Theistic Evolution and the PCA

by Reed DePace, TE, PCA

O.k., I know this is a touchy subject. Yet it is important. I’m not going to name names, as to do that with the respect owed to brothers would take up much more space than I have here. I am however, going to say that I am persuaded that the teaching of theistic evolution is occurring within the PCA.

Some of this is overt; those involved know that this is what they are teaching. Some of this is under layers of rationalizing that hides the connection to theistic evolution (sometimes even from those supporting the rationalizations). Either way, there is support for theistic evolution going in our denomination.

So what! Right? Well, mark me as a trouble maker if you wish, but theistic evolution is deadly. It is a doctrine that presupposes the validity of an origins theory that fundamentally denies the Biblical origins doctrine. And in doing so, it proves a fatal poison to the gospel.

We can spend our time trying to parse out what “death” is, but we doomed to fail up front because evolution in theistic evolution is antithetical to the Bible. Evolution is fundamentally opposed to the Bible’s explanation of death. We may think we can wall off some limited form of death that protects the historic credibility of the Fall into sin and the ensuing curse of all creation. Yet beginning from a position that affirms that in any manner, to any degree, the reign of death now being experienced throughout the created order is actually how God created things in the first place leaves us with no hope.

Evolution calls good everything the Bible says is God’s judgment on Man’s sin. It truly is a matter of darkness denying the light. There is no compromise with it that will succeed. We don’t have a choice if we are to maintain the Bible’s integrity. Whatever the natural processes before the fall (biological, geological, astronomical, et.al.) they cannot partake of what God calls the reign of death. They cannot be a variation of it or a perfected form of it.

To so argue makes biblical interpretation no more than metaphor. If first Adam is nothing more than a metaphor, then last Adam is likewise nothing more than a metaphor. You agree in even a small way that the reign of death IS NOT exclusively a result of the fall and you lose the gospel. No fall, no judgment; no judgment, no atonement; no atonement, no gospel.

It is that simple.

by Reed DePace, TE, PCA

POSTSCRIPT: here is a good starting article to consider problems evolution: What Are the Top Ten Problems with Darwinian Evolution? This is a scientific perspective, not a biblical perspective. For those interested in an informed and reasonable critique of evolution from a science perspective, I recommend this site.

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245 Comments

  1. Trent said,

    July 3, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    Exactly Reed! Thank God he lead me out the Biologos forum I was following for awhile!

  2. July 4, 2012 at 7:13 am

    Reed – you are right. Light and darkness – at least on this issue (I’m not making conclusions about brothers who believe TE by the way).

    I also think you are right that the position and its variants are more widely accepted than one might initially realize.

    In light of the prevalence of this issue, Greenville Seminary’s 2013 Conference will deal with the Doctrine of Man – I know one paper will deal with the issue of death before the fall. There are no details on their website yet but I think it will be worth attending.

  3. Chris said,

    July 4, 2012 at 8:01 am

    Just a few thoughts to throw in:

    “Yet beginning from a position that affirms that in any manner, to any degree, the reign of death now being experienced throughout the created order is actually how God created things in the first place leaves us with no hope.”

    I admit that there must be some sort of special creation of Adam that occurred in history. But, do we really think that if animals and plants were dying before the fall/during evolution then we as human beings created in the image of God have no hope?

    On a related note, is it not interesting that though God tells Adam and Eve that they will surely die on the day that they eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they do not physically die immediately that day? Isn’t the emphasis then shown to be on the spiritual death that occurs, the severing of harmony with God? Why then are we so concerned with animal death giving us no hope when the point, the curse, seems to be spiritual death?

    I agree that the reign of sin and death is necessary for the gospel. But, perhaps that spiritual death of humanity and not the physical death of animals and plants is the emphasis?

    God bless.

  4. July 4, 2012 at 8:16 am

    Chris et al,

    I think we need once and for all to remove the issue of plant death off the table – I don’t mean to be rude, but it is such a bad argument. “life” of the kind that can die is clearly defined in Gen 1-2 and 9 – it has two elements: the breath of life (Gen 1:29) – see also Gen 1:21, 24 and 2:7 “living creature” of man and animal) and blood (in which is the life). These are terms that are used to describe both the life of animals and man. The Hebrew of Gen 1-2 concerning both animals and man is the same. Two conclusions:

    1. Plants cannot die – at least in the sense that most citing plant “death” use the term. They have neither the breath of life, nor the blood. Plant death before the fall is for the purposes of this discussion both a mis-noma and a red herring.

    2. If people who hold to animal death prior to the fall want to be consistent – animals and man were created in almost identical manner (breath, blood, from the dust) with the obvious exclusion of the image of God – then they should probably also hold to human death before fall. Such is the common description of the “life” that animals and man had.

    Furthermore, what is life? This gets to the above question and the nature of death. Life is an attribute of God – it is this communicable attribute that God gives to animals (Gen 1:20, 24) and to man (Gen 1:26), giving additionally to man the functions and offices of the image (Kline is helpful here). Are we to believe that God communicated this attributed to a dying creation? Surely that is a contradiction in terms. What is death? The cessation of life – the life Adam enjoyed in Eden was both physical and spiritual. The fact he did not die on the very day he sinned does not deny that physical death was part of the curse. The dying process began, the seed of death subsequently reigned in him and so death spread to all men.

    Blessings.

  5. Reed Here said,

    July 4, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Chris: consider my observation about needing to describe the pre-fall state in terms set exclusively apart from the reign of death. Gen 3:17-19; 5:29; 6:13; Isa 24:5-6; Jer 12:4,11; Hos 4:3; Joe 1:18; and Rom 8:19-22 make it abundantly clear that in some manner the reign of death is universal! Rom 8:21 has the best summary when it calls this reign of death “bondage to decay.”

    if it is merely to Adam’s descendants that “death” attaches, then we are left with a fractured Bible at best. The theme of the battle of the reign of righteousness with the reign of death is fundamental to the whole thing. By limiting “death” to mankind you turn vast swaths of biblical data into mere metaphorical descriptions with no actual basis in reality. It is worse than describing a middle earth that does not exist, or a Narnia that borrows from reality for its metaphor.

    The Bible uses the reality of the battle between death and righteousness in the physical as evidence of the battle between these foes in the spiritual world. If we say that a large part of the Bible is just some sort of story with no actual connection to things as they really are – then we’ve got a fairy tale faith. It may make us feel good for a while, but don’t worry, we’ll grow up one day and stop believing in an immediately created man and a woman, a worldwide flood, a tower of confusion, a parting of a sea, a man in a whale, and, oh yes, a God-man rising from the dead.

    We may think we can control the metaphor, but we can’t. Once we introduce a new interpretive idea, written as a result of and on the basis of a challenge from a system of thought that is rooted in unbelief – we lose the Bible.

  6. Reed Here said,

    July 4, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Chris (Matthew):

    We can be comfortable with the distinction Matthew has made between plants and animals vis-a-vis death as cessation of life. Yet even in sayng plants don’t die we cannot ignore the universalism of the reign of death. In some manner we cannot fathom even plants have experienced a twisting, a distorting, a fracturing of their original perfection so that they too are under the bondage of decay.

    This must be true for all the natural systems. Their current operating systems (to borrow digital language if I might) to be sure do have some correspondence with their pre-fall operating systems. That is, the Fall did not wipe out all the programming and rebuild with a whole new hardware-software structure.

    Yet it must mean that in some vital and substantial manner a principle of death, of decay, of futility was introduced into every single thing God created. Novas were not supposed to happen the way they do, with all the destruction involved. Microorganisms were not supposed to advance by destroying one another. Animals were not supposed to survive by the rule of the strongest. All systems at the fall experienced a radical and dramatic fracturing of their original perfect operating system. A system-wide virus attached itself to every string of code and every level of the programming – and even to the hardware itself, that introduced a fatal flaw that is always, immediately and ultimately present.

    I’ve no problem imagining Adam picked a rose for Eve when he first met her. Yet if the Bible is to be trustworthy I cannot simply say, and the rose then “died” in the same way it does now. There was a change as a consequence of the fall in the rose’s experience of that act and it was horrific. And believing that is true I hope that in eternity when I pick a rose for my wife both of us will rejoice that the reign of death does not mar the beautiful perfection of the whole thing.

  7. Steve Drake said,

    July 4, 2012 at 9:51 am

    Beautiful Reed. Although your post brings focus on evolution, theistic in this case, might I continue to encourage us to think in terms of the next step, the next connection: ‘millions and millions of years’.

    Evolution, whether theistic, deistic, or other, is impossible without billions and millions of years of history. The secularists understand something few Christians seem to grasp—biological evolution is not the heart of the issue, “Millions of years” is. If they accept the historical time-line as outlined in Scripture (approx. 6000 years), they are forced to abandon evolution. Creation becomes then the only viable option. By accepting the billions and millions of years associated with an old earth, it is easy for them to justify their rejection of God and Scripture’s trustworthiness.

    All of the accommodationist positions (gap theory, day-age theory, Framework Hypothesis, Analogical Day-View, Cosmic-Temple view, progressive creation, theistic evolution, etc.) have one thing in common–they attempt to fit millions of years of history into Genesis 1, explicitly, implicitly or de facto-ly.

    Such accommodation places man’s fallible dating methods, his beliefs about the past, in authority over God’s Word. It undermines biblical authority, leading to a generational loss in biblical authority where our young people are walking away from the church at an alarming rate.

    If the fossil-bearing layers were laid down slowly over millions and millions of years, then these layers contain the remains of dead creatures, bloodshed, fossil thorns, evidence of disease (e.g., brain tumors), the agony depicted in the ‘dinosaur death pose’ (head thrown back and tail arched upward, so common it has been given a name: the opisthotonic death posture), animals eating each other, mass extinctions and natural disasters—all before Adam appeared on the planet and fell into sin.

    Thus, your closing conclusion cannot be avoided:

    If ‘you agree in even a small way that the reign of death IS NOT exclusively a result of the fall’ then ‘you lose the gospel’.’ No fall, no judgment; no judgment, no atonement; no atonement, no gospel.’

  8. July 4, 2012 at 10:00 am

    I would affirm Reed’s comments regarding the universal nature of the fall – my understanding is the everything was marred by death, even that which was created to be consumed (not death) before the fall.

  9. July 4, 2012 at 10:00 am

    sorry – that should have read, “everything was marred by sin…”

  10. July 4, 2012 at 10:04 am

    I would post one qualification to Reeds comments, well not really of Reeds, but where YEC can go – I think there is danger in trying to say too much about the pre-fall state, as we feel we have to explain everything away. We don’t know the dynamics of the pre-fall state in any great detail, and thus we need to stop short of trying, a la Henry Morris, of finding a solution to every prickly thorn, excuse the pun. Sometime we must be content to say “Scripture is silent on the matter”. Not accusing Reed of this mind you.

  11. Steve Drake said,

    July 4, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Matthew @ 10<

    of finding a solution to every prickly thorn, excuse the pun.

    Please remember, however, that ‘thorns’ are a result of the Curse. They are post-Fall, not pre-Fall (Gen. 3:18).

  12. July 4, 2012 at 10:10 am

    that was kind of my point…. attempt at humour failure. ;)

  13. Steve Drake said,

    July 4, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Matthew @ 10, 12,

    Scripture is ‘not’ silent on the matter. It was ‘good’, and ‘very good’. Animals were vegetarian, so was Adam. (Gen. 1:29-30).

  14. July 4, 2012 at 10:21 am

    I guess I’m not expressing myself to clearly here – apologies to all.

    Reed, I am where you are, absolutely. No death. All good. Absolutely. 6 days means 6 days and so on.

    As I said I wasn’t trying to qualify your comments Reed, but trying to be silent where Scripture is silent. I think YECs can be guilty of trying to say too much, much in the same manner as “science” supposedly has an answer for everything.

    Is that clearer? Again apologies for not being clearer.

  15. Reed Here said,

    July 4, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Matthew: not feeling accused. :) And pun intended, I agree with your prickly thorn observation. While I find it commendable what the “original” creation scientist, Dr. Morris, and all those have followed in his footsteps are attempting to do, we must all keep in mind that we are hypothesizing about something we will never prove this side of eternity. The best we can hope for is narrowing by negation; not this, not that, nor that, etc..

    We must keep in mind that beginning from any position which avows evolutionary theory as a starting point fundamentally denies the fall. It says what we see now is consistent with what we would see at the beginning. It is not merely that evolutionary sciences (astronomical, geological, biological, et.al.) extrapolate backwards. Worse, they believe what is is the state of things since whatever marks the beginning.This is uniformitarianism; all natural systems essentially function the same as they always have. Thus there is not merely no plant or animal death. In any system beholden to evolutionary principles there is a fundamental and necessary denial of the biblical principle of the reign of death.

    Even then adding God does not fix this. Listen to the discussion Doug Wilson had with some college students vis-a-vis human sexuality (third video down). Note that their arguments against the biblical position boil down to this:

    God made everything perfect.
    Therefore I was made perfect.
    I feel sexually attracted to the same gender.
    Therefore homosexuality is perfect.

    This is the necessary fruits of any theistic evolution system because it is built on the necessary evolutionary uniformitarian principle. Folks, this is losing the gospel, plain and simple.

  16. Reed Here said,

    July 4, 2012 at 10:26 am

    No Matthew, you were clear enough and I understood you. We’re on the same page here.

  17. Reed Here said,

    July 4, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Matthew, marred by death is looking at marred by sin from a different angle; distinct but not separate. Depending on the nuance to be drawn out, either are appropriate.

  18. July 4, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Reed, I concur wholeheartedly. Your observations are very helpful.

    I was just pondering this morning how the consequences of sin are minimized by the TE position. Death and sin are not the final enemies that Scripture portrays them to be, if we were created in a deathly state. (Again I wonder how we arrive at the deathly state when God is said to communicate of himself to us – his life? That beats me).

    I also wonder if this view of TE is what is behind some prominent members in the Reformed world, no names of course, struggling to call sin “sin”. The twisting and turning of such people, to avoid calling it what it is worries me. And I wonder whether it is produced by more than just a desire to appeal to a certain constituency.

    And I agree, the gospel is at stake. Not least in the inability to call sin sin.

  19. James Hakim said,

    July 4, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Biblicists and their post-fall, pre-fall language! We are intellectually beyond the idea that there was a single individual, in whom the rest of humanity was to be considered, and in whom they all sinned and spiritually died.

    Such ideas fly in the face not only of biology and geology, but also of biblical ethics. The man that sinneth shall die. Children shall not be punished for the sins of their fathers.

    Don’t you know that people who disagree with you on thestic evolution can’t even bear to read such conversations in which all of this “pre-fall” and “post-fall” talk appears with a straight face?

  20. Reed Here said,

    July 4, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    Love you too James! ;-P

  21. James Hakim said,

    July 4, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Reed, I’m just saying that once someone is under the theistic evolution bridge, the water is gone. The only people that this conversation can “preach to” is “the choir.”

    The real question before is isn’t whether this is a watershed issue. And, I agree with Reed, that there isn’t even a question of whether PCA elders are teaching it. The real question is whether men (such as we are) are going to step up, keep our vows, and prosecute until either death or censure do us part, or repentance do us reconcile.

    Matthew, you might want to do a little hunting around to find out who I am now speaking of: someone who not too long ago was vigorously arguing that he is as confessionally reformed as the rest of us, but gave in to theistic evolution and now argues that sexual promiscuity and oppression of the weaker by the strong are natural, built-in propensities of man, by which God has mysteriously ordained to prosper and progress the species.

    (I’m basically asking you to do my legwork, because I cannot find the place where I read him making the argument)

  22. michael said,

    July 4, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    James,

    with a verse such as this one, the only ones who will hear are the choir!

    Rom 9:11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad–in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls–

  23. stuart said,

    July 4, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Forgive my ignorance, but who in the PCA is teaching theistic evolution?

  24. July 4, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    James – would love to know where that idea is taught. Let me know if you find out, it would prove very useful to my current research. You can contact me via Reed (he can give my email) or through our church website.

    At least the “fellow” of whom I think you are talking is being consistent. ;)

    And yes, I agree with you – time to be counted – press charges or be quiet.

  25. Steve Drake said,

    July 4, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Forgive my ignorance, but who in the PCA is teaching theistic evolution?

    A question I’m sure asked by many. What it tells me is that more needs to be done to make the connections between some of the most popular OE views in Reformed circles: Framework Hypothesis, Analogical-Day view, and that of evolution. In other words, to draw the inconsistency of saying the days of Genesis 1 were some sort of literary framework and metaphor, or analogical in some way to God’s workdays over millions and millions of years to human workdays, and the process of placing the events of history on an historical timeline.

    When one tries to do that, one cannot escape some form of evolution. One cannot escape the death, disease, suffering, plagues, droughts, mass extinctions and natural disasters already seen in the fossil record, all before Adam and sin.

    You can add ‘God’ to the mix and call it theistic evolution if you want, leave God out of the picture except for some starring role at the beginning and call it deistic evolution, or bow the knee in humble submission to His Word which proclaims He did it all in six days and rested on the seventh, and expects us to work six days and rest and hallow the seventh. It’s that simple.

  26. stuart said,

    July 4, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    Steve,

    I know several guys who hold to framework or analogical view but are nowhere near an evolutionary view.

    So who are the guys teaching theistic evolution in the PCA?

  27. Steve Drake said,

    July 4, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    Stuart @ 26,

    I know several guys who hold to framework or analogical view but are nowhere near an evolutionary view.

    Just proves my point brother. Ask them to explain the ‘process’ for history and the events within history on an historical timeline within their FH or ADV. I think you’ll find that they can’t do it without resorting to some form of evolution.

  28. stuart said,

    July 4, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    Steve,

    With all due respect, you are making conclusions that do not necessarily follow. I am a 6 dayer and on the candidates and credentials committee of my presbytery. Men who hold a different view on creation days are questioned thoroughly in our presbytery. They have been asked the kinds of questions you suggest and none of them have come close to affirming evolution. In fact, they denounce it.

    Now there may be other men out there who hold to framework or analogy views who also hold to evolution, but I do not know them. Thus my question . . . Who are the specific men teaching this stuff?

    Keller and Choong have been suggested.

  29. Steve Drake said,

    July 4, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Stuart @ 29,
    Good for you, brother. However, you are part of the problem if you are on the candidates and credentials committee of your presbytery and don’t understand the connection.

    If we must, we need to bring this connection home. The FH and ADV are ‘old earth’ views, correct? ‘Old earth’ as in millions and millions of years old, correct? For that very reason, unless you postulate God’s intervening miraculously over these millions and millions of years to bring about the ‘kinds’ or ‘species’ if you wish, without ‘any’ death, disease, suffering, plagues, droughts, natural disasters and mass extinctions, you are in essence, by de facto agreeing with the evolutionary time line and it’s associated reign of death in the fossil record.

    Why do you think the FH and ADV men you mention, ‘do not’ accept the views of Hugh Ross and progressive creationism? What is it about Ross’ views that they consider incorrect and feel the need to adopt the FH or ADV? That they hide behind the FH and ADV without ‘any’ explanation or attempt at explanation for the events of history and an historical timeline within their FH or ADV views has got to stop within our denominations and within the candidates and credentials committee to which you are part.

    Like the little boy in the hushed and silent crowd, who speaks aloud, “Mama, he’s got no clothes”, the mask of the FH and ADV needs to be shown for what they are. Null and void. Defunct accommodationist views that are de facto evolutionary.

  30. July 4, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    Steve,

    I honestly don’t think your last contribution was that helpful brother, especially the finger pointing. More so that Stuart’s observations are correct, inconsistent though the holders of such views maybe. Furthermore the FH, strictly speaking is agnostic on the length of day. Moreover, Kline himself acknowledged the possibility of his position being used for evolutionary purposes, but strictly refuted the position of theistic evolution himself. I know a number of young earth Klineans, strange as that may seem to us.

    The holders of FH do not have to end up as theistic evolutionists, even if inconsistency is the only reason they don’t, though others are more thoughtfully opposed toTE.

    I do sympathize with the general point that you are making however – the vast majority of proponents of old earth views either open the door, of welcome in TE views.

    I speak as one who has a literal view of Gen 1-2, just so that we are clear. Neither am I at all sympathetic to FH or TE.

    Blessings

  31. stuart said,

    July 4, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    Steve,

    Again, with all due respect, you are drawing conclusions that are necessary. Framework and analgous view are not necessarily old earth views. They may lend themselves that direction, but they do not necessitate and OE position.

    The guys I know who are framework and analagous are not OEers. At worst they are”agnostic” about the exact times of creation. But when it comes to evolution, death entering into the world because of sin, etc., they are orthodox.

    That may not be true for others, but it is true for the men I know.

  32. July 4, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    [...] no idea which denomination has the initials PCA, but I’m very glad a guy is concerned about Theistic Evolution and the PCA.  He does an excellent job describing the damage Evolution does to Christianity.  The atheists [...]

  33. stuart said,

    July 4, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    Sorry above should read “not necessary”.

  34. Steve Drake said,

    July 4, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    Matthew @ 31,
    You men who are TE’s and RE’s within the PCA need to stop being wishy-washy, and forcefully draw these connections that I as a layperson am trying to make; within your candidates and credentials committees, at GA, and in your churches. It is time to stand up. The gospel is at stake. I am somewhat sympathetic to James H.’s posts of #19 and #21, in that I see the need for action within the PCA.

    Moreover, Kline himself acknowledged the possibility of his position being used for evolutionary purposes, but strictly refuted the position of theistic evolution himself.

    And I would submit he (Kline) didn’t understand the danger his views present. He didn’t see the connection between OE/millions and millions of years and the relationship of death, disease, suffering, mass extinctions and natural disasters in the fossil record all before Adam even came on the scene and sinned. As much of the Biblical scholar he was, and to those who knew him and loved him, he was mistaken in this.

    I know a number of young earth Klineans, strange as that may seem to us.

    A minority and aberration I’m sure. Why do they feel the need to accept an FH young earth view, and discard the traditional, classical young earth view? They don’t really understand either.

    The holders of FH do not have to end up as theistic evolutionists, even if inconsistency is the only reason they don’t, though others are more thoughtfully opposed toTE.

    There well may be some parts of FH that make sense biblically; its chiastic structure, the making and filling of the spheres (not a direct correlation however), etc., but why the ‘need’ 40-50 years ago to come up with the theory in the first place, if not to try and accommodate the millions and millions of years that came out of a methodological naturalistic philosophy? If at the ‘least’, you can make this knowledge known to the young men coming out of seminary and standing before your candidates and credentials committee, and ask them if they hold to FH or ADV to explain the process of history on an historical timeline within their FH or ADV view, you would go far to ‘root out’ the destructive and gospel-denying evolutionary thinking that has taken hold in the PCA.

  35. July 4, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    Steve, you should work harder to get your facts straight and listen or read better. Your responses demonstrate a mind not willing to listen, even to those on your side.

  36. Steve Drake said,

    July 4, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    Stuart @ 32,

    The guys I know who are framework and analagous are not OEers. At worst they are”agnostic” about the exact times of creation. But when it comes to evolution, death entering into the world because of sin, etc., they are orthodox.

    Stuart, brother, I submit to you, that these men don’t know their own position. To remain ‘agnostic’ on the ‘days’ is, to be blunt, spineless. Quit hiding behind ‘I don’t know’. Have some backbone and make a decision. Scripture is clear; why don’t they believe it?

    One needs to ask them, as I have stated above, to connect the events in the fossil record with their FH or ADV views. Do they accept the evolutionary timeline associated with the fossil record? Do they accept a global, universal, judgment of God Flood in the days of Noah? Do they see the difference?

    If they are orthodox when it comes to death entering into the world because of Adam’s sin, his historicity, Eve’s historicity, and them both being our first parents to which all past and present humans can trace their lineage, then why the need to adopt the FH or ADV when the traditional, classical view explains it better? You need to ask them this. You need to find out what they see as the difference.

    To do this Stuart, is to bring to bear the great responsibility you hold on the candidates and credentials committee of your presbytery to fruition against the truthful claims of Scripture.

  37. Steve Drake said,

    July 4, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Matthew @ 35,
    Perhaps you can help me then brother. Which facts don’t I have correct?

  38. stuart said,

    July 4, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    Steve,

    I appreciate what you are saying in terms of OE views leading to some form of evolutionary views, but I would counsel you to be more circumspect in your rhetoric against those who are of us who are more on your side than you seem to acknowledge. Rather than being wishy washy, there are those of us who are zealous for truth. Rather than painting everyine with a broad brush (if you are framework or analogous you must be an evolutionist) we seek to investigate and understand while not allowing views that would be hostile to our system of doctrine.

    If you want to call men who work hard trying to examine candidates in a fair manner “wishy washy”, that is your perogative, but I would encourage you not to be hasty to make such comments.

  39. Steve Drake said,

    July 4, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    Stuart @ 38,
    Fair enough. That you have asked twice now, ‘Who is teaching theistic evolution within the PCA?’, lends me to believe you are behind the curve on all this however. I’m not trying to be uncharitable, brother, but Reed makes this explicit point in the original post. That you ask the question, in essence, means you deny it. Do you the problem there?

  40. stuart said,

    July 4, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    Steve,

    The questions like you suggest have been asked. The framework guys I know are not spineless. They truly believe the best way to understand the text in its context is to view it in a framework way . . . That the text is not primarily about length of days but about the sovereign God who rules over all things, who forms and fills the world.

    One thing I do for all framework and analogous guys is to pull on the threads if their theology to see if the sweater will unravel. So I ask about evolution, the fall and death, the relevance of their view on the Sabbath, etc. So with a framework guy I counsel him to look closely at Exodus 20. The 4th commandment is talking about 24 hour days, and its foundation is built on the days of creation. Doesn’t that seem to indicate the creation days were 24 hour periods as well?

  41. stuart said,

    July 4, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    Steve,

    The reason I ask the question is that it is pne thing to complain on a website about what is going on in the PCA, it is another thing to do something about it. If there are men teaching theistic evolution in our denomnation then we need to do more than post comments on a blog. But how can we act if we don’t know who the specific men who are spreading this error are? So I have asked “who?”because I don’t know. No one I know teaches it. If that makes me behind the curve, so be it. View this as me trying to get caught up! Thus far I have been given two suggestions of men who appear to be teaching theistic evolution . . , and that is what I wanted to know.

  42. Steve Drake said,

    July 4, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    Stuart @ 40,

    They truly believe the best way to understand the text in its context is to view it in a framework way . . . That the text is not primarily about length of days but about the sovereign God who rules over all things, who forms and fills the world.

    And I would submit to you brother, that this is wrong. That it is deleterious to the actual text of Scripture. That it opens the door to a rejection of Biblical authority. That it lends itself to then accepting the naturalistic assumptions upon which the idea of an old earth and millions and millions of years is based.

    The historical, classical view is about the length of days, plain and simple. No other view should hold sway or be allowed to hold forth in the men you ordain, because any other view is unscriptural. This is the problem. That you fail to see that this is part and parcel to the whole OEC-YEC debate is confusing to me.

  43. stuart said,

    July 4, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    Steve,

    I am very sorry my words and position confuse you. I do not see the situation in the exact same way as you do, though I have some sympathy for what you have said. If I am wrong in the way I am approaching this matter may the Lord have mercy on me and bring me to better understand the truth.

  44. p2alm said,

    July 4, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    finally someone else not afraid to call human evolutionary theory what it really is – spiritual poison. and i’m sorry to hear it might be taught in your denomination.

    Christ’s resurrection necessarily proves evolutionary theory false. He went to the Cross because Adam’s sin brought death into the world.

    the evolution of animals into man requires bloodshed and death to be successful but God says there was no death before Adam [Romans 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22]. death, both physical and spiritual, is the consequence of Adam’s sin against God [Genesis 3:19]. to say that death existed before Adam is to say that death is not the consequence of Adam’s sin. believing in death before Adam removes our responsibility for our sin, calls God a liar and renders Him useless because Christ’s sacrifice becomes vain.

    furthermore, the entire theory is based upon the presupposition of the non-existence of the supernatural. no God, no souls. this means, according to evolutionary theory, we have no souls to be saved. BIG problem.

    Creation and human evolution are mutually exclusive and meshing the two makes zero sense.

    “Evolution calls good everything the Bible says is God’s judgment on Man’s sin.”

    bravo!

    “To so argue makes biblical interpretation no more than metaphor. If first Adam is nothing more than a metaphor, then last Adam is likewise nothing more than a metaphor. You agree in even a small way that the reign of death IS NOT exclusively a result of the fall and you lose the gospel. No fall, no judgment; no judgment, no atonement; no atonement, no gospel.”

    quite! if the first Adam is an allegory, so is the Second. If God is not the Creator, neither is He the Savior. Human evolutionary theory is a direct assault on the deity of Christ.

  45. Steve Drake said,

    July 4, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    Guys, (Stuart, Michael),
    I’m tired of being the bad cop here, and I apologize for giving offense. Perhaps one of my fellow YEC brothers can play the ‘good’ cop and step in here? I’m gonna watch some fireworks. Happy 4th brothers.

  46. Jim said,

    July 5, 2012 at 12:08 am

    Reed,
    By affirming your theological “truths” you ignore other truths. Your churches will be irrelevant (in gospel terms) if you continue to affirm the absolutely unsupportable YEC position.

    I agree that evolution presents difficulties. But truth is truth and we must deal with it as fact. Nothing less. The church is at stake; just not in the way you think it is.

  47. Chris said,

    July 5, 2012 at 1:09 am

    Hey guys, thanks for the responses.

    Steve Drake @ 7 wrote,

    “All of the accommodationist positions (gap theory, day-age theory, Framework Hypothesis, Analogical Day-View, Cosmic-Temple view, progressive creation, theistic evolution, etc.) have one thing in common–they attempt to fit millions of years of history into Genesis 1…

    Such accommodation places man’s fallible dating methods, his beliefs about the past, in authority over God’s Word.”

    I think this is a good insight- in my opinion (which is not much, I admit) one great strength of the theory of evolution or theistic evolution is the dating methods that have been developed in the past century.

    But my question is, why do we distrust these scientific dating methods? Do we do so only because they seem to contradict our current understanding of Scripture? Or do we actually have scientific concerns and issues with the dating methods that are being used?

    I guess my point is this: unless we have scholarly and well-written resources that show how these are “fallible dating methods,” then we will get no where with the rising generation of evangelical Christians.

    Simply put, it makes about as much sense to me to deny gravity as to deny current dating methods. And if you’re going to convince me, the upcoming generation, then you need to show me why I should deny these methods, and not just say “It’s against what we believe!”

    That’s just my 2 cents :) Also, I don’t think I’m the choir who’s being preached to…honestly I’ve been trying to weigh to scientific evidence in light of what was previously held to be true, and I’m trying to discern whether or not we are in error about this particular belief. What I want is careful, contemplative arguments, and not necessarily sweeping statements that I’m losing all of my Christianity. But now I’m ranting. Thanks for your time. :)

    God bless.

  48. James Hakim said,

    July 5, 2012 at 1:27 am

    Chris, even rubidium-strontium dating varies so wildly as to be a crapshoot, and it’s supposed to be the most reliable. Basically, we date the rocks from the fossils, and then turn around and date the fossils from the rocks. So, yes, there are scientific problems. Take an intro to paleontology course with a lab, and see just how different your results will be from everyone else’s in the class. The idea that there is settled science here is laughable.

    But there’s more: the superiority of Scripture, and the necessity of violating “science” (so-called).

    “It doesn’t fit with what we believe” is actually plenty enough, if we’re talking about plain reading of Scripture text, and something that touches the nerves of justification and the doctrine of Scripture.

    Besides which: what does your scientific evidence tell you about the resurrection? Virgin birth? Water into wine? Loaves and fish? The new birth?

    Yes, this is about your Christianity. All of it. So don’t be a fool and lose it, in order to gain what you cannot keep (the esteem of either the world, or the biologos crowd–if those are different). And I’m not ranting. Just sounding as clear a note as possible with my bugle. God does literally forbid that I should make an indistinct sound.

  49. justsinner99 said,

    July 5, 2012 at 1:41 am

    I have read that some of the scientific dating techniques are more or less circular – assigning dates to certain layers of strata by the fossils found in them or vice-versa. Honestly, I would have to ask why we are so certain that the evidence actually proves the dates that they claim.

  50. Reed Here said,

    July 5, 2012 at 8:50 am

    Jim: you said,

    “But truth is truth and we must deal with it as fact.”

    So evolution, aside from its difficulties, is basically truth, fact?

    Where does my post make any positive assertions about any scientific origins hypothesis?

    The Church becomes irrelevant when she loses her relevance to God. That is ALL that matters. Evolution is based on a denial of God, nothing less.

  51. Steve Drake said,

    July 5, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Chris @ 48,

    I think this is a good insight- in my opinion (which is not much, I admit) one great strength of the theory of evolution or theistic evolution is the dating methods that have been developed in the past century.

    As James H. and justsinner99 before me have indicated, radioisotope dating is quite easily critiqued, for the simple reason it does not work very well. We know for example that certain atoms (U-238 for example) are unstable, and decay into other atoms (Pb-206) over time, and the amounts of parent and daughter isotopes can be measured, as well as the ‘rate’ of decay. Thus, at least in theory, the age of the rock can be calculated as the length of time necessary for decay of the parent into the amount of daughter present. This straightforward concept has proven unreliable, however. Creation scientists have rightly pointed out that the method is based on three unprovable and questionable assumptions which may be the root cause of this failure:

    1) That the rate of decay has been constant throughout time.
    2) That the isotope abundances in the specimen dated have not been altered during its history by addition or removal of either parent or daughter.
    3) That when the rock first formed it contained a known amount of daughter material.

    Numerous examples of contamination can be cited and the mechanisms are well known to call into question assumptions #2 and #3. Examination of historically dated lava flows has revealed that unexpectedly high levels of daughter products are frequently present as well. Recently, however, assumption #1 has also been called into question.

    Please visit http://www.icr.org/rate for detailed analysis of this. the two-volume technical books Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth, eds. Dr. Larry Vardiman, Dr. Andrew A. Snelling, Dr. Eugene F. Chaffin, Institute for Creation Research, El Cajon, CA 2000, 2005, are also of great import.

    I guess my point is this: unless we have scholarly and well-written resources that show how these are “fallible dating methods,” then we will get no where with the rising generation of evangelical Christians.

    We do, Chris, one only has to look. See the resources quoted above.

  52. Chris said,

    July 5, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Steve @ 52,

    Thanks for your response. This all greatly puzzles me- if this research really is as trustworthy and tenable as we are making it out to sound, then it just baffles me that many Christians would be so quickly conceding to the weight of evolution and trying to find a balance with it and their faith. Is this research and evidence relatively unknown? Or is it known but discarded by many? I have also never read a critique of dating methods on any blog or article about the evolution. I feel like the impact of this research is great, and should be stated and defended more often.

    Thanks again.
    God bless.

  53. Steve Drake said,

    July 5, 2012 at 11:50 am

    Chris @ 53,

    Is this research and evidence relatively unknown? Or is it known but discarded by many?

    The results of the RATE Research Initiative have been published and ‘out there’ since 2000 & 2005, however, the assumptions inherent in all radioisotope dating methods have been known and challenged for decades. One must always keep in mind and remember, that the current paradigm of millions and billions of years within modern geology and its uniformitarian assumptions that ‘the present is key to the past’ arose in the late 1700′s, early 1800′s out of an anti-biblical naturalistic philosophy and explicitly denies the global, universal Flood of Noah as described in Scripture. It denies the entire premise that this was ‘judgment’ by God on the entire earth and all flesh (Gen. 6:13, 17, Gen. 7:4). Darwin used this ‘deep-time’ to postulate and promote his theory of evolution. His theory of biological evolution would be impossible without the millions and millions of years as originated and first promoted by the anti-biblical, naturalistic geologists who explicitly denied Noah’s Flood.

    This denial (of a global, universal, judgment of God by the Flood of Noah as recorded in Scripture) has enormous consequences in how one looks and interprets the record of the rocks. Can you see why?

    As to being ‘known’ and ‘discarded by many’, the answer is sadly, yes.

    I feel like the impact of this research is great, and should be stated and defended more often.

    Hear, Hear! Keep reading and studying the sources I listed (and there are many I have not listed), and you’ll be well on your way to truly understanding the nature of the OEC-YEC debate.

    Here’s one more resource you might find of interest:
    The Great Turning Point–the Church’s Catastrophic Mistake on Geology–Before Darwin, by Dr. Terry Mortenson, Master Books, Green Forest, AR, 2004.

  54. Stephen said,

    July 5, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    So…(to use the way some here have framed the matter) are most of you also ready to submit to the authority of special revelation over general revelation when it comes to the “solid dome” of the sky that holds back the waters (Gen 1.6-7; see also 7.11; Ps 148.4-6, etc.)? Are you ready to deny that space travel has happened, all of modern astronomy, astro-physics, and the like; that we have satellites up there permitting most of the electronic communication upon which we depend, and on and on and on and on?

    I ask because if you’re really championing the submission of interpretations of general revelation to special revelation, then “you know” that there’s a solid dome up there and waters above it that would make all such modern science and technology related to outer-space impossible.

    Just to head off any accusations that such “solid dome” interpretations of certain biblical cosmology are fictions of “Liberal scholarship,” check out what EJ Young has to say: Studies in Genesis 1, pp. 90-91, 90 n. 94 and 95.

  55. justsinner99 said,

    July 5, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Has anyone else read Darwin on Trial, by Phillip Johnson? Might be the best book I have ever read on de-bunking evolutionary theory.

    It is not about Thesistic Evolution, but I still find that his arguments poke a lot of huge holes in Evolution itself. I just will never understand the reason that so many are so willing to concede evolution (theistic or otherwise) as “scientific fact” at all. Are they just not willing to be considered foolish by the so-called intellectual elite?

  56. Reed Here said,

    July 5, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Yeah Stepehn, solid dome: no need to head off the liberal accusation, as there is no need to make it.

    EJ Young aside (and Walton for that matter), the raqia scheme is an interpretation. As such it has every right to be vetted with other interpretive origins schemes, on the same basis of Scripture interpreting Scripture.

    When we do that there are solid biblically based reasons for saying that raqia-solid dome scheme is more informed/based on ANE extra-biblical data than it is what the Bible actually says. Thus one can easily dismiss it as not what the Bible teaches.

    You may wish to be beholden to an interpretive scheme that submits to the ANE myth, but I do not have to join you. Instead I can rely on the biblical explanation for what such ANE schemes have an appearance of similarity without being the source of the story.

    Respectfully, the raqia argument is bunk. You’re not going to cause anyone any loss of sleep over that!

  57. justsinner99 said,

    July 5, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Stephen: “Are you ready to deny that space travel has happened, all of modern astronomy, astro-physics, and the like; that we have satellites up there permitting most of the electronic communication upon which we depend, and on and on and on and on?”

    —————————–

    Huh???

    Space travel = Evolution is true???

    Missing your point here.

  58. Reed Here said,

    July 5, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Stephen: ditto no. 58. Huh??? What, do you think we’re intellectual neanderthals or something? Do you really understand what the debate is?

  59. Jim said,

    July 5, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Reed @ 51:

    “So evolution, aside from its difficulties, is basically truth, fact?”

    Yes.

    “Where does my post make any positive assertions about any scientific origins hypothesis?”

    Am I incorrect that you affirm a young earth and model generally supportive of YEC advocates?

    “Evolution is based on a denial of God, nothing less.”

    This statement reveals an unbelievable ignorance and arrogance.

    Good luck with your heresy hunting.

  60. Stephen said,

    July 5, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Reed,

    Your rejection of the solid dome reading based upon its supposed illegitimate reliance upon “ANE extra-biblical data than…what the Bible actually says” and its “[being] beholden to an interpretive scheme that submits to the ANE myth” misconstrues the situation. That is some fancy rhetoric that tries to reframe the issue into one of people “submitting” to extra biblical myths versus good folks like you who submit to the Bible – but it lacks substance in this case.

    People propose the “solid dome” reading not primarily because of supposed claims about extra biblical ANE myths, but because it’s what the biblical text seems to be laying out pretty clearly.

    Gen 1.6-7: “And God said, ‘let there be an expanse [raquia; plate, firmament, dome] in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.’ And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so.”

    Here the raquia is something that separates waters above it from waters below it. Pretty straight forward reading of the biblical text and no recourse to “ANE myth” for that.

    How about some other passages that could further explicate how the biblical author thought about this:

    Gen 7.11: “…all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights.”

    While evangelical and other interpreters have often chalked this up to “figurative” and the like language, one could “take the text seriously” as saying exactly what it says: the waters for the flood came from the waters “below” (e.g., under the earth; just as Gen 1 and 2-3 mention) and also through the opening/window in the heavens (which Gen 1 has explicated the physics of in terms of the raquia). Sticking with just the biblical text, the water in question would be the water up there, already mentioned in the preceding literary context: the waters “above” the raquia. Again…all this comes “from” the biblical text and no recourse to “ANE myth.”

    How about a more distant biblical literary context:

    Ps 148.4-6: “Praise him, your highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!…And he established them forever and ever; he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.”

    Again, from the biblical text itself, waters above the heavens. Apparently this Psalmist found them worth listing among the wonderful works of God’s creation that were established forever and ever.

    So, from just these few biblical passages, and without recourse to “ANE myth,” we have a cosmological picture of some kind of thing (raquia) that is or is part of “the heavens” that holds back waters above it. I have trouble seeing how this is a reading that is beholden to “ANE myth” and not scripture.

    FWIW, extra biblical data can come in and help at this point when the interpreter wants to ask how this language could have been heard by or made sense to its ancient audiences. It so happens that we have some other ancient data that lays out a similar cosmological picture of a solid dome holding back a cosmic sea. The creation of this dome is also sometimes talked about in passages about the “creation” of the cosmos and the God in question demonstrating his rule over the waters, especially by dividing them.

    The point isn’t that thus we have shown that every ancient person thought this way; we happen to have evidence of other ancient cosmological ideas too. The point is that, given some of the above examined details of the biblical text, such extra-biblical contextual data can help us get a better idea of what that language could have meant to people. It doesn’t mean that such extra-biblical data “determines” the meaning of the biblical text. As we have seen, we can sketch this cosmological picture from the biblical text itself.

    Why my detail on this? Your marginalizing (in this context) rhetoric about the solid dome reading depending upon some illegitimate reliance upon “ANE myth” substantially misrepresents the situation. You can feel free to disagree with the solid dome reading, but you cannot chalk up that disagreement to you submitting to the biblical text whereas those with whom you disagree submit to “ANE myth.” You need to account for the details of the biblical text itself. That’s why I bring up this example.

  61. Stephen said,

    July 5, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Reed and justsinner,

    I understand the discussion. Perhaps I should have been clearer. The way some here, including Reed, have framed the whole discussion is the priority of special revelation over our interpretations of general revelation. Reed frames his rejection of Theistic Evolution thus.

    As such, I bring up this other example to see if Reed and others here care to be consistent with this way of framing the issue.

  62. Steve Drake said,

    July 5, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    Stephen @ 62,
    The priority of special revelation over general revelation is the historic Christian position, and especially in Reformed circles, ensconced in the Westminster Confession of Faith . Please see the whole of Chapter 1 on ‘Of the Holy Scripture‘ To say otherwise, or to question this, is not to know your history.

    Luther correctly distinguished between the magisterial and ministerial use of reason. The magisterial use of reason occurs when reason stands over Scripture like a magistrate and judges it. Such reasoning is bound to be flawed; starting with axioms invented by fallible humans and not revealed by the infallible God. The ministerial use of reason occurs when reason ‘submits’ to Scripture. This is what the WCF emphasizes and what has been taught and believed as the historic, orthodox Christian position. It is what is also conveyed and believed by the signers of the ‘Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy’, Article XII.

  63. Reed Here said,

    July 5, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Jim: heresy hunting? Hah!

    Evolution is truth? Hah!

    Sincerely trying to respond in a respectful manner to your comment.

  64. Doug Sowers said,

    July 5, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Hi Reed! I just read you’re post, and I fully concur!

    Keep pressing on bro!

  65. Reed Here said,

    July 5, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    Stephen: (previous response conflated your comments with Jim’s. Sorry for that. Hopefully this is a clearer response).

    No I do not reject the raqia-solid dome interpretation based on an illegitimate reliance on ANE sources. I reject it because the Bible does not teach it.

    Yes, the Bible speaks of waters above and waters below. The “solid dome” is an interpretation of what these words must mean. Where does that must come from? It is certainly not contained in the Scriptures, anywhere! Instead, it is an interpretive scheme that is used to try and explain what is meant by these passages.

    This interpretive scheme is informed by ANE sources, no? This is the same kind of interpretive error as a YEC saying the flood must be universal because all ANE societies have some sort of reference to a world-spanning deluge. Such extra-biblical info. may or may not be consistent with Scripture. That depends on what Scripture itself demands.

    The raqia-solid dome scheme is built on an interpretive presupposition that Gen 1-11 is not intended to provide essentially historic content, but rather is intended to provide what we might call “mythic history”: stories using the prejudices and ignorances of the original audience to communicate spiritual information. The mythic history is not intended to be understand as actually corresponding to what really happened. Since (as this scheme goes) Moses original audience believed in a cosmology like the surrounding ANE cultures, He/he adapted His/his explanation of origins to this cosmology. God did not intend to really say that there was an actual dome. Instead he used that common “urban legend” of the ancient Israelites to communicate information about the spiritual realm.

    At least, this is how it supposedly works, as you know. I reject this approach because it denies what I believe Scripture claims to be communicating in Gen 1-11, essentially historic fact. To be sure not all the details are given, but what is given is consistent with what was. E.g., we do not know the true nature of the waters above/below, but we can be sure that this is a fair description of what really was the conditions pre-flood.

    As to accounting for the details of the text, that is rather straightforward. Why did God provide this information? Well, looking at the text it appears a rather simple answer is present. He wanted us to know where some of the water came from for the flood. The naturalistic-based explanation (e.g., scientific theory, anthropological theory) is beside the point of the reason God provided this information. I.O.W., one does not need to buy into the raqia-solid dome scheme to credibly deal with the details of the text.

  66. Trent said,

    July 5, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    Hey Reed! What is funny is that this Raqia thing you talk about is rather fabricated based only a stone piece from the Neo-Babylonian Area:
    http://bylogos.blogspot.com/2010/02/genesis-and-ancient-cosmology.html

  67. Reed Here said,

    July 5, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Thanks Trent.

  68. Stephen said,

    July 5, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    Reed,

    Your response isn’t an exegetical argument about the biblical text against the solid-dome reading. According to your own words your position is driven by your decisions before even approaching the biblical text about what it can and cannot say. The implicit logic seems to be (1) that you accept that there’s no dome up there with waters above it now, (2) the Bible can communicate only historical and true fact when it makes historical and other reality claims, and thus (3) the Bible cannot claim that God created a dome up there with waters above it, all established forever. Ok…but surely that’s not how you think exegesis should be done: decide ahead of time what X passage of the Bible must say and then only accept readings of it that accord with your pre-commitment. Kinda tough to have any biblical authority over our doctrines with that model ; ).

    As for your claims about my “interpretive presupposition,” you’re confusing matters on multiple counts.

    (1) Much of what you locate in the category of “presupositions” resides, instead, in the category of things decided upon after examining evidence. E.g., you bring up what may be termed genre and cultural context issues in relation to the text. Those aren’t “presuppositional” matters, but historical and exegetical matters. Scholars take positions on these points based upon detailed exegetical, historical, and comparative work. You, in fact, are the one who decides these matters based upon “presuppositions,” again, as you yourself admit: you will only tolerate interpretive options that keep the Bible inerrant and factually accurate. Not denying that others have “presuppositions.” Just pointing out that you haven’t correctly identified where those presupposition issues reside.

    (2) I don’t build on the “interpretive presupposition that Gen 1-11 is not intended to provide essentially historic content.” I think the author of Gen 1 was communicating what he “really thought” to be the case about the cosmos, creation, and so on.

    I do not include the “must” you talk about. But let’s run with this line of thought. Raquia no more must mean “solid dome” or “firmament” than bara in Gen 1.1 must mean “create.” My point, you’re taking a stand here on a lexical semantics issue. Go pick up a Hebrew-English lexicon and look up raquia. The semantic range given includes things like “something hammered out into plates,” “beaten metal plate,” “solid dome,” etc.; just as the range given for verbs like bara includes that important sense of “create.” Do you want to make up your own meaning of the word that is comfortable for your theology? Perhaps invisible divine force-field that holds back water that doesn’t appear to be up there anymore? ; )

    Of course, words only mean things in context, which is why I offered a discussion of the word in context, especially noting what the thing in question does according to the text. So let’s turn to this side of the issue. I would ask you, given what the text says, how do you think whatever the raquia is divides and holds back the waters? The Bible indicates that there’s something that does that. What is it? How does it do it? What are these waters above? And how does all that relate to your broader claims about the Bible’s normativity over science?

    Given the way you use your readings of the Bible as a club against other Christians’ scientific views, I don’t think you can shy away from my questions here. If you’re going to demand that, for example, Theistic Evolutionists account for how their scientific views square with your understanding of the Bible’s teaching, then you must account for how your opinions on the reality (or non-reality) of satellites, space travel, all astronomy and astro-physics, etc., squares with what the Bible says about this thing up there (the raquia) that holds back the waters and the waters above the heavens themselves.

    If you’re unwilling to do this, and instead resort to the language of mystery or contenting yourself with “God just wanted us to know this” but still avoiding the raquia issue, then you need to allow the same space to your Theistic Evolution brothers and sisters…since you’re apparently unable to operate with the biblical authority and science model that you foist upon them.

  69. Stephen said,

    July 5, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    Trent,

    If I may respond to your link…that post is about “extra-biblical” stuff. As I made clear, my interpretive positions about the raquia work from the biblical text itself. Why are you trying to focus us on all these extra biblical myths and not Scripture? ; )

  70. Paul Weinhold said,

    July 5, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    From Chesterton’s Orthodoxy:

    Evolution is a good example of that modern intelligence which, if it destroys anything, destroys itself. Evolution is either an innocent scientific description of how certain earthly things came about; or, if it is anything more than this, it is an attack upon thought itself. If evolution destroys anything, it does not destroy religion but rationalism. If evolution simply means that a positive thing called an ape turned very slowly into a positive thing called a man, then it is stingless for the most orthodox; for a personal God might just as well do things slowly as quickly, especially if, like the Christian God, he were outside time. But if it means anything more, it means that there is no such thing as an ape to change, and no such thing as a man for him to change into. It means that there is no such thing as a thing. At best, there is only one thing, and that is a flux of everything and anything. This is an attack not upon the faith, but upon the mind; you cannot think if there are no things to think about. You cannot think if you are not separate from the subject of thought. Descartes said, “I think; therefore I am.” The philosophic evolutionist reverses and negatives the epigram. He says, “I am not; therefore I cannot think.”

  71. aaron said,

    July 5, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    Here’s something I’ve wondered about for quite a while: On this issue of death before the fall, how do we make sense of Psalm 104 (a Psalm very much about creation) when it says, “The young lions roar for their prey, seeking their food from God” (v. 21)? The immediate context seems to suggest the Psalmist is praising God for his good work of creation, including the work of creating lions to roar after prey (v. 24 – O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures). I’ve never been comfortable rejecting the possibility of animal death before the fall in light of this verse. Maybe I’m misreading it?

  72. Reed Here said,

    July 5, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    Stephen, there is so much to respond to in your comment. I wrote some lengthy comments in response, yet I realize that to do justice to all that you say would involve time and energy I just do not have to give. The raqia is a rabbit trail down a rabbit hole that I’ve run down before here at GB. If you really want to know my opinion on these things – do the work of listening to what I’ve already said.

    I offered you some summary comments of my own exegesis. Rather than even acknowledge them, you dismiss me as “apparently unable.” I offered you nothing more because I do not agree that the nature of raqia is really relevant to this post.

    I’m really not interested in trying to interact with what amounts to intellectual bullying. May God be merciful and grant humility to both of us.

  73. Reed Here said,

    July 5, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    Aaron: how does the fact of the Fall and the universal curse on all creation factor into your reading? Why is it not reasonable to understand the Psalmist to be praising God in terms of a common grace approach?

    The context seems to be more of praising God for His providential care over existing creation, as it appears now. Even those elements which infer God’s original ordering of things (e.g., v. 19, “made the moon”) do so in the context of their present experience.

    The psalmist is describing them as contemporarily observed. They eat other animals, and in God’s providential limiting of the effects of the Fall, this is from God.

    Whether or not lions as originally created ate animals must be determined from other passages in Scripture which give insight. Going to such passages, I would ask how did the reign of death that followed as a result of the Fall, the Great Curse, altered lions’ behavior? Which is most consistent with the Bible’s description of this fracturing of the original perfection, that some sort of gruesome death existed pre-fall, or that such death was a consequence of the Fall?

  74. Don said,

    July 6, 2012 at 1:49 am

    @Reed Here #73,
    If you’ve already explained in previous GB posts how “beaten-out metal sheet” [the apparent literal translation of "expanse"--I don't know Hebrew so I'm trusting the translators (including Ryrie Study Bible, and they don't come more conservative than that)] does not mean that the heavens are made of an actual metal sheet, then I’d appreciate if you’d post the relevant links.

    If you disagree that the connotation (if not denotation!) of “expanse” is not “to beat out and spread out” then maybe you can mention some experts who translate it differently or why they do so. But if not, then I don’t understand your argument in #66 at all, that “mythic history” is somehow being imported. Is it not just the basic meaning of the word?

    Regardless of Stephen’s rather aggressive tone of voice, it seems to me that this is a legitimate question if you are going to “maintain the Bible’s integrity,” particularly in terms of interpreting its first chapter.

  75. Reed Here said,

    July 6, 2012 at 8:11 am

    Don, the research you request is available with a little searching on your own. Searching the archives here will turn up previous discussions on raqia. Google search will do the same.

    Not sure why I need to respond to Stephen’s “for example,” or else my point is illegitimate. Don’t have time to play that game with him. If this is a crisis of faith topic for you, feel free to email me off blog.

  76. Steve Drake said,

    July 6, 2012 at 8:25 am

    Don @ 75, Stephen @ 70,

    Regardless of Stephen’s rather aggressive tone of voice, it seems to me that this is a legitimate question if you are going to “maintain the Bible’s integrity,” particularly in terms of interpreting its first chapter.

    Is the raqiya (firmament) a solid dome?

    The question has been discussed, resources cited, and sufficient answers given to stop the nonsense that Stephen and Don are trying to make this out to be. I agree with Reed, if this is a crisis of faith for either of you, email him off blog. But first read the article I list above.

  77. Steve Drake said,

    July 6, 2012 at 8:27 am

    Link in my #77 didn’t come through correctly:
    Try this: http://creation.com/is-the-raqiya-firmament-a-solid-dome#f1

  78. James Hakim said,

    July 6, 2012 at 9:25 am

    Even the idea of “solid” is a myth so far as physics goes. Metals aren’t solid. They’re made up of 99% vacuum.

    Surely we would do better not to style ourselves so sophisticated that we show ourselves to be morons. The “science” of those advocating theistic evolution (even by gotcha questions like this) is so sophomoric.

    The true scientists whom you hope to appease would surely get a guffaw or two just from your manner of argumentation. You will never show yourself admirable to them. They can see that your theistic evolution is nothing more than deism. They can see that deism is nothing more than a philosophical crutch for those who have capitulated to (what they think is) reality.

    They will never be satisfied until your metaphysics is pure materialism. And, this of course, mocks them; because, God has designed His world to mock all those who do not bow the knee to His Word. Where are the Newtonian physicists now?! Well, actually, they’re still teaching high school physics classes. Laughable but true.

    That there is in fact something so firm as a “beaten-out-thing” is no small deal in Genesis 1. In fact, God spends an /entire day/ of creation on it. Ironically, this would be an even bigger deal in the misguided framework theory, than in the plain reading of Genesis 1.

    The significance of the firmament is further seen in that when He opens a window in it, along with the fountains of the deep, He thereby destroys the world. Rather than use a dispensationalist study Bible, or whatever else, to introduce the idea of metal into the word (the word has nothing to do with metal, but rather with the result of the process of beating something out until it is firm), you should be grappling with the historical and theological significance of this thing.

    If you are interested in actually submitting yourself to the Word of God, I’ve preached a sermon just on Gen 1:6-8 that I’d be glad to send you. I’m sure that there are better ones, but in my ignorance, it’s the only one I know of offhand, and you can find the others as well as I can.

  79. Stephen said,

    July 6, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Wow Reed. Rather than answer my exegetical and theological questions, whose relevance to the topic at hand I explained pretty clearly (see the final 2-3 paragraphs of comment 70), you have instead declared that I am engaging in bullying, raising an irrelevant issue, trying to score points (though you’ve removed that comment from your reply), just playing a game (have also removed this from your reply), and intellectual snobbery (have also removed this from your reply). Sounds like Steve Drake has joined that chorus too since, per his comment, I’m apparently engaging in “nonsense.”

    BTW, my comment about you being “apparently unable” was not a general “dismissive” statement on my part about some kind of inherent inabilities or deficiencies on your part, which is how you imply I meant it. Put it in context: “apparently unable to operate with the biblical authority and science model that you foist upon [Theistic Evolutionists in the PCA].” This tentative assessment of mine reflects your unwillingness to answer these questions. You could easily demonstrate my incorrect appraisal of the situation by answering them, addressing the points I make above, illustrating where my comments about you and various biblical matters are inaccurate, and so on.

    If you don’t want to answer my questions or discuss this issue, which is relevant in the ways I outline in the final 3 paragraphs of comment 70, I guess that’s your right. But then you’re operating with a double-standard when it comes to how you have been arguing about Theistic Evolutionists in the PCA…more than that, a double-standard that’s been brought to your attention.

    You can assert the irrelevance of my points and questions all you want. The fact remains that I’ve given you an example of the Bible teaching something about how the world is (i.e., the raquia) that has significant consequences for anyone who holds your stated views in this and other posts about the relation between the Bible and science: e.g., that you need to deny the reality of satellites, space travel, astro-physics, astronomy, and related scientific/technological advances if you hold to your stated model of Bible and science. If you refuse to address the matter in at least an exegetical way (that doesn’t start with the presumption that your position must be right), and even declare it irrelevant, then you’re operating with a self-serving double-standard.

    I guess you can work this way when only talking to yourself and to others who already agree with you or at least agree to play by your rules, ceding you the theological and pastoral high ground at the outset. I am not, however, such a person. If you opt for this non-engaging response, I hope some of the Theistic Evolutionists in the PCA read our exchange and discover another “useful” way to respond to folks like you.

    Perhaps they could follow your example and declare all your points about the Bible and Theistic Evolution irrelevant and not worthy of a response since that’s the course you’ve chosen when confronted with a Bible and science issue that seems to cause problems for your views. Given how you’ve decontextualized some of my comments above, please note that the previous sentence is not a general declaration of the “irrelevance” of your points about the Bible and Theistic Evolution, but a comment about your selectivity in deploying these points when interacting with others.

    Finally, there really was no need for you to ratchet up the rhetoric in our exchange. We disagree and are pointing that out to each other, sometimes being very direct about it. What’s the problem with such disagreement? That’s how we all move along and hone our and others’ views. No need to take it to the level of accusations of bullying and implicit character attacks.

  80. Steve Drake said,

    July 6, 2012 at 11:19 am

    We need to get to the bottom of Stephen, et. al’s premise here and not be fooled by his selectiveness. You logicians out there, should be able to pinpoint some of his errors. I think there are a number of logical fallacies in his arguments. Can anyone see them?

  81. sean said,

    July 6, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Reed,

    I understand your, and what should be everyone’s resistance to a macroevelutionary picture that only accomodates an materialistic understanding of origins within our confession. Though maybe when your doing science in the academy you may only want to focus on the empirical data(and be silent where it is silent). However, I’m not sure you want to die on the hill of no-’Cosmic’(animal, particularly) death in the pre-fall environs as the ‘watershed’ issue for determining ultimate biblical and confessional fidelity . There seems to be some faithful exegesis that has considered this opportunity and at the very least seems to afford a broader ‘orthodox’ and confessional acceptance than you appear to want to grant. Here’s just one example, which I’m sure you’ve at least entertained, but would have to be answered;

    http://www.upper-register.com/papers/animal_death_before_fall.html

  82. Reed Here said,

    July 6, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    For Readers: who may be wondering what Stephen Young is on about the raqia question, let me offer some thoughts that may be helpful. Admitting that Stephen is much smarter than me (working on a doctorate at an Ivy League school if I’m correct), I think nevertheless I understand his challenge. He is free to correct me but I’d ask him show a bit more humility for those like me not as blessed as he is in the grey matter. (I say this not to be divisive but to sincerely address a problem he may not be aware of.)

    Stephen appears to be challenging that I do not properly allow for general revelation to inform our interpretation of the Bible. (This is actually the discussion on a previous post.) That is, he believes I am constructing an inconsistent scenario which does not exist in the real world of biblical interpretation.

    If I’m reading him rightly, he believes I am denying the necessary role of general revelation information in the process of interpreting the Bible. The raqia discussion as a test case if you will, challenging me to prove what he understands my claim to be, that the Bible is only to be interpreted with reference to itself. Stephen believes I cannot adequately interpret the raqia reference (Gn 1:7, expanse) without recourse to extra-biblical information.

    This is a bogus dilemma simply because I am not arguing what Stephen appears to think I am arguing. I am not saying biblical interpretation must not be informed by extra-biblical sources. I am saying that biblical interpretation is not determinately determined b y such information. Yes, general revelation is essential to the interpretive process; never said it wasn’t. This test case is silly, as it seeks to prove something I’m not claiming.

    The question of what the raqia was is immaterial to the issue of this thread. Nor is it a good test case for the point I was making on that previous thread. Of course the interpretation of the raqia will be informed by both extra- and inter-biblical considerations. That is the normal process. The point on the previous thread was that in doing so, when we need to make an interpretive decision one way or the other, the weight of authority rests with inter-biblical considerations.

    Theistic evolution is rooted in the notion that God used the process of evolution to bring about what we see today in the material universal. Thus through billions of years of death, destruction and decay, God has brought about the original creation described in Genesis 1 as “very good,” that is, perfect without any error.

    This effectively denies the reality of the Fall and the curse on sin. It will never work to yield a secure foundation for faith.

  83. Reed Here said,

    July 6, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Stephen: I adjusted my original response to show you more respect. Your choosing to bring in words that I deleted does not serve to prove your good, kind intentions. It serves to show your bullying.

    I deny that the raqia issue materially contradicts anything I am saying. I deny that you’ve made it clear what is the necessary challenge it poses. I’m not being dismissive. Maybe I’m just stupid. If you want to continue with what amounts to another “apparently unable,” go right ahead.

    One does not need to take a “scientific” position, an “anthropological” position, or an “astrophysical/geophysical” position on what the raqia was. Its presence in Genesis 1:7 is to explain using phenomenological language (the language of appearance) the separation of waters above and below what we observe as the atmosphere (i.e., the expanse). Why does God tell us this information? Because later he uses it to explain where some of the water in the flood came from.

    You are foisting some necessity to understand raqia beyond these simple biblical boundary markers, not me.

  84. Reed Here said,

    July 6, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Sean: familiar with these arguments. Not persuaded at all.

  85. sean said,

    July 6, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Reed,

    How is your understanding of the issue and subsequent resolve, affect and going to affect your behavior as a TE in the PCA? Both at your own church and maybe more of interest to me or others, at the presbytery and possibly even G.A. level?

  86. sean said,

    July 6, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Reed,

    Sorry, I should qualify, not your resolve against theistic evolution directly but positions that ‘allow’ for the possibility of death before the fall?

  87. Reed Here said,

    July 6, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Sean: not sure there will be any change. I recognize that some exegetical works needs to be done, vis-a-vis, the nature of the reign of death.

  88. Stephen said,

    July 6, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Reed,

    While I appreciate your attempt to delineate my concerns, you have misidentified them. Please look at my first comment (55) and then second (61). You’ll note that, especially in 61, I do not introduce this issue by bringing up the relation of biblical and extra-biblical data. In fact, I lay out the matter from the biblical text and repeatedly explicit about this. You’re the one who has been intent on turning this discussion away from the biblical text and to discussions of the relation between biblical and extra-biblical data, which I consider to be a red-herring here.

    Let me clarify this again: neither here nor in my comments above have I made the issue one of the relation between biblical and extra-biblical data for biblical interpretation. You are the one who has gone in that direction. I have consistently tried to focus on the biblical text and arguing based upon its own claims about the raquia and its stated functions.

    As for your “phenomenological language” explanation of the raquia, what reasons do you have for that position? Especially since you take so many other parts of Gen 1 and 2-3 concretely and factually, why not its cosmological claims too…especially when elsewhere in the same book they seem to be meant concretely since, as you indicate, Gen 7 talks about the source of the flood waters as coming down from above the sky? Also, even with your “phenomenological language” explanation, what are the waters “above”? If I’m reading you correctly, they’re the flood waters? Are they not still up there as Ps 148.4-6, for example, stipulates?

    Even though you continue to assert the irrelevance of my point and questions, your continued protesting about the raquia seems to belie your claim. In other words, you seem to recognize that it would be a serious problem for “Bible and science” issues. Again, thus your and others’ energetic protesting of this cosmological point in Gen 1 (and elsewhere in the OT).

  89. Steve Drake said,

    July 6, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Reed,
    Hang tight, brother, especially when our OE brothers utterly fail at addressing the implications of your post, answering those questions, or offering any arguments from Scripture in rebuttal and instead try to make it personal. Stephen’s continual posts are example of this. Focusing on the trees, he misses the forest.

  90. michael said,

    July 6, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Reed your post @ 84, reading that might be construed logically as an argument for Saul of Tarsus, trained up theologically by the very best in Jerusalem under the guidance and discipline of Gamaliel, (Ivy League scholars/Stephen) and Peter, just a fisherman dude who was raised Jewish tutored by the Torah and mom and dad and others within that cloister of people of his realm (you)?

    After some time Peter’s afterburners kicked in so to speak so he/you could fly with his/your fuel instead of syphoning fuel from them, kinda walking with your own two feet on your own?

    I would note a couple more phenomenological language, of many, referring to King Hezekiah and Joshua, Joshua asking for the sun to stand still for some time so they could defeat the enemy and the other to backup twelve steps.

    Wonder why natural science hasn’t broken the seals of those events? I did read somewhere that once the NASA guys factored those two events described in the Bible into their calculations they were able to then postulate what was necessary for them to successfully shoot a rocket out beyond the circumference of inner space to outer space and basis those calculations get it back without burning up on reentry or bouncing off that raquia? Amazing how science, when you let it, speaks more accurately to the YEC 6 days and 1 day 24 hours a day cycle.

    Maybe it was in here or somewhere I read that if you took the Jewish counting of months, yesterday would be July 28th and the Aztec calendar would not have us around because the world had ended already!

    Hmmmmm?

  91. Steve Drake said,

    July 6, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Lest our brothers Stephen, Sean, et al, fail to understand what I’m talking about. let me try and lay it out (although why I bother as attested by my numerous other posts in this thread and others, is beyond me).(Actually I do know, it is for those reading these threads, but not commenting, trying to decide for themselves who has the upper hand in this debate):

    Stephen wants us to think it’s okay to be theistic evolutionists; that theistic evolution and Scripture can harmonize. His premise is built on an understanding of Gen. 1:6 in terms of the word ‘raqiya’ being understood by our forefathers as a ‘solid dome’. Obviously, this is incorrect, as ‘we all know’ it’s not a solid dome. Form this incorrect understanding, he wants us to believe that because ‘science’ disproved this ‘solid dome’ idea, we must acquiesce to ‘all’ of scientific pronouncements as it relates to cosmological evolution, geological evolution, and biological evolution. This is the entirety of his premise.

    So, hanging on one ‘aha, gotcha question’, they fail to account, discuss, analyze, engage, or proffer “any” argument for the reign of death, disease, suffering, mass extinctions and natural disasters from Scripture before Adam and before Adam sinned. No iota of proof from them is forthwith on the nature of God’s curse; it’s intent, extent, and consequences. Let us not be deceived. If theistic evolution is correct, then all these things were happening before Adam sinned. Rather than accept the Biblical record that these things only entered ‘after’ Adam sinned, they distort, twist, conjure and fenagle various means to avoid this irrefutable fact. It’s that simple.

  92. Reed Here said,

    July 6, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Stephen, you said: “Even though you continue to assert the irrelevance of my point and questions, your continued protesting about the raquia seems to belie your claim. In other words, you seem to recognize that it would be a serious problem for “Bible and science” issues. Again, thus your and others’ energetic protesting of this cosmological point in Gen 1 (and elsewhere in the OT).”

    Let me be equally clear, I have no idea why you are talking about raqia! “Continued protesting!” “Energetic protesting!” Are you serious!? “Serious problem for ‘Bible and Science’ issues!”, what are you talking about?

    You said, comment no. 55: “I ask because if you’re really championing the submission of interpretations of general revelation to special revelation, then “you know” that there’s a solid dome up there and waters above it that would make all such modern science and technology related to outer-space impossible.”

    It is on this basis that I made my response to explain to other readers what I think is your point. If you did not bring up raqia as a test case for “the submission of interpretations of general revelation to special revelation,” then I have not idea why you brought it up!

    I have no idea why you think the raqia question is relevant to my concerns in this post. I thought I did, following your initial “you know” from comment no. 55. But obviously I have no idea. That is your fault, not mine. I do not think it is relevant at all!!!!

    So, my assertion of irrelevance is not a sign of weakness on my part. It is a sign of your failure to communicate why you think this is a problem for me.

    You have constructed a fatal flaw argument in whatever you think I am saying. Rather than speaking simply and straightforwardly, you accuse me of not being able to handle your challenge!? What are you talking about?! Seriously, what in the world is the Reed-shattering point you think you’ve proven beyond a shadow of a doubt?

    Please, treat me like a brother, or label me an enemy of the gospel and go away. Quit being so arrogant. I’m done with talking with you otherwise.

  93. sean said,

    July 6, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Steve, thanks for the judgement brother. Even Reed admits, to his credit, that there is more exegetical spade work that has to be done on the ‘reign of death’ question, specifically as it regards non Imago Dei creation in the pre-fall situation. This of course will engage a broader question on the extent of redemption(i.e. Christ’s death is sufficient for whom and what exactly) and that is probably of greater interest to me, personally. I would strongly caution anyone from deciding that issue based on the limited value of a combox and such a small sample size of people. Confessional adherence, books and articles, seminary engagement and maybe even synod and Assembly investigation would be a more appropriate venue to DECIDE such an important issue or even IF 6 day 24 hour adherence is required to render someone confessionally faithful. To my understanding, there is no such requirement at this time. For what it’s worth I’m not a TE, so I’m not looking to defend it. As I stated, I’m far more interested in the idea of the EXTENT of redemption and who are the rightful objects(elect, Imago Dei creatures) of Christ’s work. That answer seems to have direct bearing on the idea of the ‘reign of death’ and whether it’s absolutely necessary to defend the idea of it’s non-applicability before the Imago Dei creature fall.

  94. Reed Here said,

    July 6, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Sean: I think the extent question is already answered pretty straightforwardly by Rom 8:19-22; all of the created order in some manner is affected by the Curse on the Fall. Even Iron’s position comports with this “extent” answer.

    Rather, I think the question to be explored is the “nature” of the affect of the Curse of the Fall. In what way(s) does it affect (effect?) all of creation? Make sense?

  95. Steve Drake said,

    July 6, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Sean,
    You’re welcome. Your question in #86 if addressed to me, would be to start proceedings against you. I’m sorry if you find that offensive, but I would much rather honor God than allow false teachings to infiltrate the Church.

  96. Stephen said,

    July 6, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Reed,

    The section you quote from comment 55 is not about “interpretations of general revelation” concerning “ANE Myth,” but rather science. I.e., how you have framed matters for discussing Bible and Science: the authority of special revelation over interpretations of general revelation (i.e., science). My point in what you quoted is that, following your model of the Bible’s authority over science, since certain Biblical cosmology involves the existence of a raquia and waters above it that would make all our satellites, space travel, modern astronomy, and associated sciences and technologies impossible. As such, according to your model, you need to repudiate all such modern sciences and technologies.

    The “you know” of comment 55 is meant rhetorically dude, and I figured that was obvious from context. I.e., I started the comment by pointing out that certain biblical cosmology has this raquia. Then I reproduced your model of the submission of science to the Bible. Taking such a model seriously, then, would imply that one thus “knows” that the raquia is up there since the Bible “teaches” it.

    Somehow I’m the “arrogant” one engaged in “bullying” when you have again decontextualized my language (the “you know” in this case) and read it as aggressively as possible…and this time added the charge that I’m arrogant? If I was unclear, why not ask for clarification about precisely what I meant there?

    Again, I have spelled out the relevance of my raquia points in the final 3 paragraphs of comment 70.

    True, my posts are not directly tackling the topic of your main post, but I was getting at the way you have framed the discussion of Bible and science (see also see your previous post, “Contending for Creation”).

    I figured that my points about the relevance of the raquia to these issues (e.g., relation of Bible to science) were getting across, especially because in comment 63 Steve Drake speaks directly to them.

  97. sean said,

    July 6, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Makes sense Reed. I agree with the idea that the creation ‘suffers’ from having to serve as a cemetery for those who were destined to rule over it. I guess the question then is the nature of ‘cosmic’ redemption. If the resurrection of the sons of God releases the earth from it’s bondage to being a graveyard, as opposed to being an ally and servant of the imago dei creation, even that isn’t realized till the second advent and is served up in a cataclysmic event (2 peter 3:7) that speaks less of ‘redeeming’ the creation and more of doing away with the old and given place with the ungodly, to make room for the new. Our bodies get ‘salvaged’(ressurection) and given new and somewhat mysterious form, the non-imago dei creation seems to be destroyed and replaced. Which seems to have a direct relation to the question of the extent of the ‘redemptive’ affect (effect?). I mean certainly we don’t want to find ourselves on the tares side of the cosmic redemption consummation, and I don’t see this current soulless creation being direct beneficiaries of the consummation other than to be put out of it’s misery(annihilation). Not exactly redemptive in the sense we talk about it as regards the resurrection of the elect.

  98. Stephen said,

    July 6, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Steve Drake,

    Can you point to anywhere in my comments that I indicated the following: “Stephen wants us to think it’s okay to be theistic evolutionists; that theistic evolution and Scripture can harmonize”?

    Or how about anything I said to substantiate this: “Form this incorrect understanding, he wants us to believe that because ‘science’ disproved this ‘solid dome’ idea, we must acquiesce to ‘all’ of scientific pronouncements as it relates to cosmological evolution, geological evolution, and biological evolution” (emphasis added)?

  99. sean said,

    July 6, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Steve,

    I’m sorry you feel that way, you’ll excuse me if I don’t share your enthusiasm for my hypothetical prosecution.

  100. Stephen said,

    July 6, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Reed,

    Just noticed that you edited your last reply to me to conclude with: “Please, treat me like a brother, or label me an enemy of the gospel and go away. Quit being so arrogant. I’m done with talking with you otherwise.”

    So…why are the two options here to (1) “treat you like a brother” or (2) “label [you] as an enemy of the gospel and go away”?

    Beyond that, if I am understanding you correctly (and feel free to correct me if I’m wrong), you thus imply that I am somehow not currently treating you like a brother? Why is that the case? Because we are having a pointed disagreement? Again, what’s the big deal? That’s one way we all can better understand each other and the truth: engaging in mutually critical interactions, especially (in the church) about specific issues relating to the Bible?

    Also, how do you get from what I’m saying that I would want to label you as “an enemy of the gospel”? Seriously, I’m lost here unless your point is that we’re somehow disagreeing over something so essential to the Gospel that we must view each other as “enemies of the gospel” for differing on this. Why should this be the case?

  101. Reed Here said,

    July 6, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Sean: I do agree that looking at the eschatological end, i.e., what does cosmic redemption mean, can help us out here. I’ve been surprised that some do not seem to want to use this avenue to answer the question.

  102. Reed Here said,

    July 6, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Stephen, you said: “My point in what you quoted is that, following your model of the Bible’s authority over science, since certain Biblical cosmology involves the existence of a raquia and waters above it that would make all our satellites, space travel, modern astronomy, and associated sciences and technologies impossible.”

    You are making assumptions about my model of the Bible’s authority over science that do not follow. Hence you raqia example is irrelevant.

    If I’m following you here, dude, you believe that my understanding of Bible RULES Science must necessarily mean that the raqia was/is a solid dome. That would be the case if my position were that science does not inform on our interpretations of the Bible. In this test case you are assuming that my model of Bible RULES Science does not allow science to inform biblical interpretation. This is the only way it follows that I “know” that the raqia was (is) a solid dome, no spacemen, et.al..

    The problem is that what you say I must know is based on your own mis-characterization of my position. The Bible does not require me to believe that the raqia was (is) a solid (impenetrable) dome. My model of the Bible RULES Science does not deny science any role in biblical interpretation. You are foisting on my model your own mis-characterization

    You are not critiquing my position. You are critiquing a mis-characterization of it.

  103. Reed Here said,

    July 6, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Stephen: we are having a pointed disagreement in which you repeatedly accuse me of less than honorable actions, possibly even intentions.

    I’ve tried re-wording this a couple of times. I’m not going to give anymore time to this.

    You’ve treated me unfairly and unkindly. If you’re interested in a humble effort at reconciling this, I’ll find the time. Otherwise, I’ve had enough of your abusive tone.

  104. Steve Drake said,

    July 6, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Stephen @ 99,

    Can you point to anywhere in my comments that I indicated the following: “Stephen wants us to think it’s okay to be theistic evolutionists; that theistic evolution and Scripture can harmonize”?

    For what are you arguing the point of ‘raqiya’ if not to engender belief in theistic evolution? What is your position Stephen? Have some backbone and spell it out.

  105. Stephen said,

    July 6, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Ok Reed,

    Let’s make this easier.

    If the Bible specifies that God created a solid-dome up there holding back a cosmic sea and that it all must still be there “forever,” what would you say that legitimate Bible-Ruled science (your phrasing from another thread) should find on these matters?

  106. Reed Here said,

    July 6, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    O.k. Stephen, “let’s make this easier.” Do you hear how condescending you sound?

    I do not agree with your if. Since I do not agree with your if, I am not interested in playing your game. Feel free to judge my unwillingness to play a game with rules only known to you as my weakness.

  107. Stephen said,

    July 6, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Reed,

    Didn’t intend condescension there. Why you won’t “play [this] game”? As best I can tell it’s the same kind of logic you’re using against the Theistic Evolutionists. If the Bible holds a view of origins that contradicts Evolution on various points, then you hold that legitimate Bible-Ruled science cannot affirm (Theistic) Evolution.

    That’s why I have focused on the raquia issue, because it offers an interesting opportunity to test, if you will, this Bible-Ruled-Science logic. You’re going to opt out because you disagree with the “if”?

  108. Stephen said,

    July 6, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Reed,

    To my knowledge I have not made a single comment about your intentions, and have even (when thinking about it) gone out of my way to avoid wording that would even implicitly raise such questions.

    If I have treated you unfairly and unkindly, I apologize. Same with any “abusive tone” on my part. Not intended. From out past interactions and attempts at emoticons here I thought you would recall that I generally try for a more joking and lax tone; i.e., my joke about inventing the meaning of “invisible divine force-field…”

    This all said, it would help if you show where and I how I have done these things: treated you unkindly, been abusive, etc. I don’t see my pointing out, with detailed specification, examples of you decontextualizing my claims as me treating you unkindly. I don’t see critical comments and attempts to follow your position through and show its flaws to be “abusive.” This is how disagreement and debate work, and such disagreement doesn’t have to be moralized.

    I grant that I could have worked harder to have a more overt lax and less confrontational tone, but again, you have framed this and other posts on similar topics as confrontational posts. That’s not an accusation on my part because, again, I don’t see confrontation as something inherently bad or even inherently un-humble. Thus I was trying to participate.

  109. Steve Drake said,

    July 6, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Stephen @ 108, 109,
    Spell out your position, brother. Are you a theistic evolutionist or not?

  110. Stephen said,

    July 6, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Steve (105),

    So I need to have some “backbone,” eh? And I’m the one making this “personal” (see your comment, 90)?

    I have brought up the raquia issue for the reasons spelled out in the final 3 paragraphs of comment 70 and then again, more concisely, in comment 108.

    Have been intentional about not setting forth any positive arguments here about the relation between Bible and science and also the nature of the Bible. I know my views on these matters differ from most folks here and didn’t want to distract people with them. Hoped we could have a discussion focused on some biblical data and its relationship to the models of Bible and science that seem to be held here.

  111. Richard said,

    July 6, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    It [theistic evolution] is a doctrine that presupposes the validity of an origins theory that fundamentally denies the Biblical origins doctrine.

    This statement is fundamentally flawed; I’d prefer it be recognised that theistic evolution has developed owing to the chasmic gap between a certain reading of the biblical text and the findings of modern science. It has also developed separately from, but in harmony with, an understanding of the biblical text that allows for a literary reading placing the biblical text in its historical and cultural setting.

  112. Steve Drake said,

    July 6, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Stephen @ 111,
    This is simple. Sate your position. Are your theistic evolutonary or something else?

  113. Steve Drake said,

    July 6, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Stephen @111,
    Simple. State your position. Are you theistic evolutionary or are you something else? If so, what is it?

  114. Stephen said,

    July 6, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Steve,

    Your persistence and even aggressiveness in demanding that I state my views intrigues me. Why is this so important for you, especially since my positive views are not materially relevant to the point I have brought up (i.e., comment 108)? Also, what gives you the right to demand I publicly state my views on something?

    I would add that it is not necessarily “simple.” For all you know I could be a PCA TE and thus publicly stating my views on a controversial issue could potentially harm myself and my family. On your side, of course, maybe “this is simple” since, last I checked, folks on the other side from you aren’t leading a charge to oust all YECs from their pastoral positions.

    This all said, I’m not a TE…just bringing up the actual rhetorical and practical complexities of your demand, not to mention the issue of whether or not you really have the right to make that demand.

    Can you outline for me what your rhetorical goal is in getting me to lay out my views here? What will that do for you and how will you respond, depending upon what I say?

  115. Steve Drake said,

    July 6, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Stehphen @ 115,

    Your persistence and even aggressiveness in demanding that I state my views intrigues me.

    Tell us then. You’re whining about it, but have yet to declare your position. Have some backbone, brother. Don’t be afraid of your position. Describe it in detail and don’t be spineless in defending it.

  116. sean said,

    July 6, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Reed,

    I guess to finish up the point, I would point to the termination of the non-Imago Dei creation, as non-beneficiaries of a graduated state in Christ but freedom from bondage as a graveyard(they suffer not because of their death and dying but as ‘mourners’(moaning) of the imago-dei creation’s death) and their cursed role as death bearers of same said creation instead of life sustainers/givers(their role in probation) as an argument that death certainly wasn’t the intended outcome for the Imago Dei creation but at least from the perspective of consummation, there’s no necessity to defend against the idea of death coming to soulless creation in pre-fall Eden, particularly in service to the imago dei creation(as food, for one). In fact, you’d expect to see it gladly rendered on behalf of the non-Imago Dei creation as done in service to it’s intended role. There isn’t a necessity to argue for a solely vegan Adam and Eve, particularly when we are already making distinction in Gen 1&2 between ‘wild’ and cultivated creation(creation particularly maintained for food source-purposely). Anyway, it’s not a complete argument but it’s an angle. To sum it up; no death pre-fall for Imago Dei creation, but no need for such vigilance against the idea in the subservient creation even amongst one another(predator-prey) and not as an a necessary precursor to TE.

  117. Steve Drake said,

    July 6, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Sean, sean, sean. sean. sean. sean, sean, sean, sean.
    May the Lord have mecry on your soul brother.The convoluted nature of ‘death’ you describe above is anathema to the apostles understanding.. May the Lord have mercy on your flock, to understand and discern the false and aberrational teaching of such as yourself.

  118. michael said,

    July 6, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Stephen, @ 115

    “This all said, I’m not a TE…just bringing up the actual rhetorical and practical complexities of your demand, not to mention the issue of whether or not you really have the right to make that demand.”

    Well, seems to me that exposes just how deep the water is that you swim in?

    Here might be something for you to consider and then afterwards humbly give us your position about theistic evolution based on the Scriptural admonition cited below seeing you have brought a lot of vigor to this debate in here about it:

    Eph 5:17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
    Eph 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,
    Eph 5:19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,
    Eph 5:20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
    Eph 5:21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

    I am making this assumption about you, Stephen, that you are a man who does live with a reverence for Christ?

  119. sean said,

    July 6, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    On my flock?????????. Not a pastor Steve. Mercy on my soul? Aberrational???????? According to which reformed,confession as it’s currently received? Probated and graduated states are confessional. Making distinction between purpose and end amongst Imago Dei and non-Imago Dei creation is not out of accord. How do you render the plight of non-Imago Dei creation in the consummation? Did Jesus Live for their righteousness and die for their transgressions? Is he going to resurrect your dog or cat? If so, are you availing your pets or plants to the means of grace? Do they practice inction or not? Do you sprinkle them or dunk them? Give me a break on the rhetoric, Steve.

  120. Steve Drake said,

    July 6, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    Sean 2 120,
    Yes brother, your acquiescense is problamitic. Sean, do you believe in an old earth and millions and millions or years of evolutionary development or not?

  121. sean said,

    July 6, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    Steve, you first, do you catechize your pets? Did Jesus die for that willful barking that keeps you and the neighbors up? How about when your cat transgresses and gets on the counter……..again.

  122. Reed Here said,

    July 6, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    Stephen: apology accepted.

  123. Steve Drake said,

    July 6, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Sean @ 122,
    For the life of me Sean, i have no clue what you’re talking about. I currently have two dogs who are pets. Please circumscribe the connection.

  124. sean said,

    July 6, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Steve,

    If they’re recipients of the benefits of redemption(redeemed creation, particularly as viewed from the perspective of consummation) are they partaking of covenantal initiation and renewal? Are they being raised in the fear and admonition of the Lord?

    Steve,

    I’ve been talking to Reed about the rightful objects of Jesus’ redemptive work and how that reflects both back into the edenic situation(can we really NOT have non-Imago Dei death pre-fall, is this a “hill to die on” and then trying to get perspective on that by looking forward to the consummation as it concerns soulless creation 2 Peter 3:7, as an example). I’m not trying to posit Edenic death as a precursor to arguing for TE. I’m very interested in the idea of the scope of redemption in Christ, and language that maybe even UNINTENTIONALLY expands that scope beyond the elect in Christ. It’s an important distinction, and if you want to really push it, it actually probably melts down into differences over; is Eden probated state or consummated state if we in Adam had been faithful? Has Jesus done more than place us back into the Edenic state? Have we in fact been ushered into the 2nd adam’s inheritance of the successful completion of the probation? I would argue yes, and that God’s plan of redemption has as it’s object ONLY Imago Dei creation(the resurrection of the elect and destruction of this good but, temporal only, world). I see no assaulting of the biblical witness or confessional witness to an acquiescence of death pre-fall amongst soulless creation.

  125. Steve Drake said,

    July 6, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Sean,

    If they’re recipients of the benefits of redemption(redeemed creation, particularly as viewed from the perspective of consummation) are they partaking of covenantal initiation and renewal? Are they being raised in the fear and admonition of the Lord?

    Sean. are you asking me whether my dogs are raised in the fear and admonition of the Lord?

  126. Steve Drake said,

    July 6, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    Sean,
    Let me delineate this properly”

    If they’re recipients of the benefits of redemption(redeemed creation, particularly as viewed from the perspective of consummation) are they partaking of covenantal initiation and renewal? Are they being raised in the fear and admonition of the Lord?</blockquoteIf they’re recipients of the benefits of redemption(redeemed creation, particularly as viewed from the perspective of consummation) are they partaking of covenantal initiation and renewal? Are they being raised in the fear and admonition of the Lord?

    Sean. are you asking me whether my dogs are raised in the fear and admonition of the Lord?

  127. sean said,

    July 6, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    Steve,

    The dog, cat, plant et al illustration was used to make a point about the importance of not lumping ‘all of creation’ into a redemptive category and making a distinction between Imago Dei and non-Imago Dei creation as it regards the curse of death, it’s intended objects and the subsequent objects of Jesus’ redemptive work. Basically, what I would argue at some point is that Eden was never the goal but Heaven(graduated state) was/is. So, death in soulless creation in subservience to Imago Dei creation is not curse but purpose even before the fall. The creation ‘groaning’ is more a picture of mourners presiding over a burial, having been FORCED into a purpose (graveyard) which was never intended in it’s original creation and eagerly awaiting the resurrection of the sons of God(reversal of the curse, but for the earth not resurrection but completion and setting right this wrong done against it by being forced into this use and also having become a dealer of death(predation, thorn thistle,graveyard etc rather than a sustainer of life for the Imago Dei creation for which it was originally intended to be an ally and provision.)

  128. Steve Drake said,

    July 6, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    San,
    VComputr3 pr3oblms. Sor3r3y. VCan’t r3ply pr3iopr3ly.

  129. michael said,

    July 6, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Sean,

    with that sagacious clarity, “… Basically, what I would argue at some point is that Eden was never the goal but Heaven(graduated state) was/is. So, death in soulless creation in subservience to Imago Dei creation is not curse but purpose even before the fall.”, for what it is worth, I tend to agree with you here especially in light of these Words written made Scripture:

    Rom 9:11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad–in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls–

    Raised up with dogs and horses and now a number of cats thanks to my wife and two pigeons which if I wanted to go delusional I could offer them up as a sacrifice, those soulless creations seem to be an ancillary item in light of the far greater question we have to come to about theistic evolution.

    Anyway, I was having a hard time following you, too, until now!

    Thanks for becoming even perspicacious enough to understand what you meant!

  130. Reed Here said,

    July 6, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    Sean: I appreciate the Image of God / non-Image of God distinction, but I wonder if this is the most helpful way of distinguishing things. E.g., does not Rom 1:18-22 make it clear that even non-animate matter reflects some image of God?

    Better maybe is the distinction between soulish life / non-soulish life. Even in this we still to answer this kind of question: in what way did the Fall result in harm to each aspect of God’s original perfect creation?

    As I’ve said previously here, I can stretch my brain enough to understand some sort of cessation/development scenario that pre-fall was perfect and post-fall was hijacked by the reign of death to futile ends. I do, however, think understanding pre-fall cessation as merely a form of death before the fall is not consistent with the Bible’s witness of the universality of the reign of death. At the very least it is an unhelpful use of the word “death,” demonstrating no substantive distinctions pre/post-fall.

    Everything under the sun (and beyond it) has been subjected to the futility of death in some manner, if the Fall actually occurred (a historical event). If TE is to be accepted this makes the idea of a Fall with its consequent reign of death, over all creation, in some manner, simply meaningless.

  131. Don said,

    July 7, 2012 at 12:37 am

    @Reed Here #76,
    Well, you’re the one here making out theistic evolution to be a crisis of faith, which is why I think this is a reasonable question to ask in a public forum rather than via email: If you insist on a literal, nonmetaphorical use of “day” in Genesis 1, then what allows you to treat “expanse/firmament/hammered out sheet” as merely descriptive? Is it wrong for me to ask whether the YEC alternative to TE is completely consistent in its interpretation of Gen 1?

    Telling me to go google it myself is not very helpful. Especially when the greenbaggins search engine gave me only one result for raqia or raqiya.

  132. Don said,

    July 7, 2012 at 12:46 am

    @Steve Drake #78,
    That reference isn’t useful to me. It seems like it is trying to explain away the apparently traditional interpretation of the word (the plain reading, if you will, at least to the original audience). It doesn’t treat the basic meaning of the word at all, except to admit in passing that “it derives from a root that is used of hammering out metal into thin plates.” Which is what the problem seems to be.

  133. Don said,

    July 7, 2012 at 12:54 am

    @James Hakim #79,

    Even the idea of “solid” is a myth so far as physics goes. Metals aren’t solid. They’re made up of 99% vacuum.

    Without addressing your theological concerns, which I do respect, I implore you to not say anything like this ever again. It is wrong on every level that I can think of.

  134. Reed Here said,

    July 7, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Don: interesting change in tone brother. Seems you’re not just an inquisitive inquirer after all. Use the archive search box to search not just for one word, but for other words. Even more, use the categories list to find the posts on this topic. That will narrow things down in terms of the previous discussion here. If that is too much of a bother, well don’t take offensive when I respond similarly.

    This is simple enough, in spite of the heat Stephen started and now you are adding. The issue of raqia/raquia/raqiya is not a test-case for my challenge that Theistic evolution is deadly to gospel faith. Instead it is a test-case for a mis-characterization of the hermeneutical principles that someone like myself applies to the interpretation of the Bible’s teaching on origins.

    You’ve helpfully used the label “literalism” to identify your mis-characterization. This is your dilemma, not mine. Your assumption that I am holding to a “literal” day in Gen 1 does possibly offer some reason to believe that maybe this is nothing more than a misunderstanding on your part. You’ve no idea what my conviction is on the subject of the length of creations day from this post, or I suspect from a number of them.

    Assuming you know what I believe in this regard appears to be the source of your error in assuming that the raqia question is a sufficient test case for my concerns in this case. I ask you to simply stop assuming you know what I mean, where I am coming from, what my errors are, and deal with what I’ve actually said.

  135. Reed Here said,

    July 7, 2012 at 11:42 am

    All: as for a “test case”, I’ve offered a way forward in the debate/discussion that actually would help reduce distance between positions. Specificaly, why not congenially discuss what is the nature of the reign of death? Lets use Rom 8:20-22 to frame things:

    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 8:20-22 ESV)

    • What is the extent of the reign of death? (v. 20-22, what does “creation,” “whole creation” mean?
    • What is the nature of the reign of death? (v. 20-21, what does “futility, “”bondage to corruption” mean?

    Surely we all agree on the historic reality of the Fall, no? Surely we all agree that the Fall introduced a subjection, a slavery under the dominion of Satan, sin and death, no? If these two presuppositions are accurate, then we have sufficient agreement to move forward using these to diagnostic questions.

  136. sean said,

    July 7, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    Reed,

    I’ll stick with the graveyard picture, and corrupted use of the creation, even a cursed use(delivering death and now containing in it’s belly(pregnancy) those slain saints which it suffers birth pains in anticipation of ‘delivering’ those same saints unto the resurrection and simultaneously be delivered from this corruption,as a graveyard).Instead of it’s intended purpose as provision and aid, and grant you particular Pauline use of death within a covenantal context, or at least call it, ‘non-Pauline use of death’ NPD, if you’ll grant that the Pauline juxtaposition of life isn’t biological life(obviously the only ‘kind’ of life there is for non-soulish life) but eternal(graduated state) life. As far as Rom 1:18-22, I get your point, but it needs to be clarified with the distinctiveness of the Imago Dei creation in Gen. 1:27-28. Not that you wouldn’t.

  137. Stephen said,

    July 7, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Reed,

    Since you continue to insist (to Don in this case) that what I brought up is unhelpful, try answering what I laid out in comments 106 and then explained in 108. This isn’t meant to be condescending or the like. Let me try this again.

    (1) In this and other posts about Theistic Evolution you have laid out the following kind of logic: The Bible teaches something about origins that cannot be harmonized or cohere with Theistic Evolution. Therefore Theistic Evolution is not proper Bible-ruled science.

    Does this accurately capture your model, albeit in a boiled-down form? Bible teaches X, Theistic Evolution contradicts X, Theistic Evolution is thus not proper/legitimate Bible-ruled science…and so on? Note, this does not characterize you as some “fundamentalist” or “literalist.” This model still leaves open the question of how we know what the Bible teaches on whatever topic, in this case, origins. This model, for example, in theory still leaves open the entire issue of “hermeneutics;” in the same way the 1988 WTS faculty symposium delineated how discussions of inerrancy involve discussions also of hermeneutics.

    If this is incorrect, please, at least for the sake of clarity on an issue that is so important for you, clarify how it’s incorrect so that those who differ from you can have a better grasp of your model of Bible and science.

    2 If this above is your model, the raquia issue constitutes a useful test case for various parts of your model for the following reasons. First (and see comment 61 for this), it’s a useful test case for discussing how we arrive at what the Bible teaches on a creation/origins issue since we have plenty of biblical texts that talk about the raquia, its functions, its relation to the waters above, etc.; it gives us an issue with potential common biblical ground for discussion precisely because we can tackle what the Bible “says” on this without recourse to that quagmire in these circles of the relation between biblical and extra-biblical “ANE myth.” We can test for consistency and the like in our methods of ascertaining what the Bible “teaches” on one area of “origins” by discussing what the same kinds of interpretive approaches, considerations, and so forth yield for the Bible’s “teaching” on the raquia.

    Second, it’s a useful test case because, for example, if the Bible “teaches” something concrete about the raquia, then we can plug this into your model of Bible and science and see what it would require (using the same logic you use for Bible and Theistic Evolution) legitimate Bible-ruled science to hold about aspects of cosmology. So again, if the Bible “teaches” that the raquia is something God created up there that holds back an upper body of water and that all these things are to be there “forever,” then this would seem to have significant implications for legitimate Bible-ruled science according to your model.

    That’s how the raquia issue furnishes a potentially useful test case. And please note that, as spelled out above, this test case doesn’t imply that your model is “literalistic” or “fundamentalistic” and so on. It leaves room for you to spell out how you arrive at the different parts of the model for adjudicating acceptable “Science” for Christians.

    I would submit that you shouldn’t opt out of this test case because you don’t agree with the if about the raquia. For this kind of test case your affirmation of the premise is formally irrelevant (note, this is not a general characterization of your claims as “irrelevant”). You can still discuss the hypothetical of “if” the Bible teaches X (again, with all appropriate qualifications about how we come to understand the Bible’s teachings on X) whether or not you must affirm X. X could be the raquia, predestination, deity of Christ, whether or not there are green Martians, etc. This is the bread and butter of standard Evangelical and Reformed doctrines of inerrancy and biblical authority.

    The value of such test cases is that they force all parties in a discussion, especially those advancing a position polemically against others (i.e., how you use your Bible and science model to quash Theistic Evolution in the PCA), to delineate what they mean. In this way the usefulness of the model and its application in particular situations can be assessed by all.

    Given the exchange above, please allow me to reiterate that nothing here is meant in condescending and “bullying” ways. I’m attempting to clarify my points and asking you to clarify yours; and even giving you a chance to demonstrate to all here your model’s utility.

  138. Stephen said,

    July 7, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Oops, just saw that I messed up the italics in one of those paragraphs. Sorry.

  139. Reed Here said,

    July 7, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Stephen: I offered you two different exegetically based responses in previous comments. You either ignored or dismissed them.

    No disrepect intended when I observe that I’ve not time to “waste” talking about it. Feel free to layout what you think of this test case. As I have time I will respond.

  140. Reed Here said,

    July 7, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Stephen: I object to your characterization of my responses.

    “Insist” is a word better applied to you and Don, not my responses.

    I reject a logical leap your are making. My concern has never been to establish rules for some biblically approved form of science.

    Such pejorative laden reading of my comments does not give me confidence that you are reading me fairly at all.

  141. Stephen said,

    July 7, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    Reed,

    Tone down the rhetoric. “Pejorative laden reading of my comments”? In what way? Because I use your language of Bible-ruled science? Also, in no way did I even imply that your concern has “been to establish rules from some biblically approved form of science.” I’m trying to discuss your own model for Bible-ruled science and how that relates to scientific positions you think Christians can and cannot hold (i.e., Theistic Evolution). I think I have made that abundantly clear.

    Let’s just look at some of what you have written: “…what does it mean to assert the authority of special revelation (Bible) over general revelation (Science)? I’d argue that those posting here from the (supposed) other side do not disagree with this way of answering this question: the Bible RULES Science.”

    “We must pursue active, even graciously aggressive efforts to winsomely demonstrate how the Bible RULES Science.”

    You consider people who differ with you on Theistic Evolution (for example) to be: “…they’ve just said something that is based on the Science RULES Bible perspective.”

    (all caps are original; not my added emphasis)

    In what way has my discussion of you holding to a model of Bible-ruled science inaccurately represented you, let alone been a “pejorative laden reading of [your] comments”?

    If you don’t want to answer my question or re-clarify your views about a model of Bible and science (in the way I lay out “model” above; not meant as detailed rules for how scientific observation must proceed) in a way that keeps with your explicit attempts at mutual understanding in an earlier post, just say so.

    But seriously, just say that. Please stop trying to end the conversation with claims to the moral-conversational high ground. Just say you’re done. No need to sign off with continued jabs at me, accusations of “pejorative laden reading of [your] comments” after a post in which I was about as sympathetic and conciliatory as possible, predictions about how I’m surely going to dismiss or judge you in subsequent posts (you’ve included such predictions quite a bit here) and so on.

    As for my “ignoring” your exegesis, as I tried to make clear in my preceding several comments (106, 108, and much of 138), my questions here don’t even need to deal at first with the exegetical issues…we can bypass that for now (since we’re clearly not getting anywhere on that side of things) and just focus on the Bible and science model in question…again, as I lay out in detail in comment 138.

    But even looking at your “exegesis,” most of it has to do with relating biblical and extra-biblical materials, which I’ve clarified over and over again need not be the issue here…I even laid out an interpretation of the raquia from just biblical passages to demonstrate that this biblical vs. extra-biblical matter need not distract us here (see comment 61). As for the parts of your exegesis that did deal with the text, I noted them and then asked you some specific questions (see the 2nd to last paragraph in comment 89), to which you have not responded. So, how have I “either ignored or dismissed” your exegesis? Also, again, why this rhetoric when it’s demonstrably misrepresenting me and further ratcheting up the tone?

    If you don’t want to “waste” time walking through my very specific and short question about your model (comment 106; clarified in 108 and then 138), again, leave it at that. I would respectfully ask you again, however, please cease ratcheting up the rhetoric and trying to stop this line of discussion with continued moral-high-ground claims.

    BTW, it’s unclear to me how it would take much time to talk about my question about your model. It’s actually quite simple and short (see comment 106). Comment 138 makes it look long because I was trying to spell things out in detail with all manner of qualifications so you wouldn’t think implicit in this were various accusations of you being a fundamentalist, literalist, and so on.

    (interestingly, though you don’t like “literalist,” you’re find with characterizing yourself as holding to “a straightforward reading of Genesis 1-2;” so we can all try to keep that in mind when attempting to understand how you categorize yourself)

  142. michael said,

    July 7, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Stephen,

    apparently it is important to you that you justify your position, yes?

    Ok, so be it.

    I have a couple of squabbles with what I just read @138.

    First squabble is in paragraph 2 and your characterization of a calculation that this topic of the firmament/raquia is found in plenty of places in the Scriptures: “… since we have plenty of biblical texts that talk about the raquia, its functions,…”.

    Unless I cannot count, I find this word used (raquia) only in about 17 places in Scripture and no more. The majority of those places, seven, where this word is used is in Genesis one. Two times it is used in Psalms and in Ezekiel, five and once in Daniel. That to me tends to diminish your “plenty of places” comment? Of these places the word is used it is interesting that the context of the treatment of the word in the other places other than Genesis one is different than Reed’s treatment of the word. How you come up with plenty of places it is used seems odd to me? The main topic under discussion here put forth by Reed now becomes narrowly defined, then, doesn’t it, in light of that?

    And with that I then find this comment not as valuable as you do: ”…The value of such test cases is that they force all parties in a discussion, especially those advancing a position polemically against others (i.e., how you use your Bible and science model to quash Theistic Evolution in the PCA), to delineate what they mean. “

    Why does that force us to justify what we mean? Can’t we just state our position and the let the chips land where they will?

  143. Stephen said,

    July 7, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Michael,

    First, what’s the rhetorical purpose of starting your comment with “apparently it is important to you that you justify your position, yes?” Just curious.

    Second, fine, how often does something have to be discussed for it to appear “plenty” of times in the Bible? More than 17? BTW, if you note from comment 61, there are passages in the Bible that also discuss the cosmology of something holding water “above” that do so without the word raquia; just as we often note that the Bible can discuss certain things without always using the word for it each time. If I may borrow some examples near and dear to most Reformed folks’ hearts, to my knowledge the Bible never uses the term “covenant of works.” Would you thus deny that the Bible teaches something on that topic that’s not only important, but can be delineated in such ways that people can either affirm, deny, or want to modify your understanding of the Bible on this topic? Related to that, “Christ’s righteousness” is a phrase that never occurs in Paul’s writings, but I doubt you plan to move from this point to claiming that you don’t think Christ’s righteousness is important for Paul. And so on. I go in this direction because it’s tough for me to assess the relevance of your comment here…are you implying that, in fact, the Bible doesn’t discuss the raquia enough for it to have possible relevance in discussions of the Bible and origins?

    Approaching this from a different angle, you’ve here zoomed in on a miniscule part of my comment (138). Even if I grant that the Bible doesn’t discuss it “plenty” of times, the Bible does discuss it and it discusses it enough (even in context of its function) for us to make observations about it (see comment 61). Are you saying that this potential dictional misstep on my part allows you to bypass all the other substantive points I make? Perhaps I’m misunderstanding your point in raising this matter.

    Third, please note that I do not say that everyone must “justify what [they] mean.” I use the verb “delineate;” i.e., clarify, specify, etc. Do you not think it’s important that what you’re saying (especially when it’s ostensibly used in reasoned arguments against others) has clarified content and meaning such that everyone involved can at least correctly grasp what you’re saying? Otherwise how are people supposed to know what you or someone else says about another person even means, let alone adjudicate whether or not you are accurate in your claims?

  144. Reed Here said,

    July 7, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Stephen, my point on the previous post (not this one) was related to how science informs our interpretation of the Bible. It was not and is not about how the Bible informs our doing science.

    You said in no. 138: “It leaves room for you to spell out how you arrive at the different parts of the model for adjudicating acceptable “Science” for Christians.”

    My comments on a previous post are not interested in a model judging (adjudicating) acceptable “science” for Christians. This is your backwards mis-characterization of my focus.

    As for toning things down, this comment from you is not pejorative? “(i.e., how you use your Bible and science model to quash Theistic Evolution in the PCA.) (emphasis added.) That’s not pejorative?

    Stephen, you’ve been commenting to set me up using a bogus dilemma. I offered you the opportunity just now in no. 140 to stop and move forward making your point. You chose not to do so, instead yet again jumping on my supposed failures to play your game.

    Admit it Stephen, you’ve not been commenting to have open while disagreeing comments. You came here to quash my “Bible and science model.” All the while I’ve no such model in view.

    Sincerely Stephen, I am not interested in talking with you further.

  145. Reed Here said,

    July 7, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Stephen, to add to my sat comment, further comments like these clutter up th combox with off topic comments. Please cease.

  146. Joel Norris said,

    July 7, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Reed @ 136

    Good questions for clarifying the discussion. I’d enjoy hearing what exegetical conclusions people come to.

    One question that occurred to me this morning is:

    * What impact did the fall of Satan have on creation, if any?

    I know there’s not much on this in the Bible, but I raise it to make the point that there was already some principle of sin operating in the world before Adam’s fall.

    Joel

  147. michael said,

    July 7, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    Stephen,

    First, in my first words I was not trying to be rhetorical. I was implying you are justifying your view and aren’t coming out with it so we can accept it or challenge it. I see Reed has caught on to this same sense in his reply above at @ 145. I was groping for coinage of what my guts were saying but Reed put it aptly in my view now that I read his. You seem to be setting him up and not engaging squarely. Why do we sense that, Stephen? For me, when I sense someone doing that I find out later they are setting their presupposition up “justifying” it ahead of disclosing it, if that follows your reasoning?

    You write:

    are you implying that, in fact, the Bible doesn’t discuss the raquia enough for it to have possible relevance in discussions of the Bible and origins?

    Yes, that’s what I am saying.

    The point I am making by pointing out the times the particular word raquia is used, Genesis 7, Ezekiel, 5, Daniel, once and Psalms 2 times, of all the uses, in their context, only the 7 times in Genesis is the focus on science. All the other times, the context is always phenomenological language. That tells me that God’s focus on what He created, the science side of things is not nearly as important for the salvation of the Elect as the phenomenological language side, which seems to be of utmost importance to God seeing He sent Christ into the world to live like the Jews live, by the same time clock to keep all the Laws of God, the three festivals and and and so as to kick start the promulgation of the Gospel of the Kingdom through the Church to every creature for a witness and then science will be no more!

    Stephen, yes I did; I did zoom in on one miniscule aspect of your comment @ 138. It is that one miniscule aspect that seems to me to be what is important in the discussion here. Why? Well because I believe it is an important aspect of the discussion. You don’t have to discuss it if you don’t want too.

    Stephen, you asked: Are you saying that this potential dictional misstep on my part allows you to bypass all the other substantive points I make?

    That’s an interesting characterization of my point of view. Why do suppose or arrive at that conclusion? I just don’t feel all that warm and fuzzy now. Why do opine I am judging your comments in here as dictional missteps? No, I wasn’t. Again that’s another reason why I think you are justifying your comments in here and as Reed seems to see it, you seem to be setting us up, him with his position against yours about TE and me, now, that you can go for the juggler because I have judged you dictionally misstepping!

    Why do that? Why not just acknowledge what I observed and consider it and come back with a question why do you do that instead of putting over this that what you did from my point of view was a dictional misstep?

    Why do assume I am bypassing anything you have commented in here?

    No, in fact, I have given what you have commented in here some thought.

    I am not addressing those things. I am addressing your behavior in here and what seems to be quick making conclusions about what others are saying in here.

    You should just state your position and let us judge it squarely just like Reed has. After all it is his position he unfolded in here that is the center of the discussion. Did you want your position to be the center of the discussion, is that it?

    Stephen, you ask:

    Do you not think it’s important that what you’re saying (especially when it’s ostensibly used in reasoned arguments against others) has clarified content and meaning such that everyone involved can at least correctly grasp what you’re saying?

    Yes.

    Let me ask you. Has Reed ostensibly used his arguments in here against yours?

    To be fair, yes, you do have a right to make your confusion clear especially if what I write or others in here confuses you giving us an opportunity to clarify what we wrote.

    That’s not what I am doing in here.

    I am addressing your behavior as a brother in Christ.

    I guess from your very last question you are implying some positions for or against TE are not clear and need adjudication and because of your knowledge you are qualified to one of the judges?

    That may be so, Stephen. No doubt you do have a firm grip on the mystery of Genesis one and a belief about the position TE has with regard to creation.

    Ok, let’s hear it.

  148. Richard said,

    July 7, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    @Reed: I wonder if it because you inhabit a strange and alien Christian world but in my conservative evangelical circles I know of no Christian undergraduate, graduate, or postgraduate student whose degree is in a field of science who would subscribe to YEC, by far the overwhelming view is TE. Then of course we have world famous proponents such as Tim Keller who advocates TE and we all know that B. B. Warfield said “I do not think that there is any general statement in the Bible or any part of the account of creation, either as given in Genesis 1 and 2 or elsewhere alluded to, that need be opposed to evolution.”

  149. Reed Here said,

    July 7, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Richard: and so biblical truth is measured by polls, by the number of people for or against?

    Using a debatable Warfield quote is none too wise. Immediately after that quote he said, “The sole passage which appears to bar the way is the very detailed account of the creation of Eve. . .We may as well admit that the account of the creation of Eve is a very serious bar in the way of a doctrine of creation by evolution.”

    So, was he TE or not? I don’t really care.

  150. Richard said,

    July 7, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    @Reed: I am not saying that biblical truth is measured by polls, I was trying to illustrate that holding to TE does not necessitate a denial of the Gospel. Moreover, I was wondering whether the sharpness of the debate is more prevalent your side of the Atlantic than mine, most conservative evangelicals over here have made peace with TE and as we move down the age range we find that the ‘next generation’ of evangelical leaders have far less problem with TE than those of older generations. This is not to say that this ‘proves’ TE to be correct, it is simply evidence that one cannot say that the Gospel is denied by TE. It also demonstrates that those who have been educated and trained in the field of science recently, see no dichotomy between evolution and the Gospel (i.e. the dichotomy you are arguing for). I don’t particularly care whether Warfield held to TE or not either, in the grand scheme of things. My concern is what scripture teaches, and I suppose I belong to the camp that fails to see a dichotomy between the Gospel and TE. I think yours is a dying breed.

  151. Reed Here said,

    July 7, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Richard: you’re the one here introducing numbers and questionable quotes friend, not me. I.O.W. your simple evidence is pointless.

    My concern is what Scripture teaches. If I am wrong, yep, I’ll die out. And if TE is wrong, it will die out, but not before doing damage like was your once blessed land has already experienced.

  152. Richard said,

    July 7, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    Not quite Reed, Keller openly advocated TE which sort of disproves your claim that TE ‘proves a fatal poison to the gospel’. You are of course entitled to your views. :)

  153. Reed Here said,

    July 7, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    Richard: if your concern is to prove that I’m wrong on the basis of exegesis, why do you insist on name dropping? That Keller, Richard and anyone else disagrees with me does not disprove my claim. It just gives evidence that some disagree with me. Please, let’s have conversation that is not just silly.

  154. Don said,

    July 8, 2012 at 3:46 am

    @Reed Here #135,
    Oh, yes, sorry if I’ve mis-assumed your position on “days” or anything like that. I guess I was just assuming that “traditional” YEC was your approved alternative to TE.

    Various spellings of raquiya aren’t turning up much of anything in the GB search box for me, including the current conversation strangely enough, and the creation “tag” isn’t giving much either. So if you’ve discussed this before here, I can’t seem to find it.

    Anyway, your #136 maybe helps explain why we seem to be butting heads. Your primary interest seems to be in defending your exegesis that there was no death before the fall. Which is fine, it’s just different than the questions that your original post raised to me, which is along the lines of the extent to which Scripture ought to inform science and vice versa.

    Specifically, you claim that a good and necessary inference (that animals did not die before the fall) trumps extensive empirical evidence (that evolutionary mechanisms have brought about new life forms) (and that God was sovereign over the process, for which there’s obviously no empirical evidence but which we take on faith). So my question is how far will this line of reasoning go, if it extends to the inverse–call it a test case, or don’t, whatever, but namely: How do you treat something that is rather explicitly taught in Scripture (that the heavens were formed by something solid being beaten out flat) which completely contradicts empirical evidence? Not to put words in your mouth since I wasn’t able to find them on this blog, but I guess the usual response is that this is purely descriptive language that isn’t supposed to be a description of physical reality. If that’s your understanding too, then the question that follows is: how much of Gen. 1 can be called descriptive, and not necessarily a description of physical reality?

    Again, I’m not asking these questions just to ask, but to figure out your understanding of an issue that you claim is central to the gospel. I probably wouldn’t be asking if it was just a simple disagreement on TE. But it seems to me that the magnitude which you attach to the issue makes it deserve additional attention.

  155. Richard said,

    July 8, 2012 at 7:22 am

    @Reed: Your claim is twofold, firstly your claim is “a fatal poison to the gospel” which is easily disproved by examples of those who hold to the Gospel and who also advocate TE hence the reference to Keller, he proves that your first claim is false. Your second claim is that TE “presupposes the validity of an origins theory that fundamentally denies the Biblical origins doctrine.” This I addressed earlier when I said

    This statement is fundamentally flawed; I’d prefer it be recognised that theistic evolution has developed owing to the chasmic gap between a certain reading of the biblical text and the findings of modern science. It has also developed separately from, but in harmony with, an understanding of the biblical text that allows for a literary reading placing the biblical text in its historical and cultural setting.

  156. Richard said,

    July 8, 2012 at 7:56 am

    If we are going to discuss the creation narrative of the fall located in Gen. 2-3 then that is all well and good; I start from the findings of modern critical scholarship (Blum, Carr, Kratz, Levin, Rendtorff, Ska et al) that there is much debate over the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘when,’ and ‘why’ of these chapters. They could be preexilic but the major problem with this is that they are not alluded to anywhere in the biblical corpus by preexilic writers which indicates a probable exilic composition (cf. Ska). But even if these chapters have their origins in the preexilic period, which I grant as possible, their current placement in the Enneateuch is no earlier than exilic. The complex redaction history, and the way in which the text has come to us, indicates that these chapters are of no scientific value whatsoever. They are of use existentially, though they do not seem to have had a major impact upon the biblical narrative until Paul (cf. Childs), i.e. the concept of a ‘fall’ is Pauline and yet even this has been understood in different ways by later readers of Paul. Irenaeus for example saw the ‘fall’ as not a very serious thing and wholly understandable owing to Adam’s being created as an ‘infant,’ see Steenberg’s ‘Children in Paradise: Adam and Eve as “Infants” in Irenaeus of Lyons’. The Reformed understanding of the ‘Fall’ in indebted to an Augustinian reading of Paul, and is not necessarily the meaning of Paul, though I accept that we should recognise that the disobedience of Adam brought about disorder into God’s creation and this has been rectified by the work of Christ inaugurating the new creation and this is fully in line with the findings of (a) critical scholarship and (b) modern science. Therefore your claim that TE denies the Gospel is wrong.

  157. Steve Drake said,

    July 8, 2012 at 8:21 am

    With these latest comments by Richard, Don, Joel, and before that Stephen, James H’s posts of #19 and #21 are becoming more and more prophetic. The two views cannot coexist. Each side is claiming damage to the gospel for the other one. The dam is cracking, and will soon burst.

  158. Reed Here said,

    July 8, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Don: one simple response regarding raqia.

    There are other interpretive tools in use than just semantics when interpreting. The dilemma only exists when one denies/ignores the use of these other tools. Those interpreters of our English translations did not pick “expanse” for raqia out of the air.

    What’s your background? Is hermeneutics something you’ ve not had a chance to study? If not, I can appreciate why you think this test case seems reasonable.

  159. Richard said,

    July 8, 2012 at 9:07 am

    @Steve: How can the comments by James H be prophetic when we know that all prophecy is a literary construct composed ex eventu? I jest! From my own perspective I do think that the two views can coexist and they can do so peacefully if both sides are gracious to each other. In that whilst I hold to TE and the Gospel I know where Reed is coming from, the lack of charity is not coming from me. I suppose being a Brit there are a number of my fellow countrymen who hold faithfully to the gospel and also accept evolution (John Stott, Alistair McGrath, John Polkinghorne et al) so I don’t see things as being so polarised.

  160. Steve Drake said,

    July 8, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Richard @ 160,

    From my own perspective I do think that the two views can coexist and they can do so peacefully if both sides are gracious to each other.

    We’re not getting our message across to you then. The two views are fundamentally opposed to one another on the nature of death and its reign, its entrance into the entirety of the cosmos created by Christ, and the meaning of Christ’s death on the cross to solve the problem.

    I don’t see things as being so polarised.

    Therein, is part of the problem.

  161. Steve Drake said,

    July 8, 2012 at 9:26 am

    Richard,
    Let me add one more thing to my #161 above:

    We are also fundamentally opposed on the nature of the Curse, its intent, extent, timing and consequences for the entirety of the created order.

  162. Richard said,

    July 8, 2012 at 9:27 am

    @Steve: You are correct that there are some aspects of the two views which are mutually exclusive, though I reject that the implications are as severe as you present them. Stott writes in his Understanding the Bible:

    Not many Christians today find it necessary to defend the concept of a literal six-day creation, for the text does not demand it, and scientific discovery appears to contradict it. The biblical text presents itself not as a scientific treatise but as a highly stylized lierary statement (deliberately framed in three pairs, the fourth “day” corresponding to the first, the fifth to the second, and the sixth to the third)…It is most unfortunate that some who debate this issue (evolution) begin by assuming that the words “creation” and “evolution” are mutually exclusive. If everything has come into existence through evolution, they say, then biblical creation has been disproved, whereas if God has created all things, then evolution must be false. It is, rather, this naïve alternative which is false. It presupposes a very narrow definition of the two terms, both of which in fact have a wide range of meanings, and both of which are being freshly discussed today…But my acceptance of Adam and Eve as historical is not incompatible with my belief that several forms of pre-Adamic ‘hominid’ may have existed for thousands of years previously. These hominids began to advance culturally. They made their cave drawings and buried their dead. It is conceivable that God created Adam out of one of them. You may call them homo erectus. I think you may even call some of them homo sapiens, for these are arbitrary scientific names. But Adam was the first homo divinus, if I may coin a phrase, the first man to whom may be given the Biblical designation ‘made in the image of God’. Precisely what the divine likeness was, which was stamped upon him, we do not know, for Scripture nowhere tells us. But Scripture seems to suggest that it includes rational, moral, social, and spiritual faculties which make man unlike all other creatures and like God the creator, and on account of which he was given ‘dominion’ over the lower creation.

  163. Richard said,

    July 8, 2012 at 9:33 am

    If I may also add the following link to Be Thinking which is part of UCCF.

  164. Steve Drake said,

    July 8, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Richard @ 163,
    I realize you’re 6 hours ahead of me here Richard at 8:32 CST as I write this and I am headed off to worship in a house of the Lord.

    Do you expect me to believe Stott just because you quote him? If you could, please lay out your understanding of theistic evolution (with Scripture proofs) for the following:

    1) Death. Its entrance, its effects on whom or what. When did it start?
    2) The Curse. Its significance, extent on whom, what. When did it begin?
    3) The cross. What did Christ’s physical pain, suffering, torture, and death accomplish? For whom, what?

    Please make sure to lay all this out within the theistic evolutionary paradigm and support it with Scripture.

    I’ll be back later this afternoon. Thanks.

  165. Richard said,

    July 8, 2012 at 10:11 am

    @Steve: I hope it is a blessing to you, I am in the middle of watching the Wimbledon final. My quoting of Stott and the providing of the article by Alexander is to demonstrate to you that the British scene is vastly different from your own on this subject, to say that Stott did not preach the gospel because he advocated theistic evolution would be wrong. So to claim that the gospel and TE are mutually exclusive is demonstratively false by the existence of those who hold to both. My understanding of (1) death, (2) the curse, and (3) the cross are as follows: both physical and spiritual death are the result of our disobedience and logically this means that there must have been an ‘original sin’ and the Yahwistic source provides us with an ancient Israelite explanation of this which explains the lack of righteousness in the world. Jesus came to demonstrate God’s righteousness or faithfulness to his covenant and died to redeem creation which will be realised when he returns again bring in the new creation characterised by righteousness, justice, and blessing.

  166. Steve Drake said,

    July 8, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Richard @ 166,
    With your explanation above (no scriptural proofs that I asked for however), and your understanding of the traditional, classical. WCF-divines confirmed view of a young earth created in the space of six days, I’m surprised you don’t see a conflict. You fail to address my points about 1) death, for starters. You actually answered none of my questions in a specific manner with Scriptural support. I asked you specific questions within your theistic evolutionary paradigm as to death’s origin, who, what, and when. Put it on a timeline for me. I asked you about the Curse, who and what it applied to, with Scriptural support, and its timing. Put the Curse on a timeline. I asked you specific questions about the Cross, it’s implications for who and what. Use the Scriptures to support your view.

    I’m not interested in your generalities here Richard, I’m interested in specifics. I’ll give you another opportunity, otherwise I am not interested in continuing with you.

  167. Richard said,

    July 8, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    @Steve: I don’t subscribe to a proof-text theology rather I seek to engage in a sensitive reading of texts, and so if we are focusing upon the non-P or Yahwistic primeval history (Gen. 2-11*) is the bittersweet story of human maturing towards civilization – gaining clothes (Gen. 3:7, 21), beginning reproduction and farming (Gen. 3:16-19), and other aspects of civilized life (Gen. 4:20-22; 9:20).The non-P primeval history provides a carefully structured, complex, and multisided narrative background to the human socio-natural order and so we should not characterise it as a story of universal sin and punishment requiring the corrective of the Abrahamic blessing (Gen. 12:1-3) rather the movement towards urban civilization involves some curse but also Yahweh’s care, ongoing provision, and human blessing. So whilst there are human misdeeds, ongoing violence and a perpetually wrong inclination we find Yahweh finding righteousness among humans (Gen. 6:8) hence whilst there is some stress on the shortcomings of humanity this is balanced by the commitment of Yahweh to maintain the natural order despite these shortcomings (cf. D. M. Carr, Formation of the Hebrew Bible, pp. 462.). This is not a question of TE, but of reading ancient texts on their own terms. But if we then remain cognisant of covenant we can see the idea of blessing and curse as well as wisdom overtones within the non-P and pre-D primeval history with death being equated to exile perhaps anticipating the fully fledged Deuteronomistic theology of DtN. So disobedience to Yahweh brings about curse and obedience brings blessing; death then is a covenantal curse which through ‘adam is a part of the universal human predicament. Yet this story of ‘adam is not a ‘what really happened’ but the best explanation of ancient Israel for what they see around them. So with regards to your death’s origin, who, what, and when we can say that the non-P account of Genesis says that death was the result of man’s disobedience of Yahweh. Yet, this doesn’t mean we need to take this literally, in the non-P account we have ancient Israel’s ‘best guess’ but in the light of modern science we are better placed to update our understanding whilst taking the principle that death is the result of disobedience to God. From that point the cross becomes the focus of Jesus’ obedience of the Father where he brings about the renewal of the cosmos and which Paul explains using the Adam-Christ parallels. So it is perfectly possible to maintain a belief in the gospel as well as advocating TE. Though men such as Keller and Stott would maintain an historical Adam, whilst I do not. There is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ view amongst TEers on this.

  168. Steve Drake said,

    July 8, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Richard @168,
    And you don’t see how your above is diametrically opposed to the traditional, classical biblical view? I disagree on almost everything you state above. Your statement that you don’t maintain an historical Adam is proof enough, isn’t it? Thanks Richard, but I’m not interested in continuing our discussion further.

  169. Richard said,

    July 8, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    @Steve: I am not unduly bothered if you disagree with what I have said above, when the bug bites try An Introduction to the Old Testament.

  170. Jerry said,

    July 8, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    Richard,

    I’m just going by memory here but haven’t you maintained in the past (on Green Baggins, I hate to have to search it but with time I believe it is there) that since there aren’t any original manuscripts available that we cannot hold with any confidence what the original scriptures contain? That Christians cannot maintain with any confidence what was originally written?

  171. Don said,

    July 9, 2012 at 2:04 am

    @Reed Here #159

    Those interpreters of our English translations did not pick “expanse” for raqia out of the air.

    This is the funniest thing I’ve read all month! I hope you meant to do it. Without having talked to any translators, I assume they’ve moved to “expanse” to downplay the solidness aspect.

    There are other interpretive tools in use than just semantics when interpreting. The dilemma only exists when one denies/ignores the use of these other tools.

    I’m not entirely sure of what you’re implying here, but it concerns me if you mean that the definition of a word shouldn’t be the primary basis of interpreting it.

    I haven’t taken any seminary-level hermeneutics courses, if that’s what you’re asking. If that helps you see where I’m coming from, then hopefully that can reduce any confusion or talking past each other in this discussion.

  172. Don said,

    July 9, 2012 at 2:42 am

    @Steve Drake #158,

    Each side is claiming damage to the gospel for the other one.

    Please do not include me in statements such as this. I have said that I do not see this as a Gospel issue, i.e., if one is taking the text seriously and attempting to honestly determine what it is saying, that does not necessarily affect one’s views of justification, adoption, sanctification, etc.

    The two views cannot coexist.

    If the two views you refer to are YEC and TE, then I strongly disagree. Well, maybe they can’t coexist in the same person without excessive cognitive dissonance. But they can exist between two fellow believers in a given church, who can disagree respectfully and still view each other as brothers.

    But if one view you refer to is “TE is deadly to the gospel and must be eliminated” (which is the view advocated by the original post), and the other view is “No it’s not,” then OK, I guess they can’t coexist but that’s not very profound. I assume you mean the former two views, but that in fact is just not true.

  173. Richard said,

    July 9, 2012 at 3:34 am

    @Jerry: That was my attempt at using a reductio ad absurdem in response to the logic of the advocates of inerrancy that rely upon the concept of an Urtext, this notion having been rejected by leading scholars in the field of OT textual criticism (e.g. Emanuel Tov) but which has as of yet had little impact upon evangelical scholarship. The complex nature of textual transmission with layers upon layers of redaction through time means that the term ‘original scriptures’ is meaningless owing to textual fluidity (e.g. multiple editions of Jer. and Ezek.); yet we can speak of scripture and this we have available to us and the extant MSS are God’s word to us.

  174. Steve Drake said,

    July 9, 2012 at 8:17 am

    Don @ 173,
    Promoters of theistic evolution such as BioLogos claim that YEC is preventing people from coming to the gospel. Hugh Ross at RTB is claiming the same thing. Other voices are sounding this call. The battle lines have clearly been drawn by both sides. They are fundamentally so different on the important origins question, its meaning, intent and consequences, the nature and extent of the Curse, the global nature and judgment of the Flood of Noah, the meaning and intent of the Cross, to be virtually incompatible. Both views cannot both be true. Like other heresies the Church has had to deal with over Her history, this one is being fought ‘today’, ‘in our time’, and must be rooted out and sent packing as the lie of Satan that it is. That you and others who think evolution and Scripture can be harmonized have shown, self-delusion can be strong even in the mind of a believer.

  175. Steve Drake said,

    July 9, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Some former evolutionists, theistic evolutionists, are starting to see the light:

    From Skepticism to Faith in Christ: A Nobel Laureate’s Journey

  176. Richard said,

    July 9, 2012 at 9:29 am

    @Steve: Of course TE and YEC cannot both be true, no one is saying that this is the case, rather I (and I presume Don) would say that both views can coexist within the church. Of course with the polemic that you and Reed expouse then in any churches that you pastor/attend then they cannot but considering the vast majority of Christians do not view TE as a ‘heresy’ or ‘a fatal poison’ but rather one of many legitimate positions for Christians to hold this polarisation is not that broad in scope.

    I am certainly glad that Prof. R. E. Smalley came to know Jesus, but there is a consensus within the scientific community on the question of evolution. The argument is not that YEC denies the gospel, but that in asking people to reject the findings of modern science in order to become a Christian does bring our faith into disrepute and places unnecessary barriers in front of those we evangelise. This is even more of an issue because biblical scholars have reached a consensus on the creation narrative and evangelical scholars (Longman, Waltke, Walton) have moved away from seeing the accounts as in any way ‘literal’.

  177. Reed Here said,

    July 9, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Don, no. 172: if all you were interested in was being condescending and not bother to actually consider my response, why didn’t you say so. Would have saved us both time.

  178. Richard said,

    July 9, 2012 at 10:36 am

    @Steve: I went and had a read of Frame’s chapter on creation in his The Doctrine of God (pp. 289-312) which is a judicious approach marked by humility and he recognises that there needs to be charity between those of differing views, echoing WTS which ‘has always held that an exegetical judgement on this precise issue has never of itself been regarded as a test of Christian orthodoxy or confessional fidelity, until some have sought to make it such in the modern period.’ Interestingly he quotes Jordan approvingly who, in discussing the issue of death and fossils comments:

    So far so good, but what about dead stuff? Did the soil have decaying organic matter in it? Well, if it was real soil, the kind that plants can grow in, it must have had. Yet the decaying matter in that original soil was simply put there by God. Soil is a living thing, and it lives through decaying matter. When Adam dug into the ground, he found pieces of dead vegetation.

    This brings us to the question of “fossils” and “fossil fuels,” like oil and coal. Mature creationists have no problem believing that God created birds and fish and animals and plants as living things, but we often quail at the thought that God also created “dead” birds and fish and animals and plants in the ground. But as we have just seen, there is every reason to believe that God created decaying organic matter in the soil. If this point is granted, and I don’t see how it can be gainsaid, then in principle there is no problem with God’s having put fossils in the ground as well. Such fossils are, in principle, no more deceptive on God’s part than anything else created with the appearance of age. [Creation With the Appearance of Age]

    This is very interesting because with both Jordan and Frame we find adherents to YEC that admit, or are happy to say that it is consistent with biblical teaching that, death or at least its offshoot (decay) existed in the prelapsarian state.

  179. greenbaggins said,

    July 9, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Richard, there is no consensus in the scientific community on the question of evolution, unless you want to, a priori, cut off from the scientific community those who believe in YEC. That, of course, would be awfully convenient for your position, but not very logical (it would in fact be begging the question) or scientific. Besides, even if evolution was the majority view, that hardly makes it correct.

  180. Richard said,

    July 9, 2012 at 11:26 am

    @Lane: Two questions; (1) other than adherents to YEC who in the scientific community oppose evolution? (2) what is the size of the ‘dissenters’ as a percentage? Let’s say one looks at those who study at Oxbridge or the Ivy League, is evolution accepted or openly challenged? When we speak of consensus we don’t mean that every one to a (wo)man agrees but that in general such a view holds sway. This is undeniable, sure there may be a small pocket of resistance yet the accepted view is that the scientific evidence points towards evolution…this is one of those ‘earth around the sun not sun around the earth’ moments.

  181. greenbaggins said,

    July 9, 2012 at 11:36 am

    Richard, many ID proponents are old-age proponents, so there are quite a few non-YEC who deny evolution. Again, as I said, majority opinion does not determine truth. And, in this case, we are dealing in the realm of theory, anyway. Science CANNOT establish the truth concerning origins.

  182. Richard said,

    July 9, 2012 at 11:47 am

    @Lane: Would you say that those opposing evolution number more or less than 5% of scientists globally? I am not sure of your training, my background is not in science and so when I read textbooks that teach evolution and see the worlds leading scientists teaching evolution then I would rather trust them than others who, in their misreading of scripture, are forced to challenge the consensus.

  183. July 9, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Hi Steve Drake,

    Much thanks for the link to the article about Nobel Laureate Richard Smalley campaigning against neo-Darwinian evolution. A most excellent and profitable read.

  184. greenbaggins said,

    July 9, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Richard, I have no idea what the percentages are, nor do I care one iota about them, since, as I have continued to say, I do not count truth by noses. My family are all scientists except for me, though of course the scientific method couldn’t help but rub off on me. My father, a Ph.D. in Physics, would often tell me that you do not accept a theory based on someone else’s say-so, as you have just demonstrated that you do. Accepting a theory based on the so-called “world’s leading scientists,” and then claiming, ON THAT BASIS, that YEC are therefore misreading the Bible, is neither good science, nor good exegesis.

  185. michael said,

    July 9, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Lane,

    I echo your position and response to Richard:

    “…Besides, even if evolution was the majority view, that hardly makes it correct.”

    When does the majority ever have a say in Truth seeing it was just one man who died for the countless Elect who will go on to Eternity to dwell in Paradise?

    As long as I have been making comments in here, however long that has been, so be it, I still come back to this reality that Richard and others make to make my point clear.

    That is, there are only two approaches to understanding God’s creative wisdom and only two. If you mix up the order, one first instead of the other, you are surely going to stand on the human intelligence side every time.

    Here’s the framework upon which I approach God’s creative wisdom, citing Scriptures from Paul ‘s and Peter’s written works:

    Act 20:32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

    1Pe 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
    1Pe 1:2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

    2Pe 1:1 Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
    2Pe 1:2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

    What frame of reference can we extract from those Scriptures?

    The “order” is a knowledge/ἐπίγνωσις epignōsis (ip-ig’-no-sis) recognition, that is, (by implication) full discernment, acknowledgement: – (ac-) knowledge (-ing, -ment) of God “first” then scientific knowledge second. When you start with human intelligence first you blur the lines of Spiritual reason. The end game is the salvation of the Elect not proving the mysteries of creation. God holds those mysteries to Himself and if He wants to share that wisdom with one of His own, well, whose to stop Him? :)

    Peter, especially, makes that order clear in the beginning of his 2nd Epistle by making the distinction between epignosis and gnosis.

    When theological scholars insist on going to and relying upon the human intelligence, the works of men, first citing from their work “first”, it is very easy to argue for TE and evolution in general.

    You cannot argue very strongly for “full” discernment of God, Who is Spirit and from “nothing” spoke into existence a well established order that scientists can test from time to time what makes up the visible realm. As I noted before, NASA, when making calculation adjustments using two places in Scripture were able to figure out how to shoot into outer space a projectile that could be retrieve in tact upon reentry. That’s the scientific way! But that doesn’t prove or establish the validity of TE.

    The problem with that, though, is, it seems to me, it needs to be emphasized upon again and again that science studies the visible realm not the invisible one.

    What’s that problem?

    Living in this created realm by “Faith” is the problem and a “Faith” that has its power anchored in the invisible realm not the visible one.

    And that the Bible teaches all humans come from Adam and Eve and historically that puts humanity in the framework of YEC, not OE so TE is void.

    It seems the TE proponents want to have two kinds of “faith” to argue from to cause one to adhere to the faith of TE.

    Their have been some in here who are arguing for OE and TE are compatible with each other as if that eliminates YEC.

    That doesn’t hold any water from my view when you stand in His Faith and embrace by that Faith Genesis chapters 1 and 2.

    I leave off with the verse that in my view shoots a bazooka projectile at TE and blows it out of the scientific waters above the firmament:

    Heb 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

    Science, to be legitimate has to rely upon the “scientific method” which means everything made out of nothing can be proved by what is seen and tested and proved from substance.

    You cannot have it both ways.

    You have to stand in Faith and adhere to the phenomenological language in Scripture to fill in the gaps that science, no matter how hard she tries and lies about cannot to make sense of life materially.

    When one first lives at peace with the God of the Bible, believing that He is Who is the One who wisely left us a Bible that begins the way our Bible begins, (Genesis 1 and 2) we are able to go forth and argue courageously in the face of science and their dilemmas of unexplainable gaps that they try to explain away with the notion of TE.

  186. Steve Drake said,

    July 9, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    TUAD @ 184,
    Thanks. It shows the powerful delusional thinking of evolution, or that God somehow had a hand in it, can be broken. Here was a man who prided himself on ‘good’ science, and came to the conclusion that evolution was utterly ‘bad science’.A powerful testimony indeed.

  187. Richard said,

    July 9, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    @Lane: A number of points; (1) the percentages are incredibly important because lets face it is less than 5% of the world’s scientists accept that evolution is true then we can hardly say that there is debate in the scientific community about evolution in any serious way or at any level of actual significance. (2) I am not advocating blind acceptance of a position but there are limits to how well we can grasp the evidence and in general life we all rely upon the specialisms of others, which is why I go to my doctor for medical advise not my solicitor and I go to my solicitor for legal advise not my doctor etc. If as Christians we accept the views of all those with specialist knowledge except scientists because they disagree with our interpretation of Gen. 1-2 then something may be up. We like common grace and natural revelation expect at that point when it challenges our reading of the Bible! (3) I do not say that YEC are misreading the Bible on the basis of the scientific views of the “world’s leading scientists,” rather I do that on the basis of exegesis (which I have trained for).

  188. Reed Here said,

    July 9, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Richard: you determine truth based on opinion. You live by polls. Your handle on truth is doomed. You say your argument is based on exegesis, yet you keep going back to the opinions of others (and apparently no even their exegesis)!

    BTW, what about these scientists: A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism

    If it is not about opinion based truth, then quit making opinion based arguments.

  189. greenbaggins said,

    July 9, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    You’re still counting truth by noses, Richard. And there are many specialists in the YEC camp who really know their science, who dispute just about every aspect of the evolutionist’s claims. How you read the evidence will always depend on your presuppositions.

    On the exegetical aspects of Genesis 1-2, YEC can exegete quite well, when it comes to phenomenological aspects such as the raqia. I have no problem affirming that the people of that time believed that the sky was solid and that Moses wrote about the sky as it appeared to the people at the time, just to take one example. This is Calvin’s principle of accommodation. Not all YEC would agree with me on this point, granted. However, in my mind it allows a perfectly acceptable way of harmonizing YEC with the exegesis of the text. YEC says that the scientific principles of what was going on in that time involved a canopy (as one theory). They describe in scientific terms what Moses describes according to the appearance. You might read Owen Barfield’s _Saving the Appearances_ for a very interesting take on modern science.

  190. July 9, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Help me out here.

    Theistic evolutionists claim that anti-TE arguments undermine the Gospel.

    Anti-Theistic Evolutionists claim that TE arguments undermine the Gospel.

    I can see and understand the anti-theistic evolutionists claim. I need help seeing and understanding the Theistic Evolutionists claim that anti-TE arguments undermine and attack the Gospel.

    The only thing I can see at this time on behalf of the Theistic Evolutionists in their strong polemics against anti-Theistic Evolutionists is that anti-Theistic Evolutionists are mocked as dumb and stupid, and because of this belief by intellectuals that anti-Theistic Evolutionists are dumb and stupid, then the Gospel is held in disrepute, and intellectuals won’t listen to the Gospel message who are so dumb and stupid as to repudiate the fact of evolution.

    Is that really the argument that TE’s have against anti-TE’s? Or is it something else that anti-TE’s are doing that undermines and attacks the Gospel? I’d really like to understand what’s going on here.

  191. greenbaggins said,

    July 9, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    TUAD, as far as I can see, that is their argument. They believe that YEC are putting an artificial obstacle in the way of scientists and normal people coming to faith, because we are not being intellectually hip.

  192. Richard said,

    July 9, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    @Lane: I am not counting truth by noses, I am simply recognising that I am a single human being with finite knowledge and abilities and studying in community is a helpful means of providing a corrective to peculiar views (in the original sense of the word). If a huge crowd is walking towards you and a few others as you are walking towards them then alarm bells start to go off that actually you are going in the wrong direction, of course this is not an infallible guide but it works in general.

    As far as I am concerned the YEC falls at the first hurdle in failing to recognise the existence of two creation narratives (P and non-P) and then ignoring the complex literary history of them and instead taking them at face value. Without wishing to offend, the YEC exegete is operating with a wholly different paradigm than mine which is placed firmly within that of academic scholarship.

    I will check out Barfield; I’d suggest Reading the Fractures of Genesis: Historical and Literary Approaches by Carr, The Composition of the Narrative Books of the Old Testament by Reinhard G. Kratz, and Der Jahwist by Levin or his The Yahwist: The Earliest Editor in the Pentateuch if you don’t read German.

  193. Richard said,

    July 9, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Oh and Introduction to Reading the Pentateuch by Jean Louis Ska is also very helpful.

  194. Reed Here said,

    July 9, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Richard: we’ve dealt with the two creation narratives argument before. Lacking, lacking. Take it from the sources you reference, you’d place yourself in the neo-liberal camp? Not trying to be pejorative, just trying to understand where you are coming from.

  195. greenbaggins said,

    July 9, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Richard, are you seriously suggesting that YEC exegetes (such as myself, John Currid, Joey Pipa, Doug Kelly,) are not operating within academic scholarship? At best, this is poorly worded. At worst, a pretty ridiculous slam against YEC exegetical scholarship.

  196. greenbaggins said,

    July 9, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Richard, all your quoted sources are source-critical evaluations of the Pentateuch. I don’t even give the time of day anymore to source-critical arguments of the Pentateuch. Why? Because they produce zilch theology out of the text. Instead, they read the text atomistically. The final form scholars out there, like Christopher Seitz and Brevard Childs are carrying the day in mainstream liberal scholarship, and have useful things for the preacher. Source criticism is less than useless for the preacher.

  197. July 9, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Richard, Stephen Young, and Sean,

    Do any of you think that anti-Theistic Evolutionists undermine and attack the foundations of the Gospel with their anti-evolutionism arguments?

    If yes, then why and how?

    Because at present, I don’t see and understand how any anti-TE arguments undermine the Gospel or any other first-order doctrines.

  198. Richard said,

    July 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    @Reed: I would place myself in the source-critical school when it comes to the Pentateuch-Enneateuch though I am fully onboard with synchronic or canonical readings, and the work of current scholarship in this field is rather exciting.

    @Lane: I am not seeking to produce a list of people whose work can be ignored, nor am I saying that YECers are as thick as two short planks; those you mentioned I am sure have brains the size of small planets. My questions would be: (1) where are they published? (2) who are they referenced by? (3) who are they peer reviewed by? (4) where do they teach (in a seminary or in a university)?

    You may not like source-criticism yet seriously read Carr’s The Formation of the Hebrew Bible. It is well worth the effort. As I am sure you know, the newer source-critics are far more nuanced and sensitive than some of the earlier ones and I can see no reason why you should reject the clear evidence for two sources running through Gen. 1-11 simply grounded upon the old criteria of differences in the divine name.

    I will agree that much source-criticism did not provide much for the preacher, but that does not mean the method itself was flawed, it just means the questions it was seeking to answer were different. I agree that a final form reading has become popular and it is needed, though I would say that the synchronic reading needs to be informed by a diachronic reading.

  199. Richard said,

    July 9, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    @TUAD: I don’t believe that anti-Theistic Evolutionists undermine and attack the foundations of the Gospel.

  200. July 9, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    @TUAD: I don’t believe that anti-Theistic Evolutionists undermine and attack the foundations of the Gospel.”

    Stephen Young and Sean, do you agree with Richard?

    —–

    Richard, given your answer in #200, why not defer to your brothers and sisters in Christ who are against theistic evolution since the basis of their arguments is that TE undermines and attacks the foundations of the Gospel?

  201. Richard said,

    July 9, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    @TUAD: By ‘defer’ you mean what? I love my brothers and sisters in Christ dearly, regardless of their view on creation, yet I believe that they are wrong in their assertion that TE undermines and attacks the foundations of the gospel. My starting point is that all truth is God’s truth and God is safe from an honest pursuit for answers.

  202. July 9, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Richard, #202: “@TUAD: By ‘defer’ you mean what?”

    To submit humbly to (a person or a person’s wishes or qualities); to comply with, give way to, submit to, bow to, give in to, yield to, accede to.

  203. Andrew Buckingham said,

    July 9, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    But I think the question is this folks – what does God think of “evolution?” I don’t think that’s an answer we can know, this side of glory. It’s obvious some forms of “evolution” make Him sad. It is the forms of “evolution” that some are attempting to “fuse” with Historic Biblical Christianity, that’s where the discussion is.

    And I don’t know the answer.

    But some people are trying?

    Fortunately, I am not a geologists nor a scientists nor a biologists nor a evolutionary research worker.

    I’m a bean counter. :-)

    But hey, on “evolution,” I’m not going to speak for God. God can do that Himself. So let’s see what His Word says.

    Priorities people. Bible over science. Reed said it way way back. Wise words.

    Peace.

  204. Stephen said,

    July 9, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    TUAD,

    I agree with Richard (comment 200). Got at this a bit in comment 101.

  205. Jim said,

    July 9, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    @Reed #64. I’m not sure why it’s difficult to respond respectfully to my comments. I don’t think I’ve been disrespectful. I think you are a heresy hunter and I’m not quite sure why you would laugh at that. Do you believe that those that are teaching TE in the PCA ought to be dismissed from a teaching position (provided that do not repent of their teaching)? It is, after all according to you, deadly.

    @Lane #190: Concerning the exegesis of Gen.1, what was the food source for Adam and Eve? Did they partake of any animal products?

  206. greenbaggins said,

    July 9, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    Jim, it seems clear from the text that they ate plant products before the Fall, as there is no mention of animal products until after the Fall, when they are mentioned clearly. This would also jibe with passages that suggest that current carnivores will, in the consummation, eat plant matter once again.

  207. Stephen said,

    July 9, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Please remove my last post (205). I do not want to comment on this thread when whoever is going to (1) continue deleting my posts, (2) not acknowledge that he has been deleting my posts, and (3) refuse to re-post the posts of mine he deleted.

    If you’re going to delete people’s posts at least own that you’re doing it publicly.

  208. Reed Here said,

    July 9, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Jim: you call labeling me a heresy hunter respectful? You presume way too much of your knowledge of me and my motivations. My laughing was being polite to you.

  209. Andrew Buckingham said,

    July 9, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    *can’t know

    Not to mention my other typos.

    Hey, and while I’m typing…

    Stephen @ 208:

    I think I took all this blog stuff pretty serious for a while too. I kinda got over that phase a few days ago. Now all I can think is…

    Are there any golfers out there? Any northern californians want to hit 9 holes early tomorrow morning?

    I was told trying to convince blog readers to become golfers is a bit of a “fool’s errand,” but I’ve not stopped yet!

    My point is, let’s all be sure we’d all be willing to golf with one another after all is said and done. My hunch is, if you are reading these words, you are a “concerned citizen” like the rest of us. I would enjoy golfing with any of you readers and commenter’s and blog posters.

    See you on the green,

    Andrew

  210. Andrew Buckingham said,

    July 9, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    No, “can know” was right.

    Hey moderators – delete my last post and this one…

    or don’t :-)

    That’s the fun of posting on blogs – post it, and it’s etched in stone.

    If that doesn’t get your heart pumping…

    :-)

  211. Stephen said,

    July 9, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Andrew,

    Stop being so condescending. You clearly cannot understand the matter here. The gospel is always at stake dude. If we disagree here we surely will on the green. For example, if you pick out a 5 iron and I think you should use a 7 iron, one of us is denying the fundamentals of the faith!!!

    So you can try being light-hearted all you want. But the bottom line is, as a friend of mine in college used to say: It’s all fun and games until somebody gets condemned to hell!

  212. Andrew Buckingham said,

    July 9, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    Stephen,

    I’m not going to agree just yet. How is the gospel at stake? I mean, isn’t this just a blog?

    Who am I condescending against, you? I am very sorry.

    I think either a 5 or 7 could work. The goal is to get the ball in the hole. Sometimes, there are more than one play to do that. No?

    No more comments from me. But please see I am sorry and want your forgiveness.

    Andrew

  213. Andrew Buckingham said,

    July 9, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    I write these as a fellow “time out guy.” My comments were being deleted too. I feel your pain, Stephen. Peace?

  214. Jim said,

    July 9, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Ok, Reed. I’ll play. Your not a heresy hunter. You have no intention of actively trying to ride our denomination of this “deadly” error. My bad.

    Instead of me having to presume, why don’t you respond. You laughed at my assertion that evolution is fact. Scientifically, what do you find most compelling for your position?

  215. Andrew Buckingham said,

    July 9, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    Hey, so I think I have some grasp of the issue. But maybe Stephen is right, I’m clearly in the dark. Whatever… (with a hand wave…)

    My only point was, anyone want to golf tomorrow?

    It is YOU that doesn’t understand :-)

    Do you not have golf in your places of residence?

    Time for a new topic maybe?

    That stuff on John is really interesting, Lane’s latest,I mean. Was I the only one who noted he’s quoting Bultmann? Is that a problem?

    Peace

  216. Don said,

    July 9, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    @Reed Here #178,
    Condescending? Wait, did you not see what a terrific pun you made with respect to raqia/expanse, in saying “picked out of the air”? That’s all I’m laughing at. But if you didn’t catch that, then, um, awkward…

  217. Andrew Buckingham said,

    July 9, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    Stephen,

    No, I really do apologize. I have been following this string, but you have a lot of knowledge and invested in this thread. I am sorry for how I treated you.

    As I depart this thread, as an OPC guy who respects the PCA, I am thankful both of our denominations have ‘creation reports.’ I will end where I first started, which I guess was over a month ago on several different threads back.

    Check out the creation reports. My opc one is helpful for me.

    Adieu,
    Andrew

  218. Don said,

    July 10, 2012 at 12:43 am

    @TUAD #198,

    Do any of you think that anti-Theistic Evolutionists undermine and attack the foundations of the Gospel with their anti-evolutionism arguments?

    Speaking only for myself, no, since whether or not one believes that life forms changed over time via evolutionary processes is not a determining factor in whether one is saved. However, if someone says that you must believe a certain thing in the creation/evolution debate in order to be a real Christian, then–well, I don’t know if it’s an attack on the Gospel, but it’s adding unnecessary baggage.

  219. Richard said,

    July 10, 2012 at 5:38 am

    @Andrew: I am always up for golf, I fear the journey is a little prohibitive though!

    @Lane: Here is a good example of the Yahwistic source. More discussion is here.

  220. Richard said,

    July 10, 2012 at 5:54 am

    @Andrew: Whilst I understand why you say ‘Bible over science’ yet the problem I have is that this often degenerates to a prioritising of a certain interpretation of scripture over science. Rather general revelation and special revelation should be in dialogue and I am not convinced that we should give priority of one over the other.

    @Lane: I would genuinely be interested in a reading list of those you rate highly on this topic that I can use as a start to better understand where you are coming from exegetically.

  221. Andrew Buckingham said,

    July 10, 2012 at 7:58 am

    Richard, I appreciate your point about GR and SR more than you know. I’m looking for golfers AND I really like the denomination I have been a part of for 12 years. Here’s a GR and SR take on the matter from the OPC ‘blog’ of sorts:

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

    And Richard, if you didn’t catch the quote before (way way back, different thread) from Bavinck, where he essentially states that the facts of geology are no less the Word of God than the words of Holy Writ, let me know, and I can pull the quote again. But the OPC Q&A hits the nail on the head, that God is the God of Truth, so there is deep concord.

    This also jives with Plantinga’s latest book, which, if you can stomach him (there are somethings I am still working out), it may help. Let me know if you want more analysis from me on that, we can talk over email, andrew (dot) d (dot) buckingham (at) gmail (dot) com.

    While you may be right that the conversation does degenerate like you state, lets do our part, whether we are YEC or TE or somewhere in between. Let’s outdo one another in showing love.

    Oh yeah. And while we are working on figuring out how Scripture and science are properly relates, lets not let what can be divisive matters like these get in the way of potentially awesome golf excursions with the brothers.

    My main this is, I found you all, GBers, etc, within the last month. There’s power in a unites brotherhood, there Joy from our father when he sees us dwelling in unity.

    So yes let’s golf! My slice isn’t going to fix itself…

  222. Andrew Buckingham said,

    July 10, 2012 at 8:32 am

    And one last plug…

    Remember it is unity, not uniformity, that we are after. I for one appreciate that Reed and Lane and so many others are doing the hard work here while I’m too busy golfing. The point is, one Andrew Buckingham is quite enough for the earth, no need for more…

    Support these guys! Our ministers. Listen to what they have say. And maybe see if you too can get your own minister golfing. For all you know, he’s got something even in the sphere of golf with which he can straighten us out.

    No, theology is not just fun and games or childs play. Listen to Lane and Reed, folks.

  223. Andrew Buckingham said,

    July 10, 2012 at 8:37 am

    Listen to their sermons.

    Q. 89. How is the word made effectual to salvation? A. The Spirit of God maketh the reading, but especially the preaching, of the word, an effectual means of convincing and converting sinners, and of building them up in holiness and comfort, through faith, unto salvation.

    And ,maybe, maybe listen to their golf advice and / or blog writings. ;-)

  224. Richard said,

    July 10, 2012 at 8:38 am

    @Andrew: Thanks, I have put Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism on my reading list. I am a firm believer in knocking down walls and building bridges, metaphorically speaking of course!

  225. Andrew Buckingham said,

    July 10, 2012 at 8:55 am

    Your welcome, Richard. If you are willing to find it on Google, he has quite a few YouTube videos discussing this book, or the thoughts leading up to it. Anyone here could find a 60 minute video from him and get much of the main gist. I’m not full a strict disciple of him, but it helped me think through the issues. Take my comments and blogging etc with a grain of salt…

  226. Reed Here said,

    July 10, 2012 at 9:05 am

    Richard: I appreciate the clarity of your honesty in no. 221. Yes, it can devolve into competing interpretations. Nevertheless, if the principle is true (Bible RULES Science, i.e., has authoritative priority), then we can trust on the Spirit to help us, even over rule the propensity of our flesh to mess things up. I’m not saying it will always be pretty and neat. I am saying we can trust God who is the Bible’s Author to affirm/confirm the truth.

    Again, thanks for your clarity/honesty.

  227. Reed Here said,

    July 10, 2012 at 9:42 am

    All: When I first published this post I knew it would be contentious. As I said, I knew it would not be popular.

    Some of you have demonstrated this is true from your very first comment. You’ve found my observations in some manner so offensive that it appears to have provoked you to contentious responses. For in whatever manner my words have provoked you, I am sorry. I am not seeking to cause dissensions, divisions, fits of anger, etc. For whatever role I’ve played in even stirring up such things, please forgive me.

    As well, I ask your forgiveness when and where I’ve responded contentiously to you. Regardless of whether or not provocation is your intention, I am responsible to God for the manner in which I respond. I confess some of my response have not lived up to the standards of Christ. Please, here too forgive me.

    As to my motivations in making this post, it is quite simple. I believe that evolution, perfection via death-decay-destruction (P:D3, if will allow me the cute label), is fundamentally opposed to the historical nature of the gospel, the true story of God’s creation, loss, redemption and restoration of His family.

    If you disagree with me, I’ve no rancor for you. I’ve no enmity in my heart against you. Further, I do understand the frustration you feel towards my position. I do understand what you perceive to be putting unnecessary stumbling blocks in front of others from trusting Christ. I get it. I am not immune to the seriousness of the issue.

    I am willing to listen and be persuaded of other options. E.g., I do acknowledge that one can hold to the Framework Hypothesis or the Analogical Days position and not necessarily be affirming theistic evolution. As with past discussions here on this and other topics, I am willing to consider biblically based arguments opposed to my current understanding of the Bible on these things.

    I myself, while I am not persuaded by the diatribes of nay-sayers who merely issue rhetorical attacks on the work of creation scientists, do recognize that the questions we are facing in this topic can never truly, concretely be answered by science. Hence, I’ve chosen to limit myself to not making my case on the basis of alternative scientific positions.

    I am persuaded that this subject, the belief that evolutionary processes, D3 is the means God has used to create all that we see, is fatal to the gospel. I hope to continue making the case for this is a series of future posts. I promise to strive to be as irenic and non-confrontational as I can. (Always this means debating positions, not persons.)

    If you are persuaded that I am not to be believed in my affirmations here, well, there is not much I can say to you. If you wish, contact me off blog (reedhere <at] gmail (dot} com). Regardless, I ask you to not make this discussion personal.

  228. Richard said,

    July 10, 2012 at 10:22 am

    @Reed: What do you make of the claim made by Jordan and Frame (#179) that it is feasible that God created ‘dead’ things in the prelapsarian state?

    For the record; my move to embrace TE came in two main stages, the first was the embrace of the framework hypothesis through the work of Futato (RTS) and Kline (WSC). This gave credence to a non-literal reading of the creation account. The second stage was the recognition of the evidence in favour of an old earth. These two stages to the question, ‘if Gen. 1-2 does not need to be read in a literal fashion and if the earth is approximately 4.54 billion years old, why is evolution impossible?’ I am away the next few days so I shall not be commenting much more here on this. :)

  229. Andrew Buckingham said,

    July 10, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Hey Richard,

    I’m “leaving” for a few days too, maybe longer. But when you get back, let’s talk golf, since you are up for it too!

    andrew (dot) d (dot) buckingham (at) gmail (dot) com

    As for Frame and all that stuff, I read your post at 176. It’s interesting. My former pastor here in San Jose received his doctorate under Frame, I believe. I’ve been meaning to read some of his books. For one thing, I know Frame knows his movies – and I do enjoy going to the movies…

    I digree. Maybe we can talk about all that when we hit the links. Send me an e-mail anytime, I enjoy talking about these things, golf, etc…

    Peace out,
    Andrew

  230. Andrew Buckingham said,

    July 10, 2012 at 11:04 am

    *digress

  231. Steve Drake said,

    July 10, 2012 at 11:22 am

    These words from Dr. Albert Mohler continue to be apropos to this discussion:

    From the beginning of this conflict, there have been those who have attempted some form of accommodation with Darwinism. In its most common form, this amounts to some version of “theistic evolution” — the idea that the evolutionary process is guided by God in order to accomplish his divine purposes.

    Given the stakes in this public controversy, the attractiveness of theistic evolution becomes clear. The creation of a middle ground between Christianity and evolution would resolve a great cultural and intellectual conflict. Yet, in the process of attempting to negotiate this new middle ground, it is the Bible and the entirety of Christian theology that gives way, not evolutionary theory. Theistic evolution is a biblical and theological disaster.

    (from Creation vs. Evolution–The New Shape of the Debate, February 1. 2011, http://www.albertmohler.com, accessed July 10, 2012, 10:20 CST)

  232. Andrew Buckingham said,

    July 10, 2012 at 11:34 am

    Oh, Mohler. So he’s a baptist? Are you a Baptist, Steve? We totally should hit the links, I can share my past, my struggles, and my appreciation of Baptist thought.

    I was raised baptist, but somehow God saw fit for me to leave that tradition for presbyterianism when I was 18.

    Go figure

    Thank you for sharing, Steve. It’s really nice to hear from you.

    Keep in touch,
    Andrew

  233. Reed Here said,

    July 10, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Richard: penned a lengthier response, and hit the wrong mouse key and lost it all. Suffice for now to say I’m familiar with the argument and I believe it is inconsistent with the Bible’s teaching on the nature of the Fall and the consequent reign of death over all creation.

  234. Richard said,

    July 10, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    @Reed: ’tis rather annoying when that happens! Would be interested in your lengthier response when you get round to it, also, how would you explain soil and fossil fuels which take quite a few years to form?

  235. Reed Here said,

    July 10, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Richard: I don’t seek to explain soil and fossil fuels. or even diamonds, if by that you mean scientifically explain. I can point folks to reasonable gen rev based explanations. My interest is in what the Bible demands we believe.

  236. Steve Drake said,

    July 10, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Richard @ 235,
    Without deterring from Reeds’ point above about his interest in what the Bible demands we believe ( a point I share), under the right conditions, soil and fossil fuels can form rather quickly. The conditions were ‘right’ during the catastrophic judgment of God in the global, universal Flood of Noah. If one rules this out a priori, not considering the tremendous geologic work that happened during this year-long global Flood, then one might have already prejudiced one’s conclusions. There are plenty of articles and scholarly work from creation scientists that demonstrate how this can happen.

  237. Jerry said,

    July 10, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    Richard,

    Considering TE and the weight it gives to science as compared to the weight it gives to Scripture here are some quotes from Enns in the Introduction to The Evolution of Adam regarding Scripture and science.

    1) “The biblical authors tell a very different story than does science.” (ix)

    2) “Evolution, however is a gamechanger.The general science-and-faith rapprochement is not adequate because evolution uniquely strikes at central issues of the Christian faith. Evolution tells us thathuman beings are not the product of a special creative act by God as the Bible says but are the end product of a trial-and-erroradaptation and natural selection………Some Christians reconcile their faith with evolution by saying that Godinitiated and guides this process, which is fine (and which I believe), but that is not the point here. The tensions that evolution creates with the Bible remain, and are far more significant than whether the earth is at the center of the cosmos, how old it is, and whether it is round or flat.” (xiv)

    3) “If evolution is correct, one can no longer accept, in any true sense of the word “historical,” the instantaneous and special creation of humanity described in Genesis, specifically 1:26-31 and 2:7, 22.” (xiv)

    Enns does explain that he believes that “the most faithful, Christian reading of sacred Scripture is one that recognizes Scripture as a product of the times in which it was written and/or the events took place—not merely so, but unalterably so. (xi)

    My problem with the weight on science versus the weight that has been put upon Scripture in these things that Enns has written (as a leading TE) is that science wouldn’t hold that cardinal doctrines of Christianity such as a virgin birth is possible or that a man could rise from the dead.

    If Christianity is forced by science to rethink Genesis and Paul why isn’t Christianity forced by science to rethink the New Testament, the virgin birth and the resurrection.

    I know that you will be gone for a bit. I apologize for not asking this sooner but time is an issue for everybody.

    Thank you

  238. klompenmaker said,

    July 17, 2012 at 3:18 am

    Gentlemen, your discussion has been very informative as to communicating your views of how one should teach Christian doctrine and biblical interpretation. May I pose a question as a fellow member of the Reformed Tradition, though not in the PCA, with further qualification that I am neither a TE nor RE. I am aware of the doctrinal and hermeneutical issues you discuss at length, and hold a degree from a conservative Reformed seminary.
    My background also includes extensive scientific training. As a Christian I see that the heavens declare the glory of God (Psalm 19) and the creation reveals knowledge about God (ibid, Romans 1). God is not only the Creator, but through the eternal Son Jesus Christ upholds all things, consciously sustaining them. My Christian faith commits me to a doxological perspective on doing science, doing all things to the glory of God.
    My Christian commitment also requires me to seek truth and excellence in all I do, and that commitment to truth convinces me that science speaks clearly regarding the Creation, which appears according to all evidence to be billions, not thousands of years ago (about 13.7 to be precise). I won’t go into the myriad of data that point to that other than to say that my primary area of expertise is astronomy with a heavy physics background. The Earth appears to have come along about 9.21 billion years after the creation of the material universe – not speaking about biological death, but the death of stars was needed in order to create the metals and other heavy elements that make up our solar system, our planet, and we ourselves.
    We all understand how a sperm and an egg come together to form a zygote. We understand embryonic development and the stages of gestation, all of which take place according to natural processes, but we also affirm that every child born is a unique creation of God and a miracle. I look at the natural processes that took place under God’s conscious, ongoing sustaining and under his providential superintendence, and glorify him for the process. I’m an Evolutionary Creationist – I think that Biologos has it right on the science, and I’m not sure what to do with the hermeneutical issues – so don’t bother asking, because I don’t have answers.
    All that said, here’s my question for this venue: How should Christians teach and learn science? Do we ignore the external world and read our Bibles only? Do we allow only science from YEC sources? Which ones – hucksters like Carl Baugh and Ken Hovind? Savvy marketers like Ken Ham? Discredited, sloppy researchers like Barry Setterfield and Russell Humphreys? And what do we tell our young people when they’re out of the homeschool or Christian school greenhouse and encounter standard, mainstream science – I don’t mean atheistic polemic against Christianity – I mean mainstream science as practiced by evangelical Christians like Francis Collins, Alister McGrath, John Polkinghorne, the late Allan Sandage and others?
    Are there any facts or truths we should tell our young people to avoid? What facts must we defend God from?

  239. July 17, 2012 at 8:31 am

    #239 – according to Genesis, was man created a zygote, or a physically mature man?

  240. Steve Drake said,

    July 17, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Klompenmaker @ 239,

    I am aware of the doctrinal and hermeneutical issues you discuss at length, and hold a degree from a conservative Reformed seminary.

    and,

    I’m an Evolutionary Creationist – I think that Biologos has it right on the science, and I’m not sure what to do with the hermeneutical issues – so don’t bother asking, because I don’t have answers.

    and,

    Do we allow only science from YEC sources? Which ones – hucksters like Carl Baugh and Ken Hovind? Savvy marketers like Ken Ham? Discredited, sloppy researchers like Barry Setterfield and Russell Humphreys?

    No need to go any further. You’ve already prejudiced your conclusions and made up your mind. We’d only be wasting our time, and you wouldn’t listen anyway.

  241. RubeRad said,

    July 17, 2012 at 10:03 am

    If Christianity is forced by science to rethink Genesis and Paul why isn’t Christianity forced by science to rethink the New Testament, the virgin birth and the resurrection.

    Because there is no evidence against the virgin birth or the resurrection. There may be general evidence that dead men don’t rise, and chaste girls don’t have babies, but when the supernatural is in play, this is expected. For creation, we “see” in the heavens astronomical events billions of light years away (which implies a history billions of years old), which gives us some difficult stuff to think about. In order to have to rethink the new testament, it would be necessary for credible historical evidence to surface about somebody impregnating Mary, or about Jesus living on earth after the date of the ascension, or a tomb with Jesus’ bones.

  242. klompenmaker said,

    July 17, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Although I very clearly and specifically said I don’t know what to do with some of the hermeneutical issues, I’ll say I don’t have an answer.

    The Hebrew scholars here will be better equipped than I am to take up that question. All I can say is that Genesis says that man was formed from the same pre-existing matter as the rest of the earth.

    Calvin asks, rhetorically, “For who is so devoid of intellect as not to understand that God, in so speaking, lisps with us as nurses are wont to do with little children? Such modes of expression, therefore, do not so much express what kind of a being God is, as accommodate the knowledge of him to our feebleness. In doing so, he must, of course, stoop far below his proper height.” (Institutes Book I, Chap. XIII)

    Here Calvin is speaking about the Trinity and does not address Genesis, but perhaps he clearly communicates a general principle of accommodative language. God is a missionary God, after all, and he engages in contextualization of his message as surely as a Hudson Taylor or a Lesslie Newbigin. Calvin saw this very clearly.

    Returning to Genesis I do not think the passage requires we believe that God appeared (implicitly in corporeal form), mixed mud or clay, formed a man-sized, man-shaped golem, then breathed into it so that clay miraculously became muscle, bone, sinew, blood and brain.

    Interestingly, the Babylonian Talmud embraces exactly such a vision of Adam’s creation:

    “R. Johanan b. Hanina said: The day consisted of twelve hours. In the first hour, his [Adam's] dust was gathered; in the second, it was kneaded into a shapeless mass. In the third, his limbs were shaped; in the fourth, a soul was infused into him; in the fifth, he arose and stood on his feet…” Sanhedrin 38b.

    But in even going this far I’ve gone off the track.

    Let me return to my question, which was very simple – how should Christians learn and teach science?

    Is there any part of God’s creation we should avoid looking at too closely? Are there any truths of nature we should be afraid of? Or can we commit to seek truth wherever it is found and follow wherever it may lead, fearless and confident that all truth can only and ever honor God?

  243. Reed Here said,

    July 17, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Dale: (klompenmaker: clog maker?)

    Admittedly a difficult question you ask. One important starting point is to determine the relative prioritization of the Bible vs. Science. We’ve discussed that on a previous post here at GB.

    Briefly, I give pause when I read you say that “commitment to truth convinces me that science speaks clearly regarding the Creation,”. Without trying to be dismissive I’d suggest more study on the nature of general revelation and its relative trustworthiness in terms of any truth claim, especially those dealing with an unverifiable state of affairs (i.e., the original creation).

    As well, you are going to need to develop a robust understanding of exactly what the fall resulted in. If theistic evolution is true (or, as you call it evolutionary creation) then how exactly did the fall alter the created order?

  244. klompenmaker said,

    July 17, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    Reed, first thanks for the irenicism of your response.
    First, you’re on the money. In rural Holland, the klompenmaker was the craftsman who made klompen, traditional wooden shoes or clogs worn in Holland.

    Regarding the prioritization of Scripture and Science (I think here “vs.” may make unnecessary connotations), I don’t disagree. Where Scripture is unambiguous and it is speaking to a matter of redemptive significance it should of course take priority. We should exercise care to allow the text of Scripture to speak for itself, leveraging good and necessary inference where appropriate as the WCF reminds us, but eschew any temptation to eisegetically forcing more on the text than it contains (R. Johanan’s account is a candidate example), and just as importantly we should not conflate a specific hermeneutical construct with Scripture itself.

    The final paragraph makes an important point. The absolute reality and universality of sin are manifestly evident in the human condition, as is our need of redemption, as we are sinners. The nature of the Fall itself is something I won’t claim to understand fully.

    Scripture is simply not clear – at the end of Genesis 1, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” Chapter 2 is a parallel but different account of creation with distinct emphases, and then before Chapter 3 begins and before the first human disobedience something happened. The tempter, the serpent, is in the garden and already in rebellion against God before it encountered Eve. If The Fall is a historic, punctiliar event which took place when Eve ate of the Forbidden Fruit, or if we say the event encompasses the entire scope of Genesis 3:2-6, we are still left with the presence of evil even before Adam and Eve fell. I mention this because it raises an issue the popular community lore in our Reformed tradition has generally overlooked. For my own part I have concluded that the best solution is to apply a different hermeneutic to the episode.

    Another passage might be helpful here for the sake of clarity. We all agree that Jesus’s parable of the Lost Sons in Luke 15 is true in the sense that it powerfully depicts the spiritual reality of rebellion against the Father, of religious pride, of the grace of God toward sinners, and the reconciling power of repentance and humility. The parable is true, powerfully so, but it is not factual. We would equally agree that it would be silly to try to verify historically the name of the father of the two sons and the location of his farm. The parable is a story, a word picture intended to illustrate powerful spiritual truth. Its lack of factuality does not in any way constitute a diminution of its verity.

    As to the changes the Fall made to the created order, I’ll confess that at one time I embraced YEC and saw the Fall as a Cosmic disturbance, resulting not only in physical death (which did not exist previously), but also in the introduction of entropy. I now believe that was naive. Physical death is a necessary concomitant of life. Thorns exist from of old in the fossil record. Death and disease predate human beings by hundreds of millions of years. The reality of sin and the need for redemption are unquestionable. As to the rest I don’t have the certitude that is claimed by those who embrace a literal-chronological hermeneutic. I simply don’t know.

    I’ve answered your questions because reading the other comments here it is manifestly evident that most of the readers of this blog have great concern for the hermeneutical issues. I don’t see the same level of concern for the scientific issues – those don’t seem to concern writers of the comments nearly as much. I’m just as concerned for the scientific questions as most of you are concerned about the hermeneutical questions – and I will say that it seems to me that YEC adherents attitude toward science ranges from being simply incurious (never really having investigated the matter) to active obscurantism (not wanting to hear any facts that may raise challenges to the party line). The exception are the Creation Scientists of course, but they are a matter for another discussion.

    I don’t imagine that my answers here will be found satisfying to most of you. Your predominating hermeneutic of Genesis 1-11 is literal-chronological. I question that hermeneutic and tend to be more inclined toward Meredith Kline’s literary framework view. On top of that I will say openly that I question the historicity of the whole passage, although I am far from decided about it – I simply don’t have enough information to claim certitude, though I have something much closer to certainty – confidence shall we call it – that God not only created the universe, but everything that happens in the evolving creation takes place under his providential superintendence. We cannot detect the hand of providence scientifically in what look like natural processes, but I believe that God is behind it all, and sovereign over it all.


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