Apparently…

The PCA is going to invite Biologos contributors to speak at our GA. I am at a total loss to understand why we would allow this. Biologos is not just about the age of the earth. They want to evangelize the PCA with the “good news” of biological evolution. Why are the powers that be allowing this? We have to go stretch the tent even further? Are we to believe that young earth creationists are complete, blithering idiots, now? Many, many scientists (bona fide scientists, the kind with strings of letters after their names) believe in YEC. Biologos offers a view of evolution that is completely incompatible with Christianity. Justification and imputation will go completely down the tubes, if we allow their view into our midst, thus contradicting the first Adam-last Adam Christology of Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15. “Welcome, wolves, to the flock. We’re so glad you’re here. Is there anything we can do to make your stay more comfortable? Can we serve you any mutton?”

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271 Comments

  1. May 28, 2012 at 9:35 am

    To be clear. The two speakers are not Biologos. One of the speakers has written a couple of articles on young earth creationists that have been published on the Biologos website. If i write something on a blog it doesn’t mean I espouse all their positions. The request to give this talk at the PCA GA came from the two individuals one of which is a PCA member in good standing. They are not receiving any aid from Biologos and they have given a similar talk to others at various other pastoral conferences on their own time in the past year. To say this is Biologos being invited is to attempt to cast them in the worst light possible. However, I realize that this is in part because this is the way that WesWhite has announced this news.
    Joel Duff

  2. justsinner99 said,

    May 28, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Apparently he who sells the most books is given the most influence? Maybe we as a denomination are getting too pragmatic in our search for growth and influence (i.e. we chase after what “works” or sells).

  3. Wes White said,

    May 28, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Joel, I said that they were Biologos contributors, and I made clear that this was not Biologos itself as an organization being invited in a comment on my blog.

    However, I also noted that their organizations worked together to publish an attack on YEC. It is also clear that the position of Davidson is the same as the Biologos position, as you can see below:

    http://adaughterofthereformation.wordpress.com/2012/05/28/ga-seminar-no-room-in-the-pca-for-young-earth-creationism/

  4. May 28, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Hi Wes, You are right. You did say contributors. I wish there was a way to edit posts and I should have read mine more carefully before hitting comment. My last sentence sounded far more negative than I intended. I should not have taken the sense that I derived from the comments to that post which are not yours that Biologos was being invited to speak. I just read Rachel’s comments and while I agree that they have a connection to Biologos in much of their thinking I doubt they will be speaking to the evolution question. The issue is not that one can’t accept calendar days as the creation report defines them but that the PCA creation report does not equate the calendar day view with the science of young earth creationism. As much as the two are equated in the lay Christians mind, creation science and the a theological viewpoint of calendar days are not whole subsets of one another. As a result, it would certainly not be illegitimate to question the science of creation science as the creation report is not saying that science supporting a young earth view is infallible. I take it that the speakers will question that the science supporting the young earth and while they doubtless think that the earth is old creation science isn’t the only way to believe the earth is young and so it can be absolutely wrong and yet the earth believed to be young.

  5. Frank Aderholdt said,

    May 28, 2012 at 11:33 am

    “Natural Historian” (how did your parents come up with that?), y

    You’ve presented the best possible case for the Seminar. Many of us believe, however, that there are far, far deeper issues at work here. These are being discussed thoroughly at Johannes Weslianus.

  6. Wes White said,

    May 28, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Natural Historian, in their articles they are clear that it is not merely the science that is at an issue. They believe that the young earth interpretation of Scripture is a stumbling block to faith that needs to be removed:

    It is our conviction that these stories of strained or lost faith derive not from an inherent unwillingness to trust the Bible, but rather from misguided teaching on the message of Scripture. Those insisting the earth is young are not simply putting their faith in God’s Word, they are putting their faith in their own particular interpretation of that Word. As such, an entirely unnecessary stumbling block to faith is created, where faith in Christ first requires rejection of sound science. As we have prayed and studied this subject, we have felt God’s call to speak out against this misplaced stumbling block.

    This is from the article that you claimed to have read.

  7. May 28, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    Well, yes and no because we have somewhat different definitions of a young earth. I was speaking of calendar day view and that doesn’t require that the earth be physically young though one could still believe it to be young. My point is that belief in a young earth is almost always treated as synonymous with creation science but creation science is not based on biblical evidence but on scientific evidence (of course it is interpreted with certain presuppositions) and should not be taken as an article of faith that the evidence used in support young earth actually does support a young earth irrespective of ones views on the specific length of days. I myself would say that a forced agreement to scientific view of a young earth and even a forced view that the Bible says the earth is x # of years old goes well beyond what the text actually says. A view that says one has to believe creation started on x date and that everything in creation can be validated by general revelation as being younger than that age is a stumbling block if is not God’s truth. Joel

  8. Mark Kim said,

    May 28, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    You lose the literal historic Adam, you also lose Christ’s role as our legal representative.

  9. Steve Drake said,

    May 28, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    This is a fight worth fighting Lane, Wes, Frank, and you who are either TE’s or RE’s in the PCA. I think Lane hits it on the head by his comment ‘Welcome wolves, to the flock’. This is an aggressive enemy, and this is first parry (speaking at GA), but it won’t be the last. Gird up your loins men, and aggressively counterattack.

  10. michael said,

    May 28, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    I don’t want to get to far out there or a field of the issues being raised in here about Biologos contributors speaking at a GA but I would ask this Natural Historian, how can you hold to that reasoning in light of Jesus’ own Words in these two places in the Gospel accounts?

    Mat_24:15 “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),

    or

    Luk 9:28 Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray.
    Luk 9:29 And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white.
    Luk 9:30 And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah,
    Luk 9:31 who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.

    Just consider both of those events in the historical life of the Son of Man, Jesus Christ, Who kept the Laws of Moses perfectly. Do not each of those historical events establish the Genesis narrative of 6 days of creation and 1 day of rest?

    To Daniel, a specific count of days and weeks and months and years is laid out that lines up perfectly with the moon cycles the Jews were taught by God to use to establish their yearly ceremonies established by God through Moses for them to keep. We see Jesus telling His followers to apply that reasoning to the prophetic event coming, the event about the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place. Indeed, “let us understand”!

    And even more so to have Jesus speaking to both Moses and Elijah about “his departure” with three disciples witnessing it fits right in with both the prophesies of Moses and Elijah about Jesus Christ as well as all the prophesies about Jesus Christ that line up perfectly with the same moon cycles. If Jesus wasn’t trained in the Law of Moses how then could He prepare for the Last Supper and so fulfill His eternal purpose and plan by His foreknowledge?

    Maybe common sense is wanting in here as you reach back in your mind for a better more expert explanation than God’s as the Holy Spirit taught in the Scriptures about how old the universe is that He created? And, then submitting to the same counting as He had been requiring His people to submit to as we realize He came and perfectly lived aligning Himself in His shortened Brilliant Lifetime with those historical counts all Jews were required to live by?

    For Jesus to die perfect and sinless, He, too, had to align Himself up with His own creative Word and Life He was requiring His people to live. Of course the failure of His people to keep the feasts and the Sabbaths and to Love God with all their hearts and souls like He did is another matter that testifies to what Moses taught in his writings, Genesis to Deuteronomy. Jesus had to have kept the weekly Sabbaths and the Passover and the feasts according to the Law to die that sinless death He died, didn’t He?

    How else could it be other than that or else the Holy Spirit could not nor would not have vindicated Him before the Father testifying that He lived a perfect Lawful Life before both God His Heavenly Father, Himself, the Holy Spirit, the Elect Angels, the fallen angels and mankind!

    1Ti 3:14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that,
    1Ti 3:15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.
    1Ti 3:16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.

  11. May 28, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    Lane: …and you stay in the PCA because why, now? (Or: Lloyd-Jones was right.

  12. greenbaggins said,

    May 28, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    Richard, not sure which particular quotation of LJ you are referring to. As to staying in the PCA, I still think she is worth fighting for. However, in all honesty, I have more than once considered leaving. I may still need to leave, who knows?

  13. theogothic said,

    May 29, 2012 at 7:35 am

    I’m wondering if this is simply the PCA naturally developing. I am suspecting that…and this is a thesiis not new to myself…that the PCA is reflective of “conservative” American culture, maybe with better theology on soteriology.

    And I am in teh PCA right now, though shortly about to leave for other reasons.

  14. Jim said,

    May 29, 2012 at 11:02 am

    By taking this step, the PCA is moving is a great direction. The 6/24, YEC view is detrimental to the church in so far as it is not the proper interpretation of the text. The link between liberalism and a rejection of the 6/24 view is made up. We need not be afraid of change. Some changes are good. Theology and the interpretation of the Bible didn’t stop in the 17th century. We need to grow.

    This is an exciting time. It was easier to ignore evolutionists when they were all outside of our little conservative circles. Guess what? They are among us (heck, I’m one of them!). We need to deal with it, one way or the other. The pseudo-scientific nonsense of the Ken Ham crowd won’t suffice as a response.

  15. Peter Jones said,

    May 29, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Lane, First, a full disclosure, I am a CRE pastor who left the PCA when I was a ruling elder. Second, I apologize for the length of the comment.

    Obviously, being in the CRE I see the FV issue differently than you do. However, even if I did agree with your assessment of the FV, when I was in the PCA it seemed that some of the primary wolves in the PCA were not properly driven off while all guns were centered on FV men. I was in the PCA for two plus years. We had a presbytery meeting every quarter. There was at least one man who was up for a TE ordination each presbytery meeting. During my time in the presbytery there was not a single man who came up for ordination as a TE that would heartily affirm a literal six day creation. Even then that struck me as odd and dangerous. Today it stuns me. Of course, none would come out and say, “I believe in theistic evolution.” But the foundations for that leap were there. And more importantly, they all hedged their bets with six day creation. Six day creation was clearly not the way to go. They would say, “The Bible is not a science manual.” “Genesis 1 and 2 are poetic.” “Science shows us that the earth is older than the Bible implies.” Phrases like this were common. They did not think their views were contrary to WCF. They all passed the examinations and are now, I assume, TEs.

    There was also the ever-creeping feminism that regularly showed up both in the presbytery examines and in the denomination at large. Again, nothing overt, like “we want women TEs,” but hints that women were being held back by men. Men getting ordained would mentioned the need for deaconesses, using historical language, but eviscerating it of content and making it mean whatever they wanted it to mean. I know this is just anecdotal evidence from the floor examinations of one presbytery, so take it for what it is worth. It convinced me that there were deep problems in the PCA that were not being addressed with the thoroughness the threats demanded.

    You mentioned “the good old boys club” in a previous post. While this may apply to men like Peter Leithart, it certainly applies to TEs who get a free pass despite holding to soft-evolution and soft-feminism. It also applies to seminary professors who teach soft-evolution and feminism. It applies to presbyteries who will let a rising star pass presbytery examines despite his views that death existed prior to the fall. I understand that you believe justification by faith is at stake with Peter Leithart and other FV men. I disagree. But again, even if I did agree, it seems to me that the PCA is not going to go soft because of men like Dr. Leithart. The greater threat comes from other fronts that have not been defended well over the last ten years. Which is a bigger threat? That men will learn to deny justification by faith from Pastor Meyers? Or that they will learn to compromise on evolution and feminism from Pastor Keller?

    I know this is a long comment, but I wanted to make one more point. There are a lot of good men in the PCA who will fight these battles. I am grateful for men like you and Wes White and the Bayly Brothers etc. who are fighting these battles. But many men, like myself, who have left the PCA for the CRE are die hard six day creation men and die hard anti-feminists. Not everyone in the CRE agrees on every point concerning these two issues. However, all the pastors in the CRE will quickly and vocally oppose theistic evolution and feminism. We oppose it in our pulpits, with our writings, in our conversations with parishioners, etc. I doubt Biologos would get a table at our Council. I do not say this to be snarky, but I have often wondered if some of us could not have been a help in fighting these battles in the PCA? I wonder if FV men leaving the PCA will in the end make the PCA stronger or weaker? I am sure we disagree on that point. But I do pray that the PCA seeks out those who have compromised with the world on these two issues with the same vigilance it sought and continues to seek out the FV men. I also pray that the men in the PCA will see those of us in the CRE as allies in fighting these two battles. With Grace, Peter Jones (No, not the older one) Pastor Christ Church of Morgantown, WV.

  16. theogothic said,

    May 29, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Jim,
    That’s your prerogative as long you all are honest in your rejection of the Confession at that point (I’ve my own exceptions to them).

  17. Jim said,

    May 29, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    theogothic: I have no problem being honest about my rejection of the confession at this and other points. I also recognize the church I am in and I don’t seek to convert anybody. I don’t share my beliefs unless I’m asked or it’s relevant in a discussion. So it hasn’t come up.

  18. todd said,

    May 29, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    The problem with all this battle talk is that it is not clear among the anti-Biologos crowd here where the lines are drawn. Is it historical Adam, theistic evolution, or young earth (along with the other two)?

  19. Jeff Cagle said,

    May 29, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Todd, the battle line the denomination has drawn is “historical Adam.” Others may choose to fight other skirmishes, but it seems like it would make sense for the PCA to police the boundaries it has already established.

  20. May 30, 2012 at 12:02 am

    Lane: I’m referring to LJ’s comments regarding the fact that conservatives should leave increasingly liberal denominations. Packer and Stott disagreed. But, over the last 50 years, I think LJ has been proven right.

  21. Steve Drake said,

    May 30, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Jeff@19,
    Isn’t an historical Adam tied in with these other issues though? To posit an historical Adam and OE, for example, one must adopt some framework of history that puts Adam on an historical timeline and explains the rest of the biodiversity of life, and the cosmos, on that same timeline.

    What I think many are not realizing here is that an old earth and evolution are inextricably tied together. They are two sides of the same coin. Evolution, whether theistic or not, needs an OE and millions and millions of years.

    Why is it that Davidson and Wolgemuth (the presenters of the seminar at GA) are both geologists, associated with Solid Rock Lectures? Their stated aim as lecturers with this organization is to show how an old earth and evolution are to be reconciled with Scripture. Once this is established, it matters not how you think of an historical Adam and where you put him on the timeline, only that you stay faithful to the Confessions that he was indeed historical, and we today are all derived from him. You can conjure up a whole host of theories as to how this happened (cf. Enns, Dembski, et.al), after you have established that the earth and cosmos are old and evolution is reality.

  22. David Reece said,

    May 30, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    The Reformation was successful because the Reformers left the Roman Church. It is time to leave the PCA.

  23. May 30, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Two quick notes as I’m short on time today. First, there are quite a number of scientists with PhDs who believe Gen 1 & 2 are history and that the bulk of the evidence points to a young Earth. YEC isn’t a monolithic movement, but contains variety of scientific approaches to YEC. There are quite a number of physical and biological phenomenon that OE and evolution cannot begin to explain. They just don’t teach or discussion them.

    Second, I think that it’s clear that Davidson and Wolgemuth’s views trivialize Gen 1 & 2, Rom 5, et al., and the portions of the Standards derived therefrom. For instance, if evolution prevailed and Adam was merely a homonid tribal chief specially chosen by God to receive a soul, then there was death before Adam. How then could death come into the world through one man? (Rom 5:12)

    OK, a third thing which I’ve said many times. Neither evolution nor creation science is really science at all. There’s no way to verify or falsify either through objective, repeatable experimentation. Both are conjectures. However, although neither can be proved scientifically, creation science has the infallible Word of God as its ultimate backing. We may get the detailed interpretation of what we see in the natural world wrong at times, but we have God’s Word to tell us how it all started.

    What science “knows for sure” changes more regularly than some people’s underwear. History is littered with discarded scientific theories, and that’s as it should be as it is a natural fallout of doing good science. So the question is, should we compromise our faith to accommodate the latest scientific theory that’s all the rage today and gone tomorrow into the dustbin of history, or on God’s infallible Word that never changes?

  24. Trent said,

    May 30, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    I do find it funny, however, that they didn’t invite Pete Enns back because even he was too liberal and holding them back in ways. (Below is my testimony of getting out of Theistic evolution)
    Anyway, I am glad you are sticking up for creation and a historical Adam. I used to believe in evolution while I was in Advanced Placement Biology junior year. I felt compelled to accept it and every time I tried to find evidence against it, it seems all these people would say well everything those people say against evolution is false. Of course their were only a handful of books I looked at. I read the Language of God by Collins and he is so persuasive and inviting in his style so I was like yes, I can believe in evolution. Of course, I was skeptical to tell others they must do the same because of how the Bible is all one whole and self interpreting. I frequented Biologos but, I sensed something was wrong. They would always put so much emphasis on science and particularly evolution. At points they would interpret the Gospel in light of evolution. One woman scientist on there was like maybe Jesus came to free us from such torment of the survival of the fittest in evolution. There were also so many subtle instance of the Biologos folks bashing the Bible or not putting faith in it, or what it revealed. To them it wasn’t a divinely inspired book and they took on Enns’ ideas and though that he was the best thing since sliced bread. They accepted nearly every so called scholarly approach to the Bible regardless of how it handled the Word of God. Their Bible studies were a joke, nothing was historical but merely to tell a moral story, and it often conflicted with a traditional view, or a real view. Their articles were a joke as well almost always saying the Bible tells us to look out of it and accept what God has revealed. They frequently did not cite any passages. They always had Englishmen do videos saying that Science vs. Religion is a false dichotomy and ‘here is Europe we accept evolution and religion.’ I find that funny seeing how with each passing year there are more atheists. I am not bashing Europe but, how can you tell America what to do when it’s surely not working in your own country? There was plenty more things that just rubbed me the wrong way. The scientists saw themselves as the new priests since ‘the Bible is wrong anyway’ to them and that’s how we understand God, is through science they thought, not to mention all the straw men aimed at creation advocates which I found out about later. Quite honestly, they leveled anyone a heretic who didn’t believe in evolution and I think it may have been Pete Enns who said THAT IS IS BETTER TO ACCEPT EVOLUTION AND NOT BE A CHRISTIAN THAN BE A CHRISTIAN AND NOT ACCEPT IT. So these started to push me away. I could not abandon the Bible to believe in evolution and be scholarly, I just couldn’t, surely this was the Holy Spirit in my life. I said to myself I needed to accept the Bible no matter what.
    So I felt I that there was no evidence against it, only my faith, until I came across CMI and AiG. Anyway, I am not going to argue or whatever but, they helped me so much. I began to dig myself out of it, because if the first chapters of Genesis are wrong then surely, not matter how historically accurate the rest is, then the theology is wrong and either every sect of Christian is true or all is wrong, or God really doesn’t give a (you know what), and then I surely don’t want to worship that God and if that’s the case they I’d be going to heaven anyway.

    In short, while some at Biologos are well meaning and truly believe in evolution, they are quite ignorant of the consequences such teaching can bring. I believe I am evidence of that and by God’s grace he dug me out of that hole. I leave you with a quote from EJ Young: “What strikes one immediately upon reading such a statement is the low estimate of the Bible which it entails. Whenever ‘science’ and the Bible are in conflict, it is always the Bible that, in one manner or another, must give way. We are not told that ‘science’ should correct its answers in light of Scripture. Always it is the other way around. Yet this is really surprising, for the answers which scientists have provided have frequently changed with the passing of time. The ‘authoritative’ answers of pre-Copernican scientists are no longer acceptable; nor, for that matter, are many of the views of twenty-five years ago.”

  25. Steve Drake said,

    May 30, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Bless you brother Trent,
    Your persuasive post is testimony of the power of God that the eyes of your heart were enlightened (Eph. 1:18), and you were and are comprised with the knowledge of the surpassing greatness of His power (Eph. 1:19), which He brought about in Christ (Eph. 1:20).

  26. Steve Drake said,

    May 30, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Some of you men (TE’s and RE’s within PCA) are missing the connections, or is it the other way around? To believe in an OE, of necessity, means you believe in some form of evolution, whether you realize it or not. Give me an explanation for how you believe in an OE that does not require some form of evolution. What is the process? Is it Hugh Ross and Reasons to Believe, or what is it? The Framework Hypothesis and Analogical Day view are de facto evolutionary views, so this won’t work, so what is it please?

  27. baddison11 said,

    May 31, 2012 at 1:07 am

    Lane you said:

    “I still think she is worth fighting for. However, in all honesty, I have more than once considered leaving. I may still need to leave, who knows?”

    I know you’ve cataloged numerous issues you’ve had, but this sounds pretty drastic and in many ways an unwillingness to submit to the brethren. I understand that these are important issues but this sort of rhetoric is not usually helpful for effecting change…especially at such an early stage in the game.

    Then David Reece says,

    “The Reformation was successful because the Reformers left the Roman Church. It is time to leave the PCA.”

    Perhaps I’m missing something, but if this is because the PCA does not exclusively endorse YEC, then I am at an utter loss. Perhaps David could clarify this comment, but such comments are not only inaccurate, but unhelpful. The Reformers were what their name suggests: reformers. They attempted to reform the Church, not to leave it. They were removed for their attempts at reformation. Mr. Reece’s comment implies that the Reformers were schismatics, which I do not think is helpful for our cause.

    I believe the calling of elders in the PCA is fight instead of flight. Even though we may have to be adversaries in this debate, I think there is much to be gained from this discussion. Threatening to take our ball and go home is not conducive to the health of either party.

    Let’s not sugar coat differences. Let’s be honest about disagreements and implications of those different perspectives. But lets agree not to leave the conversation until it has been finished. As it stands, this conversation is not over.

  28. Steve Drake said,

    May 31, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    But lets agree not to leave the conversation until it has been finished. As it stands, this conversation is not over.

    I respectfully wonder what more baddison11 wishes to discuss that has not already been discussed, and what would constitute for him ‘the finish’?

  29. Steve Drake said,

    May 31, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    I see my challenge in #26 above has not been answered. Interesting.

  30. Steve Drake said,

    May 31, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    Maybe better said in #29 above. “The silence is fascinating”.

  31. David Reece said,

    June 1, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Re: #27
    Baddison11,

    You said (referring to my comment in #22) that, “Perhaps I’m missing something, but if this is because the PCA does not exclusively endorse YEC, then I am at an utter loss. Perhaps David could clarify this comment,”

    YEC is important, but it is not as important as the other issues in the PCA. The failure to discipline 3 Federal Vision men who have been paced on trial makes the PCA a church that does not keep pure the Gospel of justification by mercy alone through belief alone. YEC is the type of doctrine that an officer should be removed for not believing, but it is secondary, though related, to the Gospel.

    You then said, “but such comments are not only inaccurate, but unhelpful. The Reformers were what their name suggests: reformers. They attempted to reform the Church, not to leave it.”

    Have you not read Luther’s “The Babylonian Captivity of the Church”?

    Have you not read Calvin’s “On the Necessity of Reforming the Church”?

    Have you not read 2 John 7-11?

    “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.”

    Separation from unbelief was a basic reason that the Reformation succeeded. Luther rejected the Roman church before he received his excommunication bull. Resistance, separation, and reformation are the duties of the day.

    You said, “They were removed for their attempts at reformation. Mr. Reece’s comment implies that the Reformers were schismatics, which I do not think is helpful for our cause.”

    What is a schismatic? [b]A schismatic is one who teaches falsehoods and causes division over falsehoods.[/b] What is not helpful to the cause of Jesus Christ is when people try to force others to feel guilty about separation from unbelief.

    You said, “I believe the calling of elders in the PCA is fight instead of flight.”

    I commend you for wanting to fight. I praise God that you have the courage to not fall before the enemy, but please consider how wasteful and damaging fellowship with these false teachers is! Let us refocus on the love of the brethren, and let us show the sheep the truth of God is not the doctrine of devils! One should fight, but one must leave also. When should one leave if not following the acquittal of the prophets of works righteousness? YEC is one issue among many that show the death throws of the PCA.

    You said, “Even though we may have to be adversaries in this debate, I think there is much to be gained from this discussion. Threatening to take our ball and go home is not conducive to the health of either party.”

    Separation from unbelief is a balm to the believer.

    If anyone agree please let me know at Scripturalist.com

  32. Steve Drake said,

    June 11, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    As a follow up to my earlier comments. An old earth/millions and billions of years is an attack on the person and work of Jesus Christ as the Second Person of the Trinity. It is an attack on the very work of Christ on the cross as the ‘last’ Adam. It maligns and opposes the very nature of Christ, His character and attributes, in creation (Col.1:16). This point cannot be emphasized enough, as it goes to the very heart of the gospel, and those of you going to GA next week and sitting in on Davidson’s seminar would do well to bring up, discuss. debate, and plead the case handed down to us through apostolic succession. Ultimately it is ‘another’ gospel, a ‘different’ gospel (Gal. 1:6), and the warning that those who preach a ‘different’ gospel should be accursed (Gal. 1:9) cannot be overemphasized.

  33. Kevin N said,

    June 17, 2012 at 12:33 am

    I am relatively new to the PCA, and am excited to be in a church with strong roots in the Reformation and a solid commitment to the Bible as the inerrant Word of God.

    I also accept an old age for the Earth and most of biological evolution. I accept these not only because of my training as a geologist, but because I don’t believe the Bible speaks as plainly on these issues as it does on many others. I don’t think I am “reading science” into the Bible in coming to these conclusions. I am grateful for the many Reformed scholars who have helped me to see that the Bible is ambiguous on the age of the Earth, the extent of the Flood, and the degree to which species can vary.

    If the upcoming General Assembly seminar on geological evidence for the age of the Earth is perceived as being an “attack on YEC” (Wes, comment 3) then perhaps this is because the YEC movement continues to produce “scientific” arguments about the age of the Earth that are really, really bad, and they need to be answered. I am sure that at next year’s GA, there will be a YEC presentation to balance out this year’s OE presentation, and that it will unapologetically be presented as an attack on OE.

    I am baffled by some of the comments here that say things like, “An old earth/millions and billions of years is an attack on the person and work of Jesus Christ as the Second Person of the Trinity” (Steve Drake, #32). This is clearly taking a secondary issue—the age of the Earth—and elevating it to being a primary issue. As an old-Earth creationist, I believe that “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” I believe in a real creation from nothing by the triune God of the Bible, in a real Adam, committing a real sin, experiencing real spiritual then physical death because of that sin, in the sinfulness of all humanity because of that sin, and in Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross on our behalf to redeem us from those consequences. Where is the attack on the person and work of Christ?

    I am happy with the status quo: there are young-Earth interpretations and old-Earth interpretations that fall within the bounds of Orthodoxy. I would be unhappy to see the PCA move away from this position.

  34. Kevin N said,

    June 17, 2012 at 12:52 am

    Reformedmusings (#23) made a statement that is a good example of YEC over-reading of the text of the inerrant Word of God:

    “Second, I think that it’s clear that Davidson and Wolgemuth’s views trivialize Gen 1 & 2, Rom 5, et al., and the portions of the Standards derived therefrom. For instance, if evolution prevailed and Adam was merely a homonid tribal chief specially chosen by God to receive a soul, then there was death before Adam. How then could death come into the world through one man? (Rom 5:12)”

    I want to focus on the “death” issue, not the “tribal chief” issue.

    As an old-Earth Christian, I need to point out that none of the passages used to “prove” that animal death came from Adam’s sin actually say anything at all about animals:
    –Gen 3 does not say that animals die because of Adam’s sin.
    –Rom 5 does not say that animals die because of Adam’s sin.
    –Rom 8 does not say that animals die because of Adam’s sin..
    –1 Cor 15 does not say that animals die because of Adam’s sin.
    –There are no other passages that tie animal death to Adam’s sin.

    Therefore, the “animal death came from Adam’s sin” doctrine does not come directly from the Bible, and has no bearing on the age of the Earth.

    I just read through the appropriate sections of the WCF and Larger Catechism and didn’t see any mention of animal death coming from Adam’s sin there either. I could have missed something, so I am very open to correction on this.

    If some of you want to leave the PCA over issues that are not even in the Bible or the Westminster Standards, then I would suggest that you step back, count to ten, and take some time to take a closer look at the Word (without your YEC glasses on).

  35. Reed Here said,

    June 18, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Kevin: respectfully, the debate and discussion over the actual extent of death is much more involved than identifying whether or not animal death is expressly mentioned or not.

    For example, nowhere does the Bible expressly state that marijuana or cocaine use is sinful.

    Biblical interpretation is a bite more mature than your response presents.

  36. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 18, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    The OPC Creation report helps too, I think, Reed:

    http://opc.org/GA/CreationReport.pdf

    Blessings.

  37. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 18, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    “Are we to believe that young earth creationists are complete, blithering idiots, now? ”

    “Welcome, wolves, to the flock. We’re so glad you’re here. Is there anything we can do to make your stay more comfortable? Can we serve you any mutton”

    Are the comments in this blog post to suggest a satanic element to evolution? i’m just curious.

    Here’s something I found helpful:

    http://opc.org/qa.html?question_id=460

    Maybe my question is too harsh. Said another way, let’s picture an evolutionist enters one of our churches. Is this person necessarily a wolf?

    Curious for your thoughts, kind readers.

    I don’t know about Biologos. Can anyone point me in a direction to learn more, or should i just check their website? good books anyone?

    i’ll read the comments on this thread.

    peace.

  38. Richard said,

    June 18, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    So, the net effect of some in the PCA is to exclude from the Reformed denomination, say–B.B. Warfield, J. Gresham Machen, or Berkhof? Cool! Dr. Scott Clark calls this an example of “QIRC.”

  39. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 18, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Wow:

    “For such is our pride, that we take no interest in any thing of which we do not know the reason.”

    http://underdogtheology.blogspot.com/2010/07/calvin-on-qirc.html

    I’m gonna say we’ve reached a Deut 29:29 moment in this comment thread, and say that my work here is done. I like your comment, Richard.

  40. Reed Here said,

    June 18, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Richard: quite a bit simplistic, possibly even an ignorant response. No one is talking about excluding anyone. And no, QIRC does not apply. Differences over what Scripture actually says does.

  41. Richard said,

    June 18, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    Andrew,
    Danke. It’s called “Christian liberty.” Supposed to be an appendage to justification, according to Calvin. I think we can forget its importance.

  42. Reed Here said,

    June 18, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Richard, Christian liberty only extends as far as the Scriptures.

  43. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 18, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Cool. What you guys are talking about interests me. I will reach out via e-mail outlets. Much obliged.

  44. Kevin N said,

    June 18, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Reed Here (#35),

    I am well aware that there is more to the YEC “no animal death before the fall” doctrine than just a straight forward reading of the text. But certainly these passages make for a good starting point.

  45. Don said,

    June 18, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    @ Reed Here #40,
    Is no one really talking about excluding anyone? Then what does the stretch-the-tent phrase in the original post mean, if not that Biologos contributors shouldn’t be allowed to present at your GA?

  46. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 18, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    Hi Kevin,

    I’d like to pull this out from that long report I posted, from your sister denomination’s work. (I wonder how long of a comment this will be) This is from our report, 8 years ago:

    . The Question of Death Before the Fall

    As for the question of death before the fall, the following should be noted () this issue is no obstacle,
    exegetically speaking, to many of the views of the days of Genesis and () perhaps not problematic for
    any of the views.

    There is a historical argument supporting these assertions. Former scholars such as Warfield and Young
    labored hard to be orthodox and are widely acknowledged both as orthodox and careful, painstaking
    exegetes. It is unimaginable that they ignored the question of death before the fall, and yet they held the
    days of creation might have been long periods of time. Perhaps their reasoning resembled what Bavinck
    said:

    Calvin and most Reformed theologians were of the opinion that eating meat was
    permitted to humans even before the flood and the fall [Emphasis added].The fact that
    Genesis : does not expressly mention it cannot, as an argument from silence, be of
    service here. In Genesis : only the plant world is divided between man and animal,
    nothing is said about man’s dominion over and claims upon the animal world. The
    animal world had already been placed under human dominion in Genesis :, an act
    which certainly includes, especially with respect to the fish of the sea, the right to kill
    and use animals. Immediately after the fall God himself made garments of animal skins
    and Abel made a sacrifice that was surely followed by a sacrificial meal. The
    practice of eating meat, moreover, was certainly in use before the flood and, if God did
    not authorize it before Genesis :, it would have been unlawful and sinful before that
    time. Genesis :- does not present a new commandment, but renews the blessing of
    creation; a new feature is only the prohibition to eat meat with its life, that is, its blood.
    The ground for the injunction against killing human beings (Gen. :-) is not present
    in the case of animals, for they were not made in God’s image. Incomprehensible,
    finally, is why of all times God should permit mankind to eat meat after the fall and
    after the flood; one would expect the contrary, namely, that the rights and rule of man
    would be restricted after the fall. One would expect that, to counter lawlessness and
    degradation, the use of meat would be abolished and that vegetarianism would be
    considered much more in accord with the post-fall and post-flood state of mankind
    than the practice of eating meat.

    In all these issues Reformed theology was able to make such sound judgments because
    it was deeply imbued with the idea that Adam did not yet enjoy the highest level of
    blessedness. Sin undoubtedly has cosmic significance. As is evident from the
    phenomenon of death, sin also impacts our physical existence and has brought the
    entire earth under the curse. Without sin the development of humanity and the history
    of the earth would have been very different though still unimaginable. Still, on the
    other hand, the state of integrity cannot be equated with the state of glory.

    Bavinck cites the following relevant comments of Calvin on Genesis :, “And God said, ‘See, I have
    given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit
    yields seed; to you it shall be for food.’” (cf., his commentary on Genesis). Thus it is attested that death
    before the fall, even among animals, was taught by reformed scholars long before the rise of
    Darwinism.

    Some infer, from this passages [sic] that men were content with herbs and fruits until
    the deluge, and that it was even unlawful for them to eat flesh. And this seems the
    more probable, because God confines, in some way, the food of mankind within
    certain limits. Then after the deluge, he expressly grants them the use of flesh. These
    reasons, however are not sufficiently strong: for it may be adduced on the opposite
    side, that the first men offered sacrifices from their flocks. This, moreover, is the law
    of sacrificing rightly, not to offer unto God anything except what he has granted to our
    use. Lastly men were clothed in skins; therefore it was lawful for them to kill animals.
    For these reasons, I think it will be better for us to assert nothing concerning this
    matter. Let it suffice for us, that herbs and the fruits of trees were given them as their
    common food; yet it is not to be doubted that this was abundantly sufficient for their
    highest gratification. For they judge prudently who maintain that the earth was so
    marred by the deluge, that we retain scarcely a moderate portion of the original
    benediction. Even immediately after the fall of man, it had already begun to bring forth
    degenerate and noxious fruits, but at the deluge, the change became still greater. Yet,
    however this may be, God certainly did not intend that man should be slenderly (sic)
    and sparingly sustained; but rather, by these words, he promises a liberal abundance,
    which should leave nothing wanting to a sweet and pleasant life. For Moses relates
    how beneficent the Lord had been to them, in bestowing on them all things which they
    could desire, that their ingratitude might have the less excuse [Emphasis added.].

    If the days were long periods of time, perhaps such scholars would point out that the Genesis record
    presents matters in broad strokes and does not detail whether death came upon parts of the creation
    (other than upon mankind) at the fall. The record does not tell us if once the sun began to provide light,
    this meant that the sun lost energy, or began to run down (i.e., began to die). While it does imply that
    before the fall death came upon the seed plants that were eaten (John :-): Were bugs eaten by
    birds or small insects and animal life by the fishes?

    Moreover, logically speaking, holding that the days were long periods of time does not necessitate the
    conclusion that things died during those periods of time, perhaps God miraculously preserved things so
    that they did not die. It is also important to note that such scholars did not say these days must have
    been long periods of time. An advocate of the day of unspecified length view might agree with some
    contemporary “creation” scientists that the days were very short. Hence, this issue is no block to the day
    of unspecified length view.

    Thus, it is affirmed that the creation account is to be understood as straightforward history with each
    day occurring one immediately after the other. The creative events also occurred in the order they are
    presented in the account. The creation account may appear in an exalted style, but the content is history
    that teaches us a factual cosmogony (how the universe originated both as to fact and sequence) and a
    true cosmology (how the universe is ordered). Finally, the length of the days cannot be determined from
    what the Bible tells us – they are days of unspecified lengths.

  47. Kevin N said,

    June 19, 2012 at 1:27 am

    Andrew — thanks for the long quote; it had some insights I had not seen before, such as Abel’s sacrifice likely involving eating of the meat.

  48. Reed Here said,

    June 19, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Don: some of us hear believe at least some of the positions affirmed by BioLogos are ALREADY outside what we have vowed we believe the Bible teaches.

    Hence, we’re not talking about putting ANYONE out. Instead we’re talking about stopping brothers from inviting in something that is already defined as error (at least).

    Such characterizations are inaccurate, judgmental, and useful only in name-calling that squashes fair give and take conversation. It is wrong!

  49. Reed Here said,

    June 19, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Kevin: not my point. I am observing that you are proof-texting to prove a point, to wit, that animal death before a historic fall is not contradictory to Scripture. My challenge is that proving such a point involves much more than proof-texting.

  50. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 19, 2012 at 11:32 am

    I would challenge all here to keep things in plain meaning language.

    Can someone reading these comments tell me whether or not when the evolutionist sits next to us in church, singing “Jesus Loves me,” and pours out their souls with us to God, whether we can conclusively say, “get out of our church, wolf, no evolutionists welcome?”

    I don’t mean to get emotional or anything. I want to know from the original intent behind this blog post. Are evolutionists wolves? And if so, how do you know this?

    Thanks. And Peace.

  51. Don said,

    June 19, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    @Reed Here #48,
    I don’t mean to start a debate here on whether the PCA should allow so-called evolutionists or Biologos contributors. That is the PCA’s right to debate (elsewhere!) and decide. But if such people are already PCA REs, and their views are “already outside,” and you want to stop them from presenting at GA, then how is that not exclusionary?

    I agree that name-calling is wrong. But that is a main feature of the original post! I’m not saying that you ought to agree with a Christian who accepts the science behind evolution or interprets Genesis 1 & 2 differently than you. But to call them wolves could be inaccurate and is undoubtedly judgmental!

  52. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 19, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Don, your last paragraph resonates. I would actually call on the original person who posted to issue an apology. Or at least clarification. Help us, please, whomever wrote this. Peace.

  53. Cris Dickason said,

    June 19, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    Andrew @ 50 (not saying you’re 50 years old, though that’s what the phrase sounds like)

    Can someone reading these comments tell me whether or not when the evolutionist sits next to us in church, singing “Jesus Loves me,” and pours out their souls with us to God, whether we can conclusively say, “get out of our church, wolf, no evolutionists welcome?”

    The position that Rev. Keister is speaking to with the wolves/flock figure of speech is that natural evolution of the human race, the denial of an historical individual, Adam (and wife, Eve), an Adam who stood – and fell – as federal head of the human race, a denial which completely breaks the argument and parallel of Christ as Federal Head of the redeemed (Romans 5 and 1 Cor. 15), this is a grave, grave error and denial of the truths of Scripture, touching not just “origins” but also soteriology (redemption) and eschatology (consummation/fulfillment) of creation and mankind.

    So, the force of the statement is against ministers and elders who want to evacuate the terminology and doctrine of creation of all its historical meaning, turning “creation,” the opening chapters of Genesis, into a quaint, perhaps useful myth, but does not tell us, as revelation from the Lord, how we humans came to be on this terrestrial ball, walking, talking and drawing breath.

    As a philosophy, or worldview, this is a capitulation, not merely to any specific scientific theory of the moment, but to that foundational point of view, that we humans subject Scripture to our reasonable thoughts and constraints. Such a view of revelation and Scripture will inevitably result in destruction of historic Christianity, since it is already a capitulation of the Scripture principle.

    So an individual evolutionist might (can) believe that he is a sinner, that God has provided the Lord Jesus as a substitute for him or her in God’s judgment, believe and be saved. Belief in evolution will not, as such, prevent a person from being saved. But belief in evolution can not, must not be tolerated in officers and leaders in the Church.

    There is a necessary distinction to be made for an individual christian (who may have the baggage of various erroneous opinions) and an officer in the Church, who has vowed to uphold God’s Word. Elders (ruling or teaching) and Deacons are not private individuals with respect to the Church, and a higher standard applies.

    Hope this helps.

    -=Cris=-

  54. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 19, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    I can say one word about my background, and then call it quits for now. Cris, your words are sweet and gracious. I should learn to be so. Here I go:

    I am an accountant by trade (and getting back to it) but my liberal education at a leading public university included the opportunity to take a class, “the history of life” in their geological sciences department. It was fascinating, seeing one of the leading thinkers, wrestle with Evolution and how to present to a bunch of us 20 somethings. This was in 2003.

    I can not agree more with the following statement:

    “But belief in evolution can not, must not be tolerated in officers and leaders in the Church.”

    The thing is, I am actually thankful that Biologos is talking to people during your general assembly. I think it’s good to think through and dialogue. That’s EXACTLY what the OPC creation report of 2004 needs to happen.

    So let’s not jump to conclusions when a denomination asks someone to speak. I understand there is tension over this issue. I have not only seen it, but I have experienced it (in my ordination interview) first hand. What I could say, were I to continue.

    But with that, Jerry Seinfeld and I (sorry for the silly link) make our exit for a while. I want to thank you all. I had no idea these types of forums exists, blogs, comments, etc. Only in the last few weeks did I start understanding what this is all about. I see great benefit for the Kingdom as Christians share experiences and viewpoints. Let’s just do it with a respect for one another that our Lord is made happy by. No Apology needed, Lane. But I hope by sharing my perspective and personal response, you can see how others might feel, as your assembly talks over these important matters today and in the coming days.

  55. Kevin N said,

    June 19, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    Reed Here (#49),

    Turning to the Scriptures is not “proof texting.” I am simply pointing out that the Bible does not explicitely teach that animals did not die until Adam sinned.

    Consider Job 38:39-41, in which God provides food for the lions and ravens. God isn’t providing grass and grapefruits for them; the lioness and raven are both looking for meat. This is presented as part of a good God’s provision for his creation.

    Similarly, in Psalm 104:21, the lion roars for its food, and seeks its food from God. This Psalm contains strong parallels to Genesis 1, with a focus on the greatness and goodness of God. As in Job 38, there is no hint that there is anything wrong with the creation when God provides meat for predators.

    We tend to view the creation from a Disney-ish perspective, rooting for the herbivore—gazelle, baby caribou,and so forth—and hoping that the nasty carnivore will miss again, which of course will lead to the starvation of its cute little offspring back in the den. God, in Psalm 104 and Job 38, doesn’t seem quite so squeemish about predation; it actually brings him glory. We would have made the creation differently, but we are not God.

    Please also consider the Garden of Eden, and its relation to the rest of Earth. The garden was of limited extent, clearly being described as being in Mesopotamia. No Hebrew, including Moses, would have pictured it any other way. Inside the garden, Adam was set up as ruler over all the Earth, but everything outside of the garden is depicted as a wild place in need of being brought into submission. If this was not so, then the command for Adam to subdue the Earth (Gen 1:28) would not have had much meaning. That wildness certainly could have included death and predation, which would have served as a very vivid picture for Adam and Eve of what would happen should they disobey.

    One last item I want you to consider in regards to animal death is the behavior of the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. If the young-Earth creationists are correct, and animals did not die before the fall, then certainly animals would not die in the new heavens and the new Earth. However, when Jesus first appeared to the eleven disciples together, he asked them for something to eat to demonstrate that he wasn’t some sort of ethereal ghost. They offered him some fish, and he ate it! He didn’t rebuke them, saying, “From now on, I only eat vegetables.” If eating fish was strictly taboo in the pre-fall world, one would think that in the resurrection we would go back to that state.

  56. Kevin N said,

    June 19, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    Cris Dickason (#53) stated: “Belief in evolution will not, as such, prevent a person from being saved. But belief in evolution can not, must not be tolerated in officers and leaders in the Church.”

    At what point does “belief in evolution” become something that must not be tolerated in leaders in the Church?

    At one time, many creationists stood for absolute fixity of species. Then they allowed for a little bit of “microevolution” but not “macroevolution?” Now, many young-Earth creationists advocate hyper-rapid speciation after the flood at a rate that would make many evolutionists (except for perhaps the punctuated equilibrium advocates) blush. Should our standard for the degree to which evolution is tolerated in our leaders be dependent on current definitions provided by young-Earth creationists?

    Does the Bible state what the limits of evolutionary change are? Species? Genus? Family? Order? Class? Acceptance of what level of biological change would you suggest as the cutoff for leadership within the church?

    Does the Bible define what a “kind” is? Is it species, genus, subfamily, or something else?

    If a pair of horses (genus Equus) has offspring, this is clearly “reproducing after one’s kind.” If after a few generations, through natural selection (which most creationists accept), the genetic makeup of a herd of wild horses changes, evolution has occured, though clearly on a small scale. But we would still consider this to be “reproducing after one’s kind.”

    If a population of Hyracotheriums (Eocene horse ancestors) reproduced for one generation this would clearly be accepted as “reproducing after one’s kind.” If after many generations the genetic makeup of the population changed enough (as evidenced by teeth and foot structure) to become Mesohippus, isn’t it true that from generation to generation, they were still “reproducing after one’s kind?” And we could possibly extend this to Merychippus and Pliohippus and up to modern Equus, which includes horses, zebras, and donkeys. Some young-Earth creationists now accept the basic outline of this “horse series,” others do not. But again, is the current state of YEC to be our standard for determining who can be an elder in the Church?

    Does the Bible define where microevolution stops and macroevolution begins? Does the Bible even necessitate that there is something inherently different between the two?

    I am not saying that I believe in some sort of deistic molecules-to-man evolution. I am just asking that you think through both the Biblical and scientific issues before stating that “belief in evolution must not be tolerated,” and define what you mean by “evolution” and why you think that is an appropriate Biblical definition.

  57. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 20, 2012 at 12:11 am

    Kevin, definitions of terms is always important. We need to center on what Cris says in regard to Romans 5 and 1 cor 15. I’m committed to further study, prayer, and thoughtful dialog. As my time permits. I can share with you the history in the OPC and more specifically, some developments within the last few years in the northern California presbytery of the OPC. Email me at andrew.d.buckingham@gmail.com as well, as you feel led.

    Blessings Reed, Kevin, and Cris. -AB

  58. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 20, 2012 at 12:25 am

    And since you ask about leaders, Kevin, this shows what OPC leaders are reading, this from a few years ago. Have I sufficiently advertised the denomination fidelity of Andrew Buckingham? :-) Read it at your leisure.

    http://www.opc.org/os.html?article_id=220&cur_iss=F

  59. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 20, 2012 at 5:52 am

    In regard to OPC history, questions like, ‘do you know who Terry Gray is?’

    You will want to read about him in the OPC creation report.

    Also, have you heard of the 2009 animus imponentis conference? It was held at the church I was married in. I attended the whole conference, and even asked questions.

    There is history, if you want to know, Kevin. Let’s talk.

    Peace.

  60. Reed Here said,

    June 20, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Kevin: respectfully, your first argument was mere proof-texting. Grateful in this next post you’ve gone beyond that.

    Note that all the texts you reference and interact with (something beyond proof-texting) are expressing conditions in a post-fall context. I.e., it is after the fall that meat-eating – and the death that it requires – becomes normed.

    What do you do with texts such as the famous Isaiah lion-lamb den-mates passages (Isa 11:6; 65:25)? Do these describe a real change in the conditions of life in the new heavens/new earth?

  61. Reed Here said,

    June 20, 2012 at 11:34 am

    Don (Andrew): in Lane’s original post here, he called no specific person a wolf. Instead he evoked an image drawn from Paul’s warning to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20. In this Lane is simply affirming that theistic evolution is a heresy. Shepherds of God’s people are called to protect his people from heresy, not let it in.

    To be sure, there very may well be actual wolves, elders who are servants of Satan, who are pushing theistic evolution (as I expect there might be some who are opposing it – Satan is devious to the core). But that is not the point Lane is driving at.

    From this consideration, I respectfully ask you to consider if your response is an over-reaction. I think you are reading the post wrong and taking offense at the wrong point.

    Further, the fact that some in the Church are given to heretical thinking does not mean we’ve got one of two responses: shut ‘em up or drive ‘em out. No, instead we treat them as what they profess to be, God’s beloved sheep. And sometimes this means the admonishment and exhortation to stay away from the bad grass, the heretical thinking in view.

    Finally, if you find offense in my calling theistic evolution heresy, please do not react with being upset. Nor react with a dismission of my point. Instead, if you’ve been down this road and are persuaded that I am wrong before God, then please, treat me like what I profess to be, one of God’s beloved sheep for whom His Son died. Seek neither to shut me up nor drive me out. Such actions are those of our enemy, not our Savior.

  62. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 20, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Reed, I’m willing to concur in your conclusion of any over-reaction on my part. I do want to keep talking about creation though, when I have the time. It’s something I’m interested in, both for personal reasons, and just ‘cuz this creation we find ourselves in never ceases to amaze me, the more I look around. This is God’s handi-work. As keanu reeves said, I sometimes feel like saying, “whoa.” Peace. -AB

  63. Todd said,

    June 20, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    I have never bought into human evolution, but I’m still wondering why, if one affirms an historical Adam, if he believes God developed the human body through evolution over time and then breathed a human soul into Adam as the first man, why that would be heretical. Since I have always believed an historical Adam is the stand or fall position when it comes to orthodoxy, and I am not convinced of the animals could not have died before the fall argument, what are the other arguments that makes human evolution heretical? I am open to being persuaded but need more.

  64. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Hi Todd,

    If you want the history of the OPC, which is a fellow denomination of NAPARC, I would recommend you look up “Terry Gray” in the report (you can find online by googling, “opc creation report”, or see one of my previous comments). Terry Gray was not allowed to be a ruling elder and to believe that Adam had animal ancestry. WIthout knowing anything about that case, that’s what I know. :-) Hope that helps. I need to stop promoting my little band of Machen warriors! Peace, my PCA brothers!

  65. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 20, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    Just color commentary – we as humans want to know just where the line is, so that we can creep right up to it, and peek over? I wouldn’t want to admit that’s what drove me to keep learning theology, but if I’m honest… :-)

  66. Reed Here said,

    June 20, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Todd: not sure how to take your question. Probably a simple answer is to note that Gn 2 teaches a fiat creation of man, body and soul, not merely soul. One has to read into this Scripture the bifurcation you mention. This introduces an hermeneutical method that in the end will make hash of the whole Bible.

  67. Todd said,

    June 20, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    Reed,

    I agree with your take on Genesis 2, but are you saying the issue is not the position in itself but the hermeneutical method used to get there?

  68. Cris Dickason said,

    June 20, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Kevin N @ 56 – you asked me:

    At what point does “belief in evolution” become something that must not be tolerated in leaders in the Church?

    That was answered in the paragraphs prior to the one from which you leaped:

    So, the force of the statement is against ministers and elders who want to evacuate the terminology and doctrine of creation of all its historical meaning, turning “creation,” the opening chapters of Genesis, into a quaint, perhaps useful myth, but does not tell us, as revelation from the Lord, how we humans came to be on this terrestrial ball, walking, talking and drawing breath.

    As a philosophy, or worldview, this is a capitulation, not merely to any specific scientific theory of the moment, but to that foundational point of view, that we humans subject Scripture to our reasonable thoughts and constraints. Such a view of revelation and Scripture will inevitably result in destruction of historic Christianity, since it is already a capitulation of the Scripture principle.

    When evolution is a philosophy, a presuppositional stance, a religious conviction, if you will, when evolution guts the creation language of Scripture of all its normal and normative content, when evolution says there was not, could not have been a single couple as the biological source of all the rest of the human race, then it is way outside pale, as far as officers and leaders in the Church.

    Perhaps you are reading into my remarks a YEC-6/24 position. I made no such explicit assertions. Actually, I am somewhat undecided about young earth / old earth age questions. For instance, I do not agree with those who assert anything other than YEC-6/24 is intolerable. There are options for understanding Scripture without being an evolutionist. Possible views include framework, or day-age, or even (!), YEC-6/24.

    So bottom line is to see it as a binary situation: Mankind originated in the persons of Adam & Eve, each as a special, distinct and unique work of creation, each a special and distinct, direct work of God; or not (mankind developed out of prior, non-rational, non-image of God critter). As long as a candidate for office (RE, TE, Deacon) can explain what he means (with framework or 6/24, etc) and why he takes that view of creation as an understanding of Gen 1-2 and the rest of Scripture, that should be allowed. In other words, a specific view of age of earth is not a requirement.

    What is required is that God creates/created, from nothing (only God is eternal) and Adam & Eve are historical, and were created from dust or rib. The creation of Adam and Eve was not the imparting of something new & human into a pre-existing hominid pair. To be crude, God did not impart his image or a soul to some hominid creature that developed as a specific branch of the primate genus.

    -=Cris=-

  69. Reed Here said,

    June 20, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    Todd: in the end, its all about hermeneutics, from beginning to end, is it not?

    How we interpret in one place may have an effect on how we interpret in another. In this case I’d say that if in any manner we interpret Adam’s creation as metaphorical only, without sufficient Biblical warrant, then we’ve introduced a hermeneutic that then necessarily gets applied to the daisy chain of events/doctrines comprising the fall. If the fall is metaphorical, then we lose the reality of the atonement – and the whole game is lost.

  70. Don said,

    June 20, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    Reed Here #61,
    First of all, no, I’m not particularly offended if you consider evolution, theistic or otherwise, as heresy. I think you may be setting the bar pretty low for what level of wrongness equals heresy, which may be tangential to the point.

    I am quite surprised that you’re continuing to defend the original post. Do you seriously believe that Lane is not calling specific people “wolves”? If that’s not a reference to Biologos-types and so-called evolutionists, then you’d have to claim that the quote at the end of the post is a nonsequitur.

    And I don’t understand how you claim that no one is trying to “drive ‘em out.” To start with the converse, several comments in this very thread claim that it’s now time to leave the PCA since it’s dying. And since this post references Wes White’s blog, I’ll point out a recent comment there that states how much better the PCA will be once the theistic evolutionists are sent to other denominations.

    Again, I’m not arguing that you shouldn’t hold any of your views about evolution. But I don’t see how you can claim how you merely want to admonish and exhort while name-calling, nor how the histrionics about the imminent demise of the PCA are in any way helpful to the spread of the gospel.

  71. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 6:21 am

    My brothers,

    I’m back to Deut 29:29.

    What’s clear to me, is that there are reasons, for example, for this type of blog and forum. People like those of us who have posted a lot on this thread, clearly have a lot of ‘feelings.’ Its good to let those out.

    I suggest a new strategy. In the words of C3PO, “let the wookie win.” I for one have already posted too much here. I don’t think expressing my feelings here has been somehow detrimental. But let’s out on our thinking caps, brothers. What are our motives? Why blog theologically? Why comment? Say what you to say.

    But maybe, we should, everyone of us, let the wookie win,

    AB

  72. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 6:41 am

    ” Some of you men (TE’s and RE’s within PCA) are missing the connections, or is it the other way around? To believe in an OE, of necessity, means you believe in some form of evolution, whether you realize it or not. Give me an explanation for how you believe in an OE that does not require some form of evolution. What is the process? ”

    I’m committed to further sharing about yours truly. I am OE. But not TE. And I am an officer(deacon) in the OPC. Not to be overly dramatic (at my Alma mater, ucsb, I was a theater major during my freshman year, hencete star wars, etc?) but I realize my ordination is on the line.

    In the words of Lando, “IM JUST TRYING TO HELP! HAN,,, HAN,,,”

  73. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 6:49 am

    Steve Drake,

    I take my views on the Trinity pretty seriously. I want to read more about how you think the OE position necessarily means trinitarian heresy. I wont leave the conversation. I realize I am making this all about me. But i want to learn from you brothers. Just be careful what you post here. Remember, I have already posted too much. I will not attack anyone. I submit to you brothers. Why don’t I understand the trinity right as OE.

    Praying about this now,

    Andrew Buckingham

  74. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 7:01 am

    OK, so, I’m gonna be frank, and let you know that the moment I started reading Machen, and understanding what it means to believe in active obedience, my heart melted before the truth of what was being revealed. So, the questions of trinitarian heresy seem to center around Romans 5 and 1 cor 15. I think if we want to further the conversation, let’s find out where those passages are exegeted, and where those exegesis stand over and against the teaching of theistic evolution.

    Revealing where I am at, an OE, but not TE,

    Andrew

  75. Todd said,

    June 21, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Reed,

    You are suggesting that Gen 2:7 is so clear concerning process (immediate creation verses evolution) that to interpret it as long process opens the door to make hay of other clear, historical, biblical data, including an historical Adam, etc… I have to think on that one for a while.

    Thanks

  76. Steve Drake said,

    June 21, 2012 at 10:00 am

    @Andrew #72 #73, and all comments since Sunday 6/17,
    Such a wonderful feature to be able to receive email on my cell phone, so have been reading all comments in this thread for the past four days, but away from my laptop and unable to respond. Back now, so should be able despite an ankle that is in excruciating and constant pain to get back into the swing of things here.

    I’ll address you first Andrew since your posts #72 and #73 are either directed at me or to something I’ve said, and then later perhaps Kevin N., my OE, theistic evolutionist brother and friend, who I have interacted with on another blog.

    To you Andrew @ #73:

    I take my views on the Trinity pretty seriously. I want to read more about how you think the OE position necessarily means trinitarian heresy.

    Andrew, I’m not sure I’ve ever said that. What I have said is that all OE positions lead to some form of evolution either outrightly or in a de facto sense, except the Hugh Ross OE position which claims no evolution whatsoever over millions and millions of years. In order to discuss this intelligently, one must know all the current OE positions out there, state which one you adhere to, and then discuss the ‘process’. The problem I see is that many of my brothers who claim OE, are nebulous and wishy-washy about the ‘process’ itself.

    Kevin N. for example is OE and ‘clear’ on the process. He states unequivocally and unabashedly that the ‘process’ for him is theistic evolution. Hugh Ross is OE and clear on his ‘process’ as well: no evolution, God specially creating the diversity of life over millions and millions of years (while at the same time older species dying out). The ‘process’ for Hugh Ross is ‘not’ theistic evolution.

    I’ve also said that the belief in an OE with its corollary of millions and millions of years is a direct attack on the person and work of Jesus Christ as the second person of the Trinity. Perhaps this is where you think I’m saying that any OE position necessarily means trinitarian heresy?

  77. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    “I’ve also said that the belief in an OE with its corollary of millions and millions of years is a direct attack on the person and work of Jesus Christ as the second person of the Trinity. Perhaps this is where you think I’m saying that any OE position necessarily means trinitarian heresy?”

    Right.

    So my official position is, that I don’t know how old the earth is. But I don’t think my agnosticism necessarily means that I have a mistaken understanding of Christology (Cyril of Alexandria has been my guide, via John Anthony McGuckin).

    So I’d be interested to know more whether there are OE views, per your opinion, that do not impinge on one’s ability to understand Orthodox (and I only mean straight doctrine) Christian Christology.

    Also, how familiar are you with the imputation writings of J Gresham Machen? I’d like the conversation to center around the Bible verses Lane mentioned in the post. I’m not an exegete. But would enjoy hearing anyone’s exegisis on the 1 Cor 15 or Rom. 5 passages alluded to, and contrasting with how we understand imputation, and specifically, active obedience. You may not see yet why I find this relevant to the discussion. But I do think there is fertile soil to be utilized here for profitable discussion.

    I would also continue to push the importance of the OPC creation report. Yes, it was only received by our GA in 2004. But I think there are things helpful in and amongst that writing, all the same.

    Grace and peace,

    Andrew

  78. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Oh, and I really want to thank you Steve, for addressing my concerns. I’m still a newb (hopefully not a noob). Enjoying talking with you all, friends and brothers, in Christ. -AB

  79. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Steve, I will say, I found this quote from you, on a wes white blog, about what Tim Keller (one of my favorite authors, what can I say, the guy is awesome) believes about the issue we are discussing in this forum:

    “Steve Drake says:
    April 4, 2012 at 3:44 PM
    Mark B.

    At 26:23: “If you believe in an old earth, you’ve gotta believe in evolution.” I don’t think this is necessarily true.

    http://www.weswhite.net/2012/04/what-does-tim-keller-believe-about-evolution-and-creation/

    So, if evolution and old earth views are not super-glued, can we start to flesh out why you state this:

    “I’ve also said that the belief in an OE with its corollary of millions and millions of years is a direct attack on the person and work of Jesus Christ as the second person of the Trinity. ”

    What is the connection between an earth that is, say, a million years old, and the doctrines of our faith that help us understand how the human and divine natures of Christ are to be understood (as relating?).

    I’m sorry for my ignorance. I know “noobs” are the ones that want others to do the work for them. I really do want to do my homework. I just don’t have a textbook yet to go by.

    Is it the Bible? Well, of course it is

    That’s why I keep alluding to Deut 29:29.

    Apologies,
    Andrew

  80. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Oh my – what have I done. I have mis-quoted you, steve.

    I will read your comments on that link I just put in there.

    My apologies again. You were quoting someone in that conversation.

    I’ll keep doing my homework.

    Peace for now. I’ll be reading about these things. Thank you all for your blogs and comments. Gives me a lot to keep busy with.

    Grace and peace, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
    Andrew

  81. Kevin N said,

    June 21, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    Reed Here (#60), asked about how accepting death before Adam’s sin relates to the lion and lamb passages in Isaiah 11 and 65.

    Those who would project these passages back into Genesis 1-2 assume a symmetry that isn’t necessarily there. The assumption is that the New Earth of Revelation is merely a return to pre-Adam conditions, with the fallen world sandwiched in-between:

    A. Perfect and complete world (Genesis 1-2)
    B. Fallen world (Genesis 3 to Revelation 20)
    A. Perfect and complete world (Revelation 21-22)

    Nowhere in Scripture does it say that the Genesis 1-2 world was the final product. Instead, Adam is told to go out and rule and subdue, which implies that the world needed rule and submission in order to be complete. I think a better way to look at it is this:

    A. Good yet incomplete world (Genesis 1-2)
    B. Fallen world that retains much goodness* (Genesis 3 to Revlation 20)
    C. Good and complete world (Revelation 21-22)

    *Important note: when I say the world retains much goodness, I am referring to God’s providence which continues, not to our moral state.

    The final state–the New Earth–is good and complete as it is under the perfect rule of the second Adam, our Lord Jesus Christ.

    In light of this, the passages in Isaiah where the lion and lamb lay down together are looking forward to the New Earth, but not necessarily looking backwards to the original Earth.

    ———————————

    I admit that I could be completely wrong in all of this, and am open to instruction, and enter into discussions like this to learn from others. If I am wrong, I need to be persuaded from the Scriptures that I am wrong.

  82. Steve Drake said,

    June 21, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Andrew @77,

    So my official position is, that I don’t know how old the earth is. But I don’t think my agnosticism necessarily means that I have a mistaken understanding of Christology…

    Yet, herein, is the exact nature of the problem as I see it for all OE positions. This is where I see many of my brothers not thinking this through, not understanding the implications as it relates to Christology (the person and work of Christ in creation and on the cross), mistaken in their Christology and holding to ‘another’ Christ (a serious charge, I understand), a ‘different’ gospel (Gal. 1:6) in other words, if they hold an OE position with its corollary of millions and millions of years. Let me try to explain.

    Any OE position and its corollary of millions and millions of years places death, suffering, cancer, tumors, disease, plague, blood & gore, killing, thorns, the animal kingdom red in tooth and claw, before the sin of Adam. If these things were in place before Adam’s sin; if these things were instituted, initiated, inaugurated by Christ in His work of creation (Col.1:16) and were an ongoing process of arriving at man millions of years later, then it impugns Christ with divine confusion and cruelty, and maligns His Holy character. Millions of years of death, disease, suffering, plagues, cancer, tumors, blood and gore, killing, thorns, then become the work of Christ in creation, the outflow of His very being, and not as a result of sin. Yet we know from Scripture that God’s curse (Gen. 3) comes after Adam’s sin and rebellion, not before.

    So then, the question becomes of what significance is the curse in Gen. 3 if all these things were an ongoing process before Adam even sinned? What does Jesus-the last Adam- fix, rectify, stop, if not the effects/consequences of the first Adam (1 Cor. 15:45)? What did the first Adam ‘do’, that the last Adam had to ‘undo’? If death, disease, plagues, tumors, cancer, suffering, blood and gore, killing, thorns, etc., existed before Adam, then Christ’s work on the cross, doesn’t alter it, it’s not part of the judgment of God in the Curse of Gen. 3.

    Therefore, when Christ comes to HIs work in the New Testament, He would be dying for His own work in creation, wounded for His own transgressions, bruised for His own iniquities, chastened for His own well-being (Is. 53), not as judgment for the consequences of Adam’s sin.

    If we define incorrectly the results/consequences of the first Adam, then we are redefining incorrectly the effects/solutions of the last Adam. All OE positions do exactly that. They impugn Christ with death, disease, suffering, cancer, tumors, plagues, killing, etc., as an outflow of His very character, as integral to the process of bringing man onto the scene during HIs creative work, and extol all this as being ‘good’, and ‘very good’ (Gen. 1:31). They revel in saying that ‘death’ is ‘good’, contrary to Paul’s statement in 1 Cor. 15:26 that ‘death’ is an enemy that will rightly be abolished.

    This, in effect, is a ‘different’ gospel, a gospel contrary to what you have received (Gal. 1:9), and the serious charge of anyone who preaches or teaches it should be accursed should not lightly be dismissed.

  83. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    I’m admittedly equivocating.

    Where can I read about the YEC view? I think I fall into a OEC view, because I’m having problems with that monk (usher) and the exact day (or was it minute that creation started).

    I think I am old earth, because I don’t exactly side with Usher.

    How young must I believe the earth to be, to be accepted as a YEC?

    Not a big heartburn issue for me, I rest in Deut 29:29. But I think if I had to choose between YEC and OEC, I am probably OEC.

    But remain agnostic.

    and further will be reticent going forward.

    regards,
    ab

  84. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Well, I’m gonna say one last thing. If we can bifucate, “death” into what “death” at the moment of “fall” looks like (into, “spiritual” and “physical” death) maybe this conversation continues? Does Adam’s fall necessarily entail physcial death? A post of mine way up above, is long, and the OPC creation reports view about death before fall. I think (THINK) that I’m with the guys who wrote our creation reprot. I don’t know. I’m a bean counter. This is indeed starting to get where I say, the professionals can speak. And I have begun to speak over my pay grade.

    It’s time this confused OPC guy (me) leaves the PCA alone.

    peace.

  85. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    i mean, seriously, i am trying here. i want to have the right christology. if my misunderstanding of when exactly creation started means to some of you that i don’t get Christ’s natures, those of us who aren’t completely ussherian need some help. please.

  86. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Machen mentions sometimes in his sermons/writings, “common sense.” I guess for me, common sense dictates that I need not know the exact second of when God spoke creation into existence, in order to be able to have some rest for my Soul that Jesus is my savior. Nor to fulfill what I think the office of Deacon is in the OPC.

    who knows. maybe it was a mistake for me to be made an officer in our denomination. I’m open to those that may take that position… Does anyone think that knowing the exact second of fiat creation is necessary for someone who wants to be a deacon in the PCA?

  87. Kevin N said,

    June 21, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Cris Dickason (#68):

    I completely agree that evolution as a “philosophy, a presuppositional stance, a religious conviction” is completely contrary to Scripture.

    I apologize for reading the YEC position into your statements. I certainly agree that YEC-6/24 should be on the list of Biblically possible views.

    You were being rather vague back in #53 when you said that “belief in evolution can not, must not be tolerated in officers and leaders in the Church.” Now it looks like you are only concerned about the origin of humanity.

    I am a little concerned that we don’t drift into the hyper-literalist camp as we read and interpret the opening chapters of Genesis. Is there no room for figurative language in narrative passages? Does “dust from the ground” have to mean literally taking a pile of soil (primarily silicate minerals) and transforming this into a living, breathing, thinking, loving human being? It is not that I am questioning the ability of God to transmutate silicon into carbon; this would be extraordinarily easy for him. But I am not sure that it would be out of line to suggest that the phrase means no more than to say that God made Adam out of the same stuff as the rest of creation. We share our biochemistry with the rest of the animal world, yet we are still unique in that we are created in the image of God.

    Does the statement by Elihu in Job 33:6 — “I too was pinched off from a piece of clay” — relate to this? Obviously Elihu didn’t believe that he was made of soil; he knew how he was born.

  88. Kevin N said,

    June 21, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Just a little clarification — I am an old-Earther who views most of evolution as a scientific rather than a Biblical issue. I don’t describe myself as a theistic evolutionist, but I don’t think the Bible says anything one way or another about the topic, for the most part.

  89. Steve Drake said,

    June 21, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Brother Andrew @82, 83, 84,
    That you don’t exactly side with Ussher is something you should ask yourself ‘why not? ‘What is it about Ussher’s chronology that you find offensive and why’? What support do you bring that would indicate his chronology is in error?

  90. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Maybe it’s because there are 3 or more geologists in my immediate family (including my own parental lineage). maybe it’s genes? but that’s getting scientific. i don’t know that either! i became an accountant. i can only imagine what kevin N thinks as we hash this out. i mean, his career actually has implications on what we talk about. now, if you want to start saying that stock option accounting and christology, maybe then i won’t leave the discussion with jerry seinfeld, and maybe i will get some heartburn. do you see? what do we as a church want to be known as taking a line in the sand for? the second of creation? i just think maybe (MAYBE) ussher didn’t have it all figured out just yet. i’m open to hearing what a biologos or a kevin N, or my immediate family members who are career scientists, etc, have to say. instead of calling them necessarily wolves. that just seems rude. to anyone who has some respect for people in the broader scientific profession

    my two sense.

  91. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    What support do you bring that would indicate his chronology is in error?

    i’m hiding behind deut 29:29 in answering this

    i’m asking you for help in order for me to make your cut, in order to be what you want me to be, an YEC.

  92. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    with my denomination’s animus conference in 2009, i’m of the mind there is a proper elasticity over this question of “when fiat.” I do listen to the people who gave that conference. i’m on record asking questions in those audio files (check out northern california presbytery website). they are trascribed there to, the lectures. it’s a concern of mine. so whatever you say for me to read and learn about, i will do. when i have free time.

    i can’t thank you enough for the time you are devoting to my concern over this issue.

  93. Reed Here said,

    June 21, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Don: feel free to think less of me. Your response is combative towards what you see is wrong in Lane’s original post. You import comments from another blog. You then admonish with a label such as histrionics. Feel free to think less of me.

  94. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    i feel like i need to go to the range during lunch….let off some steam…

    haven’t felt this way since my ordination interview ;-)

  95. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    driving range. not any other. any other golfers out there?

  96. Steve Drake said,

    June 21, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Andrew @87, 88,
    Why would you look to man (your geologist relatives, BioLogos, Kevin N) rather than to Scripture for your answers? What do the Scriptures say? Do you adhere to Biblical authority and inspiration? Might that not count for something? Yes, I understand there are differences of opinion concerning this whole issue, but I would refer you back to my post #81, and ask that you think through the implications I’ve stated in regards to any OE position.

    I’m not trying to make you into a YEC, and I’m not sure why you want to imply that I am. One thing that I appreciate the most about the Green Baggins blog is the freedom of dialog that is encouraged here. You are free to state your opinions and thoughts, and interact with others defending them. I have stated my position as to why I think the recent earth model (approx. 6000 years) is the true biblical model believed on in the church by most since apostolic succession. I have stated the problems I see with an OE. Please feel free to continue to ask me questions, or to state your own position, from which I may be free to ask you questions.
    Blessings.

  97. Reed Here said,

    June 21, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Todd: the word “process” is problematic for me. NO, I do not think Gn 2:7 is clear on process. In fact it is quite silent on process.

    The issue of time is being imported here. Borrowing from the analogical days approach, I’m quite comfortable agreeing that the “process” of creating Adam on the 6th “day” was quite outside of what we call ordinary solar time.

    What I am not comfortable with is then submission to a process that is purely naturalistic in its presuppositions. I.O.W., it is not the scientific matters that concern, as ultimately these will never be determined. (We are talking about an unique stand alone event in the creation of man, no?) Instead, what concerns me is the philosophical underpinnings of our interpretation.

    To be sure, ruminations on possible naturalistic explanations are the gateway through which these philosophical issues find their way into the discussion. Yet it is these metaphysical issues that really matter.

    Say it better this way: Gn 2:7 teaches that God Himself created Adam directly from inanimate existing material He had previously created. The exact process is not specified. As long as a hypothesized process does not violate these minimums, then we’re good to go.

    Theistic evolution violates this basic biblical statement.

  98. Steve Drake said,

    June 21, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Kevin N. at #88,
    I apologize for labeling you a ‘theistic evolutionist’. I guess I was implying incorrectly from your post #33:

    I also accept an old age for the Earth and most of biological evolution.

    I see that you and Reed have gone back a forth a bit this week, so see no further need to rehash your arguments, unless you have a specific response to one of my posts since #81 above.

    Peace and blessings brother.

  99. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    my own position is that i don’t know. i think the Bible has something to say about the when of fiat creation., just not as much as some yec’s would allege. more later. fun times!

  100. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    said another way, i want the book that exegetes the yec position

  101. Steve Drake said,

    June 21, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Brother Andrew @ 100,

    i want the book that exegetes the yec position

    Not to be flippant, but I think you’ve got it at home and are reading it regularly.

  102. Richard said,

    June 21, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Steve at 89 and 91,
    And Reformed people are not allowed to disagree with Ussher’s chronology? Says who? Warfield disagreed. Meredith Kline disagreed. Why are you making this a test of orthodoxy?

  103. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Steve, thank you for your input. It’s actually more apt and relevant than you know. I need to read my Bible more. While I may disagree with the context, I can never really disagree with someone who tells me to read Scripture, as an answer to any theological discussion. So can I say we agree. Yes and no. It depends. Maybe. Anyway, I did read Rom. 5 and 1 Cor 15. I’ll be praying about it, brothers. You really are all too kind. I’ll be reading. Peace. -AB

  104. Todd said,

    June 21, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    “Say it better this way: Gn 2:7 teaches that God Himself created Adam directly from inanimate existing material He had previously created.”

    Reed,

    Yes, that’s what I meant by process. I should have written direct verses indirect to be clearer that time was not the issue.

    So in your mind Gen 2:7 rules out indirect creation and indirect creation seeks to provide a naturalistic interpretation to what is a clear miracle, much like those who explain the Red Sea parting using natural phenomena. I think I’m tracking with you on this; I’d be curious to hear a reply from a theistic evolutionist (who holds to an historical Adam.)

  105. Steve Drake said,

    June 21, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Richard @102,
    Unless you have a comment to further the discussion, I will ignore your last question in #102 above brother. It’s somewhat pejorative, don’t you think?

    I will respond to questions that seek to further the discussion, asking for clarification, or otherwise making a claim for an old earth or young earth. You are free to ask me directly, or make your points to all in general.
    Blessings.

  106. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Steve,

    My e-mail is andrew [dot] d {dot} buckingham at gmail (dot) com. I’d like to mostly issue my thanks for your time. Shoot me an e-mail as you feel led, so that I can tell you more. I can give you a little more in an initial e-mail, and see where it leads.

    In Christ,
    Andrew

  107. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Eh, why not. Here’s what I just wrote:

    Why would you look to man (your geologist relatives, BioLogos, Kevin N) rather than to Scripture for your answers?

    [AB Comment – I look to OE geologists to help us find drillable oil. The same reason I look to doctors when I break a bone, and not a pastor, to apply a cast. I think I know the YEC response here. You can continue your questions. I am not arguing. Just sharing who I am and where I am at, right now. Peace.]

    What do the Scriptures say? Do you adhere to Biblical authority and inspiration? Might that not count for something? Yes, I understand there are differences of opinion concerning this whole issue, but I would refer you back to my post #81, and ask that you think through the implications I’ve stated in regards to any OE position.

    [AB Comment – fair enough – I do need to think through it more. And read more Bible. I was ordained on simply an “I don’t know” answer when they asked me how long the days are. They kept pressing me. It was the pastor who stepped in and stopped the conversation, in a sense, saying, “I don’t know” is sufficient. In the Northern California presbytery, the issue was around confession subscription in the 2009 conference. That’s where I see this all leading. And the men who presented at the conference presented some solutions. The one I liked most was from Dr. Fesko – he says, “we labor on.” I asked him the same question - "where do we go from here." I might add that we labor on in spreading the Gospel. We are united, brothers, in fullfilling this command from our Lord. I just need to think through some creation stuff, I'll stay mum on the issue from here on out.]

    I’m not trying to make you into a YEC, and I’m not sure why you want to imply that I am. One thing that I appreciate the most about the Green Baggins blog is the freedom of dialog that is encouraged here. You are free to state your opinions and thoughts, and interact with others defending them. I have stated my position as to why I think the recent earth model (approx. 6000 years) is the true biblical model believed on in the church by most since apostolic succession. I have stated the problems I see with an OE. Please feel free to continue to ask me questions, or to state your own position, from which I may be free to ask you questions.
    Blessings.

    [How can you say that you are not trying to turn me into a YEC, because you think my Christology is in error? That’s a serious problem that you are saying that I have, like you note. You are not the first to say that I have suspect beliefs because I am not a YEC. I have been told by many, in many different ways and times. How do I not feel pressure from your statements? I do not return the favor, I do not say your Christology has errors for being YEC. You level the charge against my refusal to assent to YEC in my ordination interview. The pastor of that church stood up for me. If he had not, you might have avoided all this back and forth here. Do you see where all this discussion is leading? More heat than light is being produced, perhaps. I want to bring in light, not heat. I hope I acheived this. The OPC Creation report tells me to help further educate others. I may not have educated anyone. But I can at least share my perspective. That can't be totally worthless.]
    Peace, my PCA brothers.
    AB

  108. Kevin N said,

    June 21, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Andrew has asked a couple times about good books.

    For an overview of the YEC position, I would recommend Coming to Grips with Genesis. Many of the authors are not Reformed, but it is perhaps the most thorough work out there.

    For the old-Earth position, I would start with Genesis 1-4: A Linguistic, Literary, and Theological Commentary by C. John Collins of Covenant Seminary. His “analogical days” interpretation flows naturally from the text, rather than being an imposition on the text.

    Also on the old-Earth side:

    The ESV Study Bible — the notes on Genesis are excellent. Or to some, the notes were written by wolves (or at least wolf-influenced scholars).

    Genesis in Space in Time — Francis Schaeffer, who would not qualify as a leader in the PCA if some had their way.

  109. jedpaschall said,

    June 21, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Reed (#40):

    Richard: quite a bit simplistic, possibly even an ignorant response. No one is talking about excluding anyone. And no, QIRC does not apply. Differences over what Scripture actually says does.

    I’d reccomend going back and re-reading Recovering the Reformed Confession pp. 47-61. Clark is arguing that using 6/24 creationism (or YEC), as a lithmust test for Confessional or Biblical fidelity is an example of QUIRC that is hampering NAPARC denominations. Richard is right on this, and it is my understanding that there are certain factions in the PCA and other NAPARC denominations who are seeking to eliminate any view not in accord with YEC out of the Reformed church entirely. Maybe this isn’t your intent, but gentlemen such a Gary North certainly do have this intent. Just because you are arguing that Scripture demands the 6/24 view (or others for that matter) does not make this so.

    The fact that there is so little unanimity on the issue amongst otherwise confessionally sound individuals should give some pause over the fact that Scripture is not as manifestly clear on the specifics and mode of creation as some want to make it out to be. There are obvious issues if one wishes to deny Adam’s historicity, or lapse into a thourogoing naturalism, but it is not as if theologians such as Warefield or Kline, or others like them are playing fast and loose with the text here. What continues to be disconcerting on GB (which is still one of my favorite blogs regardless) is not that many of it’s authors are YEC, and very conscientious in defending it, rather it is how easily prior agreements on the matter (whether the PCA’s report, or Westminster’s statement on Creation) are disregarded and YEC is being defended as the only viable orthodox interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis. On those grounds who historically, or as a contemporary theologian would not pass the muster for orthodoxy:

    Clark?
    Machen?
    Kline?
    Warfield?
    Hodge?
    Heck even Bryan (of the Scopes trials) was of Old Earth persuasion.

    I completely respect that YECers defend their views as correct, and a matter of conscientious interpretation of Scripture. However, with the lack of unanimity amongst some of the brightest in the Reformed tradition in the last 150 years on the matter, maybe it would be wise to temper strong convictions with the willingness to admit that equally conscientious brothers, who wish to divide the Word of God accurately disagree on the matter.

  110. Reed Here said,

    June 21, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Kevin: thanks for your response concerning the Isaiah passages. Yes, I referenced the Isaiah passages because some sort of change is in view. I agree with you that we need to explore; is this a change only post-fall to new heavens-earth (NH-E) or does the change in view also comprehend the original state of the created order pre-fall. You are denying the latter, seeking to limit the contrast to only post-fall/NH-E. You said:

    The assumption is that the New Earth of Revelation is merely a return to pre-Adam conditions, with the fallen world sandwiched in-between:

    My response: no, I certainly do not make that assumption. :-) I agree with you; the NH-E is not a mere return to pre-fall conditions. Nor is the NH-E a completely different reality with nothing in comparison to the original created order pre-fall. On the contrary the NH-E will be the realization of the perfect incipient in the pre-fall state but not yet present. By incipient I mean it was there in seed form, but had not yet fully developed; it was not yet fully realized in the pre-fall state.

    E.g., in seed form Adam was to live forever. This was a condition that was not yet present but was incipient in how God originally created him. First he had to sustain the test of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The Fall of Adam radically interrupted and denied the incipiency of the original pre-fall state; it stopped what could have been from being realized. Worse, it made the exact opposite of the incipient condition the realized experience. I.e., Adam who was not intended to die now dies.

    In other words, there are both similarities and contrasts when comparing the pre-fall state with the NH-E. These similarities and contrasts can only be comprehended by looking at the two intervening states: the Fall and Christ’s work of salvation. Consider the fourfold state of man:

    • Pre-fall: innocent but able to sin.
    • Post-fall: guilty and not able not to sin.
    • 1st Resurrection (new birth): justified and able not to sin.
    • 2nd Resurrection (Christ’s return, NH-E): glorified and not able to sin.

    I believe this paradigm is mirrored in the material creation’s experience:

    • Pre-fall: free of sin, perfectable but also defectable.
    • Post-fall: defected by the rule of sin.
    • 1st Resurrection (new birth): rule of sin defeated but sin and effects still present.
    • 2nd Resurrection (Christ’s return, NH-E): perfected and not defectable.

    Note that in the four-fold state of man the similarity-contrast pattern:

    • Similarity: pre-fall – innocent; 2nd resurrection – glorified.
    • Contrast: pre-fall – able to sin; 2nd resurrection – not able to sin.

    The similarity component is the expression of some thing incipient but not fully present in the initial state (pre-fall) which will be made fully present in the final state (2nd resurrection). The denial of the incipient characteristic (it’s loss) is directly the result of Adam’s Fall under the rule of sin. The realization of the incipient characteristic is expressly the result of God’s work in and through Jesus Christ. I.e., it is a salvific result, not a natural result of the outworking of the original created order. If Adam had not fallen, he would have gone on to a realizing the maturity incipient characteristic; he would have lived forever.

    It is the contrast component that makes this salvific connection between incipient – realized understandable. Why did the incipient condition not come to realization through the natural means already inherent in God’s original created order? It is because Adam’s Fall under the rule of sin introduced a radical transformation of the original state – a transformation that goes exactly opposite the direction of the incipiency of the pre-fall state; it went opposite the direction of the seed God had created Adam with. This radical transformation resulted in the post-fall condition of absolute slavery under the rule of Sin. Not only was the incipiency of the pre-fall state not realized (the seed did not mature); it CANNOT be realized according to the design of God’s original creation (the seed cannot mature). That which stands in the way of the incipiency (the seed) can only be removed by God’s salvific work in Christ. This is what the contrast component expresses.

    The curse on Adam demonstrates that this similarity-contrast pattern is not just to be experienced in the spiritual realm alone (as if it affected only our souls), but also in the material realm as well. The curse pronounced against Adam was experienced in both soul and body. His relationship with God died immediately (soul, spiritual death), and he was promised that one day his body would return to inanimate material (body, material death), and it did. Further, the results of the Fall fell not just on him, but on all over which his sovereignty was exercised. His wife was cursed, his descendants were cursed, the ground was cursed, and plants were cursed as well (explicitly in Gen 3). Indeed, Rom. 8:19-21 makes it clear that this is exactly the case. All of the created order was in some manner subjected, put into slavery, to the rule of sin that always results in the experience of death.

    Surely the Adam whose sovereignty over the animals is demonstrated in naming them, surely his curse extends to animals as well, no? In particular, why not animal death as a result of the Fall? Why if everyone and everything else under Adam’s sovereignty experienced the rule of sin leading to the ultimate end of death, why are we not to expect that this is true also of animals?

    Applying the similarity-contrast pattern helps us here. Begin in the Isaiah passages (Isa 11:6; 65:25). The context, hopefully we can agree, is an eschatological one (i.e., the final state of perfection). It is describing a transformation to be experienced from the post-fall conditions to the new heavens-earth (NH-E) conditions, a transformation that is expressly the result of the salvific work of God’s Messiah. The condition change in view particularly involves animals. Right now, post-fall (at least) lions eat lambs. That is, some form of animal death is experienced. But in the NH-E this will be changed; lions will no longer eat lambs. I.e., this condition of animal death will be removed.

    Applying the similarity component we are led to ask: what was incipient in the pre-fall condition of animals that the Fall denied, necessitating the salvific transformation in order to be realized? What was there in seed form that the Fall denied? Clearly the inference is that pre-fall animals were not intended to use other animals as a food source. In the NH-E animals realize what was incipient in their original creation: peace with one another – putting one another to death will be removed.

    Looking at the contrast component makes this inferential argument a necessary conclusion. Was animal death introduced as a consequence of the fall? Gn 6:13 seems to make this case. It says that God ended all flesh in the flood because all flesh had filled the world with violence. The word violence denotes the fullest expression of the rule of sin, its ultimate fruit – death. The word flesh can include all animate life, including animals. The Isaiah passages make it clear that animals are to be included in this filling the world with the violence of death. This is the condition that distinguishes the contrast between pre-fall – NH-E. Pre-fall animals were not supposed to kill each other. The Fall resulted in them doing exactly that. This condition of animal death is ultimately removed in the NH-E state when Christ’s salvific work is fully realized.

    I.O.W., the similarity component infers to us that:

    • An incipient characteristic of animals,
    • One that is not now present nor possible due the Fall into the rule of sin,
    • Will be realized in the final state when Christ’s salvific work is fully realized.

    The contrast component identifies the inicipient characteristic:

    • Animals were never intended to kill one another,
    • The Fall into the rule of sin resulted in this characteristic being denied,
    • The NH-E will see this denial removed and this characteristic fully realized – animals will no longer kill one another.

    I admit this is only one argument for demonstrating that animal death is a result of the Fall, and not a condition of the pre-fall state. I guess one could argue that this “form” of death is all that is in view, but others forms of death were present pre-fall. Maybe the Bible can be shown to teach that pre-fall animals experienced natural decay; they died of natural causes excluding killing one another.

    I only have time at present to simply urge you to consider another biblical comparison with Adam. Clearly Adam’s fall into sin resulted in the experience of what we describe as death by natural decay. Clearly this form of death was not to be a part of his pre-fall experience. Arguing otherwise makes God’s promises of eternal life in the NH-E nothing more than a hobbit story, entertaining but not true in the end.

    Again, if Adam is head of the animals, on what biblical basis do we deny that the fullness of his experience of death IS NOT ALSO experienced by all under his sovereignty?

    Thanks!

  111. Reed Here said,

    June 21, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Todd: instead of “direct” I prefer the word “fiat.” It has a theological definition that gets exactly at what I believe Gn 2:7 requires. Any position which denies or equivocates on this point fails.

    Make sense?

  112. Reed Here said,

    June 21, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Jed: thanks, but I did have in mind Clark’s application of QIRC to the 6/24 position. I agree with him that holding to the 6/24 position can be a form of QIRC.

    I deny that holding to the 6/24 is necessarily an application of QIRC. This is because the QIRC involves a motive that may or may not be present in the one holding to a given position. That motive is a desire for certainty that the Bible does not give.

    If someone holds to 6/24 because they believe they need it or else their faith fall apart, then I agree QIRC applies. However, if someone holds to 6/24 merely because they believe that is what the Bible teaches, then no QIRC does not apply.

    I for one do not hold to 6/24 because my faith needs it or else. At least in my case Richard is wrong – this is NOT a case of QIRC. I may be wrong in my interpretation of the Bible (it may not teach 6/24), but I deny my motive for holding to is because of QIRC on my part.

    Do you want to psycho-analyze me? ;-)

  113. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Humility defined:

    “I may be wrong in my interpretation of the Bible (it may not teach 6/24), but I deny my motive for holding to is because of QIRC on my part.”

    It’s really true, I had no idea these discussions were going on. I humbly submit to you brothers – this is a good discussion and one that should continue, as the Lord grants us His strength and Grace.

    What a cool bunch of friends I have recently found.

  114. Reed Here said,

    June 21, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    And Jed: respectfully I deny your characterization of the arguments made by Lane, myself, and other posters in the left panel. The very fact that Old Earthers and Young Earthers are equally treated with respect by us in these discussions demonstrates your characterization is wrong.

    We’ve never denied that equally conscientious brothers and fathers have thought differently. They are not maligned nor consigned to the outer regions of hell by us.

    Instead we’re engaging in vigorous debate over the interpretation of Scripture. We are to approach the interpretation of our fathers – both Ussher and Warfield, with respect due them as fathers in the Church before us. AND we are to honor their commitment by giving their interpretations the Berean once over.

    Sincerely Jed, I agree that demeanor of debate is an important characteristic to be considered. I agree that both OE’ers and YE’ers will at times cross the line. But such blanket characterization is unfair to the discussion that actually occurs here at GB.

    If you want to admonish all to show proper respect for the heritage of men like Ussher AND Warfield; if you want to admonish that we show one another such proper respect, I am with you brother. Please though, lay off the one-sided admonishments.

  115. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Steve:

    You had asked I look at your 82 comment again. I think something worth mentioning:

    “They revel in saying that ‘death’ is ‘good’, contrary to Paul’s statement in 1 Cor. 15:26 that ‘death’ is an enemy that will rightly be abolished.”

    I do not affirm death is “good” because there was potentially a bunch of animals all attacking one another regardless of Adam’s fall.

    I mean, I hate to be blunt, but can I just state that I don’t really care what the plants and animals were doing before the fruit was bitten into?

    What I am saying is, in affirming my belief in the allowability of animal and plant death in the pre-fall state, I do not think I am in danger of heretical Christology. Which is at the heart of what I think I am struggling with. My Christology is suspect. And thus, I am made to question. When I think the connection between animals attacking one another and the divine/human nature relationship in Christ is not common sense.

    But I am still learning. And will keep trying. My brothers.

    Peace.

  116. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    You have to grant me the grace to be able to express to you that this post and comment thread is threatening to me. I turn to McGuckin (an eastern orthodox priest) for help in understanding Christology. I am not saying that EO isn’t without it’s problems (ever learner than I am, I have written and learned about the things I don’t like there). Just know that I am one who feels a little hurt by all this, and must find solace at the hands of an EO priest.

    That doesn’t mean I don’t sense the love of Christ in this forum. I am just asking for a second thought about whether someone who doesn’t affirm YEC really has Christology outside the bounds of what is acceptable.

    Just musing. Sorry Y’all.

  117. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    Don’t worry though about my feelings. I am telling you though, before I felt free to just type away comments, and I was reading this post, I felt sadness. I understand the wovles are to be associated with Biologos. It’s just with the conversation that ensued, yes, there is a hurtful strain, I feel, for someone to use Christological arguments against those who deny YEC. I mean, to drop down the Christological card is the ultimate five fingered exploding heart trick. I’ve seen it done in settings, like this, “oh, that’s an interesting position, Mr. X. But have you considered that you have your Christology all backwards?”

    What would you feel like, Mr. YEC only crowd, were I to tell you that your Christology is out of whack?

    I mean, i hold my Christology loosely, just FYI. And I am not a minister. I would certainly be careful that when I play that card, it truly is warranted.

    my two sense.

  118. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    By loosely, I mean I am open to further study. What have all y’all found helpful in developing your thoughts on Christology. I read my Bible daily, and I use that. But have you found anything else? I don’t mean to downplay Scripture. But yes, I found solace with an EO guy. Maybe a Christology comment thread would help? I did see some thoughts going back and forth when Lane posted something about the attributes. Talk about a long comment thread.

    Wow, I have a lot of reading to catch up with you guys.

    In the meantime, I hope you don’t mind when i share with you my feelings.

    peace.

  119. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    This is what I meant by what I was trying to follow before:

    http://greenbaggins.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/the-communication-of-attributes/

    Oh, and by the way, if anyone wants to catch me up to speed on things, instead of having me read the 13 blog posts on Christology, go right ahead. in the meantime, i will be busy reading. I hope to join you fellows later when I know a little more. peace out.

  120. Don said,

    June 21, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    @Reed Here (#93, 114, 112)

    No, I’m not thinking any less of you. I would, again, challenge you that calling people “wolves” is not an instance of not maligning.

    But to ask a maybe more productive question following up on #112, I think I understand your point that YEC is only QIRC if one feels one’s faith would fall apart without it. But what about the converse, specifically: if one thinks that any sort of belief in evolution necessarily wrecks one’s faith (i.e., is a heresy), how is that not QIRC?

  121. Reed Here said,

    June 21, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Don: assume for a moment Lane was directing the wolves comment at folks in particular (as opposed to what I maintain, it was a referenced intended to warn).

    If the person is not a wolf, then yes, calling them a wolf is to malign them. But if the person is a wolf, calling them one is also to malign them? You’re defending a challenge that is not necessary to make.

  122. Don said,

    June 21, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    @Steve Drake #82,
    I think you’re too worried about the possibility of pre-Adamic animal death maligning Christ’s character. If Scripture said, point blank, that animals didn’t die before the Fall, then that would be one thing. But this question is not answered explicitly.

    I fear that the arguments you make in 82 could easily (but incorrectly) be applied post-Fall, that it was dishonoring for Christ to create creatures who could sin. To reiterate, that’s NOT TRUE, but it follows from the same superficial interpretation of how Christ’s creation honors or dishonors him. Is it not enough to say that all parts of creation, whatever their short- or long-term destiny, were given that destiny by Christ and will bring him glory through it (whether or not it looks like a glory-bringing destiny)?

  123. Reed Here said,

    June 21, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Don: what if evolution really is heresy? Under that condition, then believing in evolution can indeed wreck one’s faith. The question concerning QIRC is meaningless in this scenario. (What you mean by “wreck” needs to be qualified. I will assume you mean something general like it can do some sort of harm to one’s faith.)

    QIRC is a factor found in a deficiency of resting in Christ alone for salvation. As such, the believer seeks to secure weaknesses in their faith by the support of some other doctrine that is itself non-essential to saving faith in Christ.

    The question is does evolution in/and of itself contradict some essential component of the gospel? If it does, then it is heresy. If it is heresy, it is harmful to faith regardless of the presence of QIRC in a person.

    If, on the other hand, evolution (or some form of it) is not heretical (it does not contradict an essential component of the gospel), then belief that it is heresy may or may not be because of QIRC, depending on the individual’s reasons for this erroneous judgment. Again, they could just be interpreting the Bible wrong.

  124. Don said,

    June 21, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    @Reed Here #121,
    Without having talked to Lane, I can only know what he means by what he’s written. The quote (I don’t know whether it’s original or borrowed) is addressed to wolves. It might have been included in the post as a warning to sheep, but it was to wolves.

    I have been enjoying the “vigorous debate” here and hope it continues in the mostly respectful tone it mostly has. But to call people “wolves” and their views “heresy” is to pretty much shut the debate down, which seems to me to defeat the purpose of the conversation.

  125. Steve Drake said,

    June 21, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Andrew @115,

    I do not affirm death is “good” because there was potentially a bunch of animals all attacking one another regardless of Adam’s fall.

    I mean, I hate to be blunt, but can I just state that I don’t really care what the plants and animals were doing before the fruit was bitten into?

    This is not an option left open to those who adhere to an OE position. Think your OE position through thoroughly Andrew. What was Christ doing in creation before Adam bit the forbidden fruit? Put all the biodiversity of life and the whole of the created order on a timeline. All OE positions claim that Adam came at the very end of this long, millions and millions of years timeline. So explain the process whereby the why that fossils in the rocks show indication of death, disease, tumors, cancer, blood and gore, killing and eating one another according to an OE position, and how all this can be considered ‘good’, and part of Christ’s creative work, that does not impugn and malign His Holy character. Death is not an outflow of God’s character, but a result of the one man’s sin (Rom. 5:12, 1 Cor. 15:21).

    Think of the cross, brother. What did Christ accomplish on the cross? Was His work on the cross only salvific for mankind to those the Father had predestined, or was it broader than that? If it was a spiritual death for Adam only, then why the need for Christ to die physically?

    The ‘gospel’ message is broader than that. It encompasses the whole of the created order that is in bondage to corruption, in subjection to the Curse by which God subjected it, and waiting for the redemption of the sons of God (Rom 8).

  126. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    Steve Drake,

    I will chill and think over what you wrote. Actually, I will keep my word and leave this forum for at least a day or two. I am sorry for all my questions.

    I ask for all y’alls grace. Remember, I just found out today, that because I am not Ussherian, I have Christology problems.

    But I rest in the Grace that our God so freely gives. It was Ferguson that helped teach me how to rest, and I have a great book of his on John Owen (my true favorite friend, Communion, as was recently told by my pastor, is life changing, and I can not deny).

    I’m all over the place.

    Regards,
    Andrew

  127. Trent said,

    June 21, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    Believe in Evolution all you want, just don’t do it the Biologos way. The Biologos way,(believe me as a former follower) was to deny the inerrancy of scripture and twist it to mean something else IN LIGHT OF EVOLUTION. To Biologos believing in evolution and Bible is their Gospel. It’s sickening and now that is heresy.
    G’day

  128. Reed Here said,

    June 21, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    Question: if death was a part of the ordinary original order before the Fall, then why does God send Jesus to save us from it?

    O.k., so the response is to define death in such a manner that some form of death was present before the Fall. This means that Christ saves us only from that form (those forms) of death expressly introduced as a result of the fall, but not that form (those forms) of death present prior to the fall.

    After all, that period is described as “very good.” Any form(s) of death present pre-fall could not be present on account of sin.

    So what form(s) of death does Christ actually save us from? Does that mean the other form(s) of pre-Fall death will be present in the NH-E? After all, if they’re not a part of the problem why remove them?

  129. Trent said,

    June 21, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Well said Steve Drake!

  130. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Until you hear from me, I submit to you brothers – Andrew Buckingham is 6/24. I can not handle the stress of having suspect Christology.

    This isn’t the first time in my life I have had to accept some form of cognitive disonnance. I do not know with what force these words are coming, but because I can not at this time afford a suspect Christology, consider me one of you all, my new YEC brotherhood.

    peace

  131. Todd said,

    June 21, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Steve,

    We have been through this before, but your statements on the pre-fall world and God’s character are purely speculative. Why must animals eating each other impugn upon God’s character? You keep repeating this but I see no evidence for this. Why not then say God creating man peccable impugns upon God’s character? “Good”, or even “very good” does not mean perfect in every way, or the old creation would not have been temporary, pointing to a new and better one.

    Reed,

    “But in the NH-E this will be changed; lions will no longer eat lambs. I.e., this condition of animal death will be removed.”

    Are you saying this should be taken literally; that there will be lions and lambs in the new heavens and earth? If so, aren’t you putting too much weight on a certain interpretation of prophetic idiom, which usually involves symbolism at some level?

  132. Reed Here said,

    June 21, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    Todd: are you saying I am potentially falling into hyper-literalism?

    What do you think the NH-E will be like? Where do you get these insights?

    What in Scripture tells me that the new earth is not going to be, well, Earth? Is not Rev 20-21 in its description of NH-E one in which the original home of God and man now universal? If animals were in our first home, why would they not be in our last home?

    If you disagree, what are your interpretive tools that you when to read something more or less literal vs. reading them as rhetorical-metaphorical?

    Do you believe there will be animals in the NH-E? If not, on what biblical basis do you hold this?

  133. Reed Here said,

    June 21, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Todd, your response to Steve about why must animals eating one another impugn God, consider the Isaiah lion-lamb passages. Your demural on symbolism aside, what is the point if at least not symbolically animals eating other animals is evidence in this world of the rule of sin leading to death? Why use a symbol for the perfections of eternity that is itself defective? If animals eating animals is actually part of the “very good” creation in the first place, does not God impugn himself by providing a symbol of his perfection of eternity that is really not a symbol of imperfection in the first place? Doesn’t the blow hard, the exaggerator, fish-tale teller impugn his own character?

  134. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    Kevin N, I will read next the book you suggest. I need to read and figure this out.

    No more posts,
    Andrew

  135. Todd said,

    June 21, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Reed,

    It seems the difference in how we are interpreting these prophecies has to do less with different interpretations and more with the confidence in which you use them to prove certain doctrine; confidence I am not comfortable with. The lion laying down with the lamb could only be a picture of peace that everyone understood without making any statements about pre-fall or post-consummation animal life on earth, or it could be literally what will happen, I don’t know. But that is the point, I don’t know, it is prophecy after all. It would be like using Luke 16 and Abraham’s bosom for a definite doctrine of Hades. As for symbols being defective, are not all symbols at some level defective? The temple was defective and man-made and temporary, yet often used in OT prophecy for the consummation. What does that prove? So I am not comfortable with how much you are making out of that lion and lamb prophecy (though I am still thinking through your theistic evolution concerns, which resonate more with me).

  136. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 21, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    I feel like I have a lot to say. I keep reading these comments. I have many thoughts. But I feel like I am in the wrong place. And that I create problems. And that I don’t have time or energy to maintain. Steve, yours at 125. I’m just not a confrontational person. What should I do? I feel like this is all my fault. Stirring the pot, like I feel like I have been doing. I don’t know how to impart the profound level of peace I have been able to achieve, despite all the challenges I face, and am sure to face. I mean, I can post comments, like this one, without promulgating new thought. This blog world, comments, etc, clearly has been going on for a long time. I see value for those who would read these, and be better equipped to make up their minds. But when people are so settled in their belief, the discussion goes on forever. I will say though, in closing. There is a question about why I listen to relatives instead of Scripture, over the topic at hand. I have such profound peace over these matters. I have tried to explain my personal status, my feelings, my reasons. It all comes back to God. I take all this to him. I’m with Tim Keller. I don’t know all the answers to the ‘why’ questions. I don’t know why suffering, for example. But I know the incarnation is as profound as it gets. And by it, God has proved that He hasn’t left us. I don’t know if there will be lions and lambs when we reach glory. But I think we can rest in the fact that glory is going to be more glorious than we can possibly fathom. I don’t try to peer into some reading of Genesis 1 or 2, and try to unravel what the glory of God will look like at the end. What I do, is I rest in his goodness. I’m saying everything and nothing at all. You are all very kind.I pray that God would continue to lead us in the way everlasting. I am so blessed to have found you all, and to talk with you.

    http://www.esvbible.org/search/psalm+139%3A23-24/

  137. Don said,

    June 22, 2012 at 12:00 am

    @Reed Here #123,
    This is a good question! I suppose that since heresy usually refers to religious tenets, it would be easier to answer if evolution was a religious doctrine. Instead, it is a scientific theory used to organize and explain certain empirical phenomena. Of course it has some religious/philosophical implications, which is where your question enters.

    I personally don’t mean anything by “wreck” in “wreck one’s faith.” But it is fairly common for both YECists and Angry Atheists to claim that you can’t be a Christian and believe in evolution. I fear that too many young kids believe that claim, go to college, find out there is some actual evidence for evolution, and then suppose they have to give up Christianity because their pastor, more so than their biology prof, basically said so.

    Part of the issue, I suppose, is that the WCF and other depictions of Reformed theology were written long before evolution (and all but the most primitive of modern science) and therefore did not need to deal with such issues. There was no reason to deal with the issue of, say, pre-Adamic animal death. Now that it is an issue, it seems like some people have knee-jerk reactions against attempts to figure out how evolution relates to Genesis 1-2. But such attempts are not necessarily(!) attacks on the WCF or on Christianity. I trust you’re aware that various people have attempted to understand how Adam may have had ancestors yet still be our Federal Head. None of the rather few attempts that I’ve read have been very satisfactory to me, but I think that a correct understanding of both general and special revelation is a worthy goal.

  138. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 22, 2012 at 7:50 am

    A shout out to Kevin N (yes, I am breaking my vow of silence). Please keep sharing your perspective. I ordered and will be reading the books you mention, as soon as they arrive. I love what you so in the scientific field. My wife, a licensed professional geologist, sure did enjoy our vacation last week to Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, and Dinosaur national monument in Utah. My four lower division geology classes does not give me the same perspective as her undergraduate degree. You and her could talk shop, no doubt, I love the pic on your blog with you vs. the Dino. I’ve read some interesting articles lately on dinosaurs, about how many be they were more feathery (even colorful) creatures. Also, that they were smaller in mass than we sometimes thing. Our earth has such rich history. I know I will be reading about YEC, but I would love to know more about what you like reading ans books you have liked, in your field,or otherwise. Theology, geology, golf, accounting, I have many interests, and I enjoy hearing from people who experience it first hand…

  139. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 22, 2012 at 7:54 am

    And most importantly, I am glad you have found a home in the PCA. If I can share more about my perspective in a fellow NAPARC denomination, just shoot me an email. But you seem very knowledgabele about theology and other such things. Its exciting meeting people who have an appreciation for the same things as I do. Which is why I keep asking about golf :-). Played horrible yesterday, but it was a good score for me. I still need to start a Presbyterian golfers blog…

  140. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 22, 2012 at 8:23 am

    And if it helps to explain all my posting, I am the only one in the family I was born into with these desires to post on blogs about these issues. I have been thinking about this since public school, ninth grade biology, when I smoked my evolutionist friends by beating them on the evolution test. ‘I am the creationist, and know the evolution better than you,’ I sneered. The teacher overheard me He said, ‘Andrew, you are a creationist? So am I.’ I never heard about it again from him. But that was a poingant moment. One of many, as I continued to read articles, take clauses, etc. This has been going on a while, this discussion, I mean, for years.

    It must go on.

    Our God is with us as we share, brothers.

  141. Steve Drake said,

    June 22, 2012 at 9:23 am

    Todd @ 131,

    We have been through this before, but your statements on the pre-fall world and God’s character are purely speculative.

    Hi Todd,
    Yes, we’ve been through this before, but no, my statements on the pre-fall world are not speculative. Isn’t it true that for almost all of Christendom and most of all Christian belief down through the ages have taken the sinless, created ‘good’ world to mean functioning in all that God had intended it to function? That everything in the universe works as designed? That each component was designed to function without flaw? Nothing misplaced? Nothing left to chance? That God’s ‘good’ would have to be in harmony with His divine nature?

    Why must animals eating each other impugn upon God’s character?

    It’s not just that animals were eating each other, but that there was disease, cancer, tumors, suffering, plagues, the killing involved in ‘the chase’, the extinctions on a massive scale by natural disasters, the blood and gore and brutality of the beasts. You must also conclude that the hominids in this list were suffering from the same things if an OE position, because they also came before Adam and his sin.

    Yet we know from Scripture that God is Holy, glorious in holiness (Ex. 15:11), omniscient (Is. 46:9-10), (not progressively aware, God’s knowledge is immediate and free from imperfection), completely just and right in His judgments (Deut. 32:3-4).

    So is it fair to say all this about God (and Christ in His work of creation) if death, disease, suffering, cancer, tumors, plagues, extinctions from natural disasters, blood and gore, animals red in tooth and claw were all happening prior to sin? How does that ‘not’ impugn and malign the character of Christ Scripture tells us of?

    To say that these things are part of Christ’s nature; that He instituted, initiated, inaugurated, and designed and placed these things into His work of creation, which one must in any OE position with millions and millions of years, before Adam even came on the scene and sinned, is a most pernicious and audacious charge against Christ, don’t you think?

    Why not then say God creating man peccable impugns upon God’s character?

    A mystery left to you theologians I think. I don’t have an answer for you here. Wasn’t Adam also created with the ability ‘not to sin’? He clearly had a choice, obey and live, disobey and die (Gen.2:16-17). Does God creating Adam with the ability to sin truly impugn and malign His character in the same way as initiating, instituting, and inaugurating these evils into his work of creation in the first place? Perhaps this requires further discussion

  142. June 22, 2012 at 10:31 am

    I’ve read through the comments and one thought keeps hitting me. There is so much talk about death and yet the term appears to lack definition. Given the import of this question a systematic study of what is meant by death would seem to be critical before applying the term in debate. In the comments stream, sometimes it means flesh, sometimes it just means animals death, sometimes is organic, sometimes its spiritual. Most of the time it is equated with some sort of pain (tumors, animals gnawing on each other etc..). I really wonder how many here could actually define what it death is much less what life is? It is not trivial task, I make my students speculate for a good 30 minutes before even starting to talk about it in my class. Biologically it just isn’t easy to define and thus death is also difficult to define for many organisms (what constitutes an organism is another hugely difficult topic as well).
    So I wonder, when most of you are saying no death before the fall what death are you speaking of exactly? It seems easy to talk of large animals but once you start saying that plants are not alive or bacteria or fungi (or insects?) then the meaning of deaths suddenly changes quite a bit. What about cellular death? Does no pain literally mean our bodies had no pain receptors before the fall? The placenta also grows from the first cell of fertilization and yet we cut it off and throw it in the trash. I don’t think that cellular death and decay is a problem but maybe before the fall there was no placenta because no cells were wasted (yes, that is a loaded term).
    Even if one finds a definition of breath of life in the Scriptures and can apply it to what organisms do and don’t have this form of “life” how does one then distinguish pain, decay etc between those two groups. Before the fall, no animals died or had any form of decay but other “animals” such as worms did die and decayed? I’m not sure how an ecology works in that scenario.
    I have been talking about plants and the Bible in Sunday School the past month and we came to figs these past couple of weeks. Figs are incredible fruit/flower that was very important resource in Biblical times and so was the source of many analogies. Even in Biblical times they understood that the fig never flowers and there needs to be wasps for it to produce good fruit. Good fruit is only formed when a female wasp squeezes into the flower (the flower opens pointed inside the fruit) and pollinates the flower to make the fruit. The female loses here wings and sometimes here legs when she climbs in. She will never leave and dies inside the fruit (yes, there are many wasps bodies in all wild fig fruits). For figs to reproduce they wasps must move from one to another and die inside. The system is incredible and quite complicated for some fig species (there are more than 1000 fig species and at least than many fig wasp species each of which is responsible for the pollination and survival of a different fig species). I don’t have time here but to better understand the “bad” and “good” figs mentioned in the OT and NT it really helps to understand the life cycle of male and female fig trees and the wasp intermediates. When I showed how this works the comment was “wow, that is amazing design. To think that God created all these wasps for each specific tree and this amazing system to make good figs” I agreed but what I didn’t say partly because I didn’t want to create a stumbling block for this person is that this amazing designed system requires death! If no death than after the fall this system was created separately or is somehow degenerate and to be amazed by God’s intricate creation loses much of its meaning when one thinks that what is really amazing is the effects of sin on these figs and wasps which must have had some other purpose before. No time for more details but any biologist would encounter thousands of such examples of amazing design in death and you get extra protein in your diet as a result. I’m not sure how death here is evil but it could be your version of death doesn’t include insects.
    I also don’t see anyone here dealing with the importance of the symbolism of the historical reality that Adam was not made in Eden. I have some thoughts on that with regard to the origin of thornbushes on my blog but it strikes me that Adam being created from the “wilderness” outside of Eden and brought into communion with God is very important and can possibly speak to the special nature of things in Eden. There must be some physical distinction between Eden and the rest of the earth otherwise why mention a location of Eden if it shared every characteristic with the rest of the earth?

  143. Reed Here said,

    June 22, 2012 at 10:40 am

    Todd: so just go with the core symbolism. What does peace between lion and lamb mean? Why is there a need for peace? Exactly what changes are in view from a state of war a state of peace?

    I suggest these questions go back to my questions to your regarding the extent of death in view.

  144. Steve Drake said,

    June 22, 2012 at 10:52 am

    Natural Historian @ 142,
    One must bring into your discussion above however, the Scripture’s statements itself about death:

    Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned (Rom 5:12).

    For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 6:23)

    For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead (1 Cor. 15:21).

    The last enemy that will be abolished is death (1 Cor. 15:26)

    The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law (1 Cor. 15:56).

    One cannot have a discussion about the ‘definition’ of death from only a purely biological and naturalistic perspective, the Scriptures must be paramount.

  145. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 22, 2012 at 10:52 am

    “I really wonder how many here could actually define what it death is much less what life is?”

    I haven’t read it all.

    But that was exactly the point in my evolution class at UCSB.

    Stunning.

    Still reading,
    ab

  146. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 22, 2012 at 10:56 am

    And as for this:

    “One cannot have a discussion about the ‘definition’ of death from only a purely biological and naturalistic perspective, the Scriptures must be paramount.”

    Truly in all areas of life, death being one, we must submit to the Scriptures. Because that is how God speaks to us.

    And it was Jesus who submitted to His Father.

    We are to do likewise. And follow our Lord’s commands.

    I think my mind is back in it’s proper state.

    But I am still awaiting the books from Kevin N.

  147. Reed Here said,

    June 22, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Don: evolution is more than a scientific theory. It is a metaphysical philosophy as well. One needs to strip the naturalism from the theory and overlay theism to get something that is not necessarily opposed to a theistic theory of origins. You do know this, right? (I’m a tad discouraged that someone who appears to be rather well informed would either miss this point or ignore it.)

    Even after the theism overlay, the issue then becomes a matter of interpretive rules. Exactly what is the relationship between special and general revelation? How is special revelation itself to be interpreted?

    As to the federal Adam views – so far I’ve not read one that believe is consistent with correct biblical interpretation. All of them turn Adam’s creation into myth vehicle for some sort of truth that is merely assertions. It makes the notion of a God who speaks truth in the context of history meaningless.

    Further, all such schemes are a continuation of the mythologizing of Genesis. Next we will be mythologizing the fall. The details don’t matter, as they are not to be understand as actual history. Instead they are familiar themes (memes) used to communicate “spiritual” truths. Then we will blithly move on to denying Cain, Abel, and the rest of the first seven generations were real people (or that whether or not they are real doesn’t matter). We’ve probably already given up on the Flood. The we’re mythologizing the Tower of Babel (ancient man’s attempt to explain different cultures and languages), then we’re …

    Meanwhile when we lost a historic Adam we struck at the heel of a historic Jesus.

    This is yet another bite at the higher criticism apple. Those men too thought they were saving the Bible from unnecessary challenges to its veracity. Europe is spiritually dead as a result.

    I am no hyper-literalist. I regularly live with a tension in my interpretation of some details in Scripture. But the basics are clear – real history describing real people with a real problem necessitating a real Savior.

    This is more serious than making the Bible safe for the “unnecessary” challenges of our society in terms of scientific origins. The same methodologies are being use in the push for acceptance of homosexual behavior, and will be used to push for other wickednesses as well.

    Be careful, lest the sword you lean on break and you fall, your faith fatally pierced.

  148. Don said,

    June 22, 2012 at 10:58 am

    @Steve Drake #141:

    To say that these things are part of Christ’s nature; that He instituted, initiated, inaugurated, and designed and placed these things into His work of creation, which one must in any OE position with millions and millions of years, before Adam even came on the scene and sinned, is a most pernicious and audacious charge against Christ, don’t you think?

    Why not then say God creating man peccable impugns upon God’s character?

    A mystery left to you theologians I think.

    If you’re so certain that death before Adam impugns God’s character, then I don’t see how you can equivocate here. It’s the same logic: death and sin seem bad to us, so we have to avoid any appearance of attributing them to God. But this seems to conflict with Isaiah 45:7, for instance.

  149. June 22, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Hi Steve,
    Well of course that is true but I didn’t think I needed to provide all those verses because they that is what has already been presented. So given those Scriptures what then is death? The absence of life? Then what is life? We can now go through all the Scriptures about what life is and I think we will have a pretty good theology but at some point we have to apply our understanding to the physical world. Am I alive? Is my cat alive? I guess the questions is how to we bring the Scriptures answer to the question and it apply it to the biological/physical? Some would say that the Scripture demands that insects be considered alive and thus death as the antithesis must not have come to them prior to the fall. If so, the fig wasp could not have existed in its present form before the fall. But if not alive then somehow it is ok that it is exactly the way it is today and what is does is not the result of the fall? These are two very different views of how to react to the design of a wasp that would result from different interpretation of Scripture.
    Joel

  150. Reed Here said,

    June 22, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Natural Historian: as per blog rules, if you care to continue commenting, we ask that you identify yourself. If for some reason you wish to remain anonymous in public, please identify yourself privately to the blog owner or one of the moderators, who will determine if that is acceptable.

    As to your wasp-fig example, two observations. First, you assume that the process now in place is exactly the process as orginally created pre-fall. We know, at least in principle, that this is not the case. If you believe in a historic Fall then you must believe that this is some manner, some dramatic manner, affected the natural processes of creation. I’m not saying that specifically proves that wasps did not originally have something to do with figs. I am saying you assume too much.

    Second, the person who exclaimed to you, “wow, God is amazing in His design!” is actually right. Assuming the Fall is historical fact, assuming that its affect had a dramatic impact throughout the created order, the fact that anything still works at all is actually quite impressive. Of course, here we touch on the wonders of common grace, a much ignored doctrine that explains how heavens currently under the corrupt rule of sin still manage to show forth the glory of God. What must have been their grandeur before the Fall!?!?!?! Oh wait, we get a picture of that in the description of the new heavens-earth in Rev 20-22 (unless of course we’re inclined to believe that is hyperbolic metaphor :-( .)

  151. Reed Here said,

    June 22, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Don: you’re pushing Steve based on a false premise. Death impugns God not at all, but rather elevates his honor, if we acknowledge death to be the just verdict on sin.

    Steve’s contention that death before fall impugns God because God himself says death is His act of judgment on sin. If death existed pre-fall, then God’s sense of justice is rather suspect, and possibly silly.

    God to Adam: “You’ve done the worst thing possible when you ate that apple!!!! I know, I’m going to sentence you to death!”

    Adam to God: “Uh, You mean that thing that the animals do to each other? Ohhhh, big words! Betcha ya can’t catch me. Nyah, nyah, nyah, na!”

    That does impugn His glory.

  152. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 22, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Oh wait, we get a picture of that in the description of the new heavens-earth in Rev 20-22 (unless of course we’re inclined to believe that is hyperbolic metaphor :-(

    I’ll add those chapters to my list to read. While I am sure I will be awestruck, as Scripture has the power to do that, What I am more sure of is that even the person who penned those words didn’t yet know what the Glory of God will truly look like when it will be revealed.

    What we have in store for us brothers, I think, is more than we can really say or explain.

    http://www.esvbible.org/search/psalm+62%3A1/

  153. Steve Drake said,

    June 22, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Don @ 148,

    If you’re so certain that death before Adam impugns God’s character, then I don’t see how you can equivocate here. It’s the same logic: death and sin seem bad to us, so we have to avoid any appearance of attributing them to God. But this seems to conflict with Isaiah 45:7, for instance.

    Hi Don,
    Is this an example of proof-texting? Using the phrase ‘creating calamity’ from Isaiah 45:7 to support disease, cancer, tumors, plagues, extinctions on a massive scale by natural disasters, killing, blood and gore, animals red in tooth and claw, and yes death, all before Adam’s sin? What other interpretation of Isaiah 45:7 should also be considered?

    Please note that in your blockquote in #148, the question ‘Why not then say God creating man peccable impugns upon God’s character’?, is actually Todd’s question to me from his post #131, and not part of my comments and statement. It appears from the post above in #148 that it is something I said where in fact it was Todd’s question. I’m sure you realized this, but just blockquoted the whole thing rather than separated my comments from Todd’s comments.

  154. June 22, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Reed, I wasn’t trying to anonymous just didn’t think to add my name at the end of that message and I also assume most know who I am by now.
    I apparently wasn’t clear in my example. I am fully aware that the explanation might be that there was a different function before the fall and that was my point. So I take it you would consider death of a wasp to be scripture-defined death?

  155. June 22, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Oops, meant to sign that last post. Joel Duff

    BTW, Reed, lets not go beyond Scripture and make up our own. God did not say Adam had gone to far by eating that “apple.” I hope I don’t have to accept that it must have been an apple:-) We may have to disagree on this one because I think it is very unlikely to have been an apple. I think it is much more likely (but not a test a faith) that it was a fig. After all, after their eyes were opened they and they saw they were naked they immediately made for themselves coverings from from “fig” leaves. The “fig” here is specific and so we know there was a fig tree and that tree would have been right in front on them and had large broad leaves unless fig trees looked like willows before the fall. Maybe they suddenly changed form the moment Eve ate of the “apple” The fig fruit has so much more meaning than an apple and so it just makes more sense that it was a “good” fig that was taken. Fits something like Isa 28:4 ESV – “and the fading flower of its glorious beauty, which is on the head of the rich valley, will be like a first-ripe fig before the summer: when someone sees it, he swallows it as soon as it is in his hand.” Not exactly a slam-dunk prooftext by any means but as good as any justification that it was an apple. Just trying to have some fun here.
    Joel

  156. Don said,

    June 22, 2012 at 11:46 am

    @ Steve Drake #153,
    If God says “I bring about bad things” then what does it matter if it’s proof-texting? God is boasting to Cyrus that he created everything and can do whatever he wants.

    Yeah, I know the source of the quotes, and I wanted to include your response, but I don’t know how to nest block quotes. And I didn’t want to clutter up this blog by testing it here. So I apologize to anyone who misread my quoting.

    @ Reed Here #151,

    Death impugns God not at all, but rather elevates his honor, if we acknowledge death to be the just verdict on sin.

    Romans 5:12 says, quite explicitly, that this is correct with regard to humanity. But I am unaware if animal (or plant!) death is treated explicitly, and I would doubt whether that question mattered to Paul (or anyone in Bible times). Yes, I’m aware that “creation was subject to futility” which _might_ mean that some animals suddenly became carnivores, but again, I don’t think there’s any Scriptural proof of this.

    So no, I don’t think I’m being unfair to challenge Steve’s assertion that pre-Adamic animal death maligns God, if Scriptures do not address the issue.

  157. Reed Here said,

    June 22, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Natural Historian (Joel?): no, sorry, don’t recognize you by that ident. It maybe that you have in the past, but you haven’t posted here frequently enough for my feeble brain to recall. ;-) Again, please i.d. yourself (privately by email if you prefer – reed [dot} here <at) gmail ]dot[ com, ignore he brackets, etc.)

    As to wasp (insect death), this is too broad a topic to discuss given the limited time I have at present. You will find this topic discussed at length in the archives here if you care to explore what I and others think.

    Suffice to say Steve's list of verses is barely scratching the surface. What we can say safely is that whatever death is:

    • It is both a physical (material) and spiritual (immaterial) reality.
    • It is not merely to be described in terms of process, but also in terms of (not exhaustive here): condition, state, existence, and relationship.
    • It was not present before the Fall anywhere in the created order.
    • It was introduce upon and only upon the sin of the historical Adam in the historical garden.
    • It applies to all the created order, as judicial judgment upon the created order’s sovereign, federal head, Adam.
    • It’s state, condition, process, existence, relationship can only be removed by God.
    • It’s spiritual reality has been destroyed in the death-resurrection of Jesus.
    • It’s physical reality will be removed in the return-renewal of Jesus.
  158. Reed Here said,

    June 22, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Don: I strongly urge you to spend some time exegeting Romans 8:19-22. Do this in context of such passages of Rom 1:18-20. You are arguing for a limiting of the scope of “futility”.

    Add to your examination the curse of the Fall in Gn 3. What exactly is God saying when he curses Adam, Eve, the ground? Examine the Scriptures that build off the curse? How far does it extend?

    Ground your limits to the limiting of Scripture itself.

    Do not merely ask, “Where does Scripture assert?” Scripture does not work that way. Some things are expressly asserted, and others are developed (e.g., the doctrine of the Trinity.) If we only believe based on explicit assertion, we’ll end up cutting up the Bible much worse than poor Thomas Jefferson did.

    These things cannot be decided based on positive explicit assertion. Such a standard of proof will leave you with no faith at all, as virtually everything in the Bible is subjectable to an endless stream of qualifying demands for more explicit assertions. (Cf., the Historical Jesus fiasco for example.)

  159. Don said,

    June 22, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    @Reed Here #147,

    Don: evolution is more than a scientific theory. It is a metaphysical philosophy as well. One needs to strip the naturalism from the theory and overlay theism to get something that is not necessarily opposed to a theistic theory of origins. You do know this, right?

    No, I don’t quite agree here. The scientific method is, if you will, a metaphysical philosophy that concerns itself only with naturalism. Science only deals with natural phenomena, by definition. If you overlay theism, then it’s not science anymore. Let me put it this way: if three biologists perform the same experiment, would you expect them to arrive at different results if one were Christian, one were Muslim, and one were Buddhist?

    That’s not to say there’s no overlap between descriptions of origins provided by special vs. general revelation. But it seems to me that there’s a lot of attempts to use special revelation to force an unnatural interpretation of general revelation, and vice versa. To not do that (in either direction) isn’t easy, but I think it’s important to an accurate understanding of creation.

    Meanwhile when we lost a historic Adam we struck at the heel of a historic Jesus.

    Yes. But I would not say the same about YECism.

  160. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 22, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Has anyone read Plantinga’s latest book?

  161. Steve Drake said,

    June 22, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    Don @ 156,

    If God says “I bring about bad things” then what does it matter if it’s proof-texting?

    Isaiah 45:7 does not say that though. The verse says:
    “The One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these.”

    It matters in context and in conjunction with the rest of revealed Scripture. You can’t pull one verse from Isaiah and use it to justify that this is God’s nature and character in contrast to everything else He reveals about Himself in Scripture.

    It seems to me you are taking one phrase ‘creating calamity’ and using that to justify and proof-text an entirely foreign concept in Scripture that death, disease, cancer, tumors, plagues, drought, extinctions from all manner of natural disasters, killing, bloodshed, and the rest, are Christ’s work of creation, part of His divine attributes, placed into creation as naturally outflowing from Him, thus sanctifying your OE position.

    This won’t work Don. The phrase ‘creating calamity’ must be understood in light of the whole of Biblical revelation. We must unpack that phrase in the original language and compare and contrast it with other verses:

    “For thou art not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; no evil dwells with thee (Ps. 5:4), for example, and many others.

  162. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 22, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    I have – and it speaks to this:

    “Don: evolution is more than a scientific theory. It is a metaphysical philosophy as well.”

    Without be able to keep up with you all fast readers (my grades in upper division history indicated I am more of a numbers person, I suppose), what Reed is saying here, I think, is touched upon by Plantinga. I don’t out and out endorse Plantinga yet (I’m still reading Dolezal on simplicity, and Dolezal seems to bring in some interesting things I hadn’t considered while I spent time with Plantinga, metaphorically speaking).

    I haven’t finished Dolezal yet (I think I was told that’s good in the R2K discussion) but am working on it. I’ve got a lot of books to read. So you’ll excuse me that I make my exit now.

    Peace.

  163. Reed Here said,

    June 22, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    Don:The scientific theory comes who presuppositions that necessarily interact with metaphysical questions. Once you’ve done that you’re in the realm of religion, plain and simple.

    Further, evolution as promoted by the likes of Gould, Dawkins, etc., can hardly be described as merely scientific, walled off from any metaphysical questions. It is not as if evolution exists out there like the law of gravity. It is fundamentally an expression of naturalism.

    If this is debatable for you then let’s drop this tangent. Meanwhile, I urge you, go back to the Scriptures again. Don’t begin by looking for how you can coordinate gen rev insights with it. Let the Scriptures instead speak on their own, setting their own boundaries. Then bring your gen rev questions to it.

  164. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 22, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Well said, Reed.

    Peace.

  165. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 22, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Chief,

    If I can get some help from Steve, I’m back to “I don’t know.”

    Deut 29:29, yo.

    AB

  166. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 22, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    And if I can explain. I actually don’t know what the YEC position is. I will be reading the OPC creation report. I will be reading this thread. Intently. It will be added to the growing list of things I need to read. But I did read Scripture this morning, in the moments before I went to work. And as I am being told to do, I will make Scripture the guiding light by which I formally analyze YEC in exactly what it is, and try to figure out why it seems to purport to be the one true and only way to understand creation.

    I just need more time to think through whether the creation question is as important (as framed by Stephen Drake) is making it. I don’t see these things as clearly as you all do.

    So in all things, I proceed, by the Grace of God alone,
    Andrew

  167. Reed Here said,

    June 22, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Andrew: there are numerous origins theories, both biblical and a-biblical. All purport to essentially (more or less, with details subject to revision) to be the accurate explanation of how everything came to be and why things are the way they are.

    For an introduction to creationism (YEC theory applied in scientific terms) maybe you could begin with this book. I’ve not read it, but it looks up to date and basically a fair representation. This will not, however, be geared toward biblical interpretation. In other words, it will rest an interpretive grid, but not seek to prove it. This is not a criticism, merely an observation of the book’s purpose.

    Also, consider this book. While not expressly commentary level, it does deal with the theological implications in this debate, from the creationist perspective.

    For biblical interpretation, check out this book. While a little dated, it still provides credible arguments for the literalist reading of Gn 1:1-2:4 from a respected reformed scholar. I.O.W., this is a book biblically based arguments.

    Finally, for a multiple-views book, check out this one. It presents three different view on the days of creation, with critique from the other views on each one.

  168. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 22, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Ok, I’m buying it now. I really do have a passion for these questions. Thank you, Mr. Moderator.

  169. Richard said,

    June 22, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    Andrew,
    Dr. Godfrey also has a good basic readable commentary on Genesis1, “God’s Pattern for Creation.”

  170. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 22, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Yah, read that one. It’s short. I like Dr. Godfrey, and have heard him speak. I just need some more books. It was OK…still thinking about it. Maybe I will re-read. Thanks, Richard.

  171. Richard said,

    June 22, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Andrew,
    Also, check out Dr.John Sailhamer’s book, “Genesis Unbound.” John Piper is a fan of the book, for what that’s worth.

  172. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 22, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Cool. I will be referring to this thread off and on in my reading journey. Any one else is welcome to share books they have found helpful. But of course we can only read so much. As we should take heed:

    http://www.esvbible.org/search/eccl+12%3A12/

    I’ve only bought the first two. I have to count my pennies before I know whether I can go for a third…

    Blessings, brothers.

  173. Reed Here said,

    June 22, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Joel, missed your comment asking about my take on the apple. No, I do not know whether or not it was an apple. I was merely using the common reference in our culture. After all, I was writing speech in a purely imaginary conversation. :-)

    Interesting exegesis vis-a-vis the fig. Wonder on what basis we can affirm “fig leaves” and not “death.” Both seem rather straightforward. Maybe if we had no examples of fig leaves we’d be arguing that Moses was just making something up.

  174. Steve Drake said,

    June 22, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Andrew at #166,

    If I can get some help from Steve, I’m back to “I don’t know.”

    What ‘help’ are you referring to brother? I’d be happy to oblige.

  175. June 22, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    Reed, I can’t take credit for the fig interpretation. Its actually far from the novelty that it sounds. From what I’ve been able to determine from intertestamental Judaic literature and through the first couple centuries AD the fruit was treated most likely as a fig or possibly a persimmon/peach thing. I have yet to figure out the history of how apple came to be the cultural norm. Native apples are barely worth feeding to animals and it wasn’t until the Romans imported apples trees from the north that the apple would have been viewed as a good fruit. The apple in the KJV and others is not likely to be an apple at all but a peach like thing. I don’t know how the common fig attachment to the fruit got lost other than no one likes figs. Must be those yummy wasps inside:-)

  176. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 22, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Steve at 176: I’m looking for Grace. Is it possible that my Christology may not be completely out of whack, since my questions as to the YEC position are not yet resolved? Maybe Christology is a little more complex, or the creation question is? I don’t know. Its cool, Steve. I want to thank you corresponding privately via email. I am at peace. If you think my agnosticism over “when fiat” and Ussherism creates Christology problems,I want help with Christology. Maybe we can work that out later, or in a different string?

  177. Steve Drake said,

    June 22, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Hi Andrew @178,
    Grace I can offer. I don’t think I ever claimed your Christology was out of whack. I ‘have’ claimed that an OE position with its corollary of millions and millions of years is a direct attack on the person and work of Jesus Christ and maligns and impugns His character

    I didn’t or haven’t even mentioned the word ‘Christology’. You were the one in #126 who made this claim and first used this word:

    I ask for all y’alls grace. Remember, I just found out today, that because I am not Ussherian, I have Christology problems.

    This is an inference and extrapolation on your own part and in your own words because I nor anyone else said in any post above that because you are not Ussherian you have Christological problems. You are actually putting words into my mouth that are in fact your own.

    I do however, think that a proper definition of ‘Christology’ incorporates the person and work of Christ in creation and on the cross, and this is what my language to you has been in all our conversations.

    If you think my agnosticism over “when fiat” and Ussherism creates Christology problems,I want help with Christology.

    You seem to be playing the victim here brother by again using your own words as inference of what I never said. I have never used the word ‘agnosticism’, nor the words ‘when fiat’ in any of our conversations either.

    Grace and peace to you Andrew. May your reading and studies of the recommended books here lead to answers and an end to confusion.

  178. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 22, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    I will be taking your assertion that orthodox Christian Christology requires YEC. I will say that comments above give me some confidence that your assertion may not be ironclad. I’m not looking to find holes with your thought formulation. I just don’t see things as you do. That’s OK. And I think that’s my point from day one, of these comments. Its not necessary to call that OE individual singing, ” I am Jesus little lamb” in the pew next to us necessarily a wolf. It’s argued by some that its not OE’ers that are necessarily wolves, but rather biologos. Reed said way above maybe we are overreacting to Lane’s post. That’s fair. Time for a new topic yet? Peace.

  179. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 22, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    Well, I want to hear more why OE’ers by their beliefs are doing:

    ‘direct attack on the person and work of Jesus Christ as the second person of the Trinity.’

    I’ll keep reading. You are correct. I interpreted that as claiming that OErs have faulty Christology.

    I’m no victim. Sorry. I will improve my communication skills.

    Peace.

  180. Steve Drake said,

    June 22, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    Andrew in 180,
    One last comment brother. Your statement ‘I just don’t see things the way you do’, is then in contradiction to your post #130? Or was #130 actually penned tongue in cheek?

  181. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 22, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    I would rather submit to someone, if they could show me that my misunderstanding of creation was somehow attacking Jesus. I submit to my brothers, and accept cognitive dissonance. Anything than do harm to the One I love. Make sense? I am trying, brother.

  182. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 22, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    You say unless I sign up for YEC, I am attacking Jesus’ person. Others are calling this bullying. It sounds like lane calling the biologos speakers wolves. I’m probably just sensitive. Not a victim. Jesus conquers. No victim hood here.

  183. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 22, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    You may think I attack Jesus person. Others may think you and Lane attack OErs persons. If the OEr is united to Christ, well, does that constitute an attack on Jesus person? I’m treading in dangerous territory, because I am not trained. Can you defend allegations of bullying?

  184. Reed Here said,

    June 22, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    Andrew: maybe a little fairer to observe that Steve asked you to deal with the issue of the reign of death being normative prior to the Fall. What does that do to our understanding of redemption?

    Yes, Steve is a YEC, and yes he believes that is what the Bible teaches. I think however you are reaching the inference he is asking, and assuming he is thereby judging your faith deficient (null and void?). I think maybe you are hearing more than he is saying. All he is asking is that you do what you are doing, study the Scriptures.

  185. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 22, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    My two sense: you can love YEC. Just love Jesus more. And acknowledge that the one with questions about YEC may still be one who is finding a resting place for their souls in Jesus, and may just be resting. And no necessarily attacking him. That’s all. Sorry for many posts. If I do start a blog, likely, it would have something to do with golf. Any northern Californians out there want to golf tomorrow? Steve, do you golf? Sorry, just trying to keep a spirit of friendship and brotherhood. I have a question somewhere else if anyone knows the pope’s handicap. I am trying to show reverence and a type of joy that only comes from submitting to the one true Lord, our Savior, Jesus. Peace.

  186. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 22, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    Thanks Reed. You are right. The golf questions though, still stand. You too, we should golf.

  187. Reed Here said,

    June 22, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    Andrew, I had the opportunity as a teenager in the 70’s to be caddying at Pinehurst National in NC. Sadly, I spent my time investigating the characteristics of a certain weed that is useful for making ropes. Sorry, no golf for me.

  188. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 22, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    NP. Thanks as always.

  189. Richard said,

    June 22, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Well, when Steve makes remarks like this: “an OE position with its corollary of millions and millions of years is a direct attack on the person and work of Jesus Christ and maligns and impugns His character,” how is he NOT judging an OE’s position “null and void,” brothers? Can we agree to maybe reduce our rhetoric on this issue?

  190. Reed Here said,

    June 22, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    Richard: as long Steve is not attacking individuals, but maintains the making and defending of arguments, he is free to draw out the implications of a given position.

    So are you.

    Declaring a position null and void is not the same as declaring an individual’s faith null and void. I happen to be comfortable with a basically literal reading of Gn 1-11. I am open to the YE position. I am open to some aspects of the Framework and the Analogical Days positions. I’m not offended when people make fun of my position. I strive to bear with them and forgive them when they make fun of me.

  191. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 22, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    Reed @ 184,

    “observe that Steve asked you to deal with the issue of the reign of death being normative prior to the Fall. What does that do to our understanding of redemption?”

    I will continue to answer my thoughts on matters directed my way. I can’t tell you how much joy at get at the dialogue here. And just a passing side note, you are all extremely gracious to me. I could spend the rest of my blog commenting career here at GB. Looking around at the topics etc, you guys are great. Just pat yourselves on the back once for me, ok?

    I will say, I do have some questions in other blogs for other topics. And since Owen did a drop kick on me when I encountered Communion, I really do want to spend time on what Ferguson has to say. Be that as it may…

    My initial thoughts are that I see such a sharp distinction between plant and animal and human kingdoms, that for some reason, this just doesn’t present me with a personal angst. Put another way. And I’m gonna step on toes. I’m not really that concerned whether I see the dead dog when I get to heaven.

    I understand that Christ’s work was universal in scope. I mean, I get the question at work about potential aliens, and since so many people are fascinated by the prospect of aliens, they ask me (and we then proceeded to the OPC Q&A, got some great sci-fi recommendations from the OP pastor by the way out of it) whether Christ’s work is salvific for potential sentient extra-terrestrials.

    Look, I am not making light of the very serious question before us, of whether animals ate each other before Adam ate the fruit. I think I see the challenge. What I am saying is that the effect of Christ’s work is so, so, so much more relevant to me as an individual person. He has redeemed ME – ANDREW BUCKINGHAM. I mean, pardon my french, but “holy cow!”

    Said another way, let’s say animals did die before the fruit was bitten into. Let’s just suppose. Thought experiment with me. What’s the harm? Ok, so there’s something going on about the fact that Christ’s nature is impuged on, or something. I do want to talk about Christology here. I think that’s where the challenge is to me, in regard to Christ’s nature, as a result of a potential earth that is older than Ussher said it to be. I don’t think we want to say that all non-YECs are actually attacking Jesus. Which is why I think it’s actually a show of grace to keep that question in the realm of Christology. Not some attacking Jesus while he’s holding me in his arms. I am really sorry for the crudeness of speech. But I don’t know how else to respond to the fact that I don’t know what it means to say that I am attacking Jesus’ person because I am not ready to sign up for YEC. I am sorry if I sound like a victim. This is my heart talking. There’s no tone. I am just sharing. Can you tell? I’ve been commenting like crazy!

    I see a lot of challenges in the YEC debate we are having. Again, confession subscription becomes an issue. What about the line in the WCF that I am said to subscribe to, and yet, I didn’t take an exception in my ordination vow. Some in our presbytery would argue I need to do that. I think it’s moot since I am only a deacon. Again, I don’t want to make this about me…

    How about the fact that NO HUMAN BEINGS WERE THERE to record the events. There was mention of the fact that, well, maybe Moses just made the story up, per the OErs’ view. I can find the reference above. I mean, ouch. So we need to talk about hermenuetical questions that arise out of this discussion.

    I can think of more. I think the discussion is ongoing. I say, “let the wookie win.” I’m not saying any YECer or OECer is a “wookie.” I am just saying there usually is more heat than light. If someone is gonna force this stuff down, I say just take it with grace, and move on to other blogs or readings. But we can have a real discussion. My simple answer is, I guess I just don’t care whether the animals are in heaven. Yes, Christ redeems all of salvation. But the point is, I will see Jesus. His redemption means something VERY personal to me, Andrew Buckingham. And I don’t think calling someone at Biologos a wolf is productive. I think it’s worth pointing out that it’s that kind of thing, that truly is more heat than light, in the discussion.

    and with a long comment like that, I’ve let my hot air out. don’t take anything too seriously. I’m still looking for some golfers…

    peace, brothers.

  192. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 22, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    * Christ redeems all of creation.

    sheesh. i need more sleep or something. maybe three small kids is making me cuckoo (no sleepy)…

  193. Don said,

    June 23, 2012 at 12:00 am

    @ Steve Drake #161,

    It seems to me you are taking one phrase ‘creating calamity’ and using that to justify and proof-text an entirely foreign concept in Scripture that death, disease, cancer, tumors, plagues, drought, extinctions from all manner of natural disasters, killing, bloodshed, and the rest, are Christ’s work of creation, part of His divine attributes, placed into creation as naturally outflowing from Him, thus sanctifying your OE position.

    Let me just note that you are the one that saying “Christ’s work of creation” is “part of his divine attributes,” not me.

    It is not at all a foreign concept that God is glorified in all things, whether life or death, good or evil. The (open) question is whether animals died before Adam’s fall. Your argument, if I may say so, is that animal death is–only–a consequence of Adam’s sin. That’s a good and reasonable consequence, but I don’t see it as necessary. Therefore, without evidence to the contrary, I don’t see animal death as harmful to God’s glory.

    The phrase ‘creating calamity’ must be understood in light of the whole of Biblical revelation.

    Yes, I understand the Scripture interprets Scripture, but this shouldn’t be an excuse to explain away the inconvenient parts. Is. 45:7 says what it says.

  194. Don said,

    June 23, 2012 at 12:19 am

    @ Reed Here #158

    Do not merely ask, “Where does Scripture assert?” Scripture does not work that way. Some things are expressly asserted, and others are developed (e.g., the doctrine of the Trinity.) If we only believe based on explicit assertion, we’ll end up cutting up the Bible much worse than poor Thomas Jefferson did.

    These things cannot be decided based on positive explicit assertion.

    I’m baffled by this remark. Didn’t you just endorse the Bereans’ practice of searching the Scriptures to back up people’s arguments? So how is it wrong for me to ask Steve to back up, from Scripture, his speculation that pre-Adamic animal death dishonors Christ? I have no idea what TJ has to do with any of this.

    If I were to say, “Show me where the Bible mentions and endorses [the Trinity/Young Earth Creationism] by name,” then sure, I would agree that is not a reasonable question to ask. But if I ask, “Show me where Scriptures explicitly say [the Holy Spirit is God/animals did or did not die before the Fall],” then you’d better have a good answer if those are critical issues for the broader doctrine of [the Trinity/YEC].

  195. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 23, 2012 at 12:46 am

    I think what’s clear is that it seems there are hard line YEC (perhaps we can label it hyper-YEC, or militant-YEC) and then there is Reed’s version, which appears to allow for something else than this YEC that, yes, I still don’t know. Is Hyper YEC a type of gnosticism?

  196. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 23, 2012 at 12:54 am

    Maybe its a works righteousness? If I don’t do the work that militant YEC’s ask, then I won’t cut it? Sure, faith alone (oh yeah, but don’t forget the YEC). Which brings me back to Machen. Christ fulfilled the righteousness we need. We have peace in our hearts brothers. We can rest.

    Maybe we should ask, was Jesus YEC? For one thing, he did say the Father takes care of the birds. But are we not of more value than the sparrow? You see? Whether old yeller made it to the pearly gates maybe isn’t that crucial. I mean, I love lassie just as much as the last guy…but really?

  197. Don said,

    June 23, 2012 at 1:15 am

    @ Reed Here #163,

    Further, evolution as promoted by the likes of Gould, Dawkins, etc., can hardly be described as merely scientific, walled off from any metaphysical questions.

    The key phrase here is “as promoted by.” Theories of all sorts get co-opted by people with agendas all the time. It shouldn’t be surprising that the Angry Atheists use whatever tools at their disposal to denigrate religion. The challenge, which the AA’s certainly don’t make any easier, is to separate the rhetoric and misuse of a scientific principle from the basic science itself.

    It is not as if evolution exists out there like the law of gravity. It is fundamentally an expression of naturalism.

    Actually it’s a lot like gravity, which is also an expression of naturalism. The equations for gravity don’t include God. Neither of the two biggest names in the development of the theory of gravity (Newton and Einstein) believed that Jesus was God. So let me explain why the whole idea of “theistic evolution” seems like a category error to me: If I knock a pencil off my desk, I could say that gravitational forces cause the pencil to accelerate downward at a rate of 9.8 m/s/s. Or I could say that God causes the pencil to fall. If I say both are true, does that make me a theistic gravitationist?

    Christians who are scientists expect the universe to obey scientific laws (whether or not those laws are well-understood) because they believe an orderly universe reflects God’s orderliness and freedom to create as he pleases. This is the fundamental level, at which the metaphysical presuppositions are addressed. If that means all of science is in the realm of religion, well yeah, kind of. For atheists, I guess they are just going on momentum, that the universe seems to act orderly so far (but then err in extrapolating that there is nothing beyond that orderly physical universe). I don’t personally know any animist scientists, but philosophically, they’re probably in a rough place.

    I agree this is a tangent that somebody in #51 should be debated elsewhere. Your last paragraph here (#163) is valuable advice for anyone on either side of this issue.

  198. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 23, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Hi Don,

    It’s nice to “meet” you.

    “Actually it’s a lot like gravity, which is also an expression of naturalism.”

    I’m not sure I can agree with your equating evolution with gravity. I think I see where you are going. But I’m going to re-state that Plantinga is really good at bifucating “evolution” from “naturalism.” So he analyzes the situation, while I can not quite go as far as he does.

    Gravity and evolultion just can’t be made to be brought together as simply as I see you doing. We see gravity when I slip on a banana peel. But do we see evolution like that? Ok, so in 9th grade, it was all about the pepper moth near the coal factories. Sure, micro-evolution in action. We see over time, the more dark peppered moths survive because the coal turns things black, making those moths more likely to survive and blend in against predators.

    I don’t think “evolution” is easy to define. I don’t know exactly where we got into evolultion in this thread. I think (THINK) it has to do with biologos coming to the PCA general assembly. Ok, so evolultion exists here and should be adressed. However, and maybe now I am finally coming around Lane (you thought, would that ever happen), maybe you brothers in the PCA aren’t exactly excited about hearing about an evolution lecture in your GA. Sure, I took evolution class at UCSB. Why wouldn’t I? I wanted to go up to that line as far as I could, like I said way up before. I hope I wasn’t brainwashed. I don’t think I was in that class, it was only lower division, and I really enjoyed it, while holding some of the pre-suppositions of the professor at arms length, or rejecting completely.

    I think, “Evolution” in this context needs to be fleshed out more, as to it’s meaning. Let’s get back to Dr. Keller. The link I posted way above is about age of the earth. I don’t get everything Keller is saying. But I don’t hear him talking about age of the earth, not evolution.

    I’m going to say that we need to be very very very careful about Evolution creeping in to our churches. So maybe I am FINALLY seeing what this is all about.

    That leaves me with a lot of questions. Why is Dr. Keller a member (is that right, or a contributor?) of Biologos? Maybe I should ask him, I know he’s busy. I have listened to him on the topic of evolution on redeemer webpage, to hear his perspective. It has more to do with not giving non-christians a “defeater.” He was talking to a group of people who were going out into the city to engage non-Christians. He told these engagers, “the non-Christian will ask you about Evolution. But that’s because the non-Christian wants the Christian to get into a trap. to play by their rules. When we need to figure out how to bring it back to the Gospel.” Something like that, was Dr. Keller’s point. I can’t agree more.

    Just this week, I was talking evolution around the lunch table. Not me, but someone was pontificating about a reductionist reasoning for why fathers typically want male children instead of female. And evolution was introduced as the reason. I put my head in my hands and thought, “what am I hearing??!?!?”

    So it’s out there, Christians. You need only look on the major news outlets.

    I think the conversation can and should continue here in our Christian circles. Let’s ask Dr. Keller. Not that he speaks for all of us concerned confessional presbyterian/reformed Christians. It’s just, let’s listen to one another. I am the worst offender. I am preaching at you all!! But it’s important for us to speak up. And to listen.

    Peace.

  199. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 23, 2012 at 9:56 am

    * I do hear him talking about age of earth, not, “don’t”

  200. Steve Drake said,

    June 23, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Don @ 194,

    So how is it wrong for me to ask Steve to back up, from Scripture, his speculation that pre-Adamic animal death dishonors Christ?

    It’s more than pre-Adamic animal death that is in question here, although that is a big part, albeit we are speaking of ‘death’ as an entity, ‘death’ as a concept in and of itself.

    But more needs to be added here than just the concept or entity of death. You must add ravaging diseases, cancer, tumors, plagues, droughts, natural disasters like bolide impacts, hypercanes and supervolcanoes, mass extinctions of animals on an enormous scale, suffering in all its various forms, killing, blood and gore, emaciation and a wasting away, rotting flesh, diseased flesh, putrid flesh, torn and ripped flesh, and all the rest.

    This is ‘all’ what dishonors Christ in my opinion and attacks His Holiness, His Goodness, HIs Justice, His Righteousness, His Lovingkindness, His Mercy, His Peace, His Glory.

    If one can say that these things happening over millions and millions of years ‘glorify‘ God, then this is a different God than what I read about in Scripture, and is a different Christ than the One who suffered an agonizing, brutal, torturous physical death on the Cross.

  201. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 23, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    Kinda curious for the thoughts of the man who called the biologos wolves. Some of us out here thought that was a little harsh. Yes, it ended up with some YEC folks reminding us to read our Bibles more. And I think there’s some questions about whether animals (ie wolves) dies before the teeth pierced the skin of that price of fruit. Gb, any thoughts?

  202. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 23, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Wow. Typos from my text program. Not inspired words from this man… :-) have a good weekend readers. Golf if you can!

  203. Reed Here said,

    June 23, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Don: your approach to being a Beran, at least how you’ve commented here, is to ask only one question, “where does it say?” That is, you ask for an explicit positive assertion, and only will accept that as “proof.”

    That is a narrow and misguided hermeneutic at best. My example of the Trinity is apropo in this regard. Change your sentence, “show me where the Bible says animals did not die before the fall,” to “show me where the Bible explicitly says that God exists in a trinity.” The plain and simple fact is that the Bible nowhere says this. Instead the Trinity is an inferential based argument, a good and necessary one if we are to make sense of what the Bible says.

    Similarly, and especially with questions related to circumstances that do not exist at present, i.e., the conditions of the original creation before the fall, requiring explicit positive assertions will not result in an accurate interpretation of what the Bible requires us to believe about his creation. This is because much of it is only going to be discovered by the use of inferential based reasoning.

    My reference to Thomas Jefferson was to suggest a similarity between your requirement of explicit positive affirmation and his regarding the existence of the supernatural. He to used a denial of inferential based reasoning to effectively gut the Bible of anything related to the supernatural. He literally cut out of his Bible any reference to the supernatural. Thus the reports that Jesus rose from the dead were erroneous comments by unsophisticated men who believed in such silliness. God accomodated himself to them and allowed such things to be recorded. But we more wise and sophisticated moderns know better, Hence TJ’s gospel’s ended with Jesus buried in a tomb. Period.

    You’re apparent unwillingness to consider inferential based arguments is akin to his reasoning. FWIW

  204. Reed Here said,

    June 23, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Don, the denial that evolution is both a worldview and a scientific theory is naive at best, possibly mere ignorance, maybe disingenuous, or worse.

    If you want to deny the worldview use of evolution scientific theory then you’ve got a long road ahead of you. Sufficient studies have been conducted to demonstrate that even the key originator of the theory (Darwin) was operating from a foundation of naturalism, a denial in particular of the special, divine, fiat created character of what exists. All the tweaks and adjustments necessary to make it palpable to Biblically minded folks is to dress up unbelief and call it truth.

  205. Reed Here said,

    June 23, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Andrew: a preference for male children is evolution-based? That makes you freak a little? The modern affirmation of the evolutionary worldview is much more far reaching and reaching than that.

    Don’t you know that evolution explains the positive benefits of adultery, for example?

  206. Don said,

    June 24, 2012 at 12:19 am

    @ Reed Here #204,

    Don, the denial that evolution is both a worldview and a scientific theory is naive at best, possibly mere ignorance, maybe disingenuous, or worse.

    If you want to deny the worldview use of evolution scientific theory …

    Well, OK, I’ll admit that there are several distinct definitions for “evolution,” but I’ve sticking to evolution as the biology theory, which I’d argue is the only legitimate definition. If you want to call the worldview aspect evolutionism or something, then fine, and that’d be much clearer.

    And of course I wouldn’t deny that evolution (the scientific theory) has been (mis)used to build a naturalistic worldview. But one does not necessarily flow from the other, just as an acceptance of the theory of relativity force a belief in moral relativism.

  207. Don said,

    June 24, 2012 at 1:01 am

    @Reed Here #203,
    Your second paragraph here apparently misses my point of #194, second paragraph.

    Change your sentence, “show me where the Bible says animals did not die before the fall,” to “show me where the Bible explicitly says that God exists in a trinity.” The plain and simple fact is that the Bible nowhere says this.

    I completely agree with this. But that is not my sentence. My sentence could be “Does the Bible say anything at all about animals before the fall, other than the days on which they were created?” Or more to the point, “What makes animal death and disease dishonoring to Christ pre-fall, but not post-fall?” Steve has answered this a bit in #200, saying it’s his opinion. That doesn’t seem to be a good basis for determining what is heresy.

    questions related to circumstances that do not exist at present, … [are] only going to be discovered by the use of inferential based reasoning.

    Yes. And I guess a difference between us is the weight we give to using general revelation to build the inferences.

    You’re apparent unwillingness to consider inferential based arguments is akin to his reasoning. FWIW

    Nooooo, I’m willing to consider this inference, but not without supporting evidence. As I said above, it’s good and reasonable, but not obviously necessary. Your extrapolation to my views on inferences in general is unwarranted. And your analogy with TJ is still bizarre. “Wanting to see something in the Bible” is the _opposite_ of “not wanting to see something in the Bible.”

  208. Don said,

    June 24, 2012 at 1:25 am

    @Andrew Buckingham #198,

    Gravity and evolultion just can’t be made to be brought together as simply as I see you doing. We see gravity when I slip on a banana peel.But do we see evolution like that?

    Well, technically, no. We don’t “see” gravity, by which I mean the theory of gravity. We only see your movements. The theory of gravity presents a fairly simple explanation of your movements. And we understand that the explanations of the theory accurately correspond to the observed motions, so we say that gravity is correct, or in shorthand, that we “see gravity in action.”

    The same goes for evolution. Except, as you point out, the time scale for observing evolution is much different. Thus, evolution is not “seen” by most people, besides which the theory is both complicated and still being worked out. Of course, the theory for gravity (far beyond Newtonian) is both very complicated and is still being worked out, but it’s far beyond a length scale that most people can see.

    So sorry if I’m being nitpicky. But my point is that evolution is just a method of organizing and interpreting a set of observational data. Or to put it another way, “Evolution is just a theory,” but in the opposite sense of the phrase.

  209. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 24, 2012 at 2:02 am

    Yeah, freak a little.

    Hadn’t heard about the adultery thing.

    So Plantinga argues it’s pure naturalism, and not Evolution, that’s the problem. Not sure i agree with plantinga, he may not go far enough, but I thought he was well written.

    I should have taken college biology. My biology only went as far as 9th grade. Yes, biology is not the same as evolution. It is interesting the evolution class I took at ucsb was in geological sciences, and not in biology department. Seems to agree with Steve’s assertion that old earth and evolution have a necessary link. This is the first I thought of that class I took, this way.

    You give me lots to think about, brothers. Thanks.

  210. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 24, 2012 at 8:57 am

    Sorry for the interruption, …
    Re 207:

    Hi Don,

    Yes the scriptures do say something about animals before the fall in Gen 1:30

    And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

    This is similar to Gen 1:29 which talks about the food for man.

    And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

    God gave them (man and animals) only plants to eat for their food. No flesh for eating prior to the fall. Remember sin is any want of conformity unto or transgression of the Law of God. If God only gives plants for food then it is sin to eat animal flesh. Animals can’t sin and their good nature (prior to the fall) would require that they stick to the food God gave them.

    While that doesn’t prove no animal death prior to the fall, it does prove animal vegitarianism prior to the fall. No predation. Lions presented no danger to lambs prior to the fall, because lambs were not food to lions prior to the fall.

    If you compare that to Gen 9:3

    Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.

    Men could not eat flesh without sin until after the flood. While after the fall and prior to the flood, there is no evidence that men were not meat eaters, it would still have been sin to do so, because God had not yet authorized the eating of flesh prior to Gen 9:3.

    So you have to make evolution work without lions (and all other carnivores) eating flesh for food prior to the fall. NB. I said prior to the fall, not flood. The only other option is to use that old explanation: “Yeah, hath God said?…”

  211. Steve Drake said,

    June 24, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Don @ 207,

    “What makes animal death and disease dishonoring to Christ pre-fall, but not post-fall?

    Sin! Rebellion. Adam’s sin is the demarcation line. God’s curse followed.

  212. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 24, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Yeah, not following the whole string, I’m OK if someone tells me that animals were dying before sin entered in. The question of animal death just doesn’t seem that important, compared against the fact that Andrew Buckingham’s sin is dealt with on Calvary. Steve, I know you see something else in this discussion of animal death. To me, I just don’t see it that important. Not important enough to call an OEr a wolf. Which is what I see as the problem in this post. Has anyone talked to Keller? Who decided to bring biologos anyway to GA? What was the thought process? When the ‘wolves’did show up, did they have sharp teeth?

  213. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 24, 2012 at 9:40 am

    I’m assuming Mr. Green baggins wrote this blog post. Is that right? Or did Reed write it? I’m not trying to root you out. I just want to hear from the person who wrote about wolves, and whether they turned out to be ravenous as was feared. Sorry folks. Just curious, tho. Peace.

  214. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 24, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Maybe they were pre-fall wolves. I might back down if they were the kind of wolf that doesn’t eat other wolves. But that just doesn’t strike me as a possibility that that kind of wolf existed. Of course, it could have. What I am saying is, maybe we should bifurcate wolf into pre and post fall. If the writer says he intended pre-fall wolves, well, maybe I did overreact.time for me to go hear a sermon, sing hymns, and pray. Have a nice day at church, all y’all. Peace. Ab

  215. Steve Drake said,

    June 24, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Don,
    To further elaborate on my post #211,
    Pre-fall you would have to attribute animal death, disease, suffering, plagues, tumors, killing, natural disasters and mass extinctions and the rest, to the work of Christ in creation in the absence of sin, before sin, before rebellion, before disobedience. Post-fall it is the judgment of God upon the whole of the created order and Adam as federal head and his responsibility to rule and subdue and have dominion over this created order, including and most exclusively the animal kingdom (Gen. 1:26, 28).

    This is not my opinion. It is the classical, orthodox teaching of the Church for millennia.

    When God, who creates, announces to Adam the punishment for his disobedience, He does not isolate upon Adam alone by saying that he will ‘return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return (Gen. 3:19). God also declares a curse on the Serpent, more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field (Gen. 3: 14). He also declares, ‘cursed is the ground because of you’ (Gen. 3:17). It is hardly insignificant that Genesis narrates that Lamech ‘fathered a son and called his name Noah, saying ‘out of the ground that the Lord has cursed this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the painful toil of our hands’ (Gen. 5:28-29)

    Likewise the apostle Paul, as Reed has stated above from Romans 8, draws a connection between Adam’s sin and the curse upon the natural world, both the earth and the animal kingdom, when he states:

    “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 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 corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now ” (Rom. 8:19-22).

    This statement by Paul exempts nothing in the entirety of creation–the heavens and the earth and all non-human creatures that inhabit them–from subjection to futility, which involves bondage to corruption. Christ’s teleological design for creation is evident in the way Paul indicates that God subjected creation to futility in hope, hope of liberation from bondage to corruption.

  216. Don said,

    June 25, 2012 at 12:04 am

    Steve Drake #215 and Andrew Duggan #210,
    Thanks for these detailed responses! I’m not sure how much this explains “pre-futility,” certainly not fully, but it helps.

  217. Steve Drake said,

    June 25, 2012 at 9:40 am

    HI Don @ 216,

    I’m not sure how much this explains “pre-futility,” certainly not fully, but it helps.

    What more ‘fuller’ explanation would help? I see one main thing you might be thinking here, one question that comes to mind, as it relates to your question to Reed in #207, requoted by me in #211; let me know if this is it:

    ‘If the same God, or Christ in His work of creation, allows death, suffering, disease, killing, gore, natural disasters, carnivory, and all the rest to happen now, post-Fall, then why couldn’t it be the same Christ in His work of creation that allowed them pre-Fall? It’s the same Christ, the same God. In other words, you’re asking what is the difference in the nature of God in Christ to allow them now, for these things to be going on now, for the evil and suffering we see in the world all around us today, to be happening post-Fall but not pre-Fall. It’s the same God. God hasn’t changed His character, so why now, and not pre-Fall? It goes back to your using Isaiah 45:7 with me in an earlier post, about God ‘creating calamity’ I think, doesn’t it’?

    However, if this is true, if this is where the issue lies, then it’s a different theological question that you want more fuller explanation of. It goes right to the heart of hamartiology–the doctrine of sin. It is hamartiology that you need a fuller explanation of; the classical teaching through the centuries and belief on in the Church about the entrance, effects, consequences, and conclusions on sin. As it relates to Creation, and the work of Christ in creation, the questions and teachings concerning this doctrine play a hugh role.

    I might be off here, Don, and willing to hear your views further, it might be something else, or something related, perhaps a question on theodicy, how we answer the problem of evil, the idea being, in light of all manner of evils, how do we ‘justify God,’ while keeping His attributes of omnipotence and omnibenevolence intact.

  218. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 25, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Whoa, Steve. You are in your thinking getting back to the question of the problem of evil?

    There’s a living theologian (yes, I am not alluding or calling in millenia of church history, I understand I may be on shaky ground) that’s helped me with that – his name is Dr. Tim Keller. Do you know him or read any of his writings? I like his book, “the reason for God.”

    Elsewhere, in an interview with Michael Horton in Modern Reformation, he says there’s no answer to the problem of evil, rather, we don’t get an answer in Christianity. But what we do have is a God who cares and loves his creation because he enmeshed himself in it through the incarnation. I can send you the full quote. So while we don’t know the reason for allowing evil to continue, we can’t say that he doesn’t. In other words, just because we don’t know the reason, doesn’t mean God doesn’t have one. And we can trust in God’s goodness, because we know he incarnated himself in Jesus.

    But I am touching on your later subject, in your note. As for the animal stuff, I’m still wondering about pre and post fall wolves – anyone know anything about that – were biologos post-fall wolves, and were their teeth sharp? No biggee – just curious to hear from someone who was there. Peace. -AB

  219. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 25, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    oh, and pardon the interruption, of course. i realize this is a dialogue between Steve and Don. It’s really all over my head. If you want to know the truth, I’ve been too busy working on my golf swing to get into all this animal stuff. I heard some wolves (maybe coyotes) this morning when I played nine holes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9xhOQ26QYI

  220. Steve Drake said,

    June 25, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Andrew @ 218,
    Check the Green Baggins archives for Jan. 2012, and if you have time read the post by Dr. Adrian Keister and comments that followed, ‘A Critique of Creation, Evolution, and Christian Lay People by Tim Keller.’

  221. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 25, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    Steve, much obliged. I will not do any more public commenting until I read that. I really do appreciate you pointing me to the good stuff. Have a great day and week. Grace and peace, AB

  222. Reed Here said,

    June 25, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Don, no. 206: the theory of evolution itself is rooted in naturalistic presuppositions. For the life of me I cannot see why you want to deny or ignore this.

  223. Reed Here said,

    June 25, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Don, no. 207: you are being squeaky. Up to this point you have been asking specifically for explicit statements where Scripture expressly states things.

    But since you’re willing to back off you’re equivocation, I’ll let it drop and get on to the inferential arguments point.

    Before we make an inferential argument based on gen rev at all we must first determine what the Bible requires us to believe. I.e., first examine what the Bible requires us to believe concerning the rule of sin/reign of death. Then we can turn to gen rev and allow it to ask clarifying questions that can further perfect what the Bible teaches.

    It is imperative that we follow such an ordering lest we allow something which is currently deficient/defective (gen rev) to over rule that which alone is sufficient/perfect (special rev).

    I.O.W., I’m not going to even ask “how far” we allow gen rev to inform our investigations. Instead I’m going to ask something much more basic, “how do I use gen rev insights in a manner that keeps Scripture supreme in determining truth?”

    A willingness to begin with framing questions like this, “does the Bible explicitly say anywhere that … ?” Without trying to be offensive, but to indeed express the significance I believe lies here, such a manner of using gen rev sounds too much like the first question asked in the garden.

  224. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 25, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    What I found fun about Plantinga’s “Where the Conflict Really Lies,” is how he argues that evolution is a type of defeater for naturalism. So he pits the two against one another. If natural selection evolution is just random mutations that are good for survival, why must it follow that our brains, which are supposedly just products of natural selection, why should these brains be able to discover the ‘truth’ of naturalistic evolution. Now to be sure, Plantinga probably wouldn’t find many friends on this thread. But can you at least see the irony of his argument, and give him some credit? I thought it was clever, at least…

  225. Don said,

    June 25, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    @Reed Here #222,

    the theory of evolution itself is rooted in naturalistic presuppositions

    …as is all of science, if by “naturalistic presuppositions” you mean “referencing only the naturalistic and not the supernatural.” But if you mean “…and denies the very existence of the supernatural,” then that’s an illegitimate extrapolation (by the atheist scientist, presumably), since science deals solely with the material world and cannot address issues of the supernatural.

  226. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 25, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    From the wolf pack, just for fun, and fyi, and because I saw Don’s comment:

  227. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 26, 2012 at 12:08 am

    Hey, so just throwing this out there. Forgive my ignorance. I have three small children. I’m amazed at what science has accomplished. And I think the sciences need more Christians. How do we ensure that tomorrows crop of scientists has some Christians in the mix? Said another way, given this blog post and 227 comments, what is the way forward, for fathers like me, or anyone, who wants to ensure more broadly that Christ is present in the laboratories? Maybe we shy away from ‘wolf’ language? I don’t know. Just curious for all y’alls thoughts. Peace.

  228. Don said,

    June 26, 2012 at 12:34 am

    @Steve Drake #217,

    I might be off here, Don, and willing to hear your views further, it might be something else, or something related, perhaps a question on theodicy, how we answer the problem of evil, the idea being, in light of all manner of evils, how do we ‘justify God,’ while keeping His attributes of omnipotence and omnibenevolence intact.

    OK, so maybe we’re sort of coming back to my point. My main point (to remind myself as well) was not that animals did or did not suffer and die before the Fall. It’s that whether or not they did, it was because God allowed it to happen that way. If God allowed (or caused!) animals to suffer and die pre-Fall, which was within his power, then that brings him glory. It may not be obvious to us how that situation would possibly glorify him, but it would.

    Thus my requests for as clear a statement on pre-Fall animal mortality that Scripture will give. The “if” in the middle of the previous paragraph is a big if. You can’t replace “allowed animals to die pre-Fall” above with “is responsible for causing someone to sin,” as just one example, since Scripture is clear on that point.

    So it seems sufficient to me to claim that animals [did/did not] suffer and die before the Fall, without needing to say that the opposite situation (which, following the original claim, would not have happened) dishonors Christ.

  229. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 26, 2012 at 1:35 am

    Yeah, Don. As much as I don’t want to say it, a level of ‘i don’t know,’ seems to be in order. God’s ways are not our ways. I don’t think we will have the Character of God completely ironed out. If someone thinks that God can’t have animal death before the teeth of the first man pierced the fruit, then people forget that God is God, and we the creatures. Said another way, there was another time when people refused to believe what God s doing, 2000 years ago. I for one am glad Gods ways are not my ways, and and His thoughts not my thoughts. Thought I may struggle to see how or why certain things, in my day to day life, God is the acting agent here is creation. What a wonderful and sometimes ‘mysterious way’ kind of God we serve.

  230. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 26, 2012 at 1:46 am

    Which, funny enough, is how Lane started all this – ‘i don’t know why biologos comes to GA,’ was what we said. Hey, Don, we should share a few emails. I provided it somewhere above. If you can’t find, let me know.

  231. Don said,

    June 26, 2012 at 2:04 am

    @Reed Here #223,

    A willingness to begin with framing questions like this, “does the Bible explicitly say anywhere that … ?” Without trying to be offensive, but to indeed express the significance I believe lies here, such a manner of using gen rev sounds too much like the first question asked in the garden.

    With no offense taken, and hopefully none given, it seems to me that it’s an incredibly important question to ask what God has said. It’s just critical that we find the right answer! We know that all synods or councils may err, and many have erred, and that ultimately, we need to turn to the Scriptures for the answer. As an example, a relevant question to ask a few centuries ago was, “Does the Bible really teach that the universe is geocentric?” A more important then, as now, would be “What good works does the Bible say we need to do to receive forgiveness?”

  232. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 26, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Don,

    Curious if you have read the article I posted in comment 58: Curious for your thoughts on this:

    Herman Bavinck made similar points. When dealing with the issue of harmonizing Scripture with science, he claimed that there is the book of nature and there is the book of Scripture. When conflicts arise, it is usually due to our own misunderstandings. “Conflict arises only because both the text of the book of Scripture and the text of the book of nature are often so badly read and poorly misunderstood.”[15] It may sound somewhat striking to our ears, but that same theologian said, “No one has any objection, no one can have any objection, to the facts advanced by geology. These facts are just as much words of God as the content of Holy Scripture and must therefore be believingly accepted by everyone. But these facts must be rigorously distinguished from the exegesis of these facts that geologists present.”[16] These are striking statements advanced by a Reformed theologian of the highest caliber.

    Only trying to help,
    Andrew

  233. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 26, 2012 at 8:37 am

    Maybe we have our answer to Lane’s question. They invited biologos so that would encourage people to engage in dialogue, to share ideas, for brothers to see each other’s perspective, while all the while praising that name which is above name, King Jesus? I think this discussion has gone well, this thread, I mean, the discussion over creation issues amongst brothers like us can get nasty quick…

  234. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 26, 2012 at 8:39 am

    I mean, ‘the powers that be’ in mind are likely your GA organizers. But God, the only true power that be, certainly saw fit for this to unfold in His providence…

    Blessings.

  235. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 26, 2012 at 9:00 am

    PS let’s hope the world is offended by Christians because of the Gospel and the Gospel alone. Can we try to avoid calling people of various opinions (on science or whatever) , unkind words, like ‘wolves’ unless it is necessary? Lets not give the world any more reason to be upset with Christians. The Gospel is offensive enough. Thanks be to Him who has melted our hearts to see the Truth of this offensive Gospel. To those who believe, it is not foolishness. No, far from it. Brothers, this is,the power of God.

  236. Steve Drake said,

    June 26, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Don @ 228,

    If God allowed (or caused!) animals to suffer and die pre-Fall, which was within his power, then that brings him glory. It may not be obvious to us how that situation would possibly glorify him, but it would.

    The “if” in the middle of the previous paragraph is a big if.

    So, now we are relegated to just ‘if’ propositions as it relates to our system of faith? You’re correct in determining that this is a big ‘if’. What does Scripture ‘say’, though?

    I think we’re back to some of Reed’s posts to you above concerning Scripture and inference. WCF Chap. 1.6 says this:

    The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit or traditions of men…

    That you are willing to say that death, disease, suffering, cancer, tumors, plagues, killing, emaciation, gore, mass extinctions and horrendous natural disasters occurring over millions and millions of years before Adam even came on the scene and the entrance of sin would bring God glory is stupefying to me. It is an inversion and distortion of the entirety of the gospel handed down from the apostles.

    And so, in reality, this is what we are left with today: a fundamental disagreement over the gospel. A fundamental disagreement over the person and work of Christ to redeem the whole of the created order by His sacrifice on the cross. Both our views cannot be right! One of us is in error.

    May we in love as brothers, continue to discuss this Don. It is too important a misunderstanding on one of our parts, to dismiss.

  237. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 26, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Hey, so my book, with a glowing recommendation from Ken Ham, (I think it was listed by Kevin N as one to read on the topic) showed up. You know I’ll be mixing in hard-line YEC literature with purtains, etc to help sort these matters out in my brain. I will say, it was the Ken Ham book that, I think, was very hurtful when someone gave me that in church. So I have history with Mr. Ham, and it’s kind of a sad topic.

    I’ll be reading, Steve. May we all find the time to read. Scripture first. The rest, as we have time. Maybe we can continue to share e-mails, Steve, as I labor through YEC thought and the dangers of anything but for those who are not as hard-line.

    Just trying to help,
    Andrew

  238. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 26, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    PS nope, not the Kevin N book, the other one someone told me to buy. Anyway, I’ll be reading, brothers. -AB

  239. Reed Here said,

    June 26, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Steve: you know I’m with you. Let me urge you to listen to Don’s “if”. Logically this is true simply because if God ordained it then it must renown to his glory. Anything he ordains must renown to his glory since he is perfect and does nothing that is not perfect.

    As incredulous as it seems to you and me, Don is echoing (maybe asking for himself as well; I’m not sure) a sincere question that is increasingly becoming more common. This is true especially among folks who sincerely place the name of Jesus on their lips. It is a sign of our times that what seemed so reasonably simple to understand and assume was the correct scheme of things is now not so clear.

    For the sake of those asking Don’s question sincerely, at least, lets continue to patiently re-examine and re-testify to what Scripture says.

  240. Reed Here said,

    June 26, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    Don: asking you to bear with Steve’s incredulity in his last two paragraphs. We do not see the “if”, big or small. Accordingly it is a bit hard for us to actually here it when it is pronounced.

    Instead, we see the things Steve lays out in his penultimate paragraph as no brainers that all would assume are necessary to be true if the gospel is to be true. Did you get that? Ours in not an unwillingness to allow gen rev to clarify our interpretation of Scripture. Ours is a sincere conviction that these kinds of questions (e.g., was there animal death before the fall?) simply make the gospel null and void.

    Please be patient with us when we digitally smack ourselves in the forehead when we observe that you’re not on the same page. We’re really not trying to be rude.

    It appears to me that you’re actually asking two questions:

    > What does the Bible teach about the state of animals pre-fall? (attempting to put your question in the most reasonable light)

    > How does animal death pre-fall hurt the gospel? (admittedly not your explicit question, but maybe the one underlying the explicit one?)

    Let me know if this sounds fair to you. Thanks!

  241. Steve Drake said,

    June 26, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Reed @239,

    Let me urge you to listen to Don’s “if”. Logically this is true simply because if God ordained it then it must renown to his glory. Anything he ordains must renown to his glory since he is perfect and does nothing that is not perfect.

    Yes, I like the way you phrase the above Reed, and I do ‘know you’re with me’.:)) But even the presuppostions of your statement that ‘if God ordained it then it must renown to His glory’, or ‘anything He ordains must renown to His Glory since He is perfect’, might not be agreed by all. Is it? You would need to offer Scriptural support with reasoned arguments that all believers understand that this would have to be a proper starting point, right? We are assuming that everyone agrees with this, but it is still an unstated assumption.

    If it is, and we agree to your premises, at this point then, one might ask initially; have to consider right up front; whether Christ ‘ordained’, ‘instituted’, ‘inaugurated’, death, disease, suffering, plagues, cancer, tumors, mass extinctions and natural disasters, and all the rest within His work of creation for millions and millions of years before the historical Adam sinned in rebellion? Did He ‘ordain’ it, does it renown to His glory? A proper question, yes, with the acceptance of your presuppositions above.

    If the answer is ‘yes’ He ordained it, and ‘yes’ it renowns to His glory, then it is incumbent upon those of us, and I include myself here, although I am not a TE or RE within the PCA, to explain why this is horribly wrong, unscriptural, and cuts to the fundamental heart of the gospel. Why it impacts the whole entirety of Christ’s redemption, the meaning of redemption and what it means for Christ to have suffered and died on the cross in the first place. The connections must be drawn, the loose ends knotted up, the ends wicked up shut. I have been attempting to do that, but take your admonishment to do a better job Scripturally. I am not a theologian, however.

    As incredulous as it seems to you and me, Don is echoing (maybe asking for himself as well; I’m not sure) a sincere question that is increasingly becoming more common. This is true especially among folks who sincerely place the name of Jesus on their lips. It is a sign of our times that what seemed so reasonably simple to understand and assume was the correct scheme of things is now not so clear.

    I understand this, my ‘stupefying’ more a matter of my own feelings, than an indictment on Don or those who don’t see the connection the same say I do.

    For the sake of those asking Don’s question sincerely, at least, lets continue to patiently re-examine and re-testify to what Scripture says.

    Yes, brother, yes.

  242. Reed Here said,

    June 26, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Steve: my syllogism was not meant to show anything other than the validity of the approach. IF, THEN always works if the presuppositions are right and the logical relationships are valid. Nothing more.

    And yes, I think it safe to assume that those commenting here accept these premises. If they do not then it is incumbent upon them to reveal that to us, lest disingenuity ensue.

    And yes, I’m aware of the depth of the theological and exegetical task in view to answer the “if” question. (See my comments to Don in the comment following my response to you.)

    Let me put things this way:

    • If God’s original creation was perfect (the import of the repeated declaration of “good”, then “very good”), and
    • If the Fall resulted in a curse that radically altered the perfect state of God’s original creation (the import of God’s condemnation in Gn 3, developed through Gn 11)
    • Then the differences between the pre-fall and post-fall states of the created order must be so radically different as to be talking about two diametrically opposed states of existence.
    • This is not to deny that some continuity must exist between these states. E.g., both contain the same items (man, animals, plants, stars, etc.).
    • Yet it is to say that the differences between the pre-fall and post-fall condition of these items is so vast as to be only adequately described as polar opposites terms.

    All this to get this point. Suppose there were some sort of cessation of life process pre-fall (man excluded). This form of “death” would have to be so radically different from “death” under the fall as to be effectively opposite. In other words, whatever this supposed pre-fall “cessation process” involved – death under the fall does not merely pick this up and continue it! Nor does it add adjustments to it. Death, as described in the Bible, was a new, never seen before, never experienced before condition. It was foreign to the original creation. It was an alien intruder, an utterly destructive principle introduced in the original perfect order.

    No, given the extreme language God uses to describe the differences pre-post fall (I like your lists), we have to hold that the differences pre-post fall are so radically dramatic as it becomes ludicrous to use one word (“death”) to describe both conditions. That is like using “dark” as an acceptable alternative for “light” and “dark.” Or, to evoke a different image, Miracle Max is NOT a trustworthy source on the nature of death; there is no such thing as “mostly dead.”

    BTW, the challenge to map out the differences pre-post fall states rests on both sides in this debate.

  243. Steve Drake said,

    June 26, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    Reed @242,
    You lost me Reed. I’m with you on the bullet points, don’t quite understand the conclusions you’re trying to draw in the two paragraphs after that.

  244. Steve Drake said,

    June 26, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    Reed,
    Your ‘No’, in the second to last paragraph is what is confusing. Is this ‘No’, a refutation of everything you just stated in the paragraph above beginning with: “All this to get to this point…”?

    Is it a refutation of your statement that ‘Death as described in the Bible, was a new, never seen before, never experienced before condition. It was foreign to the original creation, It was an alien intruder, an utterly destructive principle introduced in the original perfect order’?

    Or is your ‘No’ used in some literary way that I am not catching?

  245. Reed Here said,

    June 26, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    Steve, the last. It is a manner of speech intended to emphasize the denial that there is “death” and then there is “death”. It is ludicrous to use the same term to describe polar opposites. IF there was some for a pre-fall cessation of biological function for plants and animals (excluding other factors of decay in the created order), then it is not biblically accurate to call these nothing more than two different states of death, but both death.

  246. Don said,

    June 27, 2012 at 3:30 am

    Reed, yes, I think you’ve explained my if/then well. Boiled down and generalized, I could phrase it:
    “If [some event or events] actually happened, then they happened for God’s glory.”
    I’m pretty sure that should not be a controversial statement here. But I guess Steve was getting tripped up because the [some event or events] is so far from what he believes actually happened.

    Your paraphrases in #240 for what I would ask are on target, but I would have left out the “How” that begins the second question.

    To go back to Steve in #236, yes, WCF 1.6 is appropriate. My argument is that if you are going to make such strong statements and claim, for example, that pre-Fall animal death distorts the Gospel, then you’d better be able to show express Scripture support or strong Scriptural support your inferences. My own opinion is that this honestly is not a very big deal. I doubt that the writers of Scripture cared about what happened to animals however-many-thousands-of-years before them, at least not in comparison to the people to whom they were writing, who needed to hear God’s word to them. The idea that animals could die before the Fall may not be what the Church taught over most of its history, but over most of its history it didn’t have any (empirically observable) reason to think otherwise. With that said, I can see how I could be wrong, but I don’t see how that is an “inversion and distortion of the entirety of the gospel.” This seems to me to be a relatively minor point about the background details of how God set up a world that would eventually need redemption, and regarding an expressly less important part of creation (Matt 10:31). It’s not clear to me how this touches on, let alone inverts, issues that are critical to the Gospel, such as (but not limited to) justification by faith, sanctification, or the resurrection.

  247. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 27, 2012 at 6:37 am

    Wow, Don. Well said. So basically, God takes care of the birds, and adorns the lillies. But as they flower one day, and then cast into the fire, how much more does he care for you and me? Said another way, God knows the number of hairs on my head. He also knows what animals were up to before the fall. But maybe as I contemplate my life, my struggles, and God’s goodness, these animal questions pale in comparison to the question, ‘what is man, that God would regard such a creature, that He would die Himself, for even one as me?’

  248. Reed here said,

    June 27, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Don, would you agree:

    If animal death is a result of the curse of the fall,
    Then animal death is a prt of God’s judgment on sin.

    If animal death is a part of God’s judgment on sin,
    Then animal death pre-fall damages God’s stated judgment of sin.

    If God’s stated judgment of sin is not accurate,
    Then God ‘s stated solution in the gospel is inaccurate.

    That is, if death is normal, not judgment on sin, then why do we need a Savior to save us from something that was a part of the original perfect creation? Kind of makes God out to be a wind bag?

    I want to think you get this, and that you are just being flippant in a weak attempt to win debating points. This is the crux of the issue for those of us who see animal death as a result of God’s judgment on sin. Maybe you want to engage with us fairly? If not, maybe you’re wasting time.

  249. Reed here said,

    June 27, 2012 at 8:36 am

    Andrew, my response to Don is why I think your affirming it is extremely unwise. Do you have a good handle on what ethe bible calls death, the breadth, depth, and extent of it? Maybe it would be wiser to be a bit more circumspect. I’m not saying jump on my bandwagon. I am suggesting it is much more serious than Don characterizes things.

  250. Steve Drake said,

    June 27, 2012 at 9:15 am

    Don @ 246,

    My argument is that if you are going to make such strong statements and claim, for example, that pre-Fall animal death distorts the Gospel, then you’d better be able to show express Scripture support or strong Scriptural support your inferences.

    Yes, this is where the discussion should now focus. Pre-fall animal death is part of this focus, but it is the natural consequences and other observances of what accompanies this in the fossil record over the millions and millions of years that any OE position must adopt that has to be included as well. For the sake of repeating myself, the discussion must also focus on:

    1) disease in all it’s forms: cancer, tumors, arthritis.etc.
    2) suffering and pain: the ‘chase’, terror, predation, innocence, the weak and the strong. Rotting flesh, putrid flesh, torn and ripped flesh.
    3) natural disasters: plagues, droughts, supervolcanoes, hypercanes, meteor impacts, floods, that impacted and wiped out the animals. Don’t forget to explain how this impacted any hominids: , Australopithecus, homo habilis, homo erectus, Neanderthals, Cro-Magnon, etc., leading up to Adam.
    4) mass extinctions of animals by above natural disasters in at least 5 major areas of the geologic record, i.e. Ordovician mass extinction event, late Devonian mass extinction event, end-Permian mass extinction event, end-Triassic mass extinction event, K-T mass extinction event.

    The challenge is before us. May we rise to this challenge.

  251. Steve Drake said,

    June 27, 2012 at 11:18 am

    One other thing must be added to my list in #250 above, and should be included as part of our discussion on the gospel and its relationship to pre-Fall animal death; I’m sure others can think of things I do not mention, and can add them, but it is this:

    5) the shedding of blood; of penal substitutionary atonement as it relates to Gen. 3:21 and the use of animal skins to clothe Adam and Eve for their act of transgression. The innocent for the guilty. The blameless and perfect for the soiled and dirty. The entirety of the animal sacrifices in the Old Testament as a precursor for the blameless, perfect, sinless Christ to come as substitution and to atone for what was lost with Adam.

  252. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 27, 2012 at 11:32 am

    “Do you have a good handle on what ethe bible calls death, the breadth, depth, and extent of it?”

    Reed,

    I should share with you my own personal experience with death. I may not be a Biblical exegete. But I have experienced in a way, I think, few (at least in America, or modern times) have. I can share with you over e-mail. It actually forms much of the basis of my faith, a crisis I experienced when I was nine. Per your request, I retract any affirmation of others writings, on this blog. I’m only chatting here. I do not wish to create a firestorm.

    Blessings.

  253. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 27, 2012 at 11:34 am

    PS Jesus is the Basis of my faith. But in my despair, I cried (and still cry out when I hit times of deep sorrow) and you know what, Jesus saves! Those are not throw away words!!! I think readers of this blog tend to know this…

  254. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 27, 2012 at 11:41 am

    The last two comments should really have been better phrased. They could easily be misunderstood. “I have experienced death?” What does that mean? I am sorry, readers. Bear with me.

    I had a family member pass when I was young, I witnessed it, and was deeply sadenned by it. I have not actually had some kind of out of body experience. If I could, I would delete comments 252 and 253. So confusing. I really am sorry, readers. This is all I meant though, was that the loss of a family member, and the circumstances surrounding it, were too much to bear as a 9 year old. Thanks be to Jesus. For He is the one who saves, dear readers of GB.

    peace,
    ab

  255. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 27, 2012 at 11:42 am

    And as for understanding death the way the Bible teaches, yes, Reed, I defer to a minister of the Gospel in this regard. I do apologize that my assent to Don meant something other than what I intended. Only wished to communicate that his writing resonated with me. Peace. AB

  256. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 27, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Oh, and please resume your discussion here about what the Bible says about death. I will be reading when I have time. Reed, I will reach out to you. Sorry for getting so personal here in public. Let the show go on!

  257. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 27, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    I probably would equate death with a type of Hell – cessation with my Heavenly father, cessation of the communion which is the only peace in this existence I know. Calvin tells us we are dead in sin, until Christ “animates” us, or something. I’m also thinking of the first verses in Ephesians 2. Read Eph 2 if you can, I will to. I was told that I shouldn’t have this many comments in the recent comments fields. So I must now stop commenting for at least two days. Peace.

  258. Reed Here said,

    June 27, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Andrew: slow down, breath, relax. ;-) Yes, Jesus is in control.

  259. Hugh said,

    June 27, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Lane & Co.,
    Thou sayest:

    Biologos is not just about the age of the earth. They want to evangelize the PCA with the “good news” of biological evolution. Why are the powers that be allowing this? We have to go stretch the tent even further? Are we to believe that young earth creationists are complete, blithering idiots, now?

    The PCA has a contingent of evidentialists who ‘apparently’ elevate “science” on a par with Writ (similar to Tradition in Eastern Orth’oxy).

    Please see [again] http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/aid/v5/n1/summary-pca-geologists which opens thusly:

    Eight geologists, writing in Modern Reformation (magazine of Dr. Michael Horton’s White Horse Inn ministry), argue specifically that the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), and by inference committed Christians in all other denominations, should reject Noah’s Flood as being geologically insignificant and adopt an old-earth view of Genesis. That is, they claim, because science, acting as “general revelation,” has demonstrated Earth’s antiquity (4.6 billion years) beyond any reasonable doubt.

  260. Hugh said,

    June 27, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Here is the 2-year-old White Horse Inn article elevating physical evidence (and interpretation thereof) to the level or Scripture: http://www.modernreformation.org/default.php?page=articledisplay&var1=ArtRead&var2=1137&var3=authorbio&var4=AutRes&var5=406

    Funny how “general revelation” begins as merely as-valid-as,* later moves to equal-to, then starts crowding out, and ultimately supersedes special revelation!

    * “All truth is God’s truth” is deceptive hooey.

  261. justsinner99 said,

    June 28, 2012 at 9:15 am

    I personally don’t understand why we have so much “faith” in the claims of what passes for science when it comes to origins. Their theories just keep on changing.

    I understand not wanting to be perceived as “anti-science”, but I’d much rather be wrongly perceived as anti-science than be rightly perceived as not having full confidence in God’s Word.

  262. Steve Drake said,

    June 28, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Justsinner99 @ 261,

    …but I’d much rather be wrongly perceived as anti-science than be rightly perceived as not having full confidence in God’s Word.

    In the end, it boils down to exactly that: the authority of God’s Word.

  263. Andrew Buckingham said,

    June 28, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Steve, Just sinner, Hugh, Reed,

    I want to thank you for your plain speech. It really helps me think through the issue. I had read the PCA article in Modern Reformation when my copy of Modern Reformation showed up in the mail. But I had not read the AIG (and I don’t mean the insurance company with which I used to have my life insurance from, but things happened in the economy that made me look elsewhere, that was in 2009 I think…) article.

    If you want to continue the discussion on what “death” is, and particularly, what a full-orbed Biblical definition of death (and If you want to make it more about animal’s death, that’s fine, it’s tangentially of interest to me, though, I think it’s Andrew Buckingham’s (that’s me) death that concerns me more, and what the Bible says about that.

    I got my two books on the YEC position in the mail. I’ll be scouring those to look for this answer. Put most straigthforward:

    What is the full Biblical definition of death?

    Thank you.

    Andrew

    PS I am really into the westminster confession of faith. So I just read this (will your answer somehow incorporate things such as these, church creedal statements and confessional documents?):

    CHAPTER XXXII.

    Of the State of Man After Death,
    and of the Resurrection of the Dead.

    I. The bodies of men, after death, return to dust, and see corruption; but their souls (which neither die nor sleep), having an immortal subsistence, immediately return to God who gave them. The souls of the righteous, being then made perfect in holiness, are received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of God in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies; and the souls of the wicked are cast into hell, where they remain in torments and utter darkness, reserved to the judgment of the great day. Besides these two places for souls separated from their bodies, the Scripture acknowledgeth none.

    II. At the last day, such as are found alive shall not die, but be changed: and all the dead shall be raised up with the self-same bodies, and none other, although with different qualities, which shall be united again to their souls forever.

    III. The bodies of the unjust shall, by the power of Christ, be raised to dishonor; the bodies of the just, by his Spirit, unto honor, and be made conformable to his own glorious body.

  264. Hugh said,

    June 28, 2012 at 11:43 am

    justsinner99,

    Amen. Theories, “facts,” perceptions, they all change CONSTANTLY.

    Someone said the only thing unchanging is change. Or something like that. I’ve no doubt changed it.

  265. Reed Here said,

    June 28, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Guys, last three comments: I’m with you. Previous posts and comments from me push hard on this exact issue – what does it mean to assert the authority of special rev over gen rev.

    Growing off of your reminders and observations I want to ask you to take the another step, as it were. I expect that those who’ve been commenting here from the “other side” (e.g., maybe Kevin, Don, Joel) would heartily AMEN and affirm: Bible RULES Science. In other words, I don’t see anything in what they’re saying which leads me to conclude that they are not sincerely affirming this.

    This being said, then how do we explain those areas, those comments from such as these brothers, where we believe they’re operating under exactly the opposite belief? What do we do with those areas in which we’re concluded that they’ve just said something that is based on a Science RULES Bible perspective?

    I’m not admonishing us, as if I think we’re doing something wrong. Instead I hope you hear me encouraging, even exhorting us to take our own explanations and make them better. Sympathetic with their concerns yes, and patient explanation, but even more!! We must pursue active, even graciously aggressive efforts to winsomely demonstrate how the Bible RULES Science.

    I suspect that those commenting on blogs like this one who are pushing for an expanded understanding of Gn 1-2 (and then 3-11) are the brave ones, the confident in their faith ones. While I do find some sympathy for them, even such as the “high priest”of the effort my own former professor Dr. Pete Enns, I am GREATLY more concerned for the potential legion of young professing believers for whom this debate is critical.

    We tend not to realize that in some sense Ken Ham is right – every issue in some manner or form does come back to an origins questions. Consequently, while not saying it is the only issue, I am saying that the argument over origins is vital to such issues as the sexual fornication culture that is being normalized in the American Church.

    And let’s not be wheenies with our words here. Not believing in 6/24 creation might not mean you’re a heretic going to hell, but believing you’re a born-again, Holy-Spirit baptized, justified-adopted-sanctified, persevering-to-glory child of God who rejoices in the freedom of his sexual fornication IS a damning conviction. (Read 1Co 6:9-10, deal with what “no one who is a fornicator of any type” (vs. 9) and “such were some of you” must mean.)

    All this to urge those of us for whom this all seems so much clearer: let’s double down on our patience, our love, AND our zeal. There is a Church to see restored and a Nation to see saved.

  266. Hugh said,

    June 28, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    …I don’t see anything in what they’re saying which leads me to conclude that they are not sincerely affirming this.
    > The Bible RULES everything – including our predilections.

    …We must pursue active, even graciously aggressive efforts to winsomely demonstrate how the Bible RULES Science.
    > Gracious? Sure. Winsome? You bet. But we cannot improve upon reciting and re-reciting the biblical text. We are not evidentialists; so, we are not trying to demonstrate (an impossible task, BTW) how the Bible rules. Reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

    …We tend not to realize that in some sense Ken Ham is right – every issue in some manner or form does come back to an origins questions.
    > Yup!

    …I am saying that the argument over origins is vital to such issues as the sexual fornication culture that is being normalized in the American Church. And let’s not be wheenies with our words here.
    > Nor whiners nor weenies.

    > Not believing in 6/24 creation might not mean you’re a heretic going to hell, but believing you’re a born-again, Holy-Spirit baptized, justified-adopted-sanctified, persevering-to-glory child of God who rejoices in the freedom of his sexual fornication IS a damning conviction.
    > PREACH IT, NOW, BROTHER!

    (Read 1Co 6:9-10, deal with what “no one who is a fornicator of any type” (vs. 9) and “such were some of you” must mean.) All this to urge those of us for whom this all seems so much clearer: let’s double down on our patience, our love, AND our zeal.
    > Amen & amen.

    …There is a Church to see restored and a Nation to see saved.
    > Not a Postmiller, but yeah, OK.

  267. Steve Drake said,

    June 28, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Reed @ 264,

    This being said, then how do we explain those areas, those comments from such as these brothers, where we believe they’re operating under exactly the opposite belief? What do we do with those areas in which we’re concluded that they’ve just said something that is based on a Science RULES Bible perspective?

    Exhortation received. I’m highly pessimistic however, unfortunately. As Hugh asks above, ‘How can we improve upon reciting and re-reciting the Biblical text’?

    If our brothers are using a different hermeneutic, won’t engage the questions I, for example, list in #250 and #251 from Scripture, or willfully will not present their case for an OE and millions and millions of years with its associated, death, disease, suffering, plagues, droughts, shedding of blood, natural disasters and mass extinctions and all the rest, then we will and are and forever be at a standstill. The history of the Church is replete with ‘break offs’, ‘splinters’, and ‘divisions’ over just such issues.

    If the mind is set that these things are Scriptural pre-Fall and renown to God’s Glory, His Holiness, His Love, His Omnibenevolence, His Majesty, then it is the those in the sheepfold, in the pews, and the layperson to which the effort must be addressed. To God’s glory, thankfully, at least here in America, the layperson is not following statistically in the footsteps of some in the clergy.

  268. Reed Here said,

    June 28, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    Hugh: not a postmill either. :-)

    Steve: understand your discouragement. You are right that this in the end becomes a matter of hermeutics. So let’s rejoice that we’ve identified the heart of the matter and study up on our heart surgery skills. :-)

  269. Hugh said,

    June 28, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Reed ~ YEA! Be fortified: http://www.prca.org/articles/amillennialism.html

    And three quicks:

    (1) In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

    (2) What part of “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” don’t they understand?

    (3) If they speak not according to this word [Is. 8:20] (and dare to go beyond what is written [1 Co. 4:6]), why ordain ‘em?

    “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” [1 Co. 2:14]

  270. Hugh said,

    June 28, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Reed et. al.,

    “avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.” [Titus 3:9ff]

    Paul also said, “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.” [Rom. 16:17ff]

    Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

  271. Don said,

    June 29, 2012 at 3:24 am

    @ Reed Here #248,
    Hopefully not wasting anyone’s time here, but possibly the discussion has run its course.

    If animal death is a part of God’s judgment on sin,
    Then animal death pre-fall damages God’s stated judgment of sin.

    No, I don’t think this particular “then” follows the “if,” nor does it follow anything else. Nothing damages God’s stated judgement of sin. If animals did suffer and die before the Fall, it happened in a manner consistent with God’s justice, whether or not it’s clear to us how that could happen–whether the curse was applied prospectively, or death occurred “naturally,” absent moral judgement. It sure seems like animals suffered and died before the Fall; I don’t know how or why, nor do I especially think it matters much. God’s justice isn’t dependent on how I interpret fossils.

    It seems to me that arguments like this if/then list give too much weight to general revelation. Do you really think that there is a certain set of empirical observations that, if true, is enough to undermine the Gospel? Is the Gospel so fragile that the only possible response is to deny the validity of those observations? Are scientific theories so powerful that (despite having nothing to say about the supernatural) they need to be labeled heresies (remember, I’m talking about scientific theories, used to organize and interpret observations; not about worldviews that claim to be derived from those theories)?

    These are not clever questions I’m asking to try to win debating points. More than whether animals could/did die pre-Fall, I’m asking whether disagreements about pre-Fall animals should rise to the level of heresy and justify calling people “wolves.”


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