Question and Answer Session 2

The panelists are Del Tackett, Michael Horton, Stephen Meyer, Sproul, Jr., and Sproul Sr.

Question 1: does teaching a variety of scientific theories injure students? Meyer says that it is extremely instructive and helpful to teach the variety of theories that are out there. The idea that there is a consensus among scientists is a myth. The fact is that many scientists are calling for a new Darwinian theory.

Question 2: what are the differences among the various methods of apologetics? Sproul, Sr. argues that the circular method of presuppositional gives too much to the unbeliever. He argues that the presuppositional method commits two fallacies: circularity and equivocation. The former because presuppositionalists assume what they need to prove. Equivocation in that the very definition of circularity changes in the midst of the argument. I would say (LK here) that presuppositionalism does not commit the fallacy of circularity. Rather, we argue from the impossibility of the contrary. But we are not trying to argue the existence of God per se. We are trying to say that Christian theism is the only worldview that is not inherently self-contradictory. Everyone has presuppositions. The question is whether one’s life based on those presuppositions is consistent with those presuppositions.

Question 3: what suggestions would you have to avoid secularist indoctrination for Christian students going to a secular university? Tackett says that the university is the most hostile environment for the Christian worldview. We must equip our young people for the battle. Doubt in the classroom feeds on the sexual impulses that make students want to get rid of guilt by getting rid of the Lawgiver.

Question 4: Where do we go from here in terms of education? Sproul, Jr. says that the power of the Word is paramount.

Question 5: What can the local church do to equip our young people? Horton says the home, the church, and the schools are a three-legged stool. But our churches are dumbing down Christians at an alarming rate. Were our children ever in the church? He is attacking an overly stratified approach to church, where our kids are actually never in church. We are not teaching our children the gospel or the Bible. Churches need to teach apologetics to the teens.

Question 6: does the expression “doctrine divides” come out of anti-intellectualism? Sproul, Sr. says “yes.” Truth divides. We don’t need to create hostilities, and yet truth still divides. This is a thinly veiled justification for tolerating the intolerable. We need to contend for the truth without being contentious.

Question 7: Is the difference between young earth and old earth a primary issue or a secondary issue? Sproul, Sr. says that the Bible doesn’t give us a date, though it strongly hints that the earth is young. We can learn from scientists. But something definitively taught in the Bible cannot be challenged by science. Meyer says that ID does not focus on the age of the earth. The age of the earth has become a strangely toxic issue in the church. He views it as a secondary issue. Tackett, however, believes that having lots of time diminishes the glory of God. Tackett believes that the second law of thermodynamics came into being at the Fall, not at creation. If that is true, then trying to determine what happened before the veil of the Fall can be distorted by the wall that separates the unfallen and the fallen world. Our observations must take the Fall into account. This is because if there is no Fall, there is no need for Jesus. Horton believes the Bible doesn’t speak to the issue. Sproul, Jr. believes in young earth creation.

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134 Comments

  1. Frank Aderholdt said,

    March 17, 2012 at 12:08 am

    I watched the Q & A live online. I believe that Horton definitely said that he is old-earth. Will listen again when I download all the sessions later.

    To my mind, Meyer sounded a little like he was adopting a “superior” attitude in criticizing the harsh way he heard young-earth and old-earth advocates go after each other. I’m sure he didn’t mean that. Sometimes good speakers are not as good in Q & A. Two different skill sets.

    I agree with Tackett’s young-earth views, but his rapid-fire list of arguments sounded somewhat out of place in this discussion. Too much information, too quickly. I liked his passion, however.

  2. Reed here said,

    March 17, 2012 at 7:19 am

    Horton, yes OE. Meyers, yes OE (he invoked John Collins, Covenant Seminary, as a source of exegetical defense for OE).

    Tackett, YE, your assessment is on target. RC Jr, YE, few good zingers friendly shot at Horton, rested his position on the meaning of Yom.

    RCA Sr, Bible gives appearance of YE, but does not actually tell us the age of the earth.

    The crowd loved RC Jr, more than the other opinions, by far.

  3. March 17, 2012 at 8:37 am

    Hopefully we’ll continue to see Horton’s “Framework” view fall out of favor and lose adherents.

  4. Zrim said,

    March 17, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Re Q3, worldviewers who worry about a secularist worldview being sown into Christian children might find some measure of solace in the notion that worldview is something only the home is ordained to instill (one hour at home is worth more than eight at school). The idea that worldview can be co-opted by academia seems to be the result of an over-realized assumption about the power of curriculum. Plus, the biblical category of how the faith is passed down seems to be more one of catechesis than curriculum.

    With some of these ideas in mind, even 2kers who find world-and-life view as problematic as worldviewers find secularist schools can send their children to transformationlist schools (even secular and Catholic schools). W.A.Strong’s “Children in the Early Church” is helpful to show how the early Christians didn’t have the sort of educational qualms modern believers do. Amongst other things, maybe they understood better the difference between catechesis and curriculum.

  5. dgwired said,

    March 17, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    Eeegadddss!! William Jennings Bryan was Old Earth. I guess that makes the prosecutor at the Scopes Trial a liberal.

  6. Seth Stark said,

    March 20, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    dgwired: Yes, yes it does. Do you know anything more about William Jennings Bryant? Not the best defender of orthodoxy of his day, by far.

  7. Mark M. said,

    March 21, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    IMO, this was the best section of the entire conference. There needs to be more discussion on OE and YE, and I am tired (as evidenced by some of the comments above) of how quickly folks turn to talk radio cliche points to stand on. Rational thought goes out the window, sides are drawn, and folks enjoy the “sport” of attacking each other as if they wanted to honestly seek the truth and not simply fit into a pocket of self-justification. RC Sproul’s statement that natural revelation can correct our interpretation of the Bible, while one must be cautious to find what the Bible actually is saying…this should be the takeaway from this session, but it seems many will not think this way because then their team may mock them back in the locker room. Props to RC, Horton, and Meyer.

  8. Seth Stark said,

    March 21, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Seriously, Mark? You are tired of “how quickly folks turn to talk radio cliche points to stand on” and then you go on and accuse others of throwing rational thought out the window, and of enjoying the sport of attacking each other? What exactly are you doing?

    I really like RC, but he is dead wrong that natural revelation can be used to correct our interpretation of the Bible (if he did say that–I don’t find it in Lane’s post). That idea is contra the Westminster Confession, and opens the floodgate to all kinds of bad ideas. When one section of Scripture is unclear, other sections of Scripture are used to clarify it. Not natural revelation.

  9. Mark M. said,

    March 21, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Seth, I meant both sides throwing rational thought out the window in order to enjoy the sport of team-based conflict (this happens more frequently at the layman’s level, i.e. most of the people I encounter when discussing this)…of course, this happens in any important situation. It is only human, and both sides are human. Nevertheless, it should be avoided at all costs in theological debates. Both sides, YE and OE, have been guilty of taking this as a sport. I am not implying that those in this conference did this, but that the layman (some of them) did.

    There is a great tendency for those on the OE side to mock and downplay YE folk. There is a great tendency for YE folk to freak out on and accuse of slippery-slope heresy the OE folk. Both need to relax, think, and discuss this.

    I felt this section of the conference was helpful, though they did not directly discuss the differences, but merely stated their positions and why. RC Sproul did (I watched it) mention that all truth is God’s truth. This includes natural revelation, he said. He mentioned that he has no clue how old the earth is, and that the scriptures are silent on the matter. He then mentioned how we all must be cautious when the information coming from natural revelation seems to conflict with our interpretation of special revelation. He gave the example of Copernicus, and how Calvin and Luther thought the idea heretical (sound familiar?) Psalm 93 was used, by Calvin, to show that Copernicus was a fool. Only problem was, Copernicus was right in this, and Calvin was wrong. We need to be cautious when even such great lights as Calvin can overstep. We need to be careful, in this OE vs YE situation, of making scripture say more, or less, than it does. It is possible, and this is what Sproul was getting at, for our interpretations of scripture to be wrong (i.e. Calvin on the above issue,) as it is also possible for the scientific interpretation to be wrong. He said wherever scripture is clearly against something in natural revelation, he will side with scripture always…but it is always possible that those interpreting scripture are wrong. Anyone honest, he mentions, will admit this.

    This was the section I appreciated by RC Sr. Fair, rational, and honest. It is a good starting point.

  10. Reed Here said,

    March 21, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Mark: are you saying the OE positions are more rational than YE positions?

  11. Mark M. said,

    March 21, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Reed, RC Sproul is not OE. His statement was rational, cool-headed, honest, and falling on the side of truth (whichever it is.) His statement is an honest starting point. I commend him for that. Why would you assume I am attacking YE as irrational?

  12. Mark M. said,

    March 21, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    Mr. Seth Stark,
    There are rare instances where special revelation has been taken to say something it has never said. Natural revelation has then been used, not to refute or correct special revelation, but those interpreting it. The best case is Calvin’s use of Psalm 93. He was wrong. Copernicus was right. Was the Bible wrong in this case? No. Special revelation should not be interpreted by natural revelation, I agree. This was the important distinction RC made: Special revelation cannot be corrected, our interpretations of it can. What do you find wrong with that?

  13. Mark Malone said,

    March 22, 2012 at 3:01 am

    Mark M. here…
    @Reed, Sproul is not OE. Nonetheless, his statements in this session (which I recommend watching if you can) were fair, understanding, humble, and falling on the side of truth -whichever it may be. I find that rational. I never stated the rationality of either OE or YE. I am sorry you read it that way.

    @Seth
    Sproul rightly mentions that natural revelation can “call into question” our interpretations of special revelation. Will it ever contradict it? No, of course not. Will it ever contradict our interpretation of a text? Yes, and it has. Can we be wrong in our interpretation of a text? Of course we can. Can we be wrong in our interpretation of scientific data? Of course we can. This is the honest starting point on this issue. Since, as I already wrote, there have been times in church history when amazing theologians reacted against some new data negatively, and wrongly (though not always,) and applied sections of scripture incorrectly.

  14. Reed Here said,

    March 22, 2012 at 7:30 am

    Mark, I didn’t read it that way friend. It was an inference that could be drawn from what you said. I only asked to determine if it was what you meant. Thanks for clarifying.

    I understand that RC Sr did not I.d. Himself as either OE or YE, as jaws there at the conference.

  15. Reed Here said,

    March 22, 2012 at 7:32 am

    Mark, have there been amazing times where scientists have affirmed a “fact” that contradicted Scripture, only to find later on that the fact was wrong?

  16. jedpaschall said,

    March 22, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Reed,

    Your point about scientific “facts” being a moving target is well taken, and very few scientists are willing to concede that their discoveries may or may not be overridden in the future. I suppose scientists and theologians are faced with similar issues, where they can apply reasonable certainty to what is clear in their field of study, but there are some issues whether exegetical or scientific that they could be wrong on and that needs future revision.

    I know that archaeologists on many occasions claimed that Scripture was false or errant in some respect, only to have to double back and affirm the historical account after some new find. Any scientist who claims that scientific evidence somehow renders Scripture is false simply is outside his field of expertise, and is usually guilty of crassly misinterpreting Scripture. But like the case of Calvin and Copernicus, theologians can fall into a similar trap – just because we are certain about particular truths such as the truth of Scripture doesn’t mean have a comprehensive view of what is true, especially in areas where Scripture isn’t clear, or is using figurative language.

  17. Reed Here said,

    March 22, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Jed: I get that our interpretation of Scripture can be wrong. I was simply observing that Mark’s comment did not seem to observe that science can be wrong as well. Without assuming why, I wanted ask if he recognizes that.

  18. Mark Malone said,

    March 22, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Reed,
    First, I stupidly posted the same thing a few times, please excuse my repetition. Yes, as I posted above, science can be wrong. It has been in the past and will be in the future. There have been times where scripture has clearly pointed towards data (archaeology is the easiest one that comes to mind, as jad pointed out) that scientists rejected and then later had to correct -agreeing with scripture. These instances are different, however, as they dealt with things clearly taught in scripture.

  19. jedpaschall said,

    March 22, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Reed,

    I see, I didn’t assign a motive to the question, simply thought it was a good one, and wanted to chime in.

  20. paigebritton said,

    March 22, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    Mark,
    you weren’t being stupid, you just tried again when your first comment got delayed. I probably shoulda deleted the first one for you, sorry! :)
    pb

  21. Steve Drake said,

    March 22, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    @ JedPaschall#16.

    . But like the case of Calvin and Copernicus, theologians can fall into a similar trap – just because we are certain about particular truths such as the truth of Scripture doesn’t mean have a comprehensive view of what is true, especially in areas where Scripture isn’t clear, or is using figurative language.

    And where, Jed, do you think Scripture is not clear?

  22. Steve Drake said,

    March 22, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    @JedPaschall #16
    Let me rephrase to be more precise: Jed., in the case of Calvin and Copernicus, where in Scripture do you think Calvin miscalulated in regards to Copernicus?

  23. jedpaschall said,

    March 23, 2012 at 12:21 am

    Steve,

    Without turning to a specific citation, it seemed to me that Calvin opposed Copernicus’ heliocentrism, based on exegetical grounds. I actually don’t fault Calvin for doing so, as he was embedded in a culture that still viewed science along the lines of what we understand today as phenomenological. I happen to be of the opinion that while biblical narrative is presenting real history, and in fact one of the earliest extant forms of real history in world literature in the historical narratives, that God was accomodating himself to the phenomenological cosmology of the Israelites in some cases where cosmology is discussed. For example, we would not say it is a falsehood where Scripture asserts that the sun rises and sets, even if current science indicates that the earth revolves around the sun and the sun does not actually rise and set, it just appears so from our earthly vantage point. I think at a theological level, Calvin is right, Scripture does placard Earth as the center of God’s plan for salvation, and in a very real sense the cosmic center, as it was created to be God’s special dwelling place in the universe, with man as his priest-kings ruling and serving on his behalf. However, Calvin’s cosmology, while understandable given the time he lived in, was not as accurate as Copernicus’.

    But, to be frank, I think that Calvin fell into an easy error that we all fall into very easily, and that is just because we have been given some knowledge of how God has created, and have a far clearer understanding of his purposes for creation does not mean we actually are viewing the external world with a precise understanding of how God made, or when he made the physical order. Unless we can answer affirmitive where Job was awed in silence, that we were present when God created, and that we have a working understanding of his activity in the world from creation to now, I think that it is best to hold our theories of cosmic beginings with a measure of tentativeness. This isn’t to say that we can have no certainty, especially about what God’s word affirms, such as the fact that he created through the agency of his Word, that Adam and Eve were real people, with a real line of descendents culminating in Christ, that the human fall brought death and futility to the cosmic order, etc. But as for dates, or which of the approved views in our Reformed churches that is actually the absolute right view, I am not sure that we can have that kind of certainty, even if we resolutely reject naturalistic evolution, or atheistic origins of the cosmos.

  24. Steve Drake said,

    March 23, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Jed,
    Thanks for your comments.

    But as for dates, or which of the approved views in our Reformed churches that is actually the absolute right view, I am not sure that we can have that kind of certainty, even if we resolutely reject naturalistic evolution, or atheistic origins of the cosmos.

    This is exactly how the ‘Reformed churches’ and other denominations are in the debate they are in however. The ‘approved’ views approach has opened the door to a discussion and now in some cases a denial of an historical Adam. It has opened the door to saying that God’s method of creation was evolution. It is exactly this ‘approved view’ approach that is causing so much confusion and current debate and discussion.

  25. Mark M. said,

    March 23, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    As a Christian who then later studied and became a field Geologist, I agree with Steve (#24) that the approved views opened the door to discussion. It was much easier, at one time in my life, to believe in a YE. For a time, at least, it was easier. It was easy until I decided to actually go and study Genesis in history and for myself. It was easy until I decided to go and study geology at a university level to find out for myself, since, and I believe my concerns were justified, many YE scientists seemed to me to be downplaying results and/or twisting them to fit their view (same as the secular scientists they were rightly raising alarm against.) There was an abuse of laypeople simply referring to scientists on their side, ending debate or complex thought on the subject. It became almost a type of card-game…I’ll raise your USGS scientist with my ICR scientist…and, as a result, no one really looked into what was actually being said or studied. We need to have this discussion. YE vs OE is not going away. We cannot shut down this discussion. OE is not (take this as my opinion) going to be disproved. It is not (take this as my opinion) getting weaker due to evidence. There is no conflict between OE and Genesis, and the interpretive systems that have always been open to an OE, while still being orthodox, fit. They fit no matter which side you come in on…special or general. A loss of faith in your interpretive system of the Bible is not a loss of faith in Christ. I understand the fear. I understand the need to protect what you have, and what your children have.

  26. Steve Drake said,

    March 23, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Mark @ #25,

    We need to have this discussion. YE vs OE is not going away. We cannot shut down this discussion. OE is not (take this as my opinion) going to be disproved. It is not (take this as my opinion) getting weaker due to evidence. There is no conflict between OE and Genesis,

    I’m glad you agree that we need to have this discussion. I surmise your goal however, is that the discussion needs to be had so that you and all other OE adherents can foist it upon Christendom and come out the winners, not that you would ever change your OE view, or would listen and agree that the YE view is correct.

    As a Christian who then later studied and became a field Geologist,

    It was easy until I decided to go and study geology at a university level to find out for myself,…

    Thank you for that background information. I see this quite regularly used by OE adherents who are geologists. It comes in the form of a logical fallacy (can’t think of the name of this fallacy at the monent): “Listen to me, I know my views are right, I’m an expert in the area.” I’m not saying you are trying to do this Mark, but others have.

    I understand the fear. I understand the need to protect what you have, and what your children have.

    We understand your fear as well Mark.

  27. Reed Here said,

    March 23, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Mark,no. 25: I can’t help but ask if you intend the condescending tone that keeps popping up in your comments? You ask for, even insist that we speak respectfully toward each other, and then you follow up with this comment?

    You decided to “study Genesis in history and for yourself”? This led you from the naiveness of a YE position to the correct OE position? It was to easy to be an ignorant YE’er until you studied geology at the university level?

    Sheesh! How about this one: at what level have you studied exegetical science?

    It may very well be that you do not mean it. Nevertheless you give the impression of disrespecting YE brothers.

    As to what you conclude, to wit that there is no conflict between YE and OE, what if I disagree? How can we have a conversation if you are already concluded that I can let go of the foolishness of a YE position?

  28. John said,

    March 23, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    I’m kind of new to the PCA and somewhat shocked to find that any of its officers still believe in a YE.

    To the admins of this blog: what percentage of PCA TEs are OE and what percentage are YE? I’m just looking for your best guess, not a “scientific” answer. :)

  29. Steve Drake said,

    March 23, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    @John #28,

    I’m kind of new to the PCA and somewhat shocked to find that any of its officers still believe in a YE.To the admins of this blog: what percentage of PCA TEs are OE and what percentage are YE? I’m just looking for your best guess, not a “scientific” answer. :)

    I’m not sure what this question has to do with the argument, but I can feel another logical fallacy coming on.

  30. John said,

    March 23, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    No argument. No response (so presumably no fallacy of logic either).

    Just curious.

  31. Steve Drake said,

    March 23, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    John,
    Do you honestly think those kind of statistics are kept?

  32. jedpaschall said,

    March 23, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Steve,

    I wouldn’t be so quick to knock a new guy for a simple question. I had the same question that John did (BTW John welcome to the PCA and Reformed blogosphere, I hope you brought a helmet – for the blogs not your church) when I joined the PCA. While I am loth to hold to a distinct view, since a) I am not a scientist, and b) I don’t think Genesis privileges any particular view, I stopped reading my parents ICR “Acts & Facts” newsletters years ago, as I couldn’t in good conscience hold to the YEC view any more. I had read Reformed theologians such as Waltke, and even Warfield on the length of creation long before I joined the Reformed ranks. I was shocked to see it is such a contentious issue to this day.

    That said, I can understand why concern would be raised when it comes to the question of the historical Adam. This is essential to the reformed system of doctrine, and is picked up especially in Paul’s argumentation in Romans. I am not sure how one could claim to uphold the system of doctrine in the Westminster Standards or the TFU and claim he doesn’t also uphold the historicity of Adam as a real man that existed in a real Garden of Eden.

  33. Steve Drake said,

    March 23, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    @Jed #32,

    That said, I can understand why concern would be raised when it comes to the question of the historical Adam. This is essential to the reformed system of doctrine, and is picked up especially in Paul’s argumentation in Romans. I am not sure how one could claim to uphold the system of doctrine in the Westminster Standards or the TFU and claim he doesn’t also uphold the historicity of Adam as a real man that existed in a real Garden of Eden.

    Jed,
    With that above as backdrop, that an historical Adam is essential to the reformed system of doctrine, that Adam was a real man that existed in a real Garden of Eden, what I don’t see us discussing is how that fits with the concept of an old earth, or whether there is or isn’t a conflict. Perhaps this is where the discussion should focus. I still see a conflict here. I’m surmising that you don’t. So maybe we should be asking ourselves to lay out (in your case) why that is not a conflict, in my case why it is a conflict, and ask others to join this discussion on either side. Perhaps we can discuss this then in the spirit of Prov. 27:17, ‘so one man sharpens another.’

  34. Steve Drake said,

    March 23, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Jed,
    To be more specific, the question would be: “Why an historical Adam is or is not a conflict in a 4.55 billion year old earth?”

  35. Reed Here said,

    March 23, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    John: not sure if such statistics would be available anywhere. You might query Wayne Sparkman at the PCA Historical Center. If anyone has a line on such info., it would be him.

    Speaking as a TE holding to a YE position, I understand and appreciate the significance of the tension. For all the frustrations OE’ers apparently feel, it is a much greater burden affirming a YE position in a world that thinks such a position is as foolish as believing in a resurrection.

    I seek to avoid any derogatory treatment of OE Christians. It does not make me happy believing their conviction is wrong. Be that as it may, it does not have to hinder my commitment of love to them.

  36. jedpaschall said,

    March 23, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    Steve,

    “Why an historical Adam is or is not a conflict in a 4.55 billion year old earth?”

    Because I believe Genesis 2 is real history. As to the chronology, nature, and durations of the days in Genesis 1, I am not sure there has ever been unanimity in the Church as to what this means for the age of the earth, or the cosmos in general. To tip my hat, I tend to follow Walton, Waltke, and even to an extent Beale that Gen. 1 is more descriptive of the earth as God’s temple, and man being his priestly regents commissioned to serve and rule on his behalf. The Sabbatarian structure of the text, and its intra-OT and ANE parallels tend to support this. One can hold the divine temple theory, which is usually a subset of the framework hypothesis, and still be YEC, but I don’t think that the emphasis of Genesis is on a literal span of time, rather it lays the moral, spiritual, and even soteriological foundations for earthly and human existence.

    I doubt you’ll agree with this, but I feel no need to say how Gen 1 & 2 fit together, just that they do, and that Adam is historical as indicated by the narrative genre of Gen. 2. Frankly if this answer was so critical, I would think that it would be clearer in Scripture. Given the fact that interpretation has been all over the map, and back on this, I am very slow to place certainty, even on my own views. I can only be certain on what the text affirms, and sometimes the text isn’t clear on how everything fits together, just that it does. It clearly asserts Adam as historical, and I take Scripture to be the supreme revelation of Truth, so I affirm, even where I am not clear on certain aspects of that revelation.

  37. Steve Drake said,

    March 23, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    @Jed #36,
    But there are questions, right? Questions that should try to be answered. How do the events described in Gen. 1 play out in a 4.55 billion year old earth? Can you describe your views here?

  38. Reed Here said,

    March 23, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    Jed: don’t feel any trap here. I’ve spent some time myself trying to imagine how one might affirm what you’ve affirmed, particularly via the analogical days approach. I’m sincerely curious how you might answer Steve’s last question, if only for my own ruminations.

    Thanks!

  39. Steve Drake said,

    March 23, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Jed @ 36,

    As to the chronology, nature, and durations of the days in Genesis 1, I am not sure there has ever been unanimity in the Church as to what this means for the age of the earth, or the cosmos in general.

    So you disagree with my conclusion that the almost universal belief in the Church for 1800 years has been that of a young universe, young earth. Can you provide historical documentation for this?

  40. jedpaschall said,

    March 23, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    Steve,

    I don’t really care to go down this road right now, because I’ve had my fill of debate this week, jumping from 2k to Creation doesn’t exactly bode well for a relaxing evening. But, I’ll tell you what, I’ll sit on it this weekend and come back to this one either later in the weekend or early next week. For now I am going to have a beer and enjoy the night with my wife and kids.

  41. Steve Drake said,

    March 23, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    Jed@#40,
    Cheers, brother! Perhaps we’ll pick this up later then.

  42. John said,

    March 24, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Returning to the numbers of OE and YE pastors in the PCA, I wasn’t looking so much for hard numbers as an anecdotal guesstimate. I’m new to the PCA, but I’m not an idiot, Steve. I don’t assume those sorts of numbers are actually kept officially.

    The reason for my question is that I’m not really aware of a contemporary biblical or confessional argument for a YE, so I would be surprised that so many pastors would hold that position. So I guess my second question would be, what are the biblical and/or confessional arguments for a YE? The only argument I am aware of used to be based on the OT genaeologies, but I thought it was pretty much universally accepted nowadays that those genaeologies are not exhaustive and so useless as far as dating the age of the earth. But maybe I am wrong and some people still believe that? If I am right, what are the other biblical arguments for a YE? You don’t have to explain them, you can just list them and I can get the gist.

    Again, I have no agenda and no argument. I am just uninformed and wondering about the common opinions. Thanks.

  43. Steve Drake said,

    March 24, 2012 at 11:46 am

    John @ 42,

    The reason for my question is that I’m not really aware of a contemporary biblical or confessional argument for a YE, so I would be surprised that so many pastors would hold that position.

    See Dr. Adrian Keister’s post ‘A Critique of Creation, Evolution, and Christian Lay People by Tim Keller’ on this blog and the comments that followed as a start perhaps.

    See also PCA Report of the Creation Study Committee

    See also the Westminster Confession of Faith, Chap. 4.1, and the phrase ‘in the space of six days; and all very good.’ Also the Larger Catechism question 15 ‘What is the work of creation?’ and answer.

    Forgive me for being somewhat brusque earlier, but your opinions ‘so many pastors would hold that opinion’, ‘shocked to find so many of it’s officers still believe in a YE’, indicate you are hardly neutral or uninformed on the subject.

    If I am right, what are the other biblical arguments for a YE?

    Follow Dr. Keister’s thread ‘A Critique of Creation, Evolution, and Christian Lay Poeple by Tim Keller’ and as many of the 300 plus comments you care to read. You’ve got some background work to do. If you still have specific questions after doing that, then I and I’m sure others, would be happy to answer them, brother.

  44. John said,

    March 24, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Steve, again, I am not an idiot. I am familiar with the issues in general and I am theologically trained, but I am just not familiar with the opinions of those in the PCA regarding the issue of the age of the earth.

    I have read all of the documents you mention. How do they address THE AGE OF THE EARTH? They obviously address the length of the creation days, the historicity of Adam and Eve, and the permissibility of various evolutionary views, but I am not clear on how they address the age of the earth.

    Could you come off your high horse for long enough to simply:
    1) Guesstimate the percentage of pastors in the PCA who believe in a young earth.
    2) Give me a short list of a few of the biblical and/or confessional arguments for a YOUNG EARTH.

    I am not uninformed, and I am not trying to argue with you. I am a sympathetic inquirer. Do you treat everyone this way? Geez.

  45. Reed Here said,

    March 24, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Steve: maybe John’s got a point? I agree this is a serious topic, and maybe a little honey with the vinegar will help. ;-)

    John, again, I doubt anyone can give you anything more than a personal subjective opinion of no real value with regards to the no. of PCA pastors holding one way or another. Maybe it would help you to read our formal position statement on this topic? It demonstrates a nuanced position that strives for orthodoxy.

  46. Steve Drake said,

    March 24, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Reed@45,
    Brother Reed,
    Someone who says they are theologically trained, familiar with the issues in general, and has ‘read all the documents you mention’, including all 300 some posts on Adrian’s thread, and ‘still’ asks for a short list of biblical or confessional arguments for a young earth, is quite possibly in the vernacular of my daughters when they were much, much younger, a ‘poser’, or has not investigated himself the wealth of information in print or on the web to answer his question. At the risk of sounding like I am using too much vinegar, and not enough honey, I say this as irenically and lovingly as possible.

    John@44,
    Brother John,
    May I lovingly direct you to the any or all of the young earth creationist websites where you may find answers to biblical arguments for a young earth: The Institute for Creation Research, Creation Ministries International, Answers in Genesis, John Byl’s blog at http://www.bylogos.blogspot.com. You can do the search. I’m afraid that if I post to many URL’s, this comment will be spam filtered.

    Secondarily, perhaps you can join the discussion and the question I posed to Jed in #33, #34, and #37 above and Reed’s response in #38. I think you will find if that discussion plays out, some answers to your question.

  47. John said,

    March 24, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Thanks, Reed. I have read the position paper on the creation days and am familiar with the four views deemed acceptable. I don’t really see how that relates to the age of the earth, though.

    Do you mind in a sentence or two identifying the 3-4 primary biblical and or confessional arguments for a young earth? Most of the websites that Steve has referenced are run by nutjobs. I am genuinely interested in understanding the arguments for a young earth and you guys seem pretty savvy theologically. I think you could give people like me a better, briefer, and more theologically trustworthy answer than I can get elsewhere.

    If you don’t want to that’s okay. I don’t want to be annoying about it and I’ll head elsewhere. Thanks for the help.

    Steve, for whatever it is worth, you have seriously misunderstood my motives. Believe it or not, some people actually go to seminary in non-Reformed schools and are interested in becoming more Reformed and/ or conservative in their understanding of scripture after the fact. Maybe you could be more willing to help a brother out?

  48. John said,

    March 24, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Also, I just went to that site you recommended and cannot find a single article which simply gives the basic biblical and/or confessional reasons for believing in a young earth. Perhaps you have one in particular you could recommend?

  49. John said,

    March 24, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Okay, I finally found an article that just addresses the question of the age of the earth (Here’s the link: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/aid/v6/n1/yec-view-summary).

    It gives 11 reasons for believing in a young earth, but it seems to me that the only one that is actually relevant is #10 (based on the OT genealogies). All the other reasons relate to evolution, historical Adam, etc., but not specifically to the issue of the age of the earth.

    So are the OT genealogies the only reason to believe in a young earth? Surely there have to be other reasons. I genuinely want to know.

  50. Reed Here said,

    March 24, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    will respond later.

  51. Steve Drake said,

    March 26, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Jed @ #40,
    Hope you had a relaxing weekend brother were and refreshed in spirit with worship on the Lord’s Day. Are you ready to pick up where we left off with my questions in #37 and #39, and Reed’s follow up question in #38?

  52. jedpaschall said,

    March 26, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    Steve,

    Thanks for being patient for this response. I did have a good weekend, but with sick kids it was less relaxing than I would have hoped. They are little cesspools of germs when they are young, especially this time of year unfortunately.

    Beginning with the question of the unanimity of a literal 6 day creation through church history, I am comfortable with the assertion that this has been the majority view in Church history, but was by no means the only historical view. Nor did the length of creation days make it into the ecumenical creeds, so from the earliest days of the church, one’s position on the length of the days, or nature thereof were not a test of orthodoxy.

    I’ll summarize the gist of the excellent position paper of Westminster Seminary on Creation (found here: Westminser Theological Seminary and the Days of Creation)Arguably, Augustine is one of the most important theologians in the history of the church, and he did not hold to a literal six day creation, asserting “what kind of days these were it is extremely difficult, or impossible for us to conceive.” (City of God, Book 11, Ch. 7). Anselm, another giant in church history asserts, “The ‘days’ of Moses’ account…are not to be equated with the days in which we live”(Cur Deus Homo 18). The framers of the Westminster Standards, however, did seem to favor a more ordinary or literal reading of a literal 6 day/24 hour creation, but even the language of the confession simply reiterates what Gen. 1 clearly affirms without specifying the exact nature of the days. It seems that the Westminster framers were more intent on correcting the Augustinian view of an instantaneous creation. By the time we get to Princeton Seminary during the Orthodox period Charles and AA Hodge, and BB Warfield did not demand that the days of Genesis 1 be interpreted as literal 24 hour days.

    All this to say that a non-literal interpretation of the length of the days of Gen. 1 has been part of Christian orthodoxy since at least the Patristic period. Like I said earlier, I am not of the YEC persuasion, but I certainly wouldn’t argue that those who hold to it are without historical, exegetical, or even confessional warrant to hold it. But, like WTS affirms, I do not think that YEC should ever be held as a litmus test for orthodoxy on Genesis 1. Obviously there are considerations that must be used when evaluating the orthodoxy of one’s position on creation. I think that these have to do with whether or not one holds to the historicity of Adam, and the historicity of the fall, both of which are upheld in the NT, and are vital to Federal theology. This is where theologians such as Peter Enns ran afoul of Reformed Orthodoxy.

    I would probably add to this those who uphold evolution in such a way that consigns creation to naturalistic categories dependent on randomness and chance, which are all part and parcel of the General Theory of Evolution. While I leave room for something that resembles evolution, though I remain agnostic as to whether or not this actually took place, it seems to me that Scripture presents Creation as teleological, full of divine purpose, and governed by Providence to the minutest detail. This would mean if something *like* evolution (for lack of a better term), or progressive speciation would have been attributed to God’s own creative activity superintending the process at every turn. There must also be room left for Divine, supernatural interventions into the creative process. I also think that Gen. 2 is fairly clear that Adam and Eve were special creations, not the product of evolutionary forces.

    So, anyway I think that this demonstrates that there is room for several views of creation within the framework of orthodoxy, and that historically this has been the case for a good deal of church history. This shouldn’t leave room for all views, as I think some views directly contradict Scripture, and any orthodox view must ultimately be limited to what Scripture affirms. Obviously, there are very strong opinions on what Genesis is affirming, and this is fine and good, but I think that these opinions should not automatically be used as pretext to call the integrity of one’s theology into question.

    I’ll address the other question shortly.

  53. John said,

    March 26, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Thanks, Reed. Looking forward to being enlightened.

  54. Steve Drake said,

    March 26, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Jed @52

    Nor did the length of creation days make it into the ecumenical creeds, so from the earliest days of the church, one’s position on the length of the days, or nature thereof were not a test of orthodoxy.

    Where do you think WCF, chapter 4.1 “in the space of six days, and all very good” came from?

    Arguably, Augustine is one of the most important theologians in the history of the church, and he did not hold to a literal six day creation, asserting “what kind of days these were it is extremely difficult, or impossible for us to conceive.” (City of God, Book 11, Ch. 7).

    Yet he, and other church fathers recognized and stated that ‘the earth was not even yet 6000 years old (The City of God 12.10, in NPFN1, vol.2).

    It seems that the Westminster framers were more intent on correcting the Augustinian view of an instantaneous creation. By the time we get to Princeton Seminary during the Orthodox period Charles and AA Hodge, and BB Warfield did not demand that the days of Genesis 1 be interpreted as literal 24 hour days.

    Yet they (Charles and AA Hodge) were in the milieu of the debates in geology of their time ( to which I have copiously documented) and the trend thereof for millions and billions of years and ‘deep time’.

    All this to say that a non-literal interpretation of the length of the days of Gen. 1 has been part of Christian orthodoxy since at least the Patristic period.

    Unforutunately, your assertions do not hold up. See James R. Mook, ‘The Church Fathers on Genesis, the Flood, and the Age of the Earth’ in Coming to Grips with Genesis: Biblical Authority and the Age of the Earth,Master Books, 2008.

    I’ll address the other question shortly.

    Please do so, as to this point, you have not specifically addressed my question in #37 and Reed’s follow up in $38 above.

  55. jedpaschall said,

    March 26, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    Steve,

    You have not dealt very seriously with what WTS describes in their position paper. To your first point, WCF is not an ecumenical creed, those creeds were formulated in the Patristic era, not in the 1600’s. I am exceedingly tired of debating the issue with persons whose minds are clearly already made up on the issue. James Mook is hardly the only voice on the matter. The fact is, in 1800 years of church history, there have been multiple views. You can dispute this if you wish, but it will be against the facts of the matter, and I just don’t have enough interest to engage a protracted debate on a matter that our Reformed denominations have already set guidelines on. I am taking a good deal of time out of my day to respond to a debate that I would just assume stay out of, because it ends up almost entirely unproductive.

    If you want to paint the Hodge’s, or Warfield as out of the pale of orthodoxy on the issue of Creation, fine. I don’t, and I think that if we are going to lay out some guidelines of debate they have to start with the willingness to acknowledge commonly accepted facts. If you outright reject the WTS position paper, I don’t have much interest in going further with the conversation, as you have already made up your mind that anything not YEC is out of bounds.

  56. Steve Drake said,

    March 26, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Jed@ 55,
    Forget about it. Just answer my question in #37 above, and Reed’s follow up in #38.

  57. jedpaschall said,

    March 26, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Like I said Steve, I am not here to waste my time. Either there has been unanimity within Christian orthodoxy on the questions surrounding the early chapters of Genesis, or there hasn’t. It is a question of fact, and if you aren’t willing to concede to facts, why should I bang my head against the wall with further responses? Reed and I have already gone around the block on the issue, and it didn’t necessarily bring out the best in either of us. I sincerely have no interest in addressing an issue that has already been decided in our church courts if it is going to be the source of unnecessary contention. I have enough exposure to Reed’s online body of work to deeply respect him, and if I respond it would be to build bridges with regard to this topic not torch them further. I don’t know you from Adam, but I have already had enough acrimonious exchanges on other issues (2k) on this blog – for which some are calling me a danger to the church on other sites, to wish to have a run around that serves no interests to the church at large, since it has already been decided. If you want to interact with non-YEC sources who are currently within the pale of orthodoxy, I’ll be happy to reccomend them, but I have zero interest in a protracted case of tail chasing here. If I had confidence that this discussion could be more than this I would be more inclined to engage, but for now I simply do not, and I have better things to spend my time on.

  58. Steve Drake said,

    March 26, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    Let it be known that Jed’s response in #55, #52, and #36 and his un-answer to my #37 and Reed’s #38 is typical of my brothers who hold on contra,/i> Scripture, to an old earth paradigm. They obfuscate, bluff, and divert attention away from the real questions that need to be answered. At least Tim Keller and those who hold to a theistic evolutionary paradigm are honest in an attempt to explain how (1) an historical Adam, and (2) that Adam and Eve were the progenitors of the human race, the ‘first parents’ of all living (Gen. 3:20), are to fit within a 4.55 billion year old earth. That they are wrong in their assessment is beside the point in our discussions with those who refuse to acknowledge or admit or answer questions raised against their belief.

  59. dghart said,

    March 26, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Steve Drake @ 58, why did you have to write that?

  60. Steve Drake said,

    March 26, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Darrell @59,
    What is your position on the age of the earth?

  61. jedpaschall said,

    March 26, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Steve,

    Let it be noted that the reason why I haven’t answered you is that you have demonstrated that this conversation cannot take place in good faith, not because of a lack of ability on my part to supply an answer. I view it as a waste of time, and your lack of charity gives other YEC advocates a bad name. My views are acceptable within the courts of the PCA, and in line with Princeton theologians, to name a few. If you are so convinced that my views are contrary to Scripture, put your money where your mouth is and make a complaint to the church courts.

    It has been reiterated time and time again that one’s view on the age of the earth are not worth disrupting the unity of the church over, nor are they grounds for questioning one’s orthodoxy. I could point to multiple sources, but since I have gone down that road with you, and you have demonstrated a resolute willingness to ignore the facts, I will refrain. If you wish to continue to slander me, and my views, have at it, you wouldn’t be the first.

  62. Steve Drake said,

    March 26, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    Darrell @ #59,
    Maybe you can help Jed out here. Still waiting for your response to my #60.

  63. Reed Here said,

    March 26, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    John: you asked for exegetical based arguments. I do not have time right now to engage with you at length in them. I have found this piece to good a good summary of them:

    FIVE ARGUMENTS FOR GENESIS 1 AND 2 AS STRAIGHTFORWARD HISTORICAL NARRATIVE

    While I would not endorse everything written here without a bit more study on my own, all in all I find these arguments are pretty good. They present, as the title says, why God intends for Gen 1 and 2 to be read as actual history. I.e., if we accept the rest of Genesis as an accurate record of the events record, we must likewise accord the events of the first two chapters the same status.

    Take a look, feel free to respond point by point. I’ll interact as I can.

  64. Reed Here said,

    March 26, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    Steve, no. 58: it appears that you are imputing motives to Jed that he expressly denies. Kindly back off that track.

    Stick to demonstrating the errors in his explanations. Please do not question his motives. Thanks for understanding.

  65. John said,

    March 26, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    Reed, thanks for the helpful article – there is a lot of good stuff there.

    What I am really looking for, though, is an exegetical article that directly relates to the age of the earth. While the age of the earth seems related to the general historicity of Genesis, it seems more specific than that. So far the only exegetical argument I have heard for a young earth is related to the OT genealogies. If you don’t have time to find one, I will understand.

    Steve, if you are able to do so without condescension I am open to explanations from you as well. Again, I am looking for an article or explanation of exegetical reasons for believing in a young earth, not one defending the historicity of Genesis in general. I already believe in that.

  66. Steve Drake said,

    March 26, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    John @ #72,
    The basis and starting point for a young earth is Gen. 1, ‘in the space of six days and all very good’ , WCF, Chap. 4.1. God affirms this in Ex. 20:8-11. The chronogenealogies of Gen. 5 & 11 further the young earth position. Jesus’ statement in Matt. 19:4 corroborate ‘from the beginning’, not billions and billions of years ‘after’ the beginning.. But perhaps we can turn the question around John, and ask

    What is the short list of biblical arguments from Scripture for an ‘old earth’? Can you respond?

  67. Steve Drake said,

    March 26, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    Specifically, John,
    What are the biblical arguments for a 4.55 billion year old earth? I’m looking for specific Scripture verses you would use to bulwark your claim that the earth is 4.55 billion years old.

  68. Reed Here said,

    March 26, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    John: Gn 1 and 2 being historical does support a YE position, unless one wants to suppose some sort of gap theory. If Gn 1 and 2 are affirmed to be historical, then the issue of genealogies becomes rather basic to the position for YE. If Gn 1 and 2 are not to be treated as history, then the genealogies provide no support for a YE position.

    About the only argument still standing against using the genealogies in such a manner is the idea that there may be gaps, missing descendants, in the genealogies. I’m still researching those.

    I think Steve’s last query is pretty significant, from a biblical exegesis perspective. The issue not merely that a historical reading supports a YE position. Even more, the (possible) theological problems with an OE position are substantial. Why look for a more complicated answer, when the simpler one is better all around?

    I.O.W., positively, a straightforward historical reading supports a YE position, and a YE position effectively accounts for the rest of the history (e.g., the flood, Abraham, the Exodus) and essential doctrinal positions (e.g., the atonement).

    An OE position on the contrary both contradicts a straightforward historical reading and it poses serious threats to essential doctrine (e.g., no historical Adam, no historical Fall; no historical Fall, no need for an atonement; we’ve still got a serious problem that we can’t call sin).

  69. John said,

    March 27, 2012 at 7:02 am

    Thanks, guys. That helps clear up the connection between the general historicity of Genesis and the age of the earth. I appreciate you taking the time to help me understand.

    Steve, I appreciate your question. I think it is always important to locate the burden of proof in the right place, so it is a question that makes sense. My reading of the Protestant Reformed tradition, and Warfield in particular, has increasingly led me to distinguish between when scripture is speaking intentionally to an issue and when scripture is speaking incidentally or phenomenologically about an issue. So, for example, if scripture uses the phrase “the sun rises” when in fact it is the Earth that revolves around the sun, I don’t think this is an error, and I think there are many good internal, exegetical reasons for placing some of the descriptions in Genesis in this category. In other words, I don’t think it is quite as “straightforward” to read Genesis 1-2 as ordinary chronological history as you do. The fact that people like Augustine and Anselm also had similar problems is a testimony to the fact that this isn’t just because I’ve swallowed Darwin hook, line and sinker. In other words, I think that it is bad exegesis to ask the Bible to tell you when the Earth was created, because the Bible doesn’t answer that question. It’s like asking the Bible to tell you whether or not the Earth revolves around the sun or how to fly an airplane. It just isn’t very interested in teaching you about that sort of thing.

    And I don’t very much appreciate your standard “but everybody in church history believed in a young Earth” line. For one thing, it is simply not true. It was certainly a common belief, but premodern Christians were all over the map. For another thing, from the rise of early modernity most pagans, deists and skeptics believed in a young earth as well (John Locke is a notorious example). I don’t know why we would make an early modern cultural assumption a norm of interpretation for all times. Isn’t this just marrying the spirit of the age?

    Now, Steve, before you sit down to blast me as a heretic or as someone who undermines the Bible, please realize that I have defended the inerrancy of the Scriptures in my own pastoral and academic context for many years at great personal sacrifice and loss…from a human perspective anyway – I am happy for such a loss at the expense of defending God’s truth. Just please don’t attack my motives or assume that everyone who doesn’t read Genesis 1-2 as a straightforward chronological history is on a slippery slope to liberalism. Some of us are on a steady climb out. I think if you can realize that it will lead to more productive, encouraging, not to mention compelling, biblical and theological conversation. Who knows, you might actually convince somebody.

  70. Reed Here said,

    March 27, 2012 at 8:07 am

    John: you asked for the exegetical arguments. I don’t see you interacting with them. Do you disa free with them? Why?

  71. John said,

    March 27, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Reed, mostly I was looking for an exegetical argument for a young earth from someone “respectable” theologically. Thanks for providing some help along those lines.

    It seems to me that there are exegetical difficulties for either trajectory of interpreting Genesis 1-2 (both a chronological historical reading and the various sorts of figurative accounts). The exegetical difficulties for the figurative accounts relate to consistency of hermeneutic (i.e., how do you know where a figurative history ends and the chronological history begins, how do you maintain the historical Adam that the NT assumes, etc.). The exegetical difficulties for the chronological accounts include, for example, obvious tensions between the order of events in Genesis 1 and 2 and tensions perceived between special and general revelation (i.e., science). In my opinion, the tensions created by figurative readings are surmountable (as long as you read Waltke and not Enns) and those created by chronological readings are not, especially the internal chronological tensions. Therefore I think the best exegesis of Genesis 1-2 results in a figurative reading (which does not deny its historical nature but does deny it to be a chronological historical account).

    All of this is another way of saying that I actually don’t think that chronological historical readings of Genesis 1-2 are “simpler.” I think they cause as many problems as they solve.

    In general, I don’t want to let Darwin set our agenda one way or the other. It seems like modernity has tricked us into asking Genesis to teach us about the “when” and “how” of creation, when previous generations focused their attention on the “who” and the “why.” This seems like a better approach to me, neither accepting nor rejecting evolutionary ideas.

  72. Reed Here said,

    March 27, 2012 at 11:10 am

    John: I appreciate you’re overview of your convictions. I’m very familiar with all you describe. Interestingly, I come to the exact opposite conclusions to which you come. I find the exegetical arguments for a literary/figurative/phenomenological reading of Gn 1 and 2 so full of difficulty as to essentially gut any sense in which we can we read any part of the Bible with confidence.

    I don’t say this to perjorate you or anyone else holding your convictions. I do say it to simply lay out the lines, as it were. I believe you are sincere in your convictions, and have studied to to arrive at them. So have I mine. We both cannot be right. Both of us believe that holding to the other’s position entails serious difficulties for the rest of our belief system. In this sense, even though we are on different sides, we are in agreement in this sense.

    So, admitting I am neither respectable nor a theologian (nothing meant but sincere admission of what is true), if you are interested in talking further about this, maybe you could provide a list of the exegetical problems with the YE position? Maybe we could discuss them one by one. We might easily begin with the one you’ve lead with, namely, the (supposed) discrepancy between the order of events in Gn 1 with Gn 2. (I’ll take the hit here and not ask us to also deal with the supposed exegetical problems with the OE position.)

    Is this something that interests you?

  73. Reed Here said,

    March 27, 2012 at 11:16 am

    As to being tricked by Modernity, I get what you are saying. it is not right to let unbelief set the worldview through which we determine truth.

    At the same time I do not think you have escaped Modernity’s clutches as much as you think you have. :-) This is not just for the biblical reason that we are in the already/not yet era (although to be sure this is substantial). You’ve constructed an interpretation that: 1) puts all the burden of conformity on the Bible, and 2) you’ve not recognized that evolution does necessarily entail fundamental opposition to the gospel.

    In the end, it appears you are practically accepting/allowing for a hybrid system which satisfies neither side, and exists peacefully only in a millieu of post-modernism in which we have all entered a devil’s pact to allow for personal truth to rule as Truth. One day post-modernism will show its fundamental bankruptcy. What will you do then, especially if unbelief continues to press on?

  74. paigebritton said,

    March 27, 2012 at 11:35 am

    I’ve removed some of yesterday’s more acrimonious comments, so the numbering may be off a bit for the later posts.

    Thanks for keeping the tone thoughtful and on-topic, folks.

    Paige B. for the mods

  75. toddbordow said,

    March 27, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Is this something that interests you?

    Reed,

    If no one else does I’d like to take you up on this, maybe this evening – showing some of the exegetical difficulties with the literal day YE position. But to be clear, there is no exegetical support for an OE; our point is that the Bible is silent on the age of the earth. Most of us OE’s became OE considering the scientific arguments, not because we believe the Scripture leans one way or another.

  76. John said,

    March 27, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    Hey Reed,

    Re: modernity. 1) I don’t think I have. I merely plead ignorance regarding evolutionary theory as a whole – I don’t think the Bible addresses the age of the earth or the specific manner in which God created one way or the other. 2) I reject outright the (anti-) teleological aspects of evolutionary thought. It seems to me that the manner of creation and the intent/design of creation are two different things, though.

    I don’t think the Bible and science contradict one another but complement one another (special and general revelation). I don’t think that is particularly postmodern.

    As for chronological discrepancies between Genesis 1 and 2, here are a couple: 1) Gen 2 gives natural reasons for the lack of plant growth (it had not rained), which would be rather odd on the 6/24 account of Gen 1 which necessitates supernatural reasons (see Meredith Kline’s pretty well known article on this). 2) Genesis 1 has plants created before Adam and Eve are created together. Genesis 2 has Adam created, then plants created, then Eve created. The NIV tries to translate this tension away, but this is a pretty questionable translation.

    Anyway, I didn’t take anything you wrote as pejorative. Thanks for the gracious tone and constructive questions. I doubt anything I have written here will be new to you or likely to convince you. But here it is for what it’s worth.

  77. jedpaschall said,

    March 27, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Reed,

    An OE position on the contrary both contradicts a straightforward historical reading and it poses serious threats to essential doctrine (e.g., no historical Adam, no historical Fall; no historical Fall, no need for an atonement; we’ve still got a serious problem that we can’t call sin).

    Correct me if I am wrong here, but I think you may be conflating Theistic Evolution with Old Earth here. I could be wrong here, but I know of not one Reformed OE adherent that currently, or in the past dating back to Old Princeton has used OE in such a way as to deny any essential doctrine. Maybe you have some in mind, but as I see things, it tends to be Theistic Evolution advocates who struggle at times with the historicity of Adam and the Fall, and even with this there are several TE advocates who still uphold the doctrine.

    When we come to essential doctrines, these are faith commitments, and I don’t think that individuals find themselves at odds with these doctrines purely by accident. There is intellectual preponderance and intent when rejecting an historical doctrine. For example Enns, he basically conflates Gen. 1-2 with ANE myth, and ends up denying the historicity of Adam, etc. There are plenty of OT scholars who have an excellent background in ANE studies yet do not find themselves rejecting these crucial theological tenets. So it’s not as if Enns, or others like him can plead innocence because they ended up careening down some slippery slope. They hold their views conscientiously, which requires forethought and intent.

    This is why I don’t tend to be persuaded by arguments from the slippery slope. There is nothing that logically necessitates that one’s views on a certain topic such as OE entails their holding views on another, albeit related issue, such as the rejection of the historicity of Adam.

  78. Reed Here said,

    March 27, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Jed: no, my point is not that anyone has used OE to deny essential doctrines. (I know some have, and I acknowledge many have not). What I am saying is that the logical entails of an OE position, it seems to me, lead in that direction.

    This is why I said “pose”. I am not willing to simply argue for a slippery slope (and I don’t believe I am here. Maybe that is an inference?). Yet neither am I willing to ignore that there may very well be a slope in front of an OE. On the contrary, like any position, not only must it be vetted exegetically, it must be vetted theologically.

    The more I study and think about OE (necessary) entails, the more I am coming to the conclusion that it is an untenable position. For the most part I am there exegetically. As I listen and learn more about various OE options, the more I see what I believe to be problematic theological entailments.

    Admitting that I could be wrong, I am willing to discuss and explore these things.

  79. Reed Here said,

    March 27, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    John: thanks for the response. A few back:

    Modernity? No, I agree that you have not formally caved. :-) Instead, it is the ignorance you are pleading that causes me to issue this challenge. It is particularly with the distinction between intent and design that I think this is relevant. I only think you make such a bifurcation because of a push from Modernity. But this is a minor and and aside point. It goes to presuppositions, which, while important, are not so easily examined.

    Final acknowledgement here: I tar myself with the same brush I am swinging at you. I recognize that for the most part I am responding to a debate that only has its existence because of Modernity. I understand that it is Modernity that has drawn the boundary lines of the debate as well. That doesn’t bother me a ton, as long as everyone in the discussion sees it too.

  80. Reed Here said,

    March 27, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    John, second follow up response:

    Nor do I think the Bible and science contradict one another. I don’t think saying they complement one another (special, SR and general revelation, GR) is the best formulation. This is simply because GR is saddled with the deficiencies of Fall, whereas God’s word is not. Particularly, the noetic effects of the Fall have a multiplying effect on the deficiency of GR: defective observers and examining a defective universe. The interpretation of Scripture however, because of the promise of the Spirit’s ministry of illumination, is not so saddled.

  81. Reed Here said,

    March 27, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    John, third follow up response: as to the post-modern reference, the point I was driving at is this,

    Evolutionary theory is fundamentally at odds with the worldview expressed in the Bible. Indeed, it is antagonistically so. A hybrid system of any kind that allows for evolutionary principles to coexist with Biblical principles can only do so by ignoring the contradictions between the two. A post-modern millieu allows for this.

    I bring this up only to push the issue of presuppositions even further. I think that many OE GR informed tenets do not take into account just how much those tenets are still intimately intertwined with evolutionary theory. I agree that we can more or less identify a scientific fact. I don’t think we realize how much interpretation (always a factor of worldview) is necessarily attached to any given fact.

    It seems to me that many OE tenets have not been examined sufficiently to recognize evolutionary thinking that colors their interpretation.

  82. Reed Here said,

    March 27, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    Todd: agreed.

  83. Reed Here said,

    March 27, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    John, fourth follow up, regarding Gn 1 and 2 discrepancies: these apparent discrepancies disappear when we read Gn 2:5-25 as a telescoping in on a portion of Gn 1, particularly the creation of Adam on Day 6. In other words, Gn 2:5-25 zooms in to give us more detail on the highest act of creation.

    Given this understanding:

    1) Gn 2:5 is not a comprehensive review of the creation of plants, as in Gn 1:11-12, the 3rd day. Instead God is focusing on what might be described as cultivated plants (bush, small plant of the field).

    This fits exactly the focus on the Garden of Eden in this section of ch. 2. Even more, it fits the creation of places for life in the creation first noted in Gn 1:1-2, and then throughout the pattern of the six days (creating places for life, then filling those places with life). It also fits the distinction between domesticated (Gn 1:24, livestock) and wild animals (Gn 1:24, beasts).

    Rather than a contradiction with Gn 1:11-12, Gn 2:5 is discussing the lack of cultivated vegetation. Life may exist in this new creation, but it is wild, undomesticated, not yet brought under the fullness of the reign of God. So God addresses this need, first by creating Adam and second by creating a cultivated place fully under his reign, the Garden of Eden. Adam’s task was to, beginning in the cultivated area, expand it as he took dominion over the rest of God’s creation.

    Finally, I will quibble with you on whether or not God notes “no rain” as merely a naturalistic explanation for why there was no plants. First, I don’t think it is reasonable for someone who holds to a literary/ phenomenological reading of this passage, and explicitly rejects a naturalistic reading (such as yourself ;-)) to introduce a naturalistic interpretation to support a (supposed) discrepancy. Sorry dude, but “Foul Ball!”

    Second, it is NOT that there was no source of water with which for any plants to grow. Gn 2:6 explicitly mentions a source of water that is sufficient for plant growth. Either condensation or some other mechanism, there was a source of water for the uncultivated plants created on the 3rd Day to grow by.

    Third, the note regarding no rain also notes “no gardener.” Again, the details are not on “no plants,” but that the conditions for full life, perfect life under God’s reign, were not present. All that existed was untamed creation. The passage next turns to creating the gardener, Adam, and then the garden. It then proceeds to note the creation of cultivated plants (fruit-bearing trees). It then concludes with a reference to the water source for this cultivated land, four mighty rivers.

    All this to note, if one reads Gn 2:5 as merely a second telling of what happened on the 3rd Day, yes discrepancies do seem to exist. But if one reads Gn 2:5 as a telescoping focus on the details surrounding the high point of God’s creation, the creation of Man on the 6th day, then no discrepancies appear at all.

    More, the details of the passage make much more sense in this latter, simpler reading. Rather than giving us unneeded background details like a novel writer who has not yet learned the power of focused writing, God only gives us details that are essential to fleshing out the significance of his creation of Man. This make the whole passage much more relevant to a Savior who also is busy creating a place for eternal life, one flowing with living water.

  84. John said,

    March 27, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Reed,

    Thanks for the continued (and thorough!) response. I guess in general I don’t find your “telescoping” interpretation very compelling. The “simpler” reading to me is that the chronology between the two chapters is contradictory. For what it’s worth, and as you probably know, Kline’s article addresses many of the issues you raise.

    At any rate, I am curious about the point you made in #80 about the noetic affects of sin being overcome vis a vis special revelation by virtue of our possession of the Holy Spirit. I was not aware that the Reformed believed that the illumination of the HS could totally overcome the noetic affects of sin when we read the Bible. Maybe you could point me to some texts in the tradition that go that far? Or am I overstating your point? In any case, I am not so confident in the potential for infallible interpretation of the scriptures (or anything close to it).

    Also, I don’t think we can attribute the earth’s apparent age or, say, our ability to read carbon dating tests accurately, to the noetic effects of the fall. So I’m not so sure that general revelation and our ability to interpret it is obliterated to quite the degree you say.

    Finally, it is not self-evident to me that evolutionary theory in toto is diametrically opposed to a biblical worldview (whatever that is). I mean, I think you would at least agree that micro-evolution clearly happens all the time, right?. Maybe you could nuance your statement in this regard to be more precise? Again, I would agree that the (anti-) teleological aspects of evolutionary thought are fundamentally opposed to Christianity. And just to clarify, I meant intent/design as complementary terms (as opposed to the manner or method by which the intent/design is put in place). I don’t see why we must conclude that an evolutionary method could not be employed by an intelligent designer.

    Again, I don’t really want to defend evolution. I am just nervous that we may be a little overconfident when we make bold statements about what the Bible has to say about evolution. So I’m not really saying that the Bible allows for evolution so much as I am saying it doesn’t disallow it. It just doesn’t address it one way or the other. Likewise (and even more so) for the age of the earth.

  85. John said,

    March 27, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    Also, I’m happy to go back and forth a time more or two, but I probably won’t be able to devote a whole lot more time to it than that. For one thing, I doubt we’ll really convince each other (or that we will necessarily say something that we haven’t heard before).

    Originally I just wanted to hear an exegetical explanation for a YE, because I wasn’t aware of one other than from the OT genealogies. I see now that YE proponents connect this issue with the general historicity of Genesis. I guess it makes logical sense how they could be so closely related, but they still seem like two separate issues to me. Thanks for your help with this.

    I will pray that people in the PCA will be able to distinguish the essentials from the non-essentials in these matters. Overall, that study committee report seems pretty good on that front.

  86. Steve Drake said,

    March 28, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Todd @ 75,
    Perhaps I can address the same question I did to Don on the thread ‘Critique of Creation, Evolution and the Christian Lay Person’. I am copying and pasting from that thread as below in regards to OE:

    What I hear you saying. Help me understand your position here, but what I hear you saying is that Adam (yes historical), was one of many hominids that God perhaps infused a soul, declaring him then and there to be our federal and biological head. Or did God at that point, say, 600,000 years ago, create ex nihilo someone new, not the result of the union of sperm and egg, nor the result of any gestation process within a womb, that we know as Adam? Did he do the same thing with Eve?

    In other words, if we accept the billions of years of old earth timeline, with a biodiversity of life stretching over hundreds of millions of years, accepting the placement of hominds towards the end of this millions and millions of years process, did Got plump Adam and Eve down on earth by his creative processes alone ex nihilo at that time in the later development of the hominid family, or were they both from that hominid family originally in it’s later developments, the result of union of sperm and egg, and the normal gestation process within a womb, and God infused his imago Dei and called them Adam and Eve?

    In particular to you and my question, I guess Todd, in an OE scenario, is the question of who Adam was. Someone new, a special creation ex nihilo, not the result of union of sperm and egg, nor the result of a normal gestation process, and coming into history at about the time of the later hominid development some 600,000 years or 60,000 years ago (whichever you prefer), or some member of previous hominid ancestry with resultant union of sperm and egg and a normal gestation process, whereby God then infused His imago Dei, thus becoming our federal and biological head, and calling them Adam and Eve.

    Lest you demur, these are the types of questions that those of us who hold to YE, have for our OE brothers. I’m not trying to be cynical or sarcastic here, but truly trying to understand the relationship of Scripture, what God says in Gen. 1-3, and an OE belief. One must attempt to place Adam on an historical timeline, and then explain the rest of the biodiversity of life in relationship to Adam. Thanks for understanding.

  87. toddbordow said,

    March 28, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Steve,

    What exactly is the problem with the earth being old and Adam being created from the dust 15,000-6000 BC? I know it doesn’t seem compatible to you but I don’t understand why it doesn’t.

  88. Steve Drake said,

    March 28, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Thanks Todd,
    I appreciate that answer. So to understand you correctly, you are saying that Adam and Eve were created from the dust, ex nihilo, not as a result of sperm and egg, nor normal gestation processes, and not as a result of homind ancestry. I hope I’ve got that right and this at most around 15000 BC.

    What about the rest of the historical biodiversity of life? Was it after or before 15000 BC?

  89. toddbordow said,

    March 28, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Steve,

    That wasn’t really an answer but a question. Yes, ex nihilo, but I have no problem with animals being created before man – what is the problem in your mind?

  90. Steve Drake said,

    March 28, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Pastor Todd,
    What I’m trying to establish is your position. You distinguish in posts above the distinctions between theistic evolution OE and straight OE, pointing out the errors let’s say with those who hold to TEOE, unlike yourself and others who just claim they are straight OE, But you haven’t distinguished yourself in terms of the vast biodiversity of life that existed before Adam and how you differ on this as a straight OE compared to a theistic evolutionist OE. I’m trying to understand your position here on this. So thus my question in #88, how do you as a straight OE explain the biodiversity of life before Adam in 15000 BC, in contradistinction to a theistic evolutionist OE? Where do you place the biodiversity of life on this OE timeline, and how did they arise?

  91. toddbordow said,

    March 28, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Steve,

    I’m not sure what more you want than God created the animals sometime before man. Maybe if you stated your position I could tell what your concern with mine is. Why can’t there be a vast biodiversity of animal life for thousands of years or more before man, and why can’t there be an earth around for millions of years before animals?

  92. Steve Drake said,

    March 28, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    Brother Todd,
    It’s crucial to understand the distinction you have as a straight OE as compared to a theistic evolutionist OE. You were the one who in posts above made the distinction, right? To just say that God created the vast biodiversity of life sometime before Adam does not address the pressing question, and as to why TEOE’s say what they do. I’m still asking for your clarification and distinction between your straight OE position and a TEOE position as to the biodiversity of life, how they came to be, and how you would place them on a straight OE timeline.

  93. John said,

    March 28, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Steve, perhaps you can explain how any of the above is related to our doctrine of humanity, sin, redemption, etc.? In other words, what is so theologically crucial about the timeline? t’s hard for me to make the connection and maybe for others as well?

  94. Steve Drake said,

    March 28, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    Brother Todd,
    I’m not letting you off the hook ;). I would still like to hear your distinction as straight OE vs. theistic evolutionist OE as it concerns the biodiversity of life before Adam in 15000 BC. These are the types of questions that those of us with YE persuasion have difficulty and consternation with our OE brethren’s non-straigtforward answers. I’ll have to make some assumptions about your position, I prefer not to make assumptions about your position, but if you won’t answer my question I guess you leave me no choice if I am to continue in dialog with you.

    More to come.

  95. Steve Drake said,

    March 28, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    Brother Todd,
    My #94 was what I thought was your response to my #93, whereas, lo and behold, I was completely spaced-out and didn’t know that #93 was from John. Sorry to you both.

    To John @ #93 and not Todd,
    Theologically crucial about the timeline? More to come.

  96. Steve Drake said,

    March 28, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    Brother John #93,
    I have read your responses to Reed above and the back and forth, and would like to know for my own perspective whether you agree with Todd as a straight OE, or whether you are of the persuasion of a theistic evolutionary OE?

  97. toddbordow said,

    March 28, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Steve,

    I do not hold to theistic evolution. I am not hiding anything (last time I checked when you want to hide something you do not go on to a public blog and discuss it.) I really don’t know what else you want, but this is getting a bit tiring. Why don’t you simply explain why animals could not have existed thousands of years before man.

  98. Steve Drake said,

    March 28, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Sorry, here’s how#98 should look:

    Why don’t you simply explain why animals could not have existed thousands of years before man.

    I’m not saying that animals didn’t exist before Adam, but you are using the word ‘thousands’, whereas wouldn’t the correct term be ‘millions’?

  99. toddbordow said,

    March 28, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    Steve,

    I mentioned thousands as a starting point. The earth and the cosmos could have existed millions of years before the animals. I don’t know. You have not yet demonstrated why that couldn’t be so. I’ll wait for you to do so before responding.

  100. John said,

    March 28, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    Steve, I don’t even know what “theistic evolution” means, so I certainly don’t hold the view. If it means that God causally decreed and providentially oversees a process of adaptation by natural selection, I don’t see what the big deal is theologically. If it means that we live in a materialistic universe with a God that is not actively involved in governing and sustaining it then this is obviously fundamentally opposed to Christianity. I literally have not taken a science class since I was a junior in high school, so I don’t really feel qualified to have an opinion other than that.

    I believe that creation is the work of the Trinitarian God of the Bible, that the purpose of creation is the glory of God, that God existed in the beginning before creation, that God created the world out of nothing, that God created everything that exists, that God created in the space of six days (I do not know whether those days consisted of 24 hours or the week of creation is a figurative construction), and that everything God created was good. I believe that God specially and uniquely created Adam and Eve in his image, that they were the first historical human beings, that there was a historical fall into sin, and that Adam’s sin is federally the sin of every other human being born after him.

    I have no idea what biodiversity or the age of the earth has to do with any of this.

  101. Steve Drake said,

    March 28, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    Brother Todd,
    The issue of ‘thousands’ or ‘millions’ is crucial (there’s a huge difference between thousands and millions, isn’t there), thus my post #98 and #99 to see where you stand. I’m still looking for your distinction and clarification on your ‘straight OE’ vs. theistic evolutionary OE. Perhaps you can respond at a later time.

    The earth and the cosmos could have existed millions of years before the animals. I don’t know. You have not yet demonstrated why that couldn’t be so.

    That you don’t know or can’t explain is precisely the point. The TEOE knows exactly when the fishes, for example, first arrived on an historical timeline, according to the current evolutionary paradigm. He knows exactly when the first mammals came on the scene according to an historical timeline. He knows precisely the bandwidth of the hominid family from the australopithecines through homo habilis and homo erectus to homo sapiens sapiens. That you as a ‘straight OE’ can’t explain this is cause for concern and my repeated questions for you to attempt to do so. You have to do better brother, these are questions that I as a YE might have, but more importantly, for your sake, how you will explain yourself as a ‘straight OE’ to your ‘theistic evolutionary OE’ brethren.

  102. toddbordow said,

    March 28, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    Steve,

    So your point is that unless I am YE I have no ability to refute theistic evolutionists or answer their speculative timelines? So what? I am not a scientist. And as John mentioned above, what has that got to do with anything? You still have not demonstrated how an old earth and an historical Adam are incompatible. Why don’t you just save us all the time and answer the question. I really am interested in your answer.

  103. Steve Drake said,

    March 28, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Todd @102,

    You still have not demonstrated how an old earth and an historical Adam are incompatible. Why don’t you just save us all the time and answer the question. I really am interested in your answer.

    Pastor Todd,
    As a straight OE, believing in an historical Adam at around 15000 BC with a vast biodiversity of life over millions of ;years before Adam, you have not explained whether this biodiversity of life was due to evolutionary processes, or whether God ex nihilo created the fishes some 350 million years ago, then the reptiles some 250 million years ago, then the birds some 200 million years ago, then the dinosaurs some 140 million years ago, then the whales some 66 million years ago, then the hominids some 5-6 million years ago, resulting eventually in Adam some 17000 years ago. How can I answer your question when you won’t answer mine?

  104. sean said,

    March 28, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    Todd says;

    “You still have not demonstrated how an old earth and an historical Adam are incompatible. Why don’t you just save us all the time and answer the question. I really am interested in your answer.”

    Me too.

  105. Steve Drake said,

    March 29, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Brother Todd,
    Let me lay out just some of the questions I think some of us with YE persuasion have about either a straight OE or theistic evolutionary OE, or any OE for that matter I suppose:

    The premise before us at the moment is the question of animals living hundreds of millions of years before Adam.

    1) I see a direct conflict with the Biblical statements that Adam’s sin brought death. (Rom 5:12, Rom. 6:23, 1 Cor.15). That death didn’t exist in all of God’s created order until, and only until Adam sinned. Thus animals dying, getting disease like cancer, eating one another carnivorously, the predation, the chase, the extinctions from space of hugh earth shattering asteroids, hugh dust storms that kill a mammoth in its tracks so that even its stomach contents are preserved, the fossil graveyards where animals were all destroyed together somehow, the pain and suffering involved in death, are all contrary to a good, and very good creation as described in Genesis 1 and thus destroying the sin-death causality so clearly described in Scripture.

    2) I see a direct conflict as well about what this says about God’s character. His characteristic’s of love, mercy, care, peace, righteousness, justice and how these things can truly be said of him if what is described in (1) above was happening for hundreds of millions of years before Adam sinned. Even many of our atheistic opponents have seen this connection and do not hesitate to mock this ‘supposedly loving God’.

    3) I see and ask myself a question. If Adam and those of us all who are descended from him is the focus of God’s redemptive plan, if man is the focus of redemptive history, then why did God wait hundreds of millions of years to place him on the scene? I ask myself what would be God’s purpose? Why would He need to wait? What would be the purpose of what is described in (1) to go on for hundreds of millions of years for God then to decide to bring man in at the very end of this process? Scripture seems to be replete with God’s full-on focus and reason of redemption, reconciliation, and sacrifice for man.

    Todd, these are just some of the things I see, there are others, and perhaps those others with YE persuasion can add here. Perhaps you can comment from a ‘straight OE’ position how none of these things should be my concern. Thanks and blessings.

  106. John said,

    March 29, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Steve, regarding the issues you raised:

    1) Death and the Fall. The Reformed tradition has always admitted of a variety of views including: a) all physical and spiritual death is a result of the fall, b) spiritual death is a result of the fall, c) human death, both physical and spiritual is a result of the fall. The latter two categories do not present a theological problem for an OE view.

    2) This reason seems to be merely a subset of the first one. Nevertheless I’ll address it. Your assumption that the love of God makes animal death before the fall undesirable seems both idiosyncratic and subjective. It is not clear to me why all physical death is obviously contrary to God’s will of desire or loving character. You are welcome to your opinion that it is, but I don’t see why you would hold this as such a central issue that you would require all others to agree.

    3) This is an interesting question, but I think it falls under the category of Deut. 29:29. You could just as easily ask why God would choose not to redeem all human beings. Therefore I don’t see how this is really a problem for an OE view.

    Do you have any other theological problems with an OE view?

  107. Steve Drake said,

    March 29, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    John,
    From your post #85 to Reed:

    Also, I’m happy to go back and forth a time more or two, but I probably won’t be able to devote a whole lot more time to it than that. For one thing, I doubt we’ll really convince each other (or that we will necessarily say something that we haven’t heard before).

    With your quote above as backdrop, I’m curious why you seem to want to engage me on this thread and the other thread ‘A Critique of Creation, Evolution, and the Christian Lay Person’, especially since you have used statements such as the following:

    Most of the websites that Steve has referenced are run by nutjobs.

    surprised that so many pastors would hold that position(referring to YE).

    somewhat shocked to find that any of its officers still believe in a YE (referring to the PCA).

    That you malign my friends and good Christian brothers, many of whom are Ph.D credentialed scientists, as ‘nutjobs’ at the websites that I mentioned, should be cause enough for me I think not to want to engage you further, but let me know what you think.

  108. John said,

    March 29, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    Steve, you can engage if you want to. I maintain my previous statement about those websites. The other comments weren’t meant pejoratively, for whatever that is worth. My surprise is genuine, and not condemning.

  109. Steve Drake said,

    March 30, 2012 at 9:02 am

    John,
    I’ll pass. I’ll continue to engae with others. Reed can engage with you if he so desires.

  110. Steve Drake said,

    March 30, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Todd @ 102,
    In conjunction with my reply of #105, the other big theological issue related to an old earth is the worldwide, universal Flood of Noah. I’ve yet to hear I think an OE adherent who doesn’t take the position of a local Flood, whereas to me, the language of Gen. 6-9, Christ’s description of it in Matthew 24:36-39 and Luke 17:26-27, the writer of Hebrews in 11:7, and Peter’s description, 1 Pet. 3:20, II Pet.2:5, II Pet.3: 5-7, all seem to indicate that it was a worldwide, universal damning judgment of God on ‘everything’ living on earth at the time.

  111. toddbordow said,

    March 30, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    Steve,

    I’m a bit taken back; after all the buildup I thought you were going to demonstrate why from a biological perspective an old earth with animals before man was impossible, so I’m a bit surprised what direction you chose. Local vs. universal flood and animal death before the fall have been studied by many theologians, and there is no orthodox consensus on either. I am LF for a number of Biblical reasons, but even if it the flood was universal, what has that got to do with the age of the earth? Are you suggesting that if a flood was universal it must have been recent? Why? As for cruelty on the earth before sin entered, utilizing the term “cruel” in reference to animals is only a personification. If animals cannot sin that cannot truly be cruel, just like animals cannot truly love or hate. But you are still dealing in speculation more than theology. Whether a frog swallowing a mosquito is cruel, sinful, natural,or unnatural, and whether that is compatible with a world before sin entered is purely speculative, hardly much to go on in drawing the bounds of orthodoxy.

  112. David R. said,

    March 30, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Steve (#105),

    3) I see and ask myself a question. If Adam and those of us all who are descended from him is the focus of God’s redemptive plan, if man is the focus of redemptive history, then why did God wait hundreds of millions of years to place him on the scene? I ask myself what would be God’s purpose? Why would He need to wait?

    But how is this any different than the problem of planet earth being a mere speck of dust in a galaxy amidst possibly hundreds of billions of other galaxies in the known universe? Certainly all that vastness isn’t necessary if we alone are the focus of redemption. But if the cosmos is admittedly vast, then why is it a problem for it to be old?

  113. Steve Drake said,

    March 31, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Brother Todd @ 111,

    I’m a bit taken back; after all the buildup I thought you were going to demonstrate why from a biological perspective an old earth with animals before man was impossible, so I’m a bit surprised what direction you chose.

    I think you mean ‘theological’ instead of ‘biological’ above, right? The question you posed in #97, #102 and Sean’s in #104 all had to do with theological issues, at least that’s how I understood the question. My whole focus in our exchange has always been theological, not biological. If all along you were thinking ‘biological’, and not ‘theological’, then we have misunderstood each other. There is not a ‘biological’ issue for animals existing hundreds of millions of years before Adam; the issue is the sin of Adam which you place at around 15000 BC and the theological issues of animals living and dying, red in tooth and claw, death in existence and its implications for hundreds of millions of years before the sin of Adam and God’s curse.

    So, you do not think it of theological significance that an old earth implies animals living and dying hundreds of millions of years before Adam sinned? That death, disease, cruelty of the brutes as Calvin said, mass extinctions and earth shattering asteroids all existed in the created order before sin and the curse? Of what significance was the curse then? If death, disease, suffering, pain, and natural evils were all in existence as part of God’s creation, before the sin of Adam, then of what significance does God’s curse in Gen. 3 have? If all these things existed prior to Adam’s sin, of what theological significance does the word ‘good’ appear 6 times in Gen. 1, and the words ‘very good’ appear at the end of the six day account? Of what theological significance does Paul call ‘death’ an enemy in 1 Cor. 15:26, if death existed as part of God’s creation prior to sin? How can Paul call ‘death’ an ‘enemy,’ when what you’re claiming from Gen. 1 about death in existence prior to Adam’s sin God calls ‘good’, and ‘very good’? Is this not of theological significance?

    You do not think it of theological significance that we understand a proper interpretation of Rom. 8 and it’s relationship to the curse of Gen. 3? The implication of Romans 8 is that the whole creation was put under the bondage of the curse. Adam was cursed, Eve was cursed, the ground was cursed, the serpent and all the other biodiversity of life was cursed: “cursed are you more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field” (Gen. 3:14). Is this not of theological importance to get correct?

    You do not think it of theological significance that we understand Christ’s words in Matt. 24:37-39? That his coming and glorious return are equated with what happened in the days of Noah? That the implications of judgment upon His return for all people, is not being compared to what happened to the judgment of all people in the days of Noah?

    How about Peter’s words in 1 Pet. 3:20 when God’s patience kept waiting in the days of Noah when only 8 persons were brought safely through the waters? Or Peter’s words in 2 Pet. 3:5-7 “through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water’? Or Peter’s proclamation in 2 Peter 2: 5 “and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly’ Are these passages not important to get theologically correct?

    As a theologian, you are tasked in the spirit of 1 Tim. 4:1-4 to preach, rebuke, reprove, exhort with great patience and instruction, to warn against turning aside to myths and people wanting to have their ears tickled and not listening to sound doctrine. If that’s what you’re trying to do with me, then I applaud your efforts. But we’ve got to get the ‘sound doctrine’ part right first, don’t we? As an older man, older than you my younger brother, I lovingly implore you to rethink your position. I fear you may not have this part correct.

  114. toddbordow said,

    March 31, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    Steve,

    You get points for calling me younger.

    On the other thread you wrote, “You asked me earlier if I believed there was evidence the earth is young. I answered ‘yes’. If you are not attempting to dismiss out of hand the scientific analysis of creation scientists, you can find the excellent results of an 8-year scientific research initiative by the scientists of the RATE group at…”

    I assumed from this that when you were pushing me for a more definite timeline for animals and man you were going to then explain some of the scientific analysis you mentioned above to demonstrate why old earth views are incorrect.

    As has been stated by others, you are using your own speculation to determine orthodoxy. The death the Bible is concerned with in Genesis 2 and 3 is man’s death, not the death of ants. And the “good” in Genesis 1 is in the context of good for man. Note the waters are already created in 1:6, but not until the waters are divided and man now has a fit place to exist on dry land is the creation called “good (v. 10).” And if the “good” of Genesis 1 meant perfect in every way, then why is creation called “good” when man’s body was still peccable? I Cor 15 reveals that the first body was not yet heavenly, but still earthly, able to die, even before the fall. So if man wasn’t yet perfected before the fall, but still called “good,” why can’t the earth and cosmos still lack perfection but still be called “good”?

    As for Romans 8, again the focus is on man. Rom 8 doesn’t answer all our scientific questions about conditions before the fall, only that creation, because of man’s sin, is not what it should be. Creation groans, not because it is imperfect it itself, but because it houses the dead who bear God’s image and is marred by sinful man. In Rom 8:19 the creation groans because of fallen man, the creation longs for our full redemption. Again, Paul is using personification here to to emphasize man’s fall and coming redemption, creation actually doesn’t do any of these things.

    Douglas Moo in his Romans commentary is helpful here: “With the majority of modern commentators, then, I think that creation here denotes the `subhuman’ creation. Like the Psalmists and prophets who pictured hills, meadows, and valleys `shouting and singing together for joy’ and the earth `mourning,’ Paul personifies the subhuman creation in order to convey to his readers a sense of the cosmic significance of both humanity’s fall into sin and believers’ restoration to glory. The `revelation of the sons of God’ that creation keenly anticipates is the `unveiling’ of the true nature of Christians.”

    Steve, you are using certain Scriptures to clearly resolve your scientific earth-age questions when those Scriptures were not given to offer the answers, and thus you end up speculating what you think those Scriptures say about your scientific views, and then you are using your speculation to draw lines of orthodoxy, lines which the church has not drawn. In very different ways we both believe each other is veering into very dangerous territory.

    As for the flood, I still don’t understand why you seem to be equating a belief in a world-wide flood with a YE postiion. Is that what you are suggesting? Is a world-wide flood and old earth incompatible? We can discuss a local verses world-wide flood, but that is a different issue, isn’t it?

  115. Reed Here said,

    March 31, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    So Todd: if creation “groaning” (Rom 8:22) is merely literary hyperbole for poetic effect (my take on what you’re saying; feel free to qualify), then,

    I guess this is likewise literary hyperbole for poetic effect:

    Romans 8:20-21 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

    There is no real futility, just literary effect. There is no subjection, just literary effect. There is no bondage, no decay, no freedom, just literary effect. I.e., there is not actually a real material effect of Adam’s fall on the “subhuman” creation. It existed in that state long before this event supposedly occurred.

    I guess then the “glory of the children of God” is just literary effect too, something that has no real transformative value; it is just God’s hype-speak designed to somehow make us feel better.God’s just his perfect writing skills to tell a really good story.

    I am continually amazed at the either/or approach the position you espouse takes (and similar OE exegetical “escape-hatch” arguments). What exegetical basis in the text do you have to say, “well here God is just being literary, but here he is being for real!”?

    And, yes, I’m ready for the spiritual-not-material semi-gnostic (at least) argument. And yes, I realize that if I do not think God is being merely literary here, I have to also hold that he is not being merely literary in the psalm examples you mention.

    But that’s not a big problem for me. I’ve heard creation “groaning,” and I’ve seen creation “subject to bondage.” And, I bet, so have you (and every human being for that matter). Why not God is using poetic language (with great literary skill) to describe a real spiritual AND material set of circumstances?

    Oh, wait, that’s right, the scientific examinations of men not really subject to the not real noetic effects of a merely poetic fall have demonstrated otherwise, at least for the material universe.

    So tell me, if I can’t accept the material applications, why should anyone believe you or me tomorrow when we preach the spiritual applications?

    Please do not take offense at my strong tone here Todd (or John). These things are serious, and casual flippant treatment of one’s opponents is unfair to them and dishonoring to God.

  116. toddbordow said,

    March 31, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Reed,

    I’ll leave it to the reader as to who is being dismissive and flippant of one’s opponents. And who is not taking it seriously? If you reread my response to Steve I think you’ll see that it does not deserve the tone of your rebuke. Whether you agree with my (or Moo’s) take on Rom 8, my point is that it is a misuse of the text to use that passage to make a determinative statement on the age of the earth, or even worse, to use it to determine the bounds of orthodoxy on that issue. And if creation singing and clapping is not a literary device for saying the creation glorifies God, how does the creation really sing and clap? To be honest, I really don’t understand what you are so upset about.

  117. Reed Here said,

    March 31, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Actually Todd, I’m a tad taken back by your tone. I don’t believe I accused you of being flippant or dismissive, or even that I was upset. Please, you know me better than that. Re-read my last paragraph as a simple, straightforward appeal that you not take any offense, as none is intended.

    As to misuse of the text, we are in complete agreement. It is on the basis of that agreement that I take this as seriously as as you do.

    As to question the bounds of orthodoxy, I will assume the best of you here and say you are NOT reading that in between the lines of what I said and finding that. Instead, I assume you are worried about what others might do with your position. I get that. I’ve said nothing to question the sincerity of your faith brother, merely the quality of your exegesis. Do I think there are serious entailments with your exegesis? Yep. Does that mean I think you’re a heretic? C’mon brother.

    Maybe we could agree that there is nothing personal here and take no umbrage against one another. I assure I do not against you, as I sought to clarify for you in my last paragraph. I am sorry that wasn’t as obvious as I’d hoped it would be.

    As to literary clapping and its material referent, glad to go down that trail with you, but only if you are persuaded of my sincerity of love for you AND belief that your exegesis (or better yet, Moo’s) is wrong. Otherwise, you’ll most likely agree that it would profit neither of us, and may harm others, offending God.

  118. Reed Here said,

    March 31, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    John, finally getting to your response, no. 84. (Just got done with a wedding, getting ready to go to ball practice).

    A few comments:

    Yes, you’re over-reading my point on illumination. Your bad.

    No, I’m not suggesting that the noetic effects of the fall completely mitigate the scientific endeavor, rendering it futile. I am going to get in a car in a minute and enjoy watching my son engage some physics with a stick and a ball, and practice getting better because he can.

    Finally, I thought you were interested in exegetical debate? Why dismiss me with a “not impressed,” and then a reference to a theologian I have already read with appreciation, even where I disagree with him? What’s your purpose here, exchange with brothers in order to grow, or something else?

  119. toddbordow said,

    March 31, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Reed,

    I appreciate the explanation, my debate over orthodoxy has been with Steve, not with you, I was explaining why the text (Rom 8) does not necessarily support YE. As far as thinking I’m a heretic, you might as well join the club (I know you were not suggesting such a thing). Your warning on flippancy and dishonoring God in your last paragraph threw me, I didn’t understand why you gave such a warning, still not sure I understand the context, but no, nothing personal and I do not doubt your sincerity. But you have piqued my curiosity as to how creation claps and what an “escape-hatch” argument is.

  120. Steve Drake said,

    March 31, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Todd @ 114,

    As for the flood, I still don’t understand why you seem to be equating a belief in a world-wide flood with a YE postiion. Is that what you are suggesting? Is a world-wide flood and old earth incompatible? We can discuss a local verses world-wide flood, but that is a different issue, isn’t it?

    As to Noah’s Flood and a young earth, it is part of a total package, starting with the proper interpretation of Gen. 1, leading to Gen. 2, the curse in Gen. 3, the chronogenealogies in Gen. 5 & 11, the language used in Gen. 6-9 of the year long Flood itself, the words of Christ in Matt. 24 and Luke 17, His discourse on marriage and divorce in Matt. 19, Paul’s proclamations in Rom. 5, Rom. 6, Rom. 8, 1st Cor. 15, the writer of Hebrews in 11:7, and Peter’s descriptions in 1 & 2 Peter.

    The biblical, global, universal Flood of damning judgment of God in the days of Noah, washes away the millions and millions of years that OE adherents claim and need. OE and local Flood go together, it must of necessity be this way. All OE adherents that I know of, deny that Noah’s Flood was a global, universal, damning judgment of God and saved and protected only Noah, his family, and all those God-directed animals he took on the Ark.

    OE adherents, except yourself I guess :), see the implications of accepting a global, universal and damning judgment of the earth and its inhabitants in the days of Noah. They understand the implications of what a year long flood would do to earth’s topography, its geography, its stratification, the fossils in the rocks, its ocean basins, its mountains, and totally reject this biblical view in favor of a local Flood that had very little topological and geographical effect.

    I am sincerely interested in your dialog with Reed. As trained theologians, I wish to see you answer his questions and continue the dialog. Please know that along with Reed, you are my brother in Christ, but in agreement with Reed, I believe your exegesis to be incorrect. This does not mean I don’t love you as one saved by grace and a fellow heir to the kingdom.

  121. Steve Drake said,

    March 31, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Correction:
    ‘Topological’ in above #120, should be ‘topographical’.

  122. toddbordow said,

    March 31, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Steve,

    What’s with all the love – you are going to give theological blogs a bad name! Anyway, appreciated.

    I would be glad to show why I believe the Bible teaches a local flood, but before that, a few questions.

    1. Can you answer my challenge to your exegesis of the word “good” in Genesis 1, that “good” must exclude an imperfect creation?

    2. What does tohu and bohu mean in Gen. 1:2? If all we know from their usage in Scripture is from Jeremiah 4:23 – describing a wasteland man cannot inhabit, what was that like at the beginning? How long was the earth formless and void, a wasteland covered with water (swamps maybe)? Because we do not know the answer to these questions, (do you?) it is possible to believe in a global flood while being OE, though as you said, most OE’s are LF.

    3. You wrote “…OE adherents that I know of, deny that Noah’s Flood was a global, universal, damning judgment of God and saved and protected only Noah, his family, and all those God-directed animals he took on the Ark.” Aren’t you trying to lop too many views into one truth? Isn’t it possible to believe in a damning judgment on all humanity while believing the area of the flood was limited topographically? Why not?

  123. Steve Drake said,

    March 31, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Todd @ 122,

    1. Can you answer my challenge to your exegesis of the word “good” in Genesis 1, that “good” must exclude an imperfect creation?

    Only if you as pastor and theologian can explain how ‘good’ can explain Paul’s calling ‘death’ an enemy, and yet by implication God calling death ‘good’ and ‘very good’ for hundreds of millions of years of animal and hominid death (remember, we’re talking about Cro Magnon and Neanderthals who buried there dead with artwork and drew paintings on cave walls way before 15000 BC) before Adam came on the scene and sinned.

    3. You wrote “…OE adherents that I know of, deny that Noah’s Flood was a global, universal, damning judgment of God and saved and protected only Noah, his family, and all those God-directed animals he took on the Ark.” Aren’t you trying to lop too many views into one truth? Isn’t it possible to believe in a damning judgment on all humanity while believing the area of the flood was limited topographically? Why not?

    This is not the OE position. The OE position was not that all people and animals except those on the Ark were saved. The OE position is that the local Flood was restricted to possibly only the Mesopotamian area, and that people and animals existing ‘outside’ this area were not affected.

  124. toddbordow said,

    March 31, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    Steve,

    So are you suggesting that if I believe animals were on the earth many years before man I must also believe in evolution? Why?

    There is more than one local flood position among OE advocates. Some believe all humanity was killed because they all lived in that region, others humanity only in that region.

    “Our conclusion is that the jury is still out on this question . . . .Some believe that the flood was spread out over the whole earth, while others insist that it was limited to the Mesopotamian basin or some other defined geographical area in the Near East. The point is that Scripture is anxious to teach that it was God’s judgment on all mortals living on the earth except the eight on the ark. On the other matters we must await more information” (Walter Kaiser Jr. in Hard Sayings of The Bible, Walter Kaiser Jr. Peter H. Davids, F.F. Bruce, Manfred T. Brauch, Intervarsity Press, 1996, p. 114).

  125. Steve Drake said,

    March 31, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Todd @ 122,

    2. What does tohu and bohu mean in Gen. 1:2? If all we know from their usage in Scripture is from Jeremiah 4:23 – describing a wasteland man cannot inhabit, what was that like at the beginning? How long was the earth formless and void, a wasteland covered with water (swamps maybe)? Because we do not know the answer to these questions, (do you?) it is possible to believe in a global flood while being OE, though as you said, most OE’s are LF.

    I am not a trained theologian, nor have I been to seminary. Perhaps Reed as trained theology and having gone to seminary can answer this question, but I might refer you to Professor Douglas F. Kelly who is a theologian, in his book Creation and Change for an answer to this question.

  126. Steve Drake said,

    March 31, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    Pastor Todd @ 124,

    So are you suggesting that if I believe animals were on the earth many years before man I must also believe in evolution? Why?

    No, not necessarily. You may believe like Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe in progressive creation.

    There is more than one local flood position among OE advocates. Some believe all humanity was killed because they all lived in that region, others humanity only in that region.

    I’m not sure I understand the difference. Can you clarify your LF position on this?

  127. Steve Drake said,

    March 31, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Todd @ 122,

    2. What does tohu and bohu mean in Gen. 1:2? If all we know from their usage in Scripture is from Jeremiah 4:23 – describing a wasteland man cannot inhabit, what was that like at the beginning? How long was the earth formless and void, a wasteland covered with water (swamps maybe)? Because we do not know the answer to these questions, (do you?) it is possible to believe in a global flood while being OE, though as you said, most OE’s are LF.

    While I am not a trained theologian, nor been to seminary, I would be happy to give you what I think tohu and bohu in Gen. 1:2 mean if you are interested, however with that as backdrop, I’m not sure you would be convinced. But if you’re looking for just my opinion, or my concurrence with Kelly and others, I would be happy to share it.

    Your question, ‘is it possible to believe in a global, universal Flood while being OE’ is one you’ll have to explain to me. Since you are OE and LF, you hold not this position of OE and GUF (global, universal Flood), and I’m not sure you would have the correct answer to that. Let me know what you think.

  128. Reed Here said,

    March 31, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    Todd: I wrote sharply, with some intense criticism of Moo’s (your) exegesis. The paragraph was added to make sure was to remove any doubt that the sharp tone was intended against you personally.

    As to “clapping”, admitting up front that this is the most insignificant part of my criticism, what do you think such passages as these mean:

    Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.

    Psalm 77:18 The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind; your lightnings lighted up the world; the earth trembled and shook.

    Nahum 1:3 His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.

    Isaiah 55:12 For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

    In particular, do you think these are merely metaphorical expressions, literary expressions which have no necessary referent to material creation?

    If so, on what exegetical basis? If you differentiate some texts from others, on what exegetical basis do you this? How can the layperson, reading their Bible, know when/where/how to apply this hermeneutical principle?

  129. John said,

    March 31, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    Reed,

    I wasn’t trying to be dismissive – just acknowledging that virtually all of these exegetical issues have already been worn out in the literature. Your method of dealing with apparent chronological contradictions between Gen. 1-2 is to harmonize the two chapters. Your desire to harmonize is follows from your assumption that the texts are to be read as chronological histories. I see how many of your conclusions follow from your premise, but I am not sure why we should accept your premise. It could be right or it could be wrong.

    My main goal in all of this discussion is merely to point out that Gen. 1-2, like much of the Bible, is complicated, and that many of the exegetical conclusions are not straightforward. Hence I think it is fine and healthy for their to be a diversity of interpretations. YE or OE, decreed adaptation or immediate creation, etc., etc. we are just not going to be able to settle questions like these very easily. They seem like tertiary (at best) issues to me, so it is hard for me to see why they generate so much heat. I appreciate your willingness to talk about them with a cool head – thank you, brother.

    My secondary goal in this discussion is to try to understand the mindset and arguments of YE advocates. I “literally” don’t think I know one personally, so hence my initial questions. Thanks for your graciousness in helping me to understand.

  130. toddbordow said,

    April 1, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    Steve,

    “I’m not sure I understand the difference. Can you clarify your LF position on this?”

    Some LF believe all humanity (minus Noah and family) died in the flood because at that time that’s where all humanity existed, others believe only those people and animals in that geographic area died, but there were people alive outside the area.

    “While I am not a trained theologian, nor been to seminary, I would be happy to give you what I think tohu and bohu in Gen. 1:2 mean if you are interested, however with that as backdrop, I’m not sure you would be convinced. But if you’re looking for just my opinion, or my concurrence with Kelly and others, I would be happy to share it.”

    If you are not sure what it means, which is a good position, how do you know that the earth was not formless and void for millions of years, since no time frame is given?

  131. psalmodyguy6o8 said,

    April 1, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    Its important to note that there is no assessment as good by God in Gen 1:2. It is not until 1:4 we have the initial assessment of good, when God saw the light that it was good. In 1:4 There he assesses the light as good. Not the stuff before the light, just the light. The assessment of good is also withheld again until Day 3 when God made the dry land appear, and the gathering of the waters under the firmament into seas, that he saw that was good. 1:10 Same day after creating the plants he saw that was good too. 1:12. After the creation of the sun moon and stars on day 4, God saw those were good 1:18. After the creation of the sea and air creatures (day 5) God saw that that was good. 1:21. On day 6 after creating the land creatures He saw that was good. 1:25 Only then in 1:31 do we get a final assessment on day 6 that God saw that it was very good. All the assessments of good prior to 1:31 are specific to the immediate thing(s) just created. The heavens and the earth in 1:1 and 1.2 are not so assessed. The very good assessment in 1:31 is the completed creation and does not apply to the creation in its intermediate steps.

    So there is no issue with the “good”, very good of the completed creation with the formlessness and void of the earth in 1:2, because God didn’t assess that as good. But at the end when all is finished it is very good. When YEC speak of the good creation it is based on the final assessment of 1:31. So it doesn’t really matter how bad the definitions tohu and bohu really are, because God didn’t assess that state of the creation as good.

    We also know the creation was not billions of years in the state of formlessness and void by virtue of the fact in Gen 1:2 we have darkness was upon the face of the deep. In 1:5 there was evening (the darkness of 1:2) and then morning (the light of 1:3) day one. b-rashith (in the beginning) necessarily is the starting point for that part of creation we know as time. Call it absolute 0 on the clock. So from absolute 0 on the clock to Gen 1:5 is just one day, of the same kind as the other evening/morning days in the rest of Gen 1. Ex 20:8-11 doesn’t permit any other understanding of yom for Gen 1 other than the same kind of yom God was requiring to be remembered as the Sabbath in Ex 20:8-11. If the yomim of Ex 20:11 are not the same kind of yomim the Israelites were experiencing then the 4th commandment is meaningless. WLC 120, WSC 62. The issue of the days being solar days or not is entirely immaterial, because God makes no such distinction in His description and use of yom/yomim the the 6 yomim of Ex 20:8 or in Gen 1. If God makes no such distinction neither should we.

  132. Steve Drake said,

    April 2, 2012 at 8:38 am

    To Psalmodyguy608 @ 131 thanks! Excellent description.

    To Todd @ 130 concerning a local Flood:
    I guess in either situation you describe, the issue is whether the Flood had worldwide impact: that it covered the whole globe destroying ‘all’ in whose nostrils had the breath of life except Noah, his family, and those God-directed animals he took on the Ark. OE adherents with local Flood beliefs say No, not globe covering, nor destruction of ‘all‘ life.

  133. toddbordow said,

    April 2, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Steve,

    This debate on the age of the earth may have run its course, thanks for the discussion

  134. Steve Drake said,

    April 2, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Blessings to you Pastor. I’m sure we’ll see these discussions continue on other threads. For now, adieu.


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