August 21, 2019

Postscript to Creation Week

By Chaplain Mike

Here’s a quick note following up on last week’s creation week posts.

To my surprise, I found that author and Pastor John Piper of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, and the Desiring God ministry, has stated that he has been convinced by John Sailhamer’s understanding of Genesis 1, as expressed in his book, Genesis Unbound. Piper’s talk and its summary may be found here.

The blog article links to an excellent review of Sailhamer’s book, called “Science, the Bible, and the Promised Land,” by Matt Perman, which is well worth your time.

I know that some of our Reformed friends expressed reservations about interpretations offered here, many of which owe a great deal Dr. Sailhamer. He has been the greatest influence in my life with regard to studying the Bible, and in particular, the First Testament.

Looks like Pastor Piper is impressed too.

Note: Though Genesis Unbound is now out of print, I have seen copies in used bookstores, and I encourage you to look for it. You can still get Sailhamer’s commentaries from Amazon, and I have included links below.

Pentateuch as Narrative, The

The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Genesis-Leviticus (Expositor’s Bible Commentary)

Comments

  1. David Morri says

    I was wondering if you would see that. Many of the comments on the desiring God site dispute the validity of Piper’s (and therefore Sailhamer’s) interpretation. I figured that had kicked off your creation week, but it turned out to have been MacArthur’s group instead. One wonders how they can coexist in “Together for the Gospel”…. (although I’m glad that they can!)

  2. Die Creation Week Die!

    😉

  3. I can’t tell you how pleased I am to hear this. I had wondered about Piper’s views on this topic, since he’s been strangely silent on the issue. My guess is that he refrained from speaking out on the topic until he had studied it in enough detail to feel confident in what he says. I love that about him. Wow, you have no idea how happy you’ve made me with this post.

    • I should clarify my comment a bit. I also should have watched the DG video before posting! Oops! I see that pastor Piper seems to discount the evolutionary process in his description, but at least allows for an ancient cosmos. From my own perspective as an evangelical who accepts evolutionary biology, including humans, I’d say he’s halfway there. I would agree with him however that we should hold on to an historic Adam and Eve, since the biblical narrative uniformly assumes that perspective. I would just posit that they were chosen from among pre-garden humans to be the federal head of all of humanity. But I do still appreciate his humility with regard to this issue. That’s a refreshing attitude compared to so many who are so dogmatic (read MacArthur),

      • “an evangelical who accepts evolutionary biology, including humans, I’d say he’s halfway there”

        What I am going to say may offend you –

        But evolution of humans is not bibical.

        • Kenny Johnson says

          I’m curious, why?

          • I can’t answer for Matthew, but I do find it interesting that evolution teaches the exact opposite of the Bible on many issues:

            1) Man came before woman (the X chromosome will breed true, the Y is considered a broken down form of X)
            2) Man brought about death (rather than death bringing about man)
            3) Death is the payment for sin (vs. death is part of God’s creation, or attributable to Satan’s sin)

          • nedbrek,
            I’m in no position to debate your points, but I’d guess you not only disagree with different hermeneutics and interpretations, but would consider those approaches not Biblical as well?

            I do have a question.. and I’m serious. It’s something I’ve thought about a lot over the years. . . What would you do if at some point in your life you were suddenly convinced by the evidence for evolution (even human evolution)? Would you feel you had to make a choice between faith in Christ or acceptance or evolution?

            What if your son or daughter or parishioner came to you and told you that they were convinced evolution was true. Would you tell them they had to make a choice between evolution or Christ?

            I’m not accusing either of you of believing that those are the only 2 choices, but it does seem to be a common belief among many who hold YEC. (I don’t know if MJ is YEC).

          • Hi Kenny,
            I believe there is only one correct interpretation of the Bible – my way 😛

            Of course, other Christians can and should develop their own interpretations, and they should believe that their view is correct, and that I am wrong!

            We should argue quite vigorously about flaws in our respective views, and attempt to determine which one is correct. Or at least, seek to hammer out the flaws in our views.

            Is that not striving for the truth?

            Allowing for “we’re both right” seems dishonest – dishonoring the truth.

          • nedbrek,

            That’s fair. I just thought that throwing terms like “not Biblical” can be a conversation stopper, not starter.

            And I agree that “We’re both right” seems dishonest, but I think overconfidence in ones position is negative too. Personally, I think we’re both wrong. 🙂

        • But evolution of humans is not bibical.

          Nor is it UN-Biblical. It’s simply not a subject that the Bible addresses.

      • I still think the jury is out on evolution. While it is widely accepted in the scientific community, that by no means means it is proven. I’m reading Dawkins’ “The Greatest Show on Earth” right now which he purports is his magnum opus providing incontrovertible proof of evolution, nailing the coffin shut on creationism once and for all. It is a very readable book, but the holes in his argument are so large that even his fans on Amazon.com blasted him for his bad arguments.

        If this is the best that evolution’s greatest apologist can produce, then I fear that the theory is about to go the way of the dinosaur. It would be nice if evolutionists could create a novel inheritable gene that confers a selective advantage on an organism, but they’ve not done that. Not only that, but they have not been able to recapitulate a single bit of evolutionary descent, or reverse engineer an evolutionary path back to a common ancestor.

        And this is all by design. Evolution not only has to demonstrate that generic change (from one genus to another) is possible, but that it can happen spontaneously. This still has not been demonstrated.

        Good science is when you rely on the results of experimental data to support a hypothesis. “The Greatest Show on Earth” has yet to provide any thing other than scientific-sounding rhetoric. It certainly has not showed me any experimental data yet.

        • I read a nice book by YEC Jason Lisle. In it he says (to effect)
          A good philosopher will never be persuaded by evidence.

          Consider comets.

          Comets cannot last the 4 billion years since the formation of the solar system. They crash into planets or the sun, and when they don’t they lose material on each pass. There shouldn’t be comets if the earth is old.

          But this doesn’t faze OE one bit. They make up a “rescue device” – the Oort cloud.

          There is no evidence for the Oort cloud, but OE take it on faith. They “know” the earth is old, and there are comets – so there must be an Oort cloud (or something like it).

          YEC is not immune. When we look at nova millions of ly away, we know there is something to rescue our position. We may not be able to spell it out right now, but it is there. We know the earth is young (although the universe may be old, thank God for Einstein!).

          • nedbrek,
            It is true that the Oort cloud has not been directly observed. Does that mean it doesn’t exist? Long term observations of comets support its existence.
            A similar object, the Kuiper belt, has had more than 200 objects directly observed.
            The existence of these astronomical objects is not just an arbitrary construction meant to be “taken on faith.”

          • Dr. Lisle has his PhD in astronomy, so don’t take my word for it…

            These observations start from the assumption there is an Oort cloud. They say, “because of the Oort cloud, plus these observations – the Oort cloud has these properties”.

          • Nedbrek,

          • Nedbrek,

            Your quote about a “good philospher never accepts evidence” reminds me of an incident in college. A math major friend took the course “Philosophy of Science”, and was very frustrated. She looked at things so differently from the rest of the class. I think that she was the only science type there, and wanted specifics and they wanted broad generalities

        • The Creation Week posts were not about evolution, but about offering a careful reading of the Biblical texts. I am no scientist. My main concern with science is that evangelical Christians seem to be afraid of it as though it poses a threat to faith, and thus they have taken to engaging in a culture war strategy that IMO is silly and harmful to the cause of the Gospel. Though some of my interpretations may allow for modern scientific understandings to have a place, I am no concordist, and really have little interest in trying to reconcile the two. Having said that, anything we can do to make it easier to talk to our neighbors in the science community may open doors for the Gospel.

        • Lukas db says

          I would hardly call Dawkins ‘evolution’s greatest apologist.’ He’s popular not because of the strength of his arguments, which are generally poorly constructed and overly confident, but because of his radical views and eloquence. People love a spectacle.

          In my opinion, Dawkins is as much a hinderance to arguments for evolution as Christian geocentrists are to Christian apologetics.

          • Dawkins is to current scientific research as Elmer Gantry is to biblical teaching.

            He’s smart but when he gets on this high horse he tends to rail and pontificate way more than educate.

            But it sells books and keeps him well fed.

  4. @Chaplain Mike and others: I see the book on Amazon “used” for prices starting at $149 — that’s a bit steep, isn’t it?

    @Jeff Dunn: Since you have contacts at Multnomah, how about encouraging them to release it as an eBook on Amazon — then everyone who wants it could install the Kindle reader on their PC, MAC, or smartphone and read the eBook

    @Matthew Johnston: As long as one doesn’t deny a literal Adam with whom man in the imago Dei started, I don’t see why acceptance of the biological evolution of what in Adam became a living soul should be unbiblical.

    • I don’t see why acceptance of the biological evolution of what in Adam became a living soul should be unbiblical.

      And I would suggest that because “a living soul” is so weighted with our personal ideas of what a “soul” is (including the Catholic(?) concept of “ensoulment”), perhaps we should say that Adam became a nephesh chayah and then exposit on what a nephesh chayah is per the Biblical text.

  5. I think an overly literalistic understanding and approach to the Scriptures may at times miss what’s going on in the word and with the Word. For a fascinating fictionalized account of how Jesus as a Jew may have understood the Scriptures and grown in wisdom and stature as the Messiah, read Jesus of Nazareth: How He Understood His Life by Raymund Schwager:

    http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Nazareth-How-Understood-Life/dp/0824517113/

    I don’t think I’ve ever read a book like it.

  6. Isaac Rehberg (the poster formerly known as Obed) says

    This is a bit nitpicky, but where else am I gonna fly this up the flagpole? In the first link, the author says that the boundaries of Eden are the same as those of the Promised Land. That doesn’t seem right to me. The account in Gen 2 of the boundaries of Eden seem to give its location in the Mesopotamia area, approximately modern-day Iraq. The boundaries of the Promised Land vary from account to account, but all agree that it is centered on Israel/Palestine.

    I do like the idea of seeing Adam as a proto-Abraham, proto-Israel, and proto-Messiah. That fits with what I read in the biblical meta-narrative. However, the equation of Eden with the Promised Land seems to be a bit forced and inaccurate.

    • The boundaries God gave to Abraham in Genesis 15 go from Egypt to Mesopotamia:

      On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates-the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.” (15:18-20)

      In the days of David and Solomon, Israel ruled over all this territory.

      There are some in Israel today who are pushing for this Biblical understanding of the land and who think Israel should be expanding its boundaries to cover the whole area.

      • Isaac Rehberg (the poster formerly known as Obed) says

        I guess I always thought of that as being west-south-west of Eden, the Euphrates as the eastern border while Eden itself would have had the Euphrates as the western border. I’ll take your word for it, though 🙂

  7. Being of a mystical bent myself, I cannot recommend more emphatically a book by Thomas Merton called The New Man.

    While the book itself is concerned with the role of Christ as the necessary reconciliation of Adam’s fall, I’ve never before read such an insightful interpretation of the Adam’s creation and the fall, not stopping for a minute to debate or defend the literal vs allegorical dialogue, to get right at the heart of the matter, which is close to that inexpressible Truth that lies just beyond where our ideas, language or understanding can take us.

    The thesis of this book has been life-changing for me, and without trying to replicate or summarize it here, I think it is most imperative to realize that there is indeed a Truth that we can never quite grasp intellectually. Science and intellectual achievement are wonderful things and aren’t contradicted by the pursuit of a deeper, soul-resonating Truth, and we must resist the temptation to savor the juices of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, distracted by the mental playthings “about” Truth, so as to miss what Adam had before the fall, and what Christ offers to us today, which is an actual “connection” to Truth, to the essence that is God.

  8. I’m so ready for creation week to be over. I’ve never figured out why so many (not most of those here, thankfully) have decided this is the hill to die on. For me, the only essentials are that God made everything and somehow made humans in His image. But the dogmatism in some segments of the blogosphere about how God did it is such that those who hold a slightly different viewpoint are viewed as lesser Christians, deficient, deceived, or even sometimes not believers at all. All I can do is shake my head and wonder how we got ourselves into such a place and what kind of witness it creates. Ugh.

  9. This is just a general suggestion to whoever currently maintains the site. During the Creation Week discussions at least two books were mentioned in comments that I immediately ordered from Amazon. I am happy to order from your Amazon links to help this wonderful site. My suggestion would be to add an Amazon Associate search box somewhere on the page so that you can earn from books purchased that are not directly linked in posts.

    If nothing else this discussion has added to my reading list.

  10. To me the week has been satisfying from an intellectual perspective but not so great for my walk with God. It is difficult for me to be reminded of the Christian non-intellectualism that was so damaging to me in my youth. Believing that I had to check my brain at the door to be a Christian kept me from being a Christian for far too long. I am a scientist/engineer type and it is just disturbing to me that there are many Christians who would throw out science because it disagrees with a 2000-year-old book that is not about science at all. Science is a continual use of our God-given intellect to find the truth in God’s revealed creation. It is a good and righteous thing, much more good and righteous than worshiping a book. If I were forced to take the Bible literally or not at all, I would choose the latter, for my faith in Jesus Christ would still remain. I think I’m going to take a break from these religious blogs for a while for really I don’t like the old feelings being stirred up. The meanest things that have been done to me in my life have been done by fundamentalist and evangelical Christians justifying their cruelty with the Bible and I prefer not to relive those times.

    • I hear you, Fish… Take a break as needed. 🙂

      It used to be I wouldn’t go to any Christian-related blogs to avoid a lot of the craziness and distracting fundamentalist depressing-ness that I would encounter all too easily. IM was one of the first places I encountered some sanity and some tools to help sort through the insanity. But sometimes the reminder itself is too much. I hear you. Enjoy the respite.

  11. A question to Chaplain Mike: why is this issue so important to you?

    I don’t know any YEC advocates who would call OEC advocates heretics or unregenerate (except the fringe fundamentalist types).

    Thus, I ask again: why is this issue so important to you?

    • I thought Michael Spencer’s comment, from the piece that was reposted on 06/26, covered the issue fairly well: “Nothing discourages me about the future of evangelicals like ‘young earth creationism,’ Hamm style.”

      While I can’t speak for Chaplain Mike, like Michael Spencer I see what has become the “Sixth Fundamental of the Faith,” YEC, and the Culture War mentality that all-too-often goes with it, as being an important issue to address relative to the future of evangelicalism.

      It has been really refreshing to see another perspective to the issue of YEC vs. evolution, which is that the Bible just doesn’t address it.

    • joel hunter says

      Well, Mark, have a gander at some of the comments on this post at John Macarthur’s site: http://www.gty.org/Blog/B100706. Don’t know if you consider Macarthur and his followers “fringe fundamentalist” or not.

      • You silly rabbits, I created that gty.org thread and blog/Website – indeed, the entire Internet – with the appearance of age 5 seconds ago, and simultaneously gave myself the appearance of not being able to do so or able to prove that I did. Prove me wrong.

        “Appearance of age.” Abandon all reason, you who go that way. The Mariannas Trench (?) isn’t deep enough to hold the load of codswollop that line of thinking is full of.

        • That would be “Mariana Trench.” I want to give the appearance of making spelling errors.

        • Lol! Look on that comment thread; all the ire is directed at me! But no, they aren’t “fringe fundamentalists.” They are really helpful, nice people who have put up with my objections for some time now. I have yet to be reprobated, though my salvation has been called into question more times than I’d like. Actually, the director of internet ministry there has personally responded to some of my objections in a most generous manner. So they are die-hards, but nice die-hards.

          • I created you, too. I thought I’d give you an interesting name just for fun, in case you want to be a superhero or something someday.

          • Garrett, I read about 15 or 20 comments worth and then caved….. you are one patient and thoughtful saint; I’ll have to check on some of your sources and authors, thanks for the work. Glad to see you are buffeted, but not bitter.

            Greg R

        • DANG, EricW……you got some mad skillz, bro…… apparently.

      • Wow, Joel. Thanks for the link. I’m speechless.

        • Joel and Chaplain Mike, I went to the site Joel recommended and that is quite an amazing post! About Adam’s belly-button I read, “Not a few artists solved the problem by painting fig leaves large enough to extend above where the navel would be. But in his famous painting that is the centerpiece of the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling, Michelangelo gave Adam an impressive belly-button. And he was fiercely criticized for it by some of the sterner theologians of his day.”

          And I would guess that he would be criticized by quite a number of Christians today too. You rock, Michelangelo! 🙂

          • painted the belly button with the (left) hand of the devil, no less……yeah, he rocked.

    • Mark, I have stated my reasons and motivations clearly and repeatedly. Were you listening?

      • Oh, I get it. My problem is that I don’t listen to you well enough.

        • Bingo!

        • Mark—OK, I’ll play. What don’t you understand about my motivations?

          Here is what I said in an earlier comment on this very thread: “The Creation Week posts were not about evolution, but about offering a careful reading of the Biblical texts. I am no scientist. My main concern with science is that evangelical Christians seem to be afraid of it as though it poses a threat to faith, and thus they have taken to engaging in a culture war strategy that IMO is silly and harmful to the cause of the Gospel. Though some of my interpretations may allow for modern scientific understandings to have a place, I am no concordist, and really have little interest in trying to reconcile the two. Having said that, anything we can do to make it easier to talk to our neighbors in the science community may open doors for the Gospel.”

          Is that clear enough?

          • Okay, I understand now. Let me ask you this: what aspect of the gospel do you feel threatened when people like John MacArthur promotes their view of creationism?

          • It is not so much that their view itself threatens the gospel, it is the way they present it, as the only legitimate interpretation. This is schismatic within the church. It also hurts the church’s witness to their neighbors, particularly those in the scientific community or others who are knowledgeable in matters of science. For the YEC view ultimately leads to the conclusion that the entire scientific enterprise is illegitimate. It paints Christians into a very small, very parochial corner in which we are more and more only able to talk to ourselves.

          • It is not so much that their view itself threatens the gospel, it is the way they present it, as the only legitimate interpretation. This is schismatic within the church.

            @ Chap Mike: and we could hit “REPLAY” with this as the header in oh so many areas, could we not ?? The poblem is not Pastor Bob, with his view on justification-inerrancy-zionism-roleofwomeninthechurch- etc,etc……. it’s that if your view does not match up with God’s, well, then……and some manner of besmirching is about to fall and stick to you.

            This is the tired refrain of both cultural and theological wars…..while the world laughs and changes the channel.

          • “For the YEC view ultimately leads to the conclusion that the entire scientific enterprise is illegitimate. ”

            Another sweeping statement?

            • Matthew, perhaps as stated, I was being too polemical. But I’m trying to make the point that one can’t just deny biological evolution and be done with it. Astronomy, physics, geology, and many other areas of science run counter to the assumptions of those of the YEC persuasion. The satellite TV I’m watching now depends on precise mathematical formulas from models based on a certain understanding of the nature of the universe and how it works.

              • Don’t let the old earthers fool you. There is nothing in modern technology that depends on an old earth, common descent, or the transmutation of species.

                • Since I’m not qualified to answer this in any kind of detail, I would love to hear someone from the scientific community respond.

                • joel hunter says

                  Petroleum. For my next trick…

                  • Are you suggesting petroleum requires an old earth? Perhaps the result of dinosaurs crushed and heated?

                    Check out this link:
                    http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEMCSUUHJCF_index_0.html

                    Are there dinosaurs on Titan?

                    • joel hunter says

                      1. I didn’t say that petroleum was unique to the Earth, and the question of how it was formed is what matters to your assertion that nothing in modern technology [?] depends on an old earth. Decomposition of bio-organic material to form the oil and gas reserves is a long process.

                      2. But anyway: chemistry fail, nedbrek. Petroleum (i.e., crude oil, i.e., fossil fuel) consists of a variety of hydrocarbons and other compounds. The hydrocarbons on Titan are all light and simple carbon-hydrogen compounds (methane, ethane). Not all hydrocarbons are petroleum. The article you cited is comparing the *volume* of Titan’s light hydrocarbons to the *volume* of known oil and gas reserves on Earth. The chemical and physical processes that produce light hydrocarbons on Titan are not identical to the processes that produce petroleum on Earth. The light hydrocarbons on Titan weren’t formed by the decomposition of fossil organic material. It is unlikely that the source of methane on Titan is even biological; however, even if it is, it serves as yet another point of evidence for the antiquity of the solar system.

                • “There is nothing in modern technology that depends on an old earth, common descent, or the transmutation of species.”

                  Correct.

                  But you’ve stated the issue backwards.

                  Physics is at the root of all of science. And math is the tool which allows us to explore and use science. Chemistry is just applied physics in terms of atomic and molecular interaction. Astronomy and cosmology are applied physics in a different area. And so on.

                  And the discoveries and findings in physics and chemistry relating to nuclear decay, relativity, etc… have allowed our modern world to exist. Atomic clocks in GPS satellites are set to run at different rates than clocks on the earth to account for the “speed of time” differences caused by the relativity effects of the speed of the satellites as they orbit the earth. These same equations point to an old universe. And explaining it away requires much smoke and mirrors.

                  And nuclear decay has been researched extensively over the last 80 years. And it “works”. And it points to an old earth and universe in many ways. So when you flip on a light switch, or get radiation treatment for cancer or your smoke alarm wakes you to a fire, or …. you’re trusting this aspect of science.

                  Your air bags go off because of inertial sensors built into integrated circuits which require physics way beyond mechanical interactions.

                  And there are many others.

                  And these sciences all point to an old earth when you study the earth and universe in detail.

                  So we trust the science when using our iPhone, GPS, flat screen TV, get a cancer treatment, use a flash drive, have a air bag keep us from having our head turned to mush, etc… but say it’s all nonsense when applied to the age of the earth?

                  • Two points:
                    1) It’s interesting that you would point to relativity as evidence of an old earth (vs. an old universe). Here, we have proof that time does not always move at the same rate in different locations. The only reason orthodox scientists believe the universe is equally old everywhere is based on the assumption of a “flat” universe. There is no experimental evidence for this, it is basically a Copernican (“we can’t be special”) assumption.

                    2) Today’s science can only point to the past if you assume “the present is the key to the past:”. This is a fine assumption for atheists, but as Christians, we must reject it. Using this assumption would give us:
                    1) People are not resurrected today (unless you are Benny Hinn)
                    2) People were not resurrected in the past (present -> past)
                    3) Jesus was not raised
                    4) We are still in our sins, and among men are to be most pitied

    • “I don’t know any YEC advocates who would call OEC advocates heretics or unregenerate (except the fringe fundamentalist types).”

      Apparently some of us are surrounded by “fringe fundamentalist types”. In my area most YEC’s follow the Ken Ham line. And most churches with a position say this position is the only one a Christian can live with. If you call yourself a Christian and don’t agree you aren’t really a Christian or you just haven’t walked down the path far enough to see the light.

      Of course they rarely if ever say it from the pulpit but have no problem telling you this in one on one conversations with no recorders present.

    • Mark,

      I have a friend that I met through mutual non-religious interests–even took a day trip with him once. I don’t consider him to be a “fringe fundamentalist” guy on all things, necessarily, but when he found out I wasn’t YEC, he tried to get me to listen to Ken Hamm lectures, and when I told him I wasn’t interested (and that I thought creationism was “low priority” for evangelism) he sent me a lecturing email about the importance [to the gospel] of no compromise on the YEC issue and how key YEC is to evangelism in today’s world. It doesn’t help, of course, that he has personally donated a lot of money to the creation museum.

      For those who truly believe all of the philosophy surrounding YEC (as espoused by Ken Hamm, etc.), they consider YEC to be a central (if not THE central) issue for Christianity today, as far as I can tell.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        YEC Uber Alles IS the Gospel.

        Christ got thrown under the bus a while ago.

    • ATChaffee says

      Interestingly, this issue has just come up in spades among the Seventh-Day Adventists. A summary below that is true but not comepletely objective.

      An SDA university with a lot of pre-meds and therefore a lot of science courses has professors who reportedly teach evolution though I think from an OEC perspective

      A student who got a bad grade outed the professors to the denomination

      Conservatives have called for the firing of the professors on the grounds that they are hypocritical to accept denominational pay yet teach against the denomination’s official beliefs

      Others have pointed out that the official denominational statement calls for belief in a Creator but not for a literal 6-day creation, so they are not technically in violation

      The newly elected conservative president of the denomination has called for a committee to rewrite the statement of faith regarding creation.

      The Spectrum blog is a progressive Adventist blog where the same arguments here have been advanced; the 6-day creation is presumed to be an underpinning of the 7th-day Sabbath which is at the core of SDA identity, so the stakes are high.

      http://spectrummagazine.org/blog/2009/06/10/educate_truth_part_one

      • Adventist leader Ellen G. White may properly be viewed as the founder of modern day Young Earth Creationism. It was she, in her visions, that came up with the worldwide flood theory in order to disprove the findings of geology about the age of the earth. The Genesis Flood by Whitcomb and Morris, the most influential text in YEC, adopted these teachings.

  12. It looks like I’m a bit late to the game, having missed the Creation Week festivities, but I recently heard a seminar by Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe and was very impressed by his views. For those that don’t know of him, he subscribes to the scientific view of the creation of the universe, but not evolution. Some of the holes in the theory of evolution, such as explosions of life, he says, is because God put specific life forms on the Earth at different stages in its development to prepare the Earth for His crowning achievement – us.

    That’s a quick and inadequate summary, and while I don’t agree with all of his views, it was a great encouragement to me to see that science and faith can be in agreement with one another.

    More info here: http://www.reasons.org/
    (I am not affiliated with RTB in any form, but I do have 2 of their books.)

  13. I find it funny that there is so much “hostility” towards John MacArthur on this site!

    • IMO, MacArthur should stop using the title, Grace to You. I see very little grace in the dogmatism and polemic approach he and his followers take toward others with different views.

      • There is a difference between grace and antinomianism.

      • One more thing, I agree that MacArthur can get polemical and dogmatic when it comes to advocating his positions (just listen to his 2007 Shepherd’s Conference on Premillennialism). However, he acknowledges that genuine Christians exist in other churches or movements that disagree with his own on secondary issues. Unlike what some people here have said about him here, I think he is more gracious and charitable than he is perceived to be.

    • Mike –

      Have you met him? Or are you just judging him on what you have seen in the ‘Christian Media’?

      Dogmatism is not a wrong thing [it just gets a bad wrap in our post modern culutre] Ever read in the first few chpaters of Louis Berkof’s ‘Systematic Theology?

      In the “reformed setting” sure, there are many who look down their noses at those with differing views…and that is wrong – but you would be surprised at how many in the ‘MacArthur camp including himself that are not what you percieve them to be.

  14. Just wanted to say thank you for all this work. I just found IM a couple of weeks ago through a post on Stuff Christians Like looking for the best Christian blogs. IM was mentioned several times in the comments so I added to Google Reader just in time for creation week. Seems as though God was working to help me find a different take on something I have been interested in for quite some time. I had never heard the explanantions presented here, but I find them very interesting and quite convincing. Can’t wait to do some more reading on the subject! Thank you!!

  15. joel hunter says

    Petroleum! –> Plastics!

  16. joel hunter says

    Petroleum –> Plastics 🙂

  17. I found this post and the article you referred to very helpful. (Too bad the book is well over $100 on Amazon.)

    Thanks.

  18. joel hunter says

    I call Poe’s Law.

    1. nedbrek, it is clear you do not understand what SR and GR are about, nor do you understand–if they are correct mechanical equations–their implications.

    2. Your ostinato “the present is the key to the past” is a complete red herring. It’s like “Yes, we can,” except even more meaningless.

    If a previously unknown score of Mozart’s is uncovered on July 12, 2010, musicologists will critically examine it in light of what they presently know of Mozart’s work. How will they know if it is authentic? By the historical traces it leaves. Was such a work ever mentioned in letters or notes of the time? Is the paper on which it was written from the 18th century and found elsewhere in Vienna? Does the handwriting match that appearing in other, well-established documents of Mozart’s? Is the musical quality and style of the piece indicative of that period in Mozart’s development? Long story short: some physical analysis, some circumstantial evidence, and a judgment arrived at by patient, cautious sequence of inferences. And guess what? The present *is* the key to the past! The phenomenon wasn’t observed until…the present! But: the phenomenon indicated a *specific history*. Was that history faked or is it authentic? Are there tests that would show if the score is a recent creation, a forgery? Yes! But suppose when put to those tests, all the evidence points to the conclusion that it is authentic? Is the history contained in that document real or only apparent?

    Your resurrection syllogism fails because resurrection is not a natural process. Resurrection is not analogous to fossil formation and deposition, star evolution, and phenomena that *do* submit to empirical analysis. Of course a critical, scientific examination of the resurrection will regard the evidence for it as, *at best*, inconclusive. Any number of plausible counter-explanations could be posed (and they have). That is how it should be–the resurrection is a conviction held whose confidence is much stronger than what is proportionate to the physical evidence. The same is not the case for conclusions about the age of the universe.

    I have two questions for you nedbrek:

    1. Do you believe the universe is expanding, i.e., that every galaxy is receding from every other galaxy? On what do you base your belief?

    2. If you were to change your convictions about the age of the universe, would you give up on orthodox Christianity? Why or why not?

  19. joel hunter says

    I call Poe’s Law.

    1. nedbrek, it is clear you do not understand what SR and GR are about, nor do you understand–if they are correct mechanical equations–their implications.

    2. Your ostinato “the present is the key to the past” is a complete red herring. It’s like “Yes, we can,” except even more meaningless.

    If a previously unknown score of Mozart’s is uncovered on July 12, 2010, musicologists will critically examine it in light of what they presently know of Mozart’s work. How will they know if it is authentic? By the historical traces it leaves. Was such a work ever mentioned in letters or notes of the time? Is the paper on which it was written from the 18th century and found elsewhere in Vienna? Does the handwriting match that appearing in other, well-established documents of Mozart’s? Is the musical quality and style of the piece indicative of that period in Mozart’s development? Long story short: some physical analysis, some circumstantial evidence, and a judgment arrived at by patient, cautious sequence of inferences. And guess what? The present *is* the key to the past! The phenomenon wasn’t observed until…the present! But: the phenomenon indicated a *specific history*. Was that history faked or is it authentic? Are there tests that would show if the score is a recent creation, a forgery? Yes! But suppose when put to those tests, all the evidence points to the conclusion that it is authentic? Is the history contained in that document real or only apparent?

    Your resurrection syllogism fails because resurrection is not a natural process. Resurrection is not analogous to fossil formation and deposition, star evolution, and phenomena that *do* submit to empirical analysis. Of course a critical, scientific examination of the resurrection will regard the evidence for it as, *at best*, inconclusive. Any number of plausible counter-explanations could be posed (and they have). That is how it should be–the resurrection is a conviction held whose confidence is much stronger than what is proportionate to the physical evidence. The same is not the case for conclusions about the age of the universe.

    I have two questions for you nedbrek:

    1. Do you believe the universe is expanding, i.e., that every galaxy is receding from every other galaxy? On what do you base your belief?

    2. If you were to change your convictions about the age of the universe, would you give up on orthodox Christianity? Why or why not?

    • Interesting. You claim resurrection is immune to naturalistic analysis, but creation ex nihilo is not?

      1) I am a skeptic when it comes to the expanding universe. The proposed mechanisms of dark energy and dark matter have no evidence (besides being required to support the existing orthodoxy). I find it far more likely that there is some error in our reasoning and interpretations.

      2) I believe in a young earth (the universe may be old, but created recently [time dilation]) because I am a Christian. If God tells me the earth is old, I will believe Him – nothing else would do.

      • joel hunter says

        nedbrek, you aren’t paying attention. I made no such claim, and you’re begging the question. One fallacy at a time, I guess…at least you didn’t repeat “the present is the key to the past” red herring. 🙂

        1) The proposed causal mechanisms *for* the expansion of the universe are part of an explanation. Whether or not the universe is actually expanding does not require that we know how or why. It requires observation, i.e., “wow, look at that red-shift!” If you can’t consistently maintain relevant distinctions then you’re muddling concepts and your claims are unintelligible. So: do you think the data imply that the universe is expanding? If not, why not?

        2) Okay, that’s cool. My suggestion is that you ignore what science is doing, because compared to your claim to know the thoughts of God on the subject, science is irrelevant. Direct mystical experience is superior to discursive knowledge. Can you be a fideist and live at peace with those of us who confess the same orthodox faith but depend on God’s general relevation to answer some of our questions that do not pertain to obtaining salvation?

        • You said “Your resurrection syllogism fails because resurrection is not a natural process. ” Creation ex nihilo is not a natural process.

          1) I don’t think the data implies that the universe is expanding. Why? Because the data is inconclusive. Even the notion of “red shift” relies on assumptions of stellar chemistry and evolution (assumptions which are probably safe). Then, we have too much red shift – so inflation is proposed – but where does the energy for inflation come from? Etc, etc.

          2) I was involved in microprocessor research for 6 years, now I work in radar and telemetry research. Is this not science? Should I quit due to my blasphemy against orthodoxy?

          I don’t have a problem with anyone believing what they like. But an old earth does say some nasty things about God, and I am going to continue to protest against that.

          • joel hunter says

            Your selective quoting of what I said misrepresents and misses the point. To wit:

            “Resurrection is not analogous to fossil formation and deposition, star evolution, and phenomena that *do* submit to empirical analysis.”

            So your mischaracterize my view of creation but equating what I actually said with “creation ex nihilo is not a natural process.” But fossil formation and deposition and star birth and death are not ex nihilo phenomena. You’re begging the question. Again. Caviling. Again.

            1. Incoherent. Again.

            2. No, microprocessor research and radar and telemetry research are not science. They are engineering and technical activities seeking solutions to practical problems. IEEE does not publish scientific papers. There’s nothing inferior about that work (I am a former engineer myself) but the goals sought and methods used are not transferable to scientific research. So no, don’t quit over blasphemy; quit because you aren’t really serious about interacting with the questions, limits, facts and findings of actual science. You deal with these matters like a caviling dilettante, selectively choosing arbitrary data to feed your unprincipled skepticism (which you just so happen to keep neatly isolated from your interaction with Scripture).

            You assert that an old earth says “some nasty things about God.” I have yet to understand what nasty things I’ve said about God by believing that the universe is 13.7 byo. Protest away, but you’re tilting at windmills, n.b.

          • I wonder how much of the YEC debate is a Christianized version of the old engineer vs. scientist friction.

            A scientist mostly lives in his mind (leans on his own understanding). Everything is nice and neat, and fits together as he sees it. He knows everything, and has considered every possibility. He looks down on those less intelligent than himself.

            An engineer interacts with reality. He knows the limits of theory, and the mistakes of men. He knows that everything that hasn’t been directly tested doesn’t work.

            But, that’s just a lowly engineer’s take 😛

  20. As mentioned in original post, if anyone’s interested in seeing how the Creation week structures every part of the Bible, see my book:
    http://www.amazon.com/Bible-Matrix-Michael-Bull/dp/1449702635

    Whichever side you take on this issue, the sevenfold structure in Genesis 1 is crucial to understanding how God works. It not only structures the literature of the Bible, it structures God’s laws and speeches, biblical history and God’s architecture. And the apostles also used it frequently as a literary device.