relevant? One must make judgment calls. Unlike many areas of the natural hard sciences, language is not so susceptible to being poked and proded and it does not remain the same from generation to generation. Given our current level of knowledge about ancient Hebrew, and the culture and beliefs of the Hebrew speakers at that time, one cannot conclusively rule out any of the current interpretive options.

      More significantly, in relation to the OE v. YE views, the interpretive options include options where one can hold to 24 hour days and an old earth.

      Interpretation of the words cannot conclusively rule out either an old earth or a young earth. Hence, to decide between the two one has to turn to our God given gifts of observation and rational thought, and to the nature of the universe he designed. His universe includes constants and regularities and processes that remain the same from generation to generation (in the long term sense). Oxygen combustion happens the same today as it did the day after creation. Fluids function the same. Nuclear fission happens the same. Chemical reactions occur the same way. God designed the universe so that we could understand it and describe it and work with and use what we learn. [one caveat: if the God created using a big bang as that is understood by science, then the constancy of processes does not start until the universe has existed for a few seconds (minutes? I can’t recall) and has expanded and cooled to the point that subatomic and atomic particles form and the four basic forces of the universe are differentiated.]

      So I look at: how has God designed the universe and us so that we can investigate and learn about it? When we take that knowledge and apply it to the area of nuclear fusiong, we learn a lot and can explain the functioning of the sun and can create fusion bombs. When we take that to geology, we can explain the formation of the sedimentary rock that we observe and we can date rocks to ages in the millions of years. But stop say YECs, you can’t do that. God said the earth is 6,000 years old and we must assume that the sedimentary rock was created in the flood.

      YECs do not have a testable model of how a global flood could create the rocks and rock formations that we observe. They use vague speculative statements, but have no detailed description such as one would find in geology journals or textbooks. [cont]

    • Richard

      John wrote:

      Richard has support for rapid rock formation in a marsh (which I do not deny), that does not refute the fact that sedimentary rock is created (slowly) in other parts of the world.

      Another straw-man, I never denied that sedimentary rock is created slowly at times. Are you saying that slow sedimentation at one point in time and place precludes rapid sedimentation at others? Or perhaps you’d claim that by examining the sedimentary rocks that are formed we can tell the difference.

      If so, you’re claiming superior geological knowledge to OE geologist Derek Ager who wrote:

      “we cannot escape the conclusion that sedimentation was at times very rapid indeed and at other times there were long breaks in sedimentation, though it looks both uniform and continuous”

      (post 266)

      I thoroughly understand that there are multiple models for rock formation. I do not deny that there are OE models. I also know that the existence of a model capable of explaining an observation is not proof that the model reflects reality. For that you must prove that there are no other satisfactory models.

      You’ve repeated stated that there are no YEC models to explain the rocks we observe. Without being specific, this nothing but an assertion. Exactly what rock formations are impossible to explain in a YEC model? Give a specific example or two.

      —————-

      It is therefore incorrect to describe the various models of rock formation processes as contradictory and exclusionary, i.e., either one or the other, either fast or slow. I note that this false and incorrect presentation of contradictories also relates also to Richard’s mischaracterization of “errors” in relation to geological dating, so it appears to be a faulty premise that permeates much of the reasoning he has presented here.

      Yet another straw-man. I’ve never presented the false dichotomy that you’re claiming. John, for this discussion to be at all useful, at least stop making things up. It’s should be beneath you.

      —————-

      Notice that John continues to ignore this:

      If I gave you a rock, and the K-Ar results from a lab showing a calculated age of, say 3.5 ± .25 Myr, would you know how old it really is?

      —————-

      Neither AIG quote you posted claims that ALL sedimentary rocks were formed in the flood.

    • #John1453

      [cont. from 300] The little they have produced has been shredded. What the YECs publish, is published only in their inhouse magazines or websites, and is not of the level or quality of what is published in geology journals. Their short descriptions are filled with “if’s” and other unsupported assumptions. They do not describe or set out the details of degree of heat needed or the length of heating, the length of sunlight exposure, the speed of the water flow, nor the time frames in terms of days that the processes would have taken (remember, all the rock formation processes would have had to occur within the one year period of the flood).

      For many of their alleged processes, the flood waters, carrying a mixture of different types of particles and dead things, would have had to sort them in peculiar and very non-waterlike ways, and then deposit layers that turn to rock before other layers are deposited and then the first newly formed rock layers are eroded, and then further deposition and rock formation occurs, and then those rocks are heaved and moved around, and further erosion and deposition and rock formation occurs. Multiple separated events of rock formation erosion and movement, and all within one year. We can and do know how the materials (water, sediment particles, rocks) that God created move and behave. They do not behave in such a way that they could ever accomplish what the YECs describe in either the timeframe they have nor by the physical process they have available (the behaviour of solids in water). Futhermore, they do not have the time available for the creation of metamorphic rock following the creation of sedimentary rock.

      But the YECs are not overly troubled. The sedimentary rock must have been created during the global flood. There is no other way. There is no other point in the God declared 6,000 year history of the earth for so much rock to have formed. So if they don’t have a testable model or theory, and don’t have a detailed description, they remain confident that they will one day find it.

      Note, the above described problems are only inherent in the YEC version of the global flood, because they require that the flood create all the sedimentary rock. If one believes in an old earth, then the sedimentary rock is formed over millions of years prior to the flood. The world wide flood should leave detectable traces, but those traces would be other than the previous formation of sedimentary rock. For example, a global flood would lay down sediments, and we should find a sediment layer, or vertically adjacent sediment layers, related to the flood.

      Regards,
      #John

    • #John1453

      re post 299. You are correct, Josh. And this is exactly what has happened in the field of evolutionary biology. Atheist, moslem, bhuddist, and even some christian scholars rip each other apart. They tear down and discredit each others models even though they know that they are creating cannon fodder for creationists (creationists of all stripes). Collections of these kinds of materials can be found at http://www.evolutionnews.org/ and at http://www.uncommondescent.com/

      I’m sure there are other such sites, but those are the ones I frequent (but no posting, I like CMP’s blog too much).

      This ripping and shredding and supplying of cannon fodder to creationists does not happen in the field of geology (including rock formation and rock dating).

      Geology continues to move ahead like the fields of solar energy, nuclear fission and fusion, metallurgy, oceanology, non-evolutionary biology, plant breeding, etc.

      Regards,
      #John

    • Richard

      Joshua,

      To understand how the dominant belief in a young earth became a dominant belief the an old earth. Take a look at Dr Mortenson’s work. As I posted earlier:

      Dr. Terry Mortenson (http://www.answersingenesis.org/events/bio.aspx?Speaker_ID=20) has a PhD in the History of Geology and is an expert in what happened when the young earth view (which had been the consensus) was replaced with an old earth view. Anyone who would like to learn about this could begin here: http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2004/0828turning_point.asp

    • #John1453

      re post 301, Richard states, “Are you saying that slow sedimentation at one point in time and place precludes rapid sedimentation at others? ”

      No. I’m saying that both fast and slow sedimentation occurs and that both fast and slow rock formation occurs. The speed of sedimentation is something apart from the process of lithification (the formation of rock from sediments).

      Richard states, ” Exactly what rock formations are impossible to explain in a YEC model? Give a specific example or two.” Point to any sedimentart rock. YEC’s so-called “flood geology” does not explain any of the sedimentary rocks that we see. Obviously both YECs and OEs agree that volcanoes create rock, since volcanoes erupted both before and after the flood (but flood geology cannot account for the age of some volcanic rocks, nor for the incorporation of volcanic rock into sedimentary rocks in the manner we find it), and obviously we can both allow for marsh rocks and chemically created rocks (stalactites–though flood geology cannot account for all stalactites). YE also cannot explain most metomorphic rock creation, so you can pick almost any one of those too.

      Richard quotes Derek Ager as supporting him and disproving me. For the life of me I cannot figure out why, since the very existence of the quote undercuts Richard. Ager, as noted by Richard, believes in an old earth, so, obviously, Ager believes that both fast and slow sedimentation are compatible with a belief in an old earth.

      Sedimentation occurs quickly and slowly and with breaks. So what? One would expect that over millions of years. After sedimentation we then need lithification by way of changes cause by heat, pressure, and chemical reactions. Pressure squeezes the particles closer together and eliminates spaces. The observable weight of the sedimentary rocks is not sufficient to accomplish the process quickly, but rather would only enough for a slow millions of years squeezing. We also need seepage of chemicals, and then chemical reactions to bind the particles together. Not a process that happens in less than a year.

      For my benefit and the benefit of others who are reading the exchanges, I provide below a quote from http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/

      Description of Straw Man

      The Straw Man fallacy is committed when a person simply ignores a person’s actual position and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position. This sort of “reasoning” has the following pattern:

      Person A has position X.
      Person B presents position Y (which is a distorted version of X).
      Person B attacks position Y.
      Therefore X is false/incorrect/flawed.

      This sort of “reasoning” is fallacious because attacking a distorted version of a position simply does not constitute an attack on the position itself.

      [end of quote]

      [cont.]

    • #John1453

      Post 301, Richard states, “Yet another straw-man. I’ve never presented the false dichotomy that you’re claiming.”

      Richard stated in post 265: ”

      [sedimentary rock formation] takes from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of years.

      Fact is that observational data constantly shows up that contradicts that statement. Rocks are observed forming quickly, but OE believers are content to place these data points on the shelf as somehow inapplicable to the unobserved formation of other rocks.”

      Post 279 by Richard: “Recall the geologist who wrote it up stated

      The rock is ‘forming faster than anyone had ever believed possible, with one stone creating itself in just six months.’

      so the real geologist admits the observation violated their models (that why it would be thought impossible). John just asserts it doesn’t matter and has no implications related to the validity of the models. ”

      Post 290 by Richard: “I’ve shown examples in which the observations were contradictory to the geological model (rapid rocks, for example).”

      What I gathered from that was that Richard was claiming that his example of fast forming rock contradicted the slow formation of rock, that is, if rock formed quickly then it did not form slowly. If I was wrong, and Richard agrees that rock can be formed both quickly and slowly, then I stand corrected. Perhaps Richard would again explain that aspect of his position; I would rather disprove his actual position.

      I also pointed out, however, that the types of fast rock formation he pointed to were not types of rock formation that could occur during a flood, and they are not types of rock formation/creation that YECs use when they discuss the formation of sedimentary rock.

      In regard to sedimentary rocks, it would be helpful if Richard would indicate which sedimentary rocks were not formed in the YEC version of the global flood, and which AIG or ICR (or other) articles discuss this.

      Richard continues to ask, “If I gave you a rock, and the K-Ar results from a lab showing a calculated age of, say 3.5 ± .25 Myr, would you know how old it really is?”

      I’ve been dealing with other matters, and not ignoring it because I can’t deal with it. [cont.]

      Regards,
      #John

    • cheryl u

      In comment # 300 above, # John stated that the universe works the same way today as the day it was created because God’s laws are the same now as then. (Not an exact quote, but I think I have the idea right.)

      A question just came to my mind however. And that is, just exactly how certain are we about that?? Genesis 3 makes it very clear that there were great changes on the earth after the fall of man, and Romans 8 makes it plain that all of creation was subjected to vanity, (futility or a curse depending on the translation read). Could it be that some of those laws and functions also changed at that time? And could they perhaps have changed even more at the time of the flood? God said in Genesis 6 that He would destroy man with the earth. Maybe things have not always worked the same way as they do now. But like I said, this is a thought that just came to my mind now. So I don’t know if it has validity or not regarding natural law. Does anyone else have any knowledge on this.

    • #John1453

      The question, “If I gave you a rock, and the K-Ar results from a lab showing a calculated age of, say 3.5 ± .25 Myr, would you know how old it really is?”, is nonsensical. One needs to know other details and factors such as the location where the sample was taken, the composition of the rock, etc.

      re post 304 and the reference to Dr. Mortensen’s work.

      “woo hoo”, or “big whoop” as others might say.

      Both young earthers and old earthers have existed side by side for a long time. Yippee. I’m not truckin’ with those who claim that YE is false because it is allegedly recent.

      Here again is a helpful quote from the fallacies website:

      Also Known as: Appeal to the Old, Old Ways are Best, Fallacious Appeal to the Past, Appeal to Age

      Description of Appeal to Tradition

      Appeal to Tradition is a fallacy that occurs when it is assumed that something is better or correct simply because it is older, traditional, or “always has been done.” This sort of “reasoning” has the following form:

      X is old or traditional
      Therefore X is correct or better.

      This sort of “reasoning” is fallacious because the age of something does not automatically make it correct or better than something newer. This is made quite obvious by the following example: The theory that witches and demons cause disease is far older than the theory that microrganisms cause diseases. Therefore, the theory about witches and demons must be true.

      [end of quote]

      Well, at least Richard and I agree on something.

      I do appreciate the quote from Lyell’s in 1827, which remains appropriate:

      “[they were] incapable of appreciating the force of objections, or of discerning the weight of inductions from numerous physical facts.”

      re post 307. Astute observation. However, it would be a unique position to hold that the nature of gravity, oxygen combustion, fluid dynamics, etc., the basic workings of God’s universe changed. Furthermore, which sin would have resulted in the changes, and when? The sins of Adam and Eve? Their sin happened after the passage of millions of years from initial creation (on the OE view). The sin of Satan? we have no biblical timing on that one except the implied but obvious fact it occurred before Eve’s fall. In addition, the futility and groaning etc. referenced in the Bible is understood to relate to death primarily, and then also evils like sickness. There is no logical, moral, or biblical reason to expect that the sin of moral creatures would affect the suspension of fluids in water or the nature of nuclear fusion in the sun, as the operation of those processes is essential to life. In addition, the work on the “fine tuning” of the universe has revealed that the numerous physical constants and aspects of our universe and world are so finely tuned, have so little margin especially in combination with each other, that we could not have them be other than what they are at present and still have life.

      Regards

    • cheryl u

      # John,

      Thank you for the personal apology above and for the compliment.
      And I have always been in the YEC camp. It has been what I have heard and been taught for most of my life from both a Biblical perspective and from the creation science folks. I have been following this conversation with interest. But I have not had the time to do any of the extra reading in any of the links from either side. To try to sort through and comprehend all of this and make sense out of it is mind boggling and pretty hard to do from my perspective at this time! I am going to be out of town for some time now–leaving tomorrow as far as I know–so won’t be reading this at all for some time now.

      Regarding my comment # 307 above: It was Adam’s and Eve’s sin that I was referring to. And of course, if one takes a YEC position, that doesn’t have to be a large amount of time after the start of creation at all.

      Also, Genesis 3 makes it plain that there were changes in the way the earth produced–Adam would work the earth with the sweat of his brow, and the earth was cursed and brought forth thistles. If any natural laws other than that changed then or at the flood is or course not proven by that at all. It was just a thought. And you do have a point about the “fine tuning” of the universe.

    • Joshua

      Richard,

      Thanks for the link, but after reading it, you still haven’t addressed my question. All that the link provided was a rationale that the YEC position had Christian support early in history:

      “Dr. Mortenson’s eye-opening text The Great Turning Point dispels the widely promoted myth that belief in ‘young earth’ creation is a recent phenomenon, popularized by Bible-believing Christians only in the past few decades. Based on his Ph.D. research in England, Dr. Mortenson shows that even before Darwin, there were a number of Christian writers who collectively became known as the ‘scriptural geologists.’ For biblical and geological reasons they did not accept millions of years of earth history (an idea which was already becoming popular a few decades before Darwin published his famous book in 1859). ”

      That is totally irrelevant to my question. I’m not asking about Christians now, I’m asking why you think the majority of geologists (95% + at least) believe in an Old Earth when it would extremely beneficial for their career’s if they were able to “debunk it” and set up another valid theory?

      I guess to give it more clarity I’ll ask it this way:

      Can you provide ANY evidence for a non-Christian geologist arguing for a Young Earth model?

      If not, why don’t you find this problematic?

      Curious your thoughts.

      Your brother in Christ.

      -Joshua

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      I’m asking why you think the majority of geologists (95% + at least) believe in an Old Earth when it would extremely beneficial for their career’s if they were able to “debunk it” and set up another valid theory?”

      heh, heh, heh. As someone familiar with academia and academic politics, I’ll let someone else handle this softball question.

      The answer to that will also address (largely) the very weak complaint that since there’s so little Christian scholarship published in secular refereed journals, then Christian scholarship must be inferior or lacking.

    • Joshua

      Truth Unites…and Divides,

      Many of your comments are puzzling to me…

      Christian Philosophers are at least even with (if not out number) non-Christians in the academic realm and in academic journals (have you seen anyone give a responce to Plantiga’s evolutionary arguement against naturalism?). Francis Collins was head of the Human Genome project, many of the individuals from the Discovery Institute (i.e. the Intelligent Design think tank) get published in well known journals…

      So I fail to see how you have even attempted to address the issue aside from expecting me to assume that “you know better.” Its an odd way of going about conversation to be sure. Either you aren’t familiar with the scholarly material or you failed to understand my question.

      Let me clarify it again with this quote from the AIG website, and you tell me if you have a problem with it in terms of the scope and purpose of science:

      “By definition, no apparent, perceived, or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the Scriptural record. Of primary importance is the fact that evidence is always subject to interpretation by fallible people who do not possess all information. ”

      If this is the case, why bother “doing science”? I mean its much easier to say “The Bible is Inerrant and the simplest explanation is the best, end of story”. Why try and bring science into the mix when the real issue is exegetical techniques?

      Curious your thoughts.

      Your brother in Christ,

      -Josh

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      “many of the individuals from the Discovery Institute (i.e. the Intelligent Design think tank) get published in well known journals…”

      ?! Is that right? I’ve read that ID’ers get blacklisted.

      “If this is the case, why bother “doing science”?”

      #1. Many “scientists” in the past and some currently are Christian, and they are doing it for the Glory of God.

      #2. Need to define the term “science”. Gets us into the field of Philosophy of Science. Also gets us into discussions of philosophical and methodological naturalism. And all this takes us far afield from the blog post although it is relevant.

    • #John1453

      Good points, Josh.

      I’m enjoying this exchange, but, I don’t expect to convince Richard or TUaD or any other YECs of anything because they are at present incapable of changing their minds. They believe God told them that the earth is only 6,000 years old (told them through His Word, not in a recent vision), and how are they going to go against that? Call God a liar?

      They will only be capable of change if they come to agree that either (1) the YEC interpretation of Genesis is incorrect, or (2) there are other interpretative options open to them which include either a YE or OE. In the case of the latter (i.e., coming to (2)), once they see that Scripture is capable of interpretations consistent or compatible with either the OE or YE view, then they will have to either (a) form their belief on the age of the earth via the physical sciences, or (b) remain agnostic about the matter.

      I will for now leave rock formation and dating, and other examples that are unexplainable via YEC flood geology (such as fossils atop the Himalayas, or fossilized dinosaur nests and footprints), and turn to the matter of light.

      Regards,
      #John

    • EricW

      235. Steve Bartholomew on 02 Jun 2009 at 11:13 am wrote:

      Greg, …I must add here that you have shown remarkable resilience defending your position, and I will not be at all surprised to see your disappearance from this blog at any moment. If this event is imminent, but you still read this comment, I wish you the very best in your continuing quest for the truth! Steve

      Steve: I hope your remarks didn’t drive Greg away. 🙁 I’m still waiting (hoping) for him to post his promised list of (re)sources for the ANE view(point) of Genesis.

    • John CT: “I don’t expect to convince Richard or TUaD or any other YECs of anything because they are at present incapable of changing their minds.”

      Hold on there, pardner. I never said I was a YEC.

      I’ve always maintained that YEC’s and OEC’s should set aside hostilities toward each other and redirect them instead towards neo-Darwinian evolutionists and their compromising enablers, the theistic evolutionists.

    • Richard

      Joshua,

      Sorry for posting the wrong link for Mortensen’s actual work. Try this for the start point:

      http://www.answersingenesis.org/Home/Area/bios/scriptural_geologists.asp

      and this for links to several subsequent articles:
      http://www.answersingenesis.org/search/?q=scriptural+geologists&search=Go#q=scriptural+geologists&site=default_collection

      I find it quite useful to understand a bit about a paradigm change when considering whether it’s really a move toward truth or not.

      We must remember that the notion of completely objective scientists is mythology (see Gould quote earlier).

      Now just to provoke thought, consider the following questions:

      Can you provide ANY evidence for a non-Christian scientist arguing for the physical resurrection of Jesus?

      If not, why don’t you find this problematic?

    • Steve Bartholomew

      Eric – Re: post #315 …

      “Steve: I hope your remarks didn’t drive Greg away. I’m still waiting (hoping) for him to post his promised list of (re)sources for the ANE view(point) of Genesis.”

      For some reason I sensed that Greg might be pulling out of this blog. If this happened to be true, I just wanted to leave him with some words of encouragement (“I wish you the very best in your continuing quest for the truth!”). If he did pull out, it would appear that my intuition was correct, eh?

      If Greg doesn’t respond to your request, I hope your search for this info is successful. I imagine Amazon would be a good place to start.

      Steve

    • Steve Bartholomew

      John said in post 294 that one can believe in both an old earth and a global flood. Of course, nobody does.

    • EricW

      Re: Amazon – that would cost money, something I’m not flush in at the moment. Besides, Greg said that most of his information was available online, which was one reason I was hoping he’d post his list of sources/resources:

      “Sometime tomorrow I will make a list of resources that explain this subject further, many of which can be listened to or watched online.”

      I guess I could Google for ANE, Hebrew Bible, videos, etc.

    • Greg

      Wow,

      I think this will go down in history as CMP’s most active post! I was wondering today if this could top 300 posts, but didn’t think it would as it seemed to be slowing down after my last posting. Guess not!

      I haven’t been on since I’ve been very busy these past two days. School, work, church, sleep, etc. I’d also like to apologize for not posting some of the resources when I said I would. I’ll fix that tonight.

      Given that there are over a hundred posts since I last posted, I’m not sure I’d be able to catch up in any reasonable way. Honestly, I think we are all very happy with our current positions, so I’m not sure how helpful it would be. I’m reminded of this wonderful comic that helps put it all into perspective: http://xkcd.com/386/

      But, I’m always happy to further explain my position to anyone who wants to listen. If anyone has Facebook, feel free to look me up on it. I’m on CMP’s friend’s list, the only Greg M on it.

      Now for resources. Can’t say these are super scholarly or anything, but they have been helpful to me as I’ve worked my way through this (and there’s still a lot I don’t know yet).

      John H. Walton has been the strongest “popular” writer for viewing Genesis through an ANE worldview. I recommend three books by him on this subject.

      1. Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament: Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible
      2. NIV Application Commentary: Genesis
      3. The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate

      The third one is due to be released in July, and is a more focused and popular presentation of information found in his other two books. A chapter summary can be found here on IVPress (http://www.ivpress.com/cgi-ivpress/book.pl/toc/code=3704) and a blog post on it here: http://addenda-errata.ivpress.com/2009/05/the_lost_world_of_genesis_one.php

      He also has a more scholarly volume coming out on the very same subject, which he mentioned should by out by the end of 2009. The title is “Genesis One as Ancient Cosmology” and published by Eisenbrauns.

      Further, Walton also presented a lecture at Logos Bible Software about a year ago on the subject, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone interested. Here is the link: http://www.logos.com/media/lecture/walton.mp3

      Bruce Waltke, in his recently released Old Testament Theology, wrote on the theology of the creation in Chapter 7. While I cannot remember if he quoted Walton, I do know he had basically the same position on the interpretation of Genesis 1, namely the importance of an understanding of the ANE worldview.

      Both authors are considered some of the top Old Testament Evangelical scholars in the world. That doesn’t guard them against error, of course, but it does mean what they say on these issues should be carefully weighed and considered.

      Their focus is mostly on scripture. They very rarely bring science into the discussion, which I think is the right thing to do at first…

    • Greg

      [Continued]

      But for those interested in the science aspect of this debate, I really just recommend this website: http://www.blog.beyondthefirmament.com/

      The blog is interesting, but the video section is where it truly shines:

      http://www.blog.beyondthefirmament.com/video-presentations/

      If you have the time to watch them, I recommend them all.

      The “Science and Christian Education” series is very helpful in understanding the nature of science and how it should affect the Christian’s view of the world. It also includes an assessment of all the positions of Genesis, and ends with how historical context is important to interpreting it. Basically all that I have been saying these last few days. If you only watch two, watch the last two; they are worth their weight in digital gold! Richard, you will like this last one as it touches on your main objection about what constitutes “truth” in revelation from God.

      The last set, “Christianity & Biology”, are lectures from a Christian biology professor at TWU on evolution. Even if you don’t agree with it, this is a very good presentation on what evolution is, what evidence supports it, what doesn’t, and how all the different positions on Genesis stack up against the evidence we find in nature.

      One other book that I’d recommend, which I have not read but only heard highly spoken of, is “Evolutionary Creation: A Christian Approach to Evolution”, by Denis O. Lamoureux.

      He has a Ph.d in Theology, a Ph.D in Biology, and also one in Dentistry. I’m not sure how the last one fits in, but the first two certainly qualify him to speak on these subjects more so than just about anyone else I know of!

      Read the reviews on Amazon and see if its a book you may be interested in learning from. It seems he makes a strong case for reading Genesis through an ANE mindset, the same one that I have been making on here. As to the rest of it, I have to wait until I read it before I make a decision on it.

      And that’s about it. (I think. I’m very tired right now!)

    • Greg

      EricW, Steve B, Richard, Cheryl U,

      Thanks for the great discussion we’ve had over the last few days. Even though I’m lost too much sleep over it (literally!), I have enjoyed it. Feel free to continue on Facebook if you like.

      Re: Background per Cheryl U,

      Good idea. I think its neat to learn more about people you talk to online.

      My name is Greg, obviously! I just turned 26 years old and I live in Houston, TX. I work for my church right now as a janitor/maintanence person. Most of my time is spent setting up and tearing down for events. I’m in college right now, due to graduate in December with an Associates Degree in Nursing. I got engaged this past December and will be getting married this July, something we’re obviously looking forward to a lot!

      When I grow up I want to teach theology in a college or seminary, preferably Old Testament. Either that or be an archeologist or a librarian for a seminary! We’ll see what God has in store.

      Before I became a Christian I had a strong interest in science. In 1999 when I accepted Christ I soon transitioned to a YEC perspective and spent many years ardently defending it. I was darn good at it too! I can’t remember an evolutionist I’d ever lost to, lol! (Because of this I understand your position and reasoning very well, Richard!)

      I began to notice a bad thing though. I’m naturally interested in just about every subject, especially the sciences, so while defending YEC I obviously began to study evolution and the old earth stuff. As my understanding of them increased, I began to find holes in my own arguments. While I could still dominate a debate with them, I couldn’t convince myself of them anymore. The only thing holding me back was my understanding of Genesis.

      Once I was exposed to Progressive Creationism, I left behind YEC and started on the path of embracing more of the science I’d previously rejected. I don’t remember when I began to accept evolution, but I do know I did by 2005. By that time I had moved away from Progressive Creationism because it played too fast and loose with scripture. I was unsatisfied with other interpretations too, such as the Framework Theory, for the same reasons.

      I decided any coherent position must be true to scripture and to science, as both constitute aspects of God’s revelation to humankind. It was this guiding truth that inspired me not to lose hope in this quest, and not to sacrifice one for the other. Unlike many whom I have heard of (and who inspire me to press on now), my faith was never in danger through this journey. I never considered giving up my faith because of what I was learning.

      So for several years I held onto truths that I simply could not reconcile in any useful way. It wasn’t until 2008 that I found Beyond the Firmament where I was introduced to the idea of reading Genesis through ancient eyes. Exposure to Walton helped me to develop this understanding even further.

      [Continued]

    • Greg

      [Continued]

      It was all kinda scary because it forced me to accept the fact that we do have very primitive cosmology in scripture, like a flat earth, things I fought against as a YEC. While I had intentionally overlooked aspects of it previously (like the waters above the sun, moon, and stars) I’m not afraid of it now that I understand why its there and its significance.

      This is God’s Word. Who am I to question the vehicle He used to teach the Israelites great theological truths? Who am I to force scripture to fit my own molds?

      I make it a practice to be open-minded to ideas, simply because I’ve been wrong so many times in the past. I could be wrong with all this. That much I’m sure about. But on the scale of truth this is the closest I’ve ever been.

      No other view reconciles scripture and science as well as this one. It took me ten years to find it, but it was certainly worth it. The idea that modern science and scripture do not conflict is one that is gaining popularity. More books are coming out devoted to it, and more big names are accepting it. Walton’s perspective is gaining traction as a very common-sense approach to interpreting Genesis, and I don’t see that momentum slowing down.

      A similar drama played out in the church 500 years ago over geocentrism and heliocentrism. CMP didn’t think the comparison was a good one, but I disagree. It’s an exact parallel.

      Christians rejected heliocentrism because it offended a traditional interpretation of scripture that had been believed for hundreds of years and was based on the “literal” reading of the Bible. You even had theologians coming up with their own pseudo-science to try and explain away the scientific data, such as “if the earth really turned, how come we don’t go flying off it?”. Makes a lot of sense, actually, if you don’t understand gravity, which they didn’t until Newton came along. Then the evidence kept piling up until it couldn’t be denied any longer.

      Now all of us are heliocentrists, and we all interpret scripture in light of what science tells us about the solar system. Its all phenomenological now, even though that interpretation was unknown to the church prior to Copernicus. Calvin, Luther, and the Catholic Church were wrong. All who relied only on scripture to determine issues of science were wrong in the end and had to change. It was a great embarrassment to the church.

      Today’s debate is no different. YEC and those related to them occupy the same spot geocentrists did back then. I urge everyone here to deeply and carefully consider what you have heard from this discussion, not so you can be on the “winning side” of history, but so you can faithfully and accurately interpret the Word of God and be a witness of its truth to an unbelieving world. Leave behind unnecessary interpretations that leave us looking as fools to the world so we can spend more time being fools for Christ!

      Let them reject us because of Christ, not because of bad science.

      [Finished]

    • Richard

      Greg, Thanks for the bio info, and your participation in this discussion. Regarding Glover, in a positive review of his book, it says
      http://www.goddiscussion.com/1069/beyond-the-firmament-understanding-science-and-the-theology-of-creation/

      The author describes his reluctant acceptance of evolution as just another natural process through which God has been operating in his providental governance of the universe. In that vein, he expresses his dislike of the term “theistic evolution” as not making any more sense than “theistic meteorology.” He cites a number of clearly stated, understandable reasons why biological evolution is currently the most reasonable explanation of the facts that scientists are observing in nature

      In Glover’s faq addressing evolution, he says

      the Bible does not teach the Big Bang or Evolution, but neither does it teach that the earth revolves around the sun. I’m afraid these scientific theories must be judged by how well they explain or how badly they contradict the available evidence, just as was done with the theory of a moving earth.

      So unless this is incorrect, he’s one of many theistic evolutionists that simply states we can’t get historical info from early Genesis.

      Help me out here if this is incorrect.

      BTW, when I first began critically thinking about origins, much of the YEC stuff was simply awful, and some still is. However, much progress has been made. I hope you continue to seek and eventually get around to considering that God was capable of accurately communicating to his people and actually did so.

      Also, everyone seems very concerned about the waters above the firmament. This is actually discussed as physically accurate in Humphreys White Hole cosmology, so it’s at least possible for this to simply be true. Just because we may not understand something (yet) does not imply it can’t be true. Also, just because a Biblical account has been corrupted into other cultural accounts (eg ~200 flood ‘legends’) does not imply that the Biblical account is not true. This is faulty thinking (I’m not accusing you of this:).

    • Richard

      Greg,

      You’ve clearly stated that you understand ‘science’ to be based upon methodological naturalism. As I showed in post 140, such ‘science’ is incapable of getting it right at any point that God interacts with His creation. Thus decidedly supernatural events such as creation and the flood are completely beyond the reach of ‘science’. Yet you appear to ignore this limitation on ‘science’ and instead accept its conclusions, then you must conclude that the scriptural account does not mean what it appears to say, so the whole ANE cultural argument is used.

      Ignoring the limitations of ‘science’ is dangerously close to scientism. Be very cautious….

    • #John1453

      re post 309 and the claim that nobody believes in an old earth. As the saying goes, you need to get out more. When I was growing up, that is one of the interpretations I heard and read about. If I recall correctly, it was also set out in one of Gleason Archer’s books. In any event, about 2 minutes of googling brought me to this site:

      http://www.kjvbible.org/

      and here is their statement of faith (KJV preference and old earth and global flood, I don’t think I could’ve found anything better):

      Statement of Faith: The Christian Geology Ministry is an Internet based, independent, Bible study resource website. We believe that the Bible’s Genesis accounts of Creation and Noah’s flood are absolutely accurate, True and Faithful. Having said that, be advised that we also believe that the vast body of scientific observations (not theories) pointing to an old Earth, are also True and Faithful, as they are based on forensic principles and ‘Laws of Nature’ established by the Creator God Himself. Our thesis of belief is best summarized by this simple statement:

      If the Lord God who created all physical things is the same God who inspired and preserved the Holy Scriptures, then there can be no real contradiction between the literal wording of the Holy Bible and what can be observed in the Earth’s geology. Any perceived contradictions MUST be the result of faulty interpretation of either the Word of God, Earth’s geology, or both, on the part of men.

      For the record, we are a Fundamental, Bible Believing Ministry that upholds the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, born of a virgin, who took upon Himself flesh and shed His blood on a cross as atonement for the sins of all mankind, to give the gift of Salvation freely to those who accept Him by faith as the only way to the Father. We believe in the Premillennial Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and a literal 1,000 year future reign of the King of Kings upon this Earth.

      The Christian Geology Ministry firmly believes in the absolute authority of the verbally inspired Scriptures. We accept the Hebrew Masoretic Text as the divinely preserved line of Old Testament Manuscripts and the Greek Textus Receptus as the divinely preserved line of New Testament Manuscripts. This position is fully consistent with our acceptance and belief in the accuracy and authority of the King James Bible English language translation

      [end of quote]

      It’s actually quite an interesting site, and I’ve bookmarked it.

      Regards,
      #John

    • Joshua

      Richard,

      I totally agree with you that there are no objective scientists. But you must also agree that Christians aren’t objective when it comes to this discussion either.

      I think you have made my point for me in your question:

      “Can you provide ANY evidence for a non-Christian scientist arguing for the physical resurrection of Jesus?”

      DESPITE THE FACT THAT I KNOW I AM GOING TO GET QUOTE MINNED ON THIS ONE:

      My answer of course is “no” to your question and I will go so far as to say I do not believe there is ANY “scientific evidence” for Jesus’ resurrection within the current scientific paradigm. Is there historical evidence? Absolutely and I believe its one of the strongest in antiquity and that’s why I believe in the physical and bodily resurrection of Christ.

      However, there is a reason we call it a miracle of God…because it doesn’t happen unless God surpasses the natural laws and does something only He can do.

      I mean, how in the world would you “test” or even “hypothesize” how God raised Jesus from the dead? Where would you start? There isn’t one…God simply DID IT through His power.

      This leads me back to my original point that you proved with that question:

      Why bring science into Creation or the Resurrection? There is no way one can “prove” the resurrection through scientific methods because the source of the resurrection comes from a meta-physical entity (God) that is untestable and unquantifiable…In a similar way, if you start off from the get go with what your conclusion is (the earth is around 6,000 years old), how can you criticize OEC who simply start out with different presuppositios based on their interpretation of nature? It doesn’t make sense to me so I will say it again, why not just say: “The Bible is inerrant, the simplest interpretation is the best, thats that.”

      Since I know I am going to get quote mined on this one. Yes, I believe in the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ, not because it’s “scientifically possible” (it’s a miracle…) but because of the historical evidence and the confidence I have in the Scriptures that points to it. I simply fail to see why we would even want a “scientific” explanation for the resurrection (or creation) when God and His power infinitely bursts out of all and any of our theories and formulas we could ever come up…

      Curious your thoughts.

      Your brother in Christ,

      -Joshua

    • Susan

      Greg, and all, thanks for your bio’s. This has been an interesting discussion, among very knowledgeable contributors. I remain in the YEC camp (appreciate your contributions, Richard), but I will say to Greg that I think you are right to see the proclamation of the gospel ‘being a fool for Christ’ as a much greater priority than defending one’s creation theory (at least that’s what I think you are saying).

      John, you chose not to answer my questions about your view of Jesus. I was not intending to ‘call you on the carpet’, but I do think that one’s relationship to Jesus can have a significant bearing on their perspective….on this issue, and thousands of others.

    • Richard

      Joshua,

      Appreciate your comments. What brings science into the creation (and flood) topics is the widespread belief that science has proven that the straightforward Biblical accounts simply can’t be correct.

      Many flat out admit that they disbelieve what they know scripture says because science has proven otherwise. Hence, a bit of critical thinking about what has science *really* proven is in order. That is simply being a Berean.

      See the Pattle Pun and James Barr comments in posts 199 and 204.

    • Richard

      More on the “waters above” question. It has been insinuated in this blog that such a concept as physical reality is simply impossible. That is not the case.

      Here is a recent discussion by cosmologist Dr. John Hartnett:

      http://creation.com/images/pdfs/tj/j20_1/j20_1_93-98.pdf

      followed by criticism from OE Gorman Gray, and Hartnett’s response:

      http://creation.com/images/pdfs/tj/j21_2/j21_2_56-57.pdf

      While we certainly don’t know everything (far from it!) no one need fear that the “waters above” somehow destroy the possibility that scripture is actually correct.

    • cheryl u

      Greg,

      Thanks for you your bio info. And congatultions on your up coming marriage!

      As I mentioned yesterday, I am “out of here” for awhile”. Will have to catch up with the discussion when I get back in town.

      God bless all of you.

    • #John1453

      re my post 306, correction to first line: I meant “old earth and global flood”.

      Since the uncle incident, I’ve reflected on my previous posts. My wife often tells me to stop being a lawyer when I get home, because I live most of my waking hours where discussion of ideas is a no holds barred activity which no one takes personally. My colleagues and I at my firm often vigorously disagree. Also my practice area is quite specialized and I sometimes work on the same side as another lawyer or consultant, and sometimes on the opposite side, and sometimes on the same committee. In my posts I’ve tried to stick to the ideas, facts and reasoning. By and large I think I’ve accomplished that, but for those who haven’t read from the beginning I don’t think YECs are stupid. That doesn’t mean that their so-called science isn’t junk. Being committed to a belief that God has told us the earth is young, they cannot do other than junk science. Their commitment is a good, positive thing, and I believe that one should stick with what one believes God has said. It’s just that they misunderstand what God has said and are committed to the wrong thing.

      I also disagree with Richard’s portrait of science and the work of God, but I’ll leave that to another post. However, I will follow up on my previous refutation of his use of geologist Derek Ager’s words. I demonstrated that his use of Ager actually undercut his position. Ager, himself has actually taken a stand against YECs:

      “For a century and a half the geological world has been dominated, one might even say brain-washed, by the gradualistic uniformitarianism of Charles Lyell. Any suggestion of ‘catastrophic’ events has been rejected as old-fashioned, unscientific and even laughable. This is partly due to the extremism of some of Cuvier’s followers, though not of Cuvier himself.

      “On that side too were the obviously untenable views of bible-oriented fanatics, obsessed with myths such as Noah’s flood, and of classicists thinking of Nemesis. That is why I think it necessary to include the following ‘disclaimer’: in view of the misuse that my words have been put to in the past, I wish to say that nothing in this book should be taken out of context and thought in any way to support the views of the ‘creationists’ (who I refuse to call ‘scientific’).” [Ager’s emphasis]

      Derek Ager, “The New Catastrophism: The Importance of the Rare Event in Geological History”, (1995: Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, Great Britain), p. xi.

      About 1600 years after St. Augustine expressed concerns related to bad science, evangelical Christian geologist Davis Young, wrote something similar:

      “The maintenance of modern creationism and Flood geology not only is useless apologetically with unbelieving scientists, it is harmful. Although many who have no scientific training have been swayed by creationist arguments, the unbelieving scientist will
      [cont.]

    • #John1453

      re post 328: “John, you chose not to answer my questions about your view of Jesus.” Yes, but only for the time being while I was writing on other stuff. : ) I believe Jesus is God, who is three in one, and that Jesus was raised from the dead. I also believe that it is far more likely than not that the Shroud of Turin is Jesus’ actual burial cloth.

      [Now, the full quote of Davis Young, an evangelical geologist, which I started above, as a follow up to what St. Augustine wrote]:

      “The maintenance of modern creationism and Flood geology not only is useless apologetically with unbelieving scientists, it is harmful. Although many who have no scientific training have been swayed by creationist arguments, the unbelieving scientist will reason that a Christianity that believes in such nonsense must be a religion not worthy of his interest. . . . Modern creationism in this sense is apologetically and evangelistically ineffective. It could even be a hindrance to the gospel.

      Another possible danger is that in presenting the gospel to the lost and in defending God’s truth we ourselves will seem to be false. It is time for Christian people to recognize that the defense of this modern, young-Earth, Flood-geology creationism is simply not truthful. It is simply not in accord with the facts that God has given.

      (Christianity and the Age of the Earth, Thousand Oaks, CA: Artisan Sales, 1988, 163)

      Regards,
      #John

    • Richard: “You’ve clearly stated that you understand ‘science’ to be based upon methodological naturalism. As I showed in post 140, such ‘science’ is incapable of getting it right at any point that God interacts with His creation. Thus decidedly supernatural events such as creation and the flood are completely beyond the reach of ‘science’. Yet you appear to ignore this limitation on ‘science’ and instead accept its conclusions, then you must conclude that the scriptural account does not mean what it appears to say, so the whole ANE cultural argument is used.

      Ignoring the limitations of ‘science’ is dangerously close to scientism. Be very cautious….”

      Amen to this well-stated post. I echo the call for Christians to be cautious of unthinkingly and unknowingly embracing the presuppositions of Scientism.

      Science, by definition, cannot explain or account for miracles.

      Science, by definition, cannot explain or account for God.

      For a Bible-believing Christian then, science cannot explain or account for all the truth that is in God’s Divine Universe.

      Science is a subset of Divine Truth.

    • Richard

      John,

      I appreciate you comments about apparent tone. Once I knew you were a lawyer, I understood your tone as you intended and have taken no personal offense. My wife tells me I’m guilty of the same thing…

      You wrote:

      Richard quotes Derek Ager as supporting him and disproving me.

      and

      However, I will follow up on my previous refutation of his use of geologist Derek Ager’s words. I demonstrated that his use of Ager actually undercut his position. Ager, himself has actually taken a stand against YECs:

      Did you actually even read post 266? I never said Ager supported me (or YEC). I explicitly said he’s an “non-creationist OE geologist” – I don’t think that I could have been more clear. You really need to slow down a bit. I suspect that you are so convinced that I can’t possibly have anything logical to say that you continue to misread what I’ve written, and then fail to address my arguments at all.

      I showed that Ager is forced by the physical evidence of polystrate trees to conclude that deposition is very rapid at times. He then is forced by his belief in OE to conclude that it stops for lengthy periods (to allow for the vast amount of time that *must be there*). He admits, however, that the appearance is that the deposition was uniform and continuous.

      So he does not believe what his eyes tell him….he believes that DESPITE THE EVIDENCE the deposition was neither uniform, nor continuous. This is required by his OE views.

      The YEC has no problem accepting the physical evidence as rapid, uniform, continuous deposition.

      You’ve refuted nothing except your own misreading.

      I hope that clears this up a bit.

    • Steve Bartholomew

      John

      You have made the following claims about proponents of YEC (I will not mention the infamous “uncle incident” for which you (thankfully!) apologized):

      “It is not possible to work with YEs because they practice junk science and completely lack credibility.” #264

      “YECs have not published anything of recognizable significance in the relevant fields of science that has had any impact on the course of those fields. In fact, they are viewed very negatively.” #289

      Re: John Baumgartner, you said: “His credentials are not relevant in so far as he is committed to a 6,000 year old earth for theological and not scientific reasons.” #294

      From these and other comments you have made, it is obvious that you have an extremely negative, even disdainful, opinion of YEC’s.
      Let’s take a moment to compare your educational background with that of John Baumgartner … In #284 Richard listed JB’s:
      * B.S., Texas Tech University, Lubbock, 1968
      * M.S., Electrical Engineering, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, 1970
      * M.S., Geophysics and Space Physics, University of California, Los Angeles, 1981
      * Ph.D., Geophysics and Space Physics, University of California, Los Angeles, 1983

      In #263 you listed yours: I have 4 university level degrees: 3 year B.A. in theology/biblical studies. 4 year degree in linguistics. law degree. master of environmental studies.

      Based upon educational lbackground alone, then, JB is far more qualilfied as a scientist than yuo are. Furthermore, your cavalier dismissal of Mr. B. is critically flawed. He is not “committed to a 6,000 yr. old earth for theological and not scientific reasons” as you claim. His commitment is based upon theological AND scientific reasons … You just don’t happen to agree with those scientific reasons.

      (continued)

    • Steve Bartholomew

      John (cont.)

      Let me give you another reason why your disdainful attitude toward YEC’s is completely unjustified. Are you familiar with Dr. Benjamin Carson? Here is an excerpt of an article about this remarkable man:

      Benjamin Carson: The Pediatric Neurosurgeon with Gifted Hands
      by Jerry Bergman, Ph.D.*
      Introduction

      Benjamin S. Carson, M.D., one of the world’s foremost pediatric neurosurgeons, is professor and chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University Medical School.1 Born on September 18, 1951, in Detroit to a single mother in a working class neighborhood, Ben showed promise from a young age.2 A graduate of Yale and the University of Michigan Medical School, he was rated by a Time issue titled “America’s Best” as a “super surgeon.”3 Dr. Carson was also selected by CNN and Time as one of the nation’s top 20 physicians and scientists, and by the Library of Congress as one of 89 “living-legends.”4

      Dr. Carson is a leading research scientist. A “voracious reader of the medical and scientific literature” from his graduate school days, he has long been very interested in scientific research and has been very active in this area for his entire career,5, 6 with over 120 major scientific publications in peer reviewed journals, 38 books and book chapters, and grant awards of almost a million dollars. His achievements have so far earned him 51 honorary doctorates, including from Yale and Columbia Universities.

      A Google search reveals thousands of sites devoted to this incredible individual. I highly recommend them to you and any other readers of this comment. His is a remarkable and thrilling story.

      Dr. Carson is a committed Young Earth Creationist.

      Proponents of YEC include hundreds, undoubtedly thousands, of individuals with credentials similar to those of John Baumgartner and Dr. Carson. For you to claim that such worthy people “practice junk science and completely lack credibility” is breathtakingly arrogant … and coming from someone who professes to be a Christian, virtually incomprehensible.

      Let me close on a positive note … we actually AGREE about something! For I too am quite convinced that the Shroud of Turin is the actual burial clothof Jesus!

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      Richard: “You’ve refuted nothing except your own misreading.”

      You may not have intended your sentence to be so humorous, but that was just laugh out loud funny to me!

      Serious comments may now resume.

    • #John1453

      Geometric measurements to objects which are thousands, millions and even billions of light years away are available, using sensible physical models for the observed objects (various kinds of stars, galaxies, etc.).

      One of the basic methods of measuring distances is parallax. The parallax effect can be demonstrated right now, where you are reading this: hold up a finger a few inches in front of your nose. Close one eye and then the other. You will notice that the finger appears to move in relation to background objects (pick something on a wall) when you look from / switch from one eye to the other. This occurs because your left and right eyes are a few inches apart and have a different line of sight and angle to your finger. Now hold your finger out farther and repeat; you’ll notice that the background objects appear to move less.
      If one takes a reading of an object and background objects from earth, and then wait half a year until the earth is on the other side of the sun and repeat, one will replicate the effect of looking through one eye and then another.

      In 1838 astronomer and mathematician Wilhelm Bessel, at the Observatory at Königsberg, used this effect to measure the distance from earth to the star 61 Cygni. The distance was 10 light years.

      Since stellar objects emit all kinds of radiation, not just light waves, other types of waves can be used to measure the distances. Using radio waves one can measure distances out to 10,000 light years away. Using other methods, we can measure distances out to millions and billions of light years away.

      Even AIG has abandoned opposition to the large distances, and now agrees that “the techniques that astronomers use to measure cosmic distances are generally logical and scientifically sound. They do not rely on evolutionary assumptions about the past. Moreover, they are a part of observational science (as opposed to historical/origins science); they are testable and repeatable in the present. You could repeat the experiment to determine the distance to a star or galaxy, and you would get approximately the same answer. So we have good reason to believe that space really is very big. In fact, the amazing size of the universe brings glory to God (Psalm 19:1).” [found at http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/does-starlight-prove%5D

      As you may know, a light year is the distance light travels in one year. Using basic logic, if a star is 10,000 light years away, it takes 10,000 years for the light to travel from that star to us. If we are seeing the light now, it must have already travelled for 10,000 years to get to us. Since some objects are billions of lightyears away, the light that has reached us must have been travelling for billions of years. In fact, AIG recognizes that this results in the conclusion that the “universe must be at least billions of years old—much older than the 6,000 or so years indicated in the Bible.” [same web page]

      This is the result that YECs…

    • #John1453

      re post response to post #337. I am not disdainful to YECs in general; I am merely pointing out that they are forced to engage in junk science because they are forced to do so by their commitment to a 6,000 year old earth. They cannot appropriately investigate the characteristics of the unverse as God created it the way one investigates other aspects of His universe because the are committed to one and only one answer / result: 6,000 years. That is why they cannot practice real science and why their literature always has this miracle backstop: “if our explanation fails, then God must be working directly to produce the effect that we observe”

      Back to light:

      This is the result that YECs must counter to maintain that the universe is only 6,000 years old.

      At one time, many YECs believed that it might be possible that God created light in transit, so that it only appears old. But this argument ignored the fact that light is not just a particle or wave of energy, but it also contains information . The light contains information that an object produced it and gives information about that object. The light also gives information on things that it has passed through or near on its way here. The light also gives information on events such as explosions of stars.

      Consequently the leading YEC organizations have abandoned this argument: “It seems uncharacteristic of God to make illusions like this. God made our eyes to accurately probe the real universe; so we can trust that the events that we see in space really happened. For this reason, most creation scientists believe that light created in-transit is not the best way to respond to the distant starlight argument. [also found at http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/does-starlight-prove%5D

      The failed response of the YECs to the phenomena of light include:
      -the speed of light has changed since the start of the universe
      -time flows at different rates in different parts of the universe, or from different points of view, or is affected by gravity
      -local time is different from universal time
      -red shift effect

      All of these arguments evince faulty understandings of the science involved or incorrect calculations, or unwarranted assumptions, etc.
      YECs fall back position is that God sent the light here supernaturally (see same article at web link give above). Nice; a speculation with no proof. But God consistently announces His works so that people on earth are aware of them (as He does throughout the Bible), and he has never indicated in the Bible that he sent star light here supernaturally. Thus, YECs are forced to make this speculation because they have no other way of explaining light from stars. That is, science doesn’t support their theories, and the Bible makes no mention of supernatural light travel, but God is omnipotent so I’ll assume that he sent it here supernaturally and put those words into His mouth. YECs are committed to [cont.]

    • #John1453

      YECs are committed to such faulty theories and speculative arguments from silence because (1) they believe God says the universe is 6,000 years old (see quote above), (2) God cannot lie, (3) there is no natural functioning of God’s universe that explains the old light, so (4) God must have done it supernaturally, and (5) since the Bible is silent on the matter of the supernatural travel of light, they can fill up that silence with their own speculations.

      OR

      The YECs could admit that all human interpreters of the Bible are fallible INCLUDING THEM. Therefore, their interpretation could be wrong, and others could be right. Then they could admit that since there is no conclusive proof in favour of anyone interpretation, that biblical inerrantists can validly choose to lean towards one of the various interpretations without trashing other interpretations as “humanist” or “unbiblical” or “unchristian”.

      And that brings us to the value of science vis a vis interpretation of the Bible. If science strongly proves that the earth is spherical and not flat, and that it goes around the sun, whereas a naïve reading of the Bible suggests otherwise, then we should be motivated to check if our fallible interpretation is wrong. And this has worked. Though people in the past used Bible verses to support and prove the arguments that the earth is flat or that the sun goes around the earth, no one would do that now. The science is to strong. That is, our understanding of God’s creation obtained using God’s gifts of observation and reasoning and the character of his physical creation shows that interpretation to be faulty in some way. So we go back and look at the assumptions and information used in interpreting the Bible, and we find that indeed we used faulty assumptions and methods in interpreting the Bible. The interpretation was wrong. So we redo our interpretation but with the avoidance of our previous interpretive errors and we find that the Bible allows for interpretations that are compatible with a spherical earth and the earth travellilng around the sun.

      Regards
      #John

    • Richard

      John,

      I waiting for your response to my post 336.

      Then I’ll happily address the light time travel problem.

      BTW, what physical cosmology do you think is likely? Most OEs seem to accept the big bang with some being quite adamant.

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      John CT: “The YECs could admit that all human interpreters of the Bible are fallible INCLUDING THEM. Therefore, their interpretation could be wrong, and others could be right.”

      And visa versa. The OEC’s could admit that they’re wrong and that the others could be right too.

      “Then they could admit that since there is no conclusive proof in favour of anyone interpretation, that biblical inerrantists can validly choose to lean towards one of the various interpretations without trashing other interpretations as “humanist” or “unbiblical” or “unchristian”.”

      I could go along with that except for the professing Christians who adopt neo-Darwinian evolution and call themselves “theistic evolutionists”.

    • #John1453

      Re posts 336 & 337: I’m not asking anyone to believe me because of my education or work, nor am I pitting my degrees against anyone else (and I’m not suggesting that Richard is framing it this way, but I want to be clear). I did not raise the issue of my background myself, but only politely responded to the request of cherylu quite well on in this thread.

      My point in my comments about Baumgartner et al. is that they have already reached their answer BEFORE they investigate the phenomena in question; BEFORE they do any “science”. Their degrees are irrelevant to this process, because there is no process: they already have the answer. Furthermore, they are committed to the answer such that it is not possible for them to agree that there is any evidence for anything other than a young earth. Their answer is derived theologically—God said the earth and universe is 6,000 years old—and their commitment is religious, not scientific—God said it and he doesn’t lie so they must follow God (and the last bit is admirable).

      Real science, the kind of science that christians practice in regard to other aspects of God’s creation, is to use one’s God given faculties of perception and reasoning to observe phenomena and then find relationships among and between the phenomena. Such investigation gives us Boyle’s law, Einsteins theory of relativity, Planck’s constant, etc. But with respect to geology and dating of the universe YECs cannot practice such science. Instead they START with a FIXED answer and then try to develop arguments to make the data and phenomena fit their PRECONCEIVED and PREDETERMINED answer. This way of working leads to bizarre explanations, partial and faulty use of data, misleading use of other’s work, ignoring of context, incorrect and otherwise faulty analysis, ignorance of basic principles, belief in findings which simply cannot be justified or understood from the standpoint of the current state of credible scientific knowledge, etc.

      Junk science is science that is ideologically motivated and that exhibits these characteristics. The Council of State Governments defines sound science as “research conducted by qualified individuals using documented methodologies that lead to verifiable results and conclusions.” (see http://www.csg.org/pubs/Documents/sgn0109SoundScience101.pdf).

      The scientific method consists of certain basic components, which should be followed from a study’s inception to its conclusion. These include developing a testable hypothesis based on previous research, designing a means by which to test the hypothesis experimentally, analyzing the resultant data using appropriate statistical tests, producing a manuscript for review by fellow scientists (peer-review), and finally publication if approved by the reviewers. Other scientists should be able to repeat a published study in order to help substantiate or repudiate its findings.

      Regards,
      #John

    • #John1453

      re post 342: “BTW, what physical cosmology do you think is likely? Most OEs seem to accept the big bang with some being quite adamant.”

      I think that the big bang is most likely and that research in physics and astronomy is trending on confirmation of that idea. Hubble was rejected the big bang in the 40s because of its theological implications, and so pushed the steady state eternal universe. However, an eternal physical universe is an impossibility, so it must have had a beginning of some kind. So if we look for how the universe began, the physical evidence points only toward some kind of bang. All I’m committed to is a beginning of some kind.

      Since some have asked, I’ll give my thoughts on the Noahic flood, but with no intent to defend my thoughts. The YEC flood geology is impossible. The words of the Bible can reasonably be interpreted to mean a local flood while still holding to inerrancy. The words referring to depth, etc., also have a range of meaning, and we must take into account that the Biblical text appears as if it were written from the perspective of a person on the ground in the area where the things describe were happening. So, I could also accept that it rained everywhere around the world, that groundwaters came up everywhere, that much of the land around the world was covered or otherwise affected by the flooding, etc., and that in the local area where Noah was the flooding was more extensive (e.g., the hills were covered). If I was forced to choose one view, I’d go with local, but since I don’t have to put all my nickels on one number I’ll stay agnostic for now.

      Regards,
      #John.

    • Richard

      John, your post 345 indicates it will address my post 336, but you forgot to do so…

    • #John1453

      re post 343: “And visa versa. The OEC’s could admit that they’re wrong and that the others could be right too.”

      OE’s do allow that they could be wrong in their interpretation. That is why there are OE’s that follow a day/age interpretation (like H. Ross and the “Reasons to Believe” web site), a gap interpretation (like the KJV website I listed above), or a variety of the literary or framework interpretations (like J. Sailhammer). That is why the evangelical signers to the Chicago statement on inerrancy discussed but did not settle on one interpretation for Genesis and instead allowed that any of several interpretations were consistent with an inerrant Bible.

      Most OE’s do not, however, allow that they could be wrong on the science because the ancient age of the earth is confirmed as much as a spherical earth is confirmed, or a heliocentric solar system, or the workings of oxygen combustion. We will grow in our understanding of the phenomena related to the age of the universe, but the age of the universe will not come down to less than 6,000 years.

      But even if it did, the OEs would not lose their faith. Their view of the words in Genesis 1 & 2 is that the words could permit either an old or young earth, but that the best understanding of the words leans towards NO information about the age of the earth. If there is no information about the age of the earth in Genesis, then any answer that science provides is acceptable.

      To repeat for emphasis: If there is no information about the age of the earth in Genesis, then any answer that science provides is acceptable. Consequently the OE’s belief in God can never be shaken no matter what result science returns.

      Science returns a multi-billion year old age for the earth. Whoopee. There are a number of ways to account for that length of time given the words in Genesis. There could be a gap at the beginning. There could be a gap between each day. Each day could represent a long period of time. The author could be using a particular genre or literary technique. There could be an ANE way of talking about such stuff that is reflected by the wording. etc.

      Science returns a young age. Whoopee. We could still be dealing with a literary framework, or a genre type. We could still be dealing with gaps (but smaller ones). Or their could be seven consecutive days of 24 hours each.

      Neither way is my faith in God affected, except that every interpretation tells me that God did all this, not Baal or some other god, and not blind physical materialism.

      This is quite unlike the effects on YEC followers who are told its an “either/or” situation (either YEC or no believable Bible and no God), or the effects on unbelievers, who ridicule and reject Christ because of the (to them) crazy and ludicrous YEC beliefs.

      Regards,
      #John

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      John CT in #347.

      I tracked with you all the way except at the end.

      You wrote: “… or the effects on unbelievers, who ridicule and reject Christ because of the (to them) crazy and ludicrous YEC beliefs.”

      Several responses. No particular order.

      #1. If that’s what unbelievers use as an excuse, it’s not valid. Don’t let that sway you. The doctrine of origins is not to be conflated with the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.

      #2. If they do throw up that very flimsy excuse, it can be *easily* countered. EASILY. And I trust you know how to do it.

      #3. Since you’ve stated that YEC is an entirely valid position for inerrantists, why do you seem so angry and bent at demolishing YEC and seemingly insisting that they all become OEC?

    • #John1453

      Re post 346 and the reference to addressing post 336. Sorry, I replied to post 336 but now I see that post 335 and the reference to your earlier post 266 is intended, respecting the issue of polystrate trees.

      I’m a Beavers leader, and have to go for leadership training at the local Scouts headquarters, so my reply will have to wait.

      Regards,
      #John

    • Richard

      John and I don’t seem to have the same numbers for the posts..this is causing confusion.

      I see post 336 as my post which begins:

      John,

      I appreciate you comments about apparent tone.

      Do other see this as post 335? or 336?

      Thanks.

    • Dave Z

      I see it as 335.

      Post 336 is from Steve Bartholomew

    • Richard

      Dave Z,

      Most interesting. I’ve cleared my browser cache and reloaded and I still see 335 from Truth Unites, 336 from me, 337 and 338 as a two parter from Steve…

    • Steve Bartholomew

      Richard and Dave Z

      I show post #’s 336 & 337 as being from me

      Steve

    • Richard

      John,

      please comment on posts 254-255 about the discarding of the “6 billion year old diamonds”, and also the statements to the Lucas Heights Scientific Society

    • Richard

      Given the results of radiometrically dating a rock, John admits he would not know the age of the rock. He called it a nonsense question, and rightly indicated that he’d need to know more about the rock.

      Here’s why: http://creation.com/radio-dating-in-rubble
      (main points follow)
      In 1993, rocks know to have formed in the lava dome at Mt. St. Helens were dated. The dating method Dr Austin used was the potassium-argon method, which is widely used in geological circles. It is based on the fact that potassium-40 (an isotope or ‘variety’ of the element potassium) spontaneously ‘decays’ into argon-40 (an isotope of the element argon). This process proceeds very slowly at a known rate, having a half-life for potassium-40 of 1.3 billion years. In other words, 1.0 g of potassium-40 would, in 1.3 billion years, theoretically decay to the point that only 0.5 g was left.

      Contrary to what is generally believed, it is not just a matter of measuring the amount of potassium-40 and argon-40 in a volcanic rock sample of unknown age, and calculating a date. Unfortunately, before that can be done, we need to know the history of the rock. For example, we need to know how much ‘daughter’ was present in the rock when it formed. In most situations we don’t know since we didn’t measure it, so we need to make an assumption—a guess. It is routinely assumed that there was no argon initially. We also need to know whether potassium-40 or argon-40 have leaked into, or out of, the rock since it formed. Again, we do not know, so we need to make an assumption. It is routinely assumed that no leakage occurred. It is only after we have made these assumptions that we can calculate an ‘age’ for the rock. And when this is done, the ‘age’ of most rocks calculated in this way is usually very great, often millions of years. The Mount St Helens lava dome gives us the opportunity to check these assumptions, because we know it formed just a handful of years ago, between 1980 and 1986. The calculated age was between 340,000 and 2.8 million years old.

      OEs claimed this is invalid because “you can’t date young rocks with K-Ar dating”. Here’s an article explaining why this is incorrect. http://creation.com/radio-dating-in-rubble-article-ignores-data

      Since it’s assumed that the Ar results from decay of the K and that occurs slowly, a young rock should not have enough Ar to measure. However, this assumption was shown to be false. There was indeed measurable Ar. So due to a faulty initial assumption K-Ar yields a vastly older age than is correct.

      This is NOT an isolated event. See http://creation.com/excess-argon-within-mineral-concentrates-from-the-new-dacite-lava-dome-at-mount-st-helens-volcano for additional instances, including work done by Dalrymple himself, in which he claimed “excess argon” to explain the wrong age.

      Conclusion: a technique that fails for rocks of known age is not reliable for rocks of unknown age

      This has been…

    • Greg

      Richard,

      Re: #326

      Thus decidedly supernatural events such as creation and the flood are completely beyond the reach of ’science’.

      Richard, this hasn’t stopped you or any YEC organization from trying to provide scientific evidence for a young earth and global flood. An inconsistency like that isn’t good for your argument.

      The creation and flood would leave behind evidence, just as a resurrected person would leave behind footprints and other signs that can be assessed.

      The global flood would have been a real flood, regardless of where the water came from and its supernatural cause. It would have left its mark on the face of the earth in a manner consistent with such phenomena. We don’t see what we would expect to see if a global flood really happened.

      The beginning of the universe, regardless of what caused it, is off limits to science simply because it precedes the existence of matter. This isn’t news to the scientific community. The theologian and philosopher must take over at this point.

      But the moment matter is created and begins to interact with itself, science has a foothold to begin working from. Miracles are untestable but they don’t occur in a vacuum. They leave evidence behind that can be used to evaluate them.

      Yet you appear to ignore this limitation on ’science’ and instead accept its conclusions, then you must conclude that the scriptural account does not mean what it appears to say, so the whole ANE cultural argument is used.

      Did you know you use science to inform your view of scripture? You interpret any verse on the placement and movement of the sun and earth phenomenologically. Not because you understand scripture better than Luther, Calvin, and the Catholic Church. No, you understand the science of astronomy. Because of that, you know the verses cannot be understood literally, unlike the church prior to Copernicus and Galileo. Why did the church change? Why do we know all those great interpreters of scripture were wrong?

      Science. And you accept it.

      Be careful what you accuse me of doing. You may be guilty of it too.

    • Susan

      John, regarding the flood account you said:

      “and we must take into account that the Biblical text appears as if it were written from the perspective of a person on the ground in the area where the things describe were happening”

      How so? The author of Genesis was not there when God flooded the earth….he didn’t yet exist on the earth…..nor was he there at creation….nor were the prophets who prophesied about future events present when those events occurred. God gave the writers of many events the information He wanted them to record.

      “The water’s completely inundated the earth so that even ALL THE HIGH MOUNTAINS under the sky were COVERED. The waters rose more than twenty feet above the mountains” and of course, God’s stated objective was to “wipe mankind, whom I’ve created from the face of the earth–everthing from humankind to animals…..for I regret that I have made them”

      How could a person ” on the ground near where these things happened” have written this account? Pure illogic.

      I’m sure you’ve read this, and I realize that Richard has enumerated these details in a previous post. Frankly, it seems incredibly defiant and arrogant before God to contend that these things didn’t actually happen as they are so clearly stated….with very specific timing included at many points in the narrative. Even if this event doesn’t explain all of the fossils, how can you deny a world-wide flood when the mountains were covered and all people and land animals outside of those on the ark were killed?…..and then of course, there was God’s promise never to flood the entire earth again. A promise which He has kept. Why can you believe that Jesus rose from the dead, but not believe that God produced a world-wide flood? I don’t get it.

    • Greg

      Richard,

      Re: Post #331

      While we certainly don’t know everything (far from it!) no one need fear that the “waters above” somehow destroy the possibility that scripture is actually correct.

      Or we could just look at the ANE cosmology and notice that a lot of people thought there really was water above the firmament. Considering that at least the Old Testament was written in the Ancient Neat East by Ancient Near Eastern people, I don’t see why this discussion is going on any further.

      I’ve said it before, but any hermeneutic that tries to find modern science in ancient scripture, especially when better alternatives are available, is doing eisegesis with the text. That’s unacceptable.

      Steve,

      Re: Post #338

      Proponents of YEC include hundreds, undoubtedly thousands, of individuals with credentials similar to those of John Baumgartner and Dr. Carson. For you to claim that such worthy people “practice junk science and completely lack credibility” is breathtakingly arrogant … and coming from someone who professes to be a Christian, virtually incomprehensible.

      Someone may be an expert in one field and a novice or layman in another. Take Richard Dawkins for example: a great zoologist but a horrible philosopher.

      The fact that this great individual is a YEC doesn’t mean much. He’s also a Seventh Day Adventist Christian, so are we really surprised by this? John pointed out that a precommitment like this can cloud how someone looks at the evidence.

      Can you show me a YEC that isn’t a Christian and is also an expert with a terminal degree in biology, cosmology, or geology?

    • Richard

      Greg wrote:

      We don’t see what we would expect to see if a global flood really happened.

      Oh really…fossils and sea shells on the top of all the mountains…thousand of meters of sedimentary deposits….billions of creatures buried in fossil graveyards showing clear signs of transportation and deposition in water

      200+ cultures with flood “legends”.

      No, there’s no evidence at all.

      Not to mention a account inspired by the Holy Spirit and clearly written to communicate what happened.

      We see what we choose to see.

    • Greg

      Susan,

      Re: Post #358

      I don’t know how long you’ve been following this discussion, and I can’t speak for John, but if you would like to hear my take on the flood, a few of my posts throughout this discussion touch on it.

    • Greg

      Richard,

      Re: Post #360

      Oh really…fossils and sea shells on the top of all the mountains…thousand of meters of sedimentary deposits….billions of creatures buried in fossil graveyards showing clear signs of transportation and deposition in water.

      Shells on mountains are easily explained by uplift of the land. Although this process is slow, it is observed happening today, and it accounts not only for the seashells on mountains but also for the other geological and paleontological features of those mountains. The sea once did cover the areas where the fossils are found, but they were not mountains at the time; they were shallow seas.

      A global flood cannot explain the presence of marine shells on mountains for the following reasons:
      -Floods erode mountains and deposit their sediments in valleys.
      -In many cases, the fossils are in the same positions as they grow in life, not scattered as if they were redeposited by a flood. This was noted as early as the sixteenth century by Leonardo da Vinci.
      -Other evidence, such as fossilized tracks and burrows of marine organisms, show that the region was once under the sea. Seashells are not found in sediments that were not formerly covered by sea.

      200+ cultures with flood “legends”.

      Flood myths are widespread, but they are not all the same myth. They differ in many important aspects, including:

      -Reasons for the flood. (Most do not give a reason.)
      -Who survived. (Almost none have only a family of eight surviving.)
      -What they took with them. (Very few saved samples of all life.)
      -How they survived. (In about half the myths, people escaped to high ground; some flood myths have no survivors.)
      -What they did afterwards. (Few feature any kind of sacrifice after the flood.)

      If the world’s flood myths arose from a common source, then we would expect evidence of common descent. An analysis of their similarities and differences should show either a branching tree such as the evolutionary tree of life, or, if the original biblical myth was preserved unchanged, the differences should be greater the further one gets from Babylon. Neither pattern matches the evidence. Flood myths are best explained by repeated independent origins with some local spread and some spread by missionaries. The biblical flood myth in particular has close parallels only to other myths from the same region, with which it probably shares a common source, and to versions spread to other cultures by missionaries.

      Flood myths are likely common because floods are common; the commonness of the myth in no way implies a global flood.

      I liked this argument when I was a YEC…until I read the accounts. Have you looked at them? Or do you just cite a large number and hope details aren’t asked for?

      …clearly written to communicate what happened…

      *Sigh*

      P.S. – There was more to post #357 than just this.

    • Greg

      And it seems my post #322, which has a list of resources in it and other stuff, has just been approved by the moderator!

      Good night!

    • Richard

      Greg wrote:

      the Old Testament was written in the Ancient Neat East by Ancient Near Eastern people

      This ignores the fact of inspiration. You’ve completely failed to make the case that God could not communicate historically accurate information to the audience of Genesis. Nor is it logically possible to make such a case. To someone who believes what scripture says, God created man in his image, and God communicates meaningful with man…

      “Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD.

      The ANE argument is used only because it is believed that science has *proven* the plain reading of the bible can’t be true, so we must find a way to explain away that plain reading. I’ve posted several quotes from bible scholars that admit that scripture teaches a 6 day creation and global flood, even though those scholars choose to not believe it. Pattle Pun was honest…he referenced the “hermeneutical considerations suggested by science”. It could hardly be clearer.

    • Richard

      Greg wrote:

      A global flood cannot explain the presence of marine shells on mountains for the following reasons:
      -Floods erode mountains and deposit their sediments in valleys.
      -In many cases, the fossils are in the same positions as they grow in life, not scattered as if they were redeposited by a flood. This was noted as early as the sixteenth century by Leonardo da Vinci.
      -Other evidence, such as fossilized tracks and burrows of marine organisms, show that the region was once under the sea. Seashells are not found in sediments that were not formerly covered by sea.

      You really need to read some of the work being done on the details of the flood. The tectonic activity was enormous, including the raising up of mountains through flood sediments. Try looking into the catastrophic plate tectonics model by Baumgartner for example.

      Your understanding of what the flood might do is simplistic and incorrect. Again, our understanding is incomplete, but each objection you’ve listed is addressed.

    • Richard

      Local flood adherents. In post 247, I listed several of the statements of scripture that show the flood was global.

      Please explain how an ANE worldview precluded proper understanding of each one of these concepts.

      Is an ANE also incapable of understand days, months, and cubits?

      Or did the local flood last as long as stated and to the depths stated? — if so, then explain how the laws of physics were changed to accomodate this.

      To those interested in info about the flood, there are many articles available here;
      http://creation.com/noahs-flood-questions-and-answers

    • #John1453

      re post 365: God did communicate accurately to the ANE Hebrews. He just didn’t communicate what you think He did.

      What you call the “plain” or “straightforward” reading of scripture is more accurately described as the “naive” reading of scripture. A reading of scripture that ignores one’s own cultural context, ignores the language and cultural context of the people who did the writing, and ignores what God was doing when he did communicate.

      BTW, I did not say that I wouldn’t know the date of the rock. However, Richard is purposely posing a trick question because he knows that the date he is quoting comes from a sample that also produced a different date. There is an explanation for the dates, but we’ve been over that.

      Regards,
      #John

    • Richard

      Greg wrote:

      Can you show me a YEC that isn’t a Christian and is also an expert with a terminal degree in biology, cosmology, or geology?

      Notice two things here.

      1. This very question implies that there would be more credibility to the beliefs of a YEC scientist if they were NOT A CHRISTIAN.

      2. Imagine someone who realized that the physical evidence is compatible with a young earth who then did not realize what this implies about the truth of scripture…

      3. Peter prophesied that skeptics would deliberately forget the facts of creation and the flood, so why should we expect a non-believer to recognize these facts? (2 Pet 3, post 167)

    • Richard

      John wrote:

      What you call the “plain” or “straightforward” reading of scripture is more accurately described as the “naive” reading of scripture. A reading of scripture that ignores one’s own cultural context, ignores the language and cultural context of the people who did the writing, and ignores what God was doing when he did communicate.

      We’ve been over this. You’ve not proven that God couldn’t communicate historically accurate information to His audience. As documented, the desire for the “naive” reading of scripture to be inaccurate is because of the “naive” belief in truths proven by science.

    • Richard

      Greg wrote

      Richard, this hasn’t stopped you or any YEC organization from trying to provide scientific evidence for a young earth and global flood. An inconsistency like that isn’t good for your argument.

      I state this one last time. YECs do NOT claim that science proves a YEC understanding, simply that the facts of science are consistent with it. There is no inconsistency at all in investigating what science IS capable of showing us.

      As an example of what can happen when an intelligent person does adhere to naturalism:

      “I will not accept that philosophically, because I do not want to believe in God. Therefore, I choose to believe in that which I know is scientifically impossible, spontaneous generation arising to evolution.” (George Wald [Nobel Prize winner], “Biochemical Science: An Inquiry Into Life”)

    • Richard

      Now to the light time travel problem. (post 1 of 5) The statement of the problem is that light from distant galaxies could not reach the earth in only 6000 years, yet we can see these galaxies.

      First you need to know that there is an equivalent problem for the big bang. The extreme uniformity of the Cosmic Microwave Background can only be explained if all regions of the had a chance to exchange radiation and settle to the same temperature. There are various proposed solutions, with “inflation” being the most popular, but not all agree. Inflation proposes that the early universe allowed time for the required exchange of radiation, then underwent an “inflation” period of extremely rapid expansion (greater than the speed of light), then this rapid expansion stops (inflation ends). There are multiple inflation models, and no known mechanism to either start or stop it.

      Details here:http://creation.com/light-travel-time-a-problem-for-the-big-bang

      So the dominant OE cosmology (Big Bang) and YEC cosmologies both have light time travel problems, thus the existence of such a problem can’t be used to choose one model over the other. [I’m unaware of any physical cosmologies promoted by Christians that do not have this type of problem. Someone please educate me if they know of one.] Further, there are multiple big bang models, and none is final and proven. In fact, there is a growing set of secular scientists that consider the big bang to have many difficult problems. An open letter to the scientific community (with many scientists are researches as signatories) was published in New Scientist in 2004 (http://www.cosmologystatement.org/) which begins

      The big bang today relies on a growing number of hypothetical entities, things that we have never observed– inflation, dark matter and dark energy are the most prominent examples. Without them, there would be a fatal contradiction between the observations made by astronomers and the predictions of the big bang theory. In no other field of physics would this continual recourse to new hypothetical objects be accepted as a way of bridging the gap between theory and observation. It would, at the least, raise serious questions about the validity of the underlying theory.

      The reason for mentioning all of this is to level the playing field. Nobody has a fully working model for physical cosmology (despite what Hugh Ross would have you believe). So the lack of one is certainly not the “death knell for YEC” trumpeted by John. It’s not even a discriminator when comparing YEC to the big bang.

      (cont.)

    • Richard

      [continued] light time travel problem 2 of 5

      Now to potential solutions. As usual John asserts (I added the numbers):

      The failed response of the YECs to the phenomena of light include:
      1-the speed of light has changed since the start of the universe
      2-time flows at different rates in different parts of the universe, or from different points of view, or is affected by gravity
      3-local time is different from universal time
      4-red shift effect

      [Actually there are some he missed, such as alternate geometries that effect the “path” of light, let’s number that item 5.]

      If by ‘failed response’ John means unproven, then the big bang is in exactly the same boat as YEC. If by ‘failed response’ John means disproved, then he’s simply wrong.

      Ironically the article referenced above (http://creation.com/light-travel-time-a-problem-for-the-big-bang) documents that big bangers have considered items 1, 2, and 5 along with several other ideas in attempting to address their light time travel problem! Yet, I’ve seen YEC treated as morons for even some of these possibilities.

      It’s important to know that time is not absolute. Relativity predicts that gravity (and velocity) will modify the rate of time, and these effects has been experimentally verified. Of interest to this discussion is that time runs more slowly in a higher gravity field. The big bang and YEC cosmologies are built on top of general relativity.

      You can see many articles discussing this issue by searching ‘light time travel’ at
      http://creation.com/search

      I’ll provide some more details next.
      (cont.)

    • Richard

      [continued] light time travel problem (3 of 5)

      References:
      This article by Dr. Hartnett (more about him later) describes several YEC models, including one of his own, along with critiques.
      http://creation.com/a-new-cosmology-solution-to-the-starlight-travel-time-problem

      No YEC claims any of these models is final and proven. As an example, probably the most well known YEC model is Russ Humphrey’s “White Hole” cosmology. Since it was first published in 1994 (D.R. Humphreys, “Progress Toward a Young-earth Relativistic Cosmology,” Proceedings 3rd ICC, Pittsburgh, 1994, pp. 267-286.) and the popular level book “Starlight and Time: Solving the Puzzle of Distant Starlight in a Young Universe”, there have been several years of criticisms and responses occurred and in some cases the model was refined. It was certainly not refuted. Much of this interchange is available here:
      http://www.trueorigin.org/ca_rh_03.asp

      Because YEC scientists have been so denigrated in this blog, I’ll list part of Dr. Humphreys bio. Full bio at http://creation.com/d-russell-humphreys-cv

      Dr Humphreys was born on 2 February 1942 in Wyandotte, Michigan, U.S.A., and was raised in a scientifically aware but non–Christian household. Not surprisingly, Russell himself always had a love for science, and in 1959, he was one of the 40 winners of the Westinghouse National Science Talent Search.

      He received a B.S. degree in physics at Duke University, 1959–1963. After this, he moved to Louisiana State University (LSU) to study postgraduate physics. In 1969, while doing his dissertation research for LSU in the mountains of Colorado, he committed his life to Christ. In 1972, he was awarded a Ph.D. in physics, on cosmic rays and ultrahigh energy nucleon–nucleon interactions, by which time he was a fully convinced creationist due to both the biblical and scientific evidence. For the next 6 years he worked in the High Voltage Laboratory of General Electric Company, designing and inventing equipment and researching high–voltage phenomena. While there, he received a U.S. patent and one of Industrial Research Magazine’s IR–100 awards.

      (cont.)

    • #John1453

      Re post 259. I do believe that what is described in Genesis occurred the way it is described. I just don’t believe that what it is describing and what YECs are describing are the same thing. In fact, I think that what the YECs are describing is substantially different. Other than the fact that YEC flood geology cannot account for sedimentary rock, or metamorphic rock, the extent of the flood is not my bag of hammers in this thread. As I noted by my citation of the site http://www.kjvbible.org/, it is possible to believe in an ancient earth (as I do) and also a global Noahic flood. One can believe in such a flood without believing that it created all the sedimentary rock that we observe (which I believe was created in the millions of years prior to the Noahic flood).

      Because of the YECs commitment to a particular view, which is based on an unnecessarily restrictive and exclusive intepretation of scripture, I do not expect by my replies to convince them (I’ve made this point in previous posts as well).

      However, I do believe that St. Augustine was correct in what he wrote 1600 years ago regarding the harmful effects of their beliefs. So I write for the benefit of those who are unbelievers and read this thread, for the OEs who have not deeply considered why they are OEs, to encourage other OEs in their beliefs, and to assist those YECs who are now examining what they were taught.

      The YEC interpretation of Genesis is not the only valid and viable interpretation held by, and open to, evangelical bible believing inerrantists. Indeed, it is more likely that the Bible does not teach a specific age of the earth–but I can leave a young earth interpretive option on the table (as an interpretive option).

      Science, however, is another matter. I believe that God gave us powers and faculties of observation and perception, and of reasoning. If we apply those faculties to the aspects of the physical universe that relate to its age, in the same way that we apply them to other aspects of the physical universe, we arrive at an ancient earth.

      re the recent post on light and “there is an equivalent problem for the big bang”. The problem is not equivalent, but I’ll get to that (if others are interested) after I respond to polystrate trees.

      Regards,
      #John

    • Richard

      to try and keep my posts on the light time travel problem in order, I’ll have to wait until post 3 is moderated…

    • Steve Bartholomew

      Greg Re: #360

      Your adamant opposition to YEC has corrupted your reason, Greg.
      In #360 you make the following 2 statements:

      “Someone may be an expert in one field and a novice or layman in another.”
      “The fact that this great individual is a YEC doesn’t mean much.”

      You are referring here to the individual that I referenced in a previous post, Dr. Benjamin Carson. The implication of your statements is that the fact that Dr. Carson is a YEC doesn’t mean much because his field of expertise doesn’t qualify him to make judgments on the subject of creation and evolution.

      As the article I posted indicates, Dr. Carson is one of the world’s foremost pediatric neurosurgeons, and is professor and chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University Medical School. Furthermore, his achievements have so far earned him 51 honorary doctorates, including from Yale and Columbia Universities.

      Two of the most important fields of study for the medical profession are biology and chemistry. These disciplines are also of primary importance in the creation/evolution debate. Thus, in direct opposition to your implication, Dr. Carson’s background and profession UNIQUELY qualify him to make judments about creation and evolution.

      Therefore, for you to state that “The fact that this great individual is a YEC doesn’t mean much” is completely illogical.

      Take off your blinders, Greg.

    • Richard

      John wrote (again)

      Other than the fact that YEC flood geology cannot account for sedimentary rock, or metamorphic rock, …

      John, being a lawyer, you should know how difficult it is to prove a negative absolute, but you keep asserting them:-)

      For John to justify his above statement, he would have to know all possible mechanisms involved in the flood and have proven that they are incapable of producing sedimentary rock. The fact is that geologists have shown how layered sedimentary rock can form from sediment deposited by *moving* water for a long time.

      Furthermore, the Derek Ager quote (posts 266 and 335?) shows that non-YEC geologists have had to admit that sedimentary rocks can be deposited very rapidly. They’ve also admitted that they will conclude that long periods of no deposition occurred, *despite* the uniform appearance of the deposit itself.

      Many fossil bearing sedimentary rocks are understood by all geologists as having been rapidly deposited in moving water. Given all of this, to state that the flood could not form sedimentary rocks is ludicrous.

      Metamorphic rocks are well accounted for within flood geology. Don’t forget that flood geology was the common view prior to the introduction of uniformitarianism, and that many geologists (neo-catastrophists, such as Ager) now interpret many deposits which previously had been believed to occur slowly, as having been rapidly deposited. They simply believe that all of these “episodic events” must have occurred separated by large amount of time.

    • Richard

      If flood really happened as described, then all peoples on the earth today are descended from Noah’s family. Given that scenario, we’d expect that the knowledge of what happened would be passed down through generations. Further we’d expect that some elements of the history would become corrupted during transmission, but that many important elements would remain visible within these accounts. Further, we’d expect to find thes