A Great Listen

I know that this podcast has been around for a while now (since July), but I do not often get to listen to podcasts on a regular basis. There were many important things there to which I want to draw our attention.

First up, and most importantly: theistic evolution. Our denomination already has an in thesi statement against theistic evolution (in the creation days study committee report). We also have judicially disciplined someone in the SJC for teaching theistic evolution. And yet, there are still officers in our denomination teaching theistic evolution. This is a complete travesty of vows to submit to the brothers. This is thumbing their nose at the PCA and saying, “come and get me.” This is also dishonesty, and as Rich Phillips pointed out, extremely divisive.

Second point: why is the PCA so divided? Phillips’s answer is that our Reformed heritage is not controlling our methodology. The PCA prides itself on doxological diversity, and almost brags about it as if it were a strength. It is rather a great weakness. Phillips points out that only a disfunctional family talks about unity all the time. A functional family talks about what they’re going to do next (the mission). Our GA talked about unity all the time. Why? Because we are incredibly disunified. And talking about it is not going to solve the problem. Neither is hand-wringing. Bringing our worship into line with the regulative principle would go a long way, however.

Third point: Why would we not want to try to make our worship as biblical as possible? This has great relevance to the intinction issue. People usually bring up red herring issues in this regard like wine versus grape juice, and leavened versus unleavened bread as something you would have to regulate if you were going to regulate intinction. However, are those not separate, distinct issues? The arguments for wine and grape juice are distinct from the arguments for intinction. Some thing for leavened and unleavened bread. The real issue is the regulative principle underlying everything else.

Fourth point: the PCA is a gospel denomination. If the GA can be persuaded that an issue has to do with the central issues of the gospel, then the denomination will vote in a landslide in favor of the gospel. Take the Insider Movement study committee report. Once the issues were clearly on the table, the PCA voted clearly for the gospel and for the Word of God. Same thing with the Federal Vision study committee report. This is both encouraging and discouraging. The encouraging thing is that we stand for the gospel. The discouraging thing is that if we don’t perceive that something is important to the gospel, then it doesn’t matter. This is not Reformed, but general evangelicalism.

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77 Comments

  1. Steve Drake said,

    November 5, 2012 at 11:32 am

    First up, and most importantly: theistic evolution. Our denomination already has an in thesi statement against theistic evolution (in the creation days study committee report). We also have judicially disciplined someone in the SJC for teaching theistic evolution. And yet, there are still officers in our denomination teaching theistic evolution. This is a complete travesty of vows to submit to the brothers. This is thumbing their nose at the PCA and saying, “come and get me.” This is also dishonesty, and as Rich Phillips pointed out, extremely divisive.

    and,

    Fourth point: the PCA is a gospel denomination. If the GA can be persuaded that an issue has to do with the central issues of the gospel, then the denomination will vote in a landslide in favor of the gospel.

    It seems to me that we have not done the homework, or professed loudly and clearly enough the link between theistic evolution and its old earth (billions of years old) corollary and its anathema to the gospel. If it is true that the GA will vote in landslide favor of the gospel, then more work needs to be done in showing the affront that theistic evolution provides to the gospel we profess.

  2. Bob B said,

    November 5, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    As someone formally PCA, I am interested in a discussion on theistic evolution, creation in general, and why a particular view goes against the gospel.

    In an effort to tip my hand early, I believe that an ‘old’ earth position (I define old earth as an age > 15,000 years, but not necessarily measured in billions of years) as being more probable, but don’t see either position to the level of ‘essential’ (these should not stop the breaking of bread together).

    My reasons for an ‘old earth’ position has more to do with the timescales and distances involved in astronomy than it does with the geological column. I could easily buy a theory that supposes the ‘universe’ was created on a billion-year time scale, and ‘earth’ was created on a much more recent timescale compatible with typical young earth theories. I don’t see anyone from any Christian camp (young earth or old earth) putting forward such an idea.

    I do see man as a crowning jewel of God’s creation, and a special importance given to him in dominion over the rest of creation (not just an accident of evolution). Psalm 8 is very instructive as to where I see mankind in the larger creation. However, I don’t see the need for a literal 6 day creation, nor the need to throw out all evolution as the mechanism by which God creates diversity in life on this planet.. Please explain how these views are an affront to the gospel.

  3. greenbaggins said,

    November 5, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Theistic evolution denies the first Adam-last Adam correspondence, and thus shoots Christology down the tubes. The first Adam is no longer a representative head of the human race, and is relegated to the realm of myth, thus bringing into question also the reality of Jesus Christ, and His ability to be a representative of the human race. Furthermore, theistic evolution denies that death is the result of sin, but instead argues that there was death before the Fall. If that is so, then there can be no hope for the eradication of death in the consummation.

  4. John Harutunian said,

    November 5, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Regarding the Regulative Principle, most church organists (like myself) are sour on it because of its historical associations with Exclusive Psalmody (as in Calvin and co.). And of course that position is impossible. The one Biblical reference to the book of Psalms _as a corpus_ makes no mention of hymns, music, “sung praise”, etc. It simply reads “The _prayers_ of David the son of Jesse are ended.” (Psalm 72:20.) From which it’s plain that in Hebrew worship the book of Psalms was a prayer-book first, and a hymn-book second. So if Calvin had been more consistent he would have actually forbade prayers in worship (except those taken from God’s “prayer-book”).

  5. Bob B said,

    November 5, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    #3 Greenbaggins
    Thank you for your reply. I view the Garden of Eden in a slightly different way which I believe could harmonize our differing positions.

    I affirm with you that Adam was the 1st human, created from the dust of the earth, and as such is our representative, to the same degree that Christ is also our representative. I would also agree that death is a result of sin, and that death comes to us humans as a result of Adams sin. However, I don’t believe that the ‘death switch’ (for a lack of a better term) was turned on for all creation with Adams sin.

    Let me ask you this – did Satan’s fall occur in the garden when he tempted Eve, or did he fall prior to that event? I suspect that Satan had fallen (sinned) earlier, and was actively warring against God’s creation on earth already – prior to mankind’s existence. Death was occurring. The Garden is the beginning of the end – the beginning of God’s redemptive plan for his creation. It is the figurative assault boat landing on the beach unloading its precious cargo – humanity – ready to save the world.

    I’m just postulating, but I don’t see how a belief in an old earth or the mechanism of evolution for the diversity of life denies the Adam-Adam connection, or weakens the death-as-result of sin.

    How does one explain the distances and times when looking at the galaxies with a young earth / young universe perspective?

  6. Bob B said,

    November 5, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    I have another question about point number 3 that you made. My fight isn’t over intinction, but one of the reasons I left the PCA is weekly communion. I find it disingenuous to argue for ‘as biblical a worship service as possible’ without taking the early church’s example of frequent (daily) communion as the norm. Calvin himself argued for weekly communion at a minimum. I think the PCA is out of line with Monthly or Quarterly communion.

    Also, why chastise coming forward for communion instead of passing the tray of bread / juice around the pews. Wouldn’t the regulative principle insist on a common cup – and coming forward would be easier to administer in that way?

    I’ve also attended churches where the church came up to the table by rows – communion was served 3-4 times to different groups of people. I can see how the size of the church would dictate how communion is served. I don’t have a dog in this fight – but I’m not the one saying that getting communion from the pastors hand is the wrong way to do it (Dr Philips did).

    Incidentally, the PCA church I used to attend has upped their communion frequency.

  7. Steve Drake said,

    November 6, 2012 at 8:26 am

    Bob B. @ #5

    How does one explain the distances and times when looking at the galaxies with a young earth / young universe perspective?

    On the other hand, according to the standard cosmological model, >95% of the universe is composed of mysterious, unidentified, unobserved and undetected dark energy and dark matter.

    The Hubble constant is assumed to represent the initial rate of expansion of the universe. On assuming a constant rate of expansion, the inverse value of this constant gives the moment in time when all matter was supposedly compressed in one point, and the “age” of the universe is defined by means of this extreme extrapolation. Purely arbitrary.

    There is no indication in Scripture that death was occurring in the heavenly realms or on earth prior to Adam’s sin. One would need to support this from Scripture for it not to be pure conjecture.

    I’m just postulating, but I don’t see how a belief in an old earth or the mechanism of evolution for the diversity of life denies the Adam-Adam connection, or weakens the death-as-result of sin.

    At heart, this is where the effort must be directed. A colossal failure in our seminaries and in our pulpits not to demonstrate the connection between the great Biblical doctrines of our faith and their historical roots, and the demolishing and inconsistency of those great Biblical doctrines by accommodation to theistic evolution and its corollary of an old earth. Point-by-point-by-point they must be described and defended in toto against the conclusions that TE and an OE would bring to them.

  8. Bob B said,

    November 6, 2012 at 11:03 am

    #7 Steve,

    Thank you for the reply. I have doubts about 95% of the universe being ‘dark matter’. I understand that the standard model has gravity issues, but to arbitrarily add more unseen mass everywhere doesn’t pass the sniff test (at least in my mind). I suspect the theory is gravely flawed, and will continue to be so until astronomers stop chasing this particular red herring.

    That said, there are a few things that astronomy and physics have done right. They have accurately measured the speed of light, and they can give us pretty good distances for ‘close’ stars. Lets take our own solar system as an example. Light from the center of our solar system takes 28,000 years to get here. That means for a young earth to be true we have a few options.
    1. The solar system and the earth were created at the same time, and light began traveling from the stars in the center 28,000 years ago, and we can see it today. The age of the earth is at least 28,000 years old.
    2. God created the universe more than 28,000 years ago, then plopped a young earth in the path of all this light so we can see an old universe while having a young earth
    3. God created everything ‘young’, but with the appearance of age. Light was already in motion upon creation

    If there are other options, I’d love to hear them. The common theme though is that to affirm a young earth and a literal 6 day creation your side also needs conjecture. It seems silly to me to insist on a young (10-15,000 year old) earth without suggesting how we might be able to see stars and galaxies from these great distances.

    For the record, I also agree with you on ‘age of the universe’ questions – it is arbitrary. That’s why I’m trying to bring the discussion closer to home – just our own galaxy.

    Please forgive me if I insult, but I want to hear the best arguments for why Christians should disbelieve entire fields of scientific study in favor of a literal interpretation of the Genesis 1 poetic writing.

  9. Steve Drake said,

    November 6, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Bob B. @ 8,
    I appreciate the opportunity to dialog with you. Astronomy and physics have indeed done some things right. The ‘age’ question is not one of them. It must be remembered that the ‘age’ of the universe is only as good as the ‘model’ from which it comes. If the standard cosmological model is incorrect, (and there are plenty of scientific doubters who think it is), then the ‘age’ falls with it. It assumes a constant rate of expansion into the unobserved past; an assumption of uniformitarianism and its philosophical naturalistic roots. It must also be remembered that distance does not necessarily correlate to age; an interpretation of redshift and the fractional increase in the wavelengths in an astronomical spectrum when compared with laboratory wavelengths. Halton Arp has done much to cast doubt on this with his work on quasars.

    The ‘model’ one uses is critical. The standard ‘model’ for our solar system, (the nebular hypothesis theory) has its own set of problems, least of which is the accretion theory which has not been demonstrated to occur. By the way, what is the source at the center of our solar system for which light takes 28,000 years to get here?

    The real issue for the Christian is fidelity to Scripture, and the Biblical doctrines that flow from it. One can look at both sides of scientific evidence, for evidence must be interpreted, and come to different conclusions. Michael Polanyi utterly destroyed the supposed positivism of science; that scientists come to their task with complete objectivity, and Thomas Kuhn in recent years has echoed that theme. The observer sets up the experiment and then the observer observes it—then the observer makes the conclusions. The observer is never neutral; he has a grid, he has presuppositions through which he feeds the thing that he finds.

    You are not insulting, yet I think you show your cards when you assume that Genesis 1 is ‘poetic’ writing.

    Your thoughts?

  10. Bob B said,

    November 6, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Steve #8
    ” By the way, what is the source at the center of our solar system for which light takes 28,000 years to get here?”

    It is a combination of wikipedia and some math. The milky way is ~100.000 light years across – meaning if a star on each side began shining at the same moment, you wouldn’t see the light from one to the other for 100,000 years. The radius is ~50,000, and our solar system is ~2/3 from the center of the milky way to the edge (or roughly 28,000 light years). All that to say, if the universe and the world began in a days time – God switched it all on at once – and assuming the speed of light is really the constant that it appears to be, we shouldn’t be seeing stars that are farther away than 10-15,000 light years. In fact, what we should be seeing is more and more of the universe being revealed every day as light from farther and farther away finally reaches us.

    Picture it like a strand of light bulbs. We are on 1 end and the farther away you get from us the longer it takes the light to reach us. God switches it all on at once (literal 6 days). If the light from our own galaxy (relatively ‘close’ compared to other galaxies – therefore the next bulb in the strand) takes up to 100,000 light years to reach us, how come we can see bulbs in the strand so much farther away than that? The light from our own sun takes 8 minutes to reach us, and upwards of 5 hours to reach pluto. How can we see other galaxies assuming a young universe and literal 6 24 hour day creation?

    To me, the quesitons of red-shift and quazars isn’t even relevant until we can get past this speed of light issue. The light we see in the night sky is OLD – due to the distances involved. If there was a planet with humans out there, and our telescopes were strong enough, we wouldn’t be seeing their activities today – we would be seeing into their past.

    Have you ever been to a baseball game and sat in the bleachers in the back? The batter hits the ball and starts running – then you hear the ball being struck (due to sound taking a bit of time to reach you). It is the same thing, but with light, and with much much greater distances. What we see is old. When I send an email to my friend around the world, and it travels at the speed of light through fiber optics under the ocean, it takes milliseconds to reach him… but it is still milliseconds old information.

    The only ways around this problem that I can see are:
    1. every object in the universe is really less than 10,000 light years away (and much much tinyier than our estimations)
    2. God created the earth a long long time after the rest of the universe
    3. God messed with the speed of light or created the stars with thier light already reaching earth – such that they are both really really far away and really really young at the same time. (God is tricking us maybe?- for what purpose?)

    I do try to show my cards. I don’t believe Gen 1 is meant to be a history book. It is accurate, trustworthy, and true. God created, and he did so in a specific order, and he did so in such a way that we emulate his creation week every week of our lives (resting on the Sabbath). It is important. However, I don’t believe that the creation time is meant to be taken literally as 6/24. I hope that you can give some answers to this problem that I’m trying to show you and persuade me otherwise.

  11. Dave Sarafolean said,

    November 6, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Lane,

    I thought that Dr. Phillips’ has a pretty good grasp on the issues we face as a denomination. When this podcast first came out I listened to it, shared it with my elders and made sure everyone in our presbytery was aware of it. I think its value stems from providing a high-level perspective on the PCA and what is going on.

    When you add together all of the debates – intinction, paedo-communion, role of women, historicity of Adam, the Covenant of Works, and more, it is evident that we are not a denomination that is at peace. This is compounded by the adoption of the Strategic Plan (as you know by very narrow margins). I think that when push comes to shove, The Strategic Plan, will become (maybe it already is) more important than resolving these theological matters. How we stay united under these circumstances is beyond me.

  12. John Harutunian said,

    November 6, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Regarding post #9: This part of the discussion is really beyond me, since I’m a church organist. But I can point out that “cards” shown by Bob when he refers to Genesis 1 as poetic writing are the same cards that were shown by St.Augustine back in the 4th century.

  13. Bob S said,

    November 6, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    What ails the PCA? For my money and time spent in the denomination, I would say fundamentalism morphing into evangelicalism, otherwise known as general ignorance of Scripture.

    Consequently, the antipathy to systematic thinking, reason/logic and confessionalism/the reformed faith.

    Theistic evolution is not seen as a compromise because if modern technology works for the most part, then modern science must be true.
    (Likewise if Augustine if correct on Gen.1, CtC will be happy to hear that A. was right about forcing the Donatists to join the catholic church with the sword.)

    Intinction is not seen as a violation of the RPW or a watering down of the sacrament, the proper administration of which is the second mark of the true church, which is an arrogant thing to assume somebody can know.

    As for #4 and the RPofWurlitzers, of course the craftsman who made the silver shrines for Diana were upset with Paul in Acts 19:24.
    Virgil Fox can make the application for us, as well as go on to tell us how many times the Book of Praise talks about “singing psalms”.

    cheers

  14. Don said,

    November 6, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    Request for clarification: There is great concern expressed here that the PCA is deeply divided over issues such as where in the church communion should be served, and that it is in danger of becoming evangelical. In comments on another thread of this blog, the claim being made to Catholics is that essentially all Protestants (certainly including Lutherans) agree on essentially all important doctrines.

    Since I don’t know any of the commenters here, my question is: Are these the same people making both these claims? Because if so, you maybe should choose just one side of the fence, people.

  15. John Harutunian said,

    November 6, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    You’re right about Augustine’s error in persecuting the Donatists. I only cite him to show that the hand of cards which Bob B. shows (post #8) doesn’t depend on modern science for its validity.
    Virgil Fox was a showman. Not all organists are. More important, the prayers which constitute the Book of Psalms were all chanted in worship. (I say “chanted” because _meter_ [the regular pattern of strong and weak beats occurring in singing as we know it] was unknown in church music until the 11thcentury.) And as J.V. Fesko has pointed out (“Psalmody and Prayer”) singing was “an expression of corporate prayer” (p. 181.)
    The question we’re left with is: Where does the New Testament indicate that now, with the advent of the New Covenant, prayers not found in the Psalms are to be “spoken” in worship, just as one would “speak” in ordinary street conversation? Nowhere that I can see. And of course these chanted prayers were _de facto_ hymns.

  16. Bob B said,

    November 6, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    Don 14

    I can’t speak for everyone here, but it appears to me that you are not discerning essentials from non-essentials from ‘deeply divided’. While the PCA itself might split over the issue of theistic evolution, they wouldn’t stop communing with each other over it. I am not in the PCA anymore, but I would happily commune there, and they (to the best of my knowledge) wouldn’t prevent me.

    Contrast that with the RCC – if you don’t believe in Immaculate Conception (or any number of other issues)- you’re OUT. It has been ruled, and you are a heretic, and thou shalt not commune! Why Immaculate Conception is necessary (essential) enough that all the Roman Catholic faithful must believe it on pain of excommunication – that is beyond me.

    Hope that helps clarify it for you.

  17. Bob S said,

    November 6, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    15 If nobody else remembers I do, an interminable combox squabble about whether the RPW allowed for the chanting of psalms, if not prayers, wherein our ignorance of what the Book of Praises, i.e. the Psalms, actually said regarding “singing, songs, hymns” and “psalms” was duly demonstrated. Much more the position of the West. Assembly divines vis a vis their Directory of Worship as reforming anglicans who explicitly repudiated the Ch. of E. Liturgy/Book of Common Prayer. Oh well.

    But if Virgil cares to restrict the chanting to psalms only, I’d be happy to meet him halfway. But then that means the organ/piano would have to go and somehow I don’t think that is going to happen.

    As to what again ails the PCA, let me add to the fundamentalist evangelical ignorance of Scripture, ignorance of Reformation history.

    Just my 2cents.

    cheers

  18. Don said,

    November 7, 2012 at 3:50 am

    Bob S #16,
    I am not failing to discern between essentials and non-essentials, or not. I am asking how someone who might be willing to split a “microdenomination” (not my term) over something so relatively trivial (my term) as theistic evolution, can say with a straight face to a Catholic that Protestantism isn’t inherently about multiplying divisions.

    I’m not certain what your second paragraph has to do with my question. If anything, it seems like something a hard-core Catholic could point to in support of the peace, unity, and purity of their church. I rather doubt that any Catholics, laity at least, are ever excommunicated these days over Immaculate Conception or the Real Presence or anything like that. But that is straying even farther from my question.

  19. Bob B said,

    November 7, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Don #18

    For the record, I’m ‘Bob B’, not ‘Bob S’ – that is a different person.

    We are talking about 2 different things, communion and denomination. Allow me an analogy. The communion is the school cafeteria, and the denomination is each table. The jocks sit at one, the nerds at another, and the theistic evolutionists at a 3rd. We all eat the same loaf, drink the same cup – but our humanity gets in the way and we tend to not like to sit at each others tables very often.

    It is a different way of handling conflict (theological or otherwise). We split and distance ourselves from each other. Catholics take a different approach – appeal to an authority and then beat the loosing side into submission with the excommunication club. Unity is preserved! And yes, the RCC is quite happy to kick out large chunks of its communion for the sake of preserving unity.

  20. Bob S said,

    November 7, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    18 Don
    One, Bob B is he, not me, and I kid you not, that’s not BS.

    Two, protestantism puts truth over unity or unity in the truth instead of unity over truth as Rome does.
    Yet if theistic evolution unravels a scriptural hermeneutic, much more the first Adam upon which the work of the second Adam, Christ, is premised than a stand for the truth is called for.
    But who split from whom, if not who split from the truth? That’s the real question.

  21. Bob B said,

    November 7, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Bob S
    You have a very different writing style from most that post on this blog. I’m curious as to your background – there looks to me to be an ethnic flair of some sort coming through. If I’m wrong, please don’t be offended , just a curiosity on my part.

  22. Don said,

    November 9, 2012 at 12:18 am

    Apologies to all the Bobs whom I was confusing, one among the other.

    But it seems to me that the responses in #19 and #20 support the Catholic allegation that Protestantism is all about dividing up into smaller and smaller denominations. I agree with the Bobs that nominal or coerced unity is not an especially worthy goal. Thus Boettner’s allegation that “the various Protestant denominations agree quite fully on practically all of the essentials of the faith” may be valid in theory, but rings a little bit hollow in practice.

  23. John Harutunian said,

    November 9, 2012 at 7:47 am

    Good point, Don. But how would you respond to my [typically Anglican] perspective: The Catholic (i.e., universal) truth is best distilled in the creeds and confessions of the ancient, undivided Church (before the East-West Schism)? In other words, papal infallibility is out, the Real Presence is in but transubstantiation isn’t mandated, etc.

  24. Don said,

    November 10, 2012 at 3:29 am

    John Harutunian #21,
    Well clearly, your perspective is correct to whatever degree it agrees with mine.

    Kidding.

    But I’m not sure your idea of a pre-Schism “undivided Church” has much historical support. Most all of those creeds were written at times of controversy, when the church needed to clearly articulate its beliefs. Anyway, dividing over serious theological issues may be necessary but is never the ideal, but at least it’s better than a church split due to the color of the sanctuary carpet.

  25. John Harutunian said,

    November 10, 2012 at 5:47 am

    Don, I’m not a church historian. But, despite the controversy which you mention, there’s a critical factor here. Both the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church (as well as much of Anglicanism), hold the first seven councils (325-787) as ecumenical. On the other hand, the doctrine of papal infallibility wasn’t defined dogmatically until the First Vatican Council of 1869-70; and of course the Eastern Orthodox Church rejects it.

  26. Don said,

    November 10, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    But John, the point of those councils was not just to define orthodoxy, but also to define heresy and, consequently, divide the church by excluding the heretics. They were only “ecumenical” to the extent that the losers don’t count.

    Going further back, how many of the Epistles deal with divisions in the church? In some cases it was partisan bickering among believers (e.g., I Corinthians, Philippians 4:2-3), in other cases it was dealing with false teachers and heretics (e.g., II John, Jude).

    Point being, with the possible exception of the first few chapters of Acts, there was never any Golden Age Of The Church In Full Unity that lasted until it was screwed up by [pick whatever denomination you don't care for]. You don’t need to invent any conspiracy theories when total depravity explains it quite well.

  27. Steve Drake said,

    November 15, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Bob B. @ 10,

    Finally getting back to this thread after being away for a couple weeks. I hope you are still checking these comments, I apologize for my delay, as this is too important an issue not to continue the discussion. Perhaps you have seen in the Green Baggins’ archives, the previous discussions on this topic, especially those posted by Reed DePace. You may also want to review the guest post by Dr. Adrian Keister in the archive of January 2012 “‘A Critique of Creation, Evolution, and Christian Lay People‘ by Tim Keller”, and the 367 comments that followed.

    The theological implications of a theistic evolutionary and old universe/old earth corollary are insurmountable if one is keen on being faithful to Scripture. I’ve noticed you were given two indices to why this is so in Lane’s response in #3 (the historicity of Adam and sin-death causality) to which you disagreed in your follow up comments in # 5. In post #8 you say:

    Please forgive me if I insult, but I want to hear the best arguments for why Christians should disbelieve entire fields of scientific study in favor of a literal interpretation of the Genesis 1 poetic writing.

    The above statement is clearly the heart of the matter I think for you and shows the nature of your presuppositions. I’m not sure I want to divert this discussion towards the work of Van Til, Bahnsen, Frame, et al, on the nature of presuppositions, but I can’t seem to think that your presuppositional starting point is favorable to scientific study and its interpretations in the magisterial role and Scripture in the ministerial. Is this a mischaracterization?

  28. CD-Host said,

    November 15, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    @Bob B

    God created everything ‘young’, but with the appearance of age. Light was already in motion upon creation

    If the universe were created k years ago, k < 15000; in a way that was indistinguishable from a universe billions of years old. What is the scientific difference (i.e. verifiable by experiment) between that and a universe which “really” billions of years old. To even make the distinction between all material evidence and reality is to preach something very much like Platonism; that the true reality is not the reality of the universe.

    I happen to agree with you that every word of Genesis screams poetic metaphor. I also happen to agree with Lane (post 3) about the implications. I also happen to agree with Steve (#27) about the appropriate response to asking those kinds of questions.

    But in Romans 6:28 Paul uses the aorist tense for how we die with Christ. So I’d disagree with his conclusion he draws from this duality.

  29. Don said,

    November 15, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    @CD-Host #28,
    It’s the same scientific difference as a universe that was created last Tuesday.

  30. CD-Host said,

    November 15, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    Don –

    That’s exactly my point. A universe that was created in motion as if it was old… so that I have memories of events before Tuesday is indistinguishable from one that’s lasted billions of years. There is no difference.

  31. Steve Drake said,

    November 16, 2012 at 8:57 am

    CD-Host @ 28,
    Romans 6:28?

  32. CD-Host said,

    November 16, 2012 at 9:15 am

    @Steve –

    Sorry typo. Romans 6:8

  33. Steve Drake said,

    November 16, 2012 at 9:26 am

    CD-Host,
    Are you saying that the use of the aorist tense in Romans 6:8 ‘Now, since we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him’ negates the sin-death causality in Adam (Adam’s sin brought death into the created order and death was not there before sin)? If so, can you elaborate?

  34. CD-Host said,

    November 16, 2012 at 9:34 am

    What I’m saying is the atoning death is an eternal event. It doesn’t happen in time but outside of time. There wasn’t a death at a fixed point that had effect that lasts until today but rather the death, not just the effect lasts until today: we die to sin with Christ’s death.

    And what I was saying is that has impact on the duality you were proposing. Yes they are dual events but dual events that happen outside of time.

  35. Steve Drake said,

    November 16, 2012 at 11:19 am

    CD-Host,
    Christ’s atoning death didn’t happen in time, but outside time? I’m not following, and where do you find succor for this position? Perhaps you can be specific and speak of Adam’s death and Christ’s death specifically.

  36. CD-Host said,

    November 16, 2012 at 11:47 am

    @Steve –

    We are talking past one another. I’m losing your question, I’m not at all sure how you are using the word “succor” here.

    Let me reconstruct this discussion from my point of view and you tell me where you disagree with the reconstruction.

    Bob B: Adam/Eve is spoken of mythically by the bible, so there is no reason not to treat his role as mythic not historical.
    Steve D: Adam can’t be mythic because of the Christ / Adam duality. Christ is historical so Adam must be.
    CD-Host: Jesus is also spoken of mythically by Paul. When he is constructing the duality he is constructing a mythic not a historic duality.

    English (excluding Ebonics) doesn’t have an aorist tense so I can’t do exactly what Paul is doing. But consider these two sentences:

    (1) The Revolutionary war led to the Continental Congress becoming the Congress of the Confederation and finally the Congress we have today.

    That statement about the Revolutionary war puts it clearly in the past. The Revolutionary war, happened and it is finished. The implications still exist but the event itself is purely historical.

    (2) Politics has become so expensive that it takes a lot of money even to be defeated.

    The complaint about money here is ongoing. Yes a change happened sometime in the past but it is not over. Moreover the time this change happened is indefinite there is no way to take Will Roger’s statement and attach a definite time, a time when politics was cheap.

    Paul speaks of Christ’s death temporally in sense (2) not in sense (1). Christ is eternally dying thus we can die with him. So in the very book where he constructs the duality, he’s denying that the historicity is what is important. What is important for Paul is the mythic not the historical crucifixion. Crucify Jesus historically and remove the mythic and nothing of importance happens, anymore than any other crucifixion. Crucify Jesus mythically and he acts as a second Adam. Paul’s language doesn’t make sense in a purely historical sense. I wasn’t born in 33 CE, I can’t historically die with him only mythically.

    Anyway I understand you don’t agree with the theology. But the key point is that an a-historical Adam doesn’t present a problem.

  37. Steve Drake said,

    November 16, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    CD-Host @ 36,

    But the key point is that an a-historical Adam doesn’t present a problem.

    That it indeed ‘does’ present a problem is one of the key differences between theistic evolutionists and Biblical creationists and our debate. When Paul is constructing the sin-death causality he is speaking of the historic Adam and an historic Christ. The duality is not mythic. It never has been throughout the history of the Church. Your argument hinges on your interpretation of the aorist tense of one verse in detriment to the rest of the whole of Scripture?

    As to ‘succor’, what Reformed (pre-1850) predecessor can you attribute to holding this mythic duality?

  38. CD-Host said,

    November 16, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    @Steve

    I don’t agree that the that the position is new. But before I address that, I fail to see how that is relevant even if true. The question Bob was asking was crucially dependent on cosmology. The cosmological evidence has been accumulating over the course of the last few centuries makes it impossible to believe in a young earth (for him). He is unwilling to reject science. You were making a biblical argument for your position and I was countering the biblical argument. No one was arguing that the church in the mainstream by and large supported a young earth.

    A historical argument is something else entirely. The historic church teaches all sorts of things flatly contradicted by the bible, and even more that are in opposition to the weight of biblical evidence. Obviously someone who is ready to reject a young earth theology is rejecting the argument that all theology should be governed by Calvin’s position.

    __

    That being said, I disagree with the historic claim. I think during the 19th century the young earth view fell out of favor. It’s interesting that it is having a resurgence among the traditionally Reformed by I suspect this is because the reformed are drawing from evangelical populations for this generation and thus picking up a lot of fundamentalist theology.

    For example on your 1850 challenge, the decades immediately the 1830s and 1840s were dominated by new transcendentalist theology. Adam as a historic figure was rejected, and Christ was often seen as purely human. His material crucifixion was of now importance but rather an earthly representation of an eternal event. This divine crucifixion was seen as important.

    There’s an example from 1850. I could pick other authors from just about any year you named. And that is where we get stuck because you are are going to turn around and say more or less “they don’t count”. And the reason is because of the “no one who disagrees with me is actually part of the church”. And similarly if I pulled any of the dozens of other examples of people who disbelieved that historicity was critical to the doctrine of the crucifixion. And there is no escape from the circle, people who disagree with you disagree with you.

    I can pull Jonathan Edwards own wife, Sarah Edwards who wrote on mysticism and had the theme that unity with God is outside of time. More or less exactly the position that the crucifixion is timeless because it is effectual and that anything historical is inconsequential. Her husband is one of the founders of her faith, but I suspect we are going to be in the same spot, she doesn’t count.

    I’m happy to concede that on bibliography you have better mainstream sources. But I wouldn’t concede that this is not a substantial undercurrent. And more importantly I definitely don’t concede that your position is biblical.

  39. Steve Drake said,

    November 17, 2012 at 10:14 am

    CD-Host @38,
    Church-Discipline Host, http://www.church-disciple.blogspot.com? I finally clicked on your name to see who I’m dialogiing with. The website doesn’t tell me who you are. I still don’t understand the desire of some to cloak their comments in anonymity. But I’m old school, where a man or woman is not afraid to stand by his/her full name and what they publicly say or write. Perhaps I didn’t dig around in your website long enough to uncover your name and identity?

    I seem to detect an undercurrent in the posts on your blog against historic Christianity and Calvinistic Presbyterianism. Is this true? If so, it would be nice to know your theological persuasion.

  40. John Harutunian said,

    November 17, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    Steve, forgive me for butting in. But I, too, have contributed several comments to this blog, and I’m not a Calvinistic Presbyterian any more than is CD-Host. I wouldn’t say I’m _against_ Calvinistic Presbyterianism (except on the subject of church music; since the Psalms were originally conceived of as prayers first and songs second [see Psalm 72:20], the whole Exclusive Psalmody/Regulative Principle business is something I do reject). But more to the point, every blogger’s assertions need to be dealt with on their own grounds, don’t they? And when CD-Host claims (blog #38),

    >The historic church teaches all sorts of things flatly contradicted by the bible,

    I really think that we need to press him for examples. His ecclesiastical identity -at this point- is secondary. Agreed?

  41. CD-Host said,

    November 17, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    @Steve –

    You wouldn’t know me. More importantly what difference does it make?

    What’s biblical is what is taught by the bible. Either the language is in the bible or it isn’t.
    The teachings of historic Christianity are the teachings of Christians through history. Either these preachings existed in history or they didn’t.

    Your argument about duality falls apart because Paul’s own language in the very book where he establishes that duality clearly indicates the crucifixion as an on going event. What Paul wrote has has nothing to do with me.

    You made a simple factual claim that no one had taught a doctrine prior to 1850, which they had. Let’s grant I’m a poopy head or wherever you were going with this “old school”…. line. Now that my poopy head traits have been firmly granted, how does that change the dates of various Christian writings that rejected a material Adam?

    And the answer is it doesn’t. It is completely irrelevant.

    I seem to detect an undercurrent in the posts on your blog against historic Christianity and Calvinistic Presbyterianism.

    The blog doesn’t focus on Calvinistic Presbyterianism. You’ll see posts on Catholics, Mormons, Pentecostals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Methodists… There are even posts on non-Christian groups like Wicca and Scientology. The blog is very ecumenical.

    If so, it would be nice to know your theological persuasion.

    Atheistic Theosophy.

  42. Steve Drake said,

    November 17, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    John @ 40,
    i think it is quite helpful for one at some point in a dialog to state their allegiances. It benefits both parties to know the presuppositions and axioms the other one is coming from.

    If Church Discipline-Host was Roman Catholic, for example, this thread has no bearing on him/her, for one of its stated purposes was the problem of theistic evolution within the PCA and those who are teaching it. Anyone’s comments are welcome, but someone coming from outside the circle can be seen as just trying to stir the pot. For what end?

    If Church Discipline-Host was a non-Christian, for example, then the theistic evolution debate is not of primary purpose, and I would tack and begin a message of his/her need to repent and submit his/her autonomy to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

    The historic church has always taught, for the majority until recent times, an historical Adam, and the sin-death causality in Adam. If this is one of those things Church-Discipline Host thinks is flatly contradicted by the Bible, and he/she has no love for Calvin or the PCA, then one can rightly come to some conclusions about why he/she would say such heretical things. This debate is not for him/her.

  43. Steve Drake said,

    November 17, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    Church-Discipline Host @ 41,
    Atheistic theosophist: as opposed to deistic, pantheistic, agnostic, polytheistic or monotheistic theosophist?

  44. John Harutunian said,

    November 17, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    Steve, @42 you make some very relevant points. But let me really “zero in” on your own position. Would you say that whether one interprets Genesis 1-2 as involving literal 24-hour days or not is a presuppositional, i.e., philosophical, issue? Seems to me that it’s an issue of (1st) hermeneutics and (2nd) theology.

  45. Steve Drake said,

    November 17, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    John @44,

    Would you say that whether one interprets Genesis 1-2 as involving literal 24-hour days or not is a presuppositional,…

    Sure it is. I presuppose that God cannot lie. I presuppose that when He speaks, He is speaking true truth. I presuppose that when God speaks in the opening verses of ‘His’ revelation to me, He is speaking in language that I can understand and because He does not lie, it is true and I can believe it.

    The theistic evolutionist, (is that your position by the way?), presupposes the biological, geographical, and astronomical scientific evidence as interpreted by secular scientists popularly espoused in the writings of Charles Darwin, James Hutton, Charles Lyell, Georges Lamaitre, Edwin Hubble, et al, is true truth in contradistinction to whatever the Bible has to say.

    The issue for the Christian is first of ‘authority’. Whose ‘authority’ are we going to believe? Only then can we discuss the proper hermeneutic and the theology associated with this written revelation from God.

  46. John Harutunian said,

    November 17, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Steve, I don’t know enough to make up my mind about theistic evolution one way or the other. But more important: I believe everything you say in your first paragraph. The problem is: Augustine (though he believed in a young earth), writes concerning the days of creation,

    >What kind of days these were it is extremely difficult, or perhaps impossible for us to conceive, and how much more to say

    And Dr. John Millam writes,

    >1. Nature of the first three creation days: If the Sun, Moon, and stars were not created until the fourth creation day (as popularly understood by the church fathers), then what was the nature of the first three creation “days”? How could they be ordinary solar days if the Sun did not yet exist? This question provoked more discussion and disagreement
    among the early church fathers than any other part of Genesis . Philo, Origen, and Augustine saw this as clear proof that at least the first three days could not be ordinary days.

    By “oridinary” I take them Millam mean “literal, 24-hour” days. And obviously, these men didn’t have a “magisterial” view of the role of scientific study. Scientific study, as an autonomous pursuit, existing apart from the Bible, didn’t then exist!

  47. CD-Host said,

    November 18, 2012 at 5:40 am

    Steve @42 –

    Stirring the pot!? Let me just point out BobB indicated he isn’t PCA. And in #5 he unequivocally rejected the PCA (and I would say Calvinist view) that the fall of Adam was the origin of sin and thus death but rather went with the fall of Lucifer as the cause of sin, more in line with the Catholic position of the Malice of the Angels. Calvin couldn’t be clearer that Adam’s fall not Satan’s was the cause of death entering the material world, (Institutes II.1.4-7); rejecting the doctrine of Malice of the Angels. BobB was taking a contrary position.

    The discussion with BobB was never about the doctrines of the PCA but the doctrines of the bible. If BobB were PCA there would be nothing to talk about. The PCA is crystal clear on the issue, “Holding the view of beginnings expressed in ‘theistic evolution’ is contrary to the fundamentals of our system of doctrine taught in the Word of God and our standards. Such a view destroys the basis of such doctrines as the doctrines of sin, of marriage, of salvation, of covenants, and others. Therefore such a view cannot be allowed as an exception. Anyone holding such a view must be disqualified from teaching and/or ordination in the church.” The question I was addressing for BobB is Paul’s doctrine not the PCA doctrine.

    And BTW I don’t agree with the Catholic position either. Paul references to the duality “younger Adam vs. older Adam” 1 Cor 15:45-50 references Philo’s theology of Adam Kadman. This makes is likely that something like Mani’s position on the duality with respect to Jesus which is preserved in Islam is far more likely to be authentic to Paul’s proto-Christianity than the Calvinist / PCA position, or the Catholic position that BobB was referencing.

    But regardless of all this. If Paul agreed with Calvin, he couldn’t have used the aorist tense in Romans 6:28. The whole verse doesn’t make sense, if we assume your theology. It’s fine if you want to hold to PCA doctrine over scripture. But what isn’t fine is to talk about scripture as a presupposition, as a way of avoiding an argument that was based on scripture. I was the one who was arguing from scripture, you were the one who keeps trying to avoid the teachings of scripture.

    As for Theosophy there is: Christian Theosophy, Traditional Theosophy (Blavatskyan Theosophy), Anthroposophy, German Theosophy, World Teacher movement, etc… If you prefer History of Religions or a Cultural Anthropology perspective. The reason I use Theosophy tends to be willing to dig much deeper into Christianity as a doctrine rather than Cultural Anthropology which studies it more as a practice.

  48. Steve Drake said,

    November 18, 2012 at 9:15 am

    John @46,
    Theistic evolutionists are fond of referring to Augustine as an authority on how the days of creation are to be understood, especially in support of ‘deep time’ and long ages, yet rarely mention that Augustine’s interpretation of Gen. 2:4 was that the whole creation was instantaneous, including the creation of the human body and soul, and the distinct kinds of plants and animals. He relied almost exclusively on the Latin Bible, since he did not know Hebrew, and only acquired Greek later in life, long after his Genesis commentary was done. What is also conveniently not often mentioned, is the great cloud of witnesses in the other church fathers: Basil of Caesarea, Lactantius, Victorinus, Ephrem the Syrian, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and others who supported the traditional interpretation.

    The use of the word ‘solar’ for describing the first three days would be incorrect, and no modern Biblical creationist describes them this way because Scripture says the sun wasn’t created until day 4. Scripture does say that God created light on Day 1. The earth was created on Day 1. Evening and morning were there on Day 1. Is it too hard to conceive that God in His omnipotence created the earth rotating on its axis in a day/night cycle around a light source that wasn’t the sun, and that this cycle of ‘yom’, was of the same nature and duration as days 4-6? Does God need the sun to have light? Rev. 21:23 and 22:5 (despite one’s eschatology) indicate in the new heaven and earth and the description of the new Jerusalem, there will be no sun, the glory of God shall illumine it.

  49. Steve Drake said,

    November 18, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Church-Discipline Host @ 47,
    With your stated theological allegiance to atheistic theosophy, and your website devoted to church discipline; disciplining the different faiths and denominations of the Christian faith, I hesitate to even continue with you. You have obviously spent a good portion of your life studying and applying yourself to knowledge. Yet, may I ask you if you are ‘saved’ in the traditional Christian sense of the word?

  50. John Harutunian said,

    November 18, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Steve @48,
    Well, it looks like I might be out of my depth here -especially as you know Hebrew and I don’t! You make some very good points. Still, I think there’s more to be said.
    You seem to be claiming that on purely hermeneutic grounds,each of the six uses of day (‘yom’) in Genesis 1 refers to a literal 24-hour time period. In that case, the use of the word day (I’m assuming it’s the same word) in Genesis 2:4 in connection with the whole act of “heaven-earth creation”, must also refer to a literal 24-hour time period. Which is of course a mathematical impossibility. Which in turn implies a metaphorical (figurative, poetic, call it what you will) interpretation of at least some of Genesis 1-2. (I say “some of” because this doesn’t preclude the existence of a historical Adam.)
    Finally, you claim in blog 45, that all of this is not only true hermeneutically, but self-evident philosophically -that is, it’s a presupposition.
    Which does seem pretty hard to swallow. Have I oversimplified your position? If so, please correct me. Thanks.

  51. Steve Drake said,

    November 19, 2012 at 10:11 am

    John @ 50,

    You seem to be claiming that on purely hermeneutic grounds,each of the six uses of day (‘yom’) in Genesis 1 refers to a literal 24-hour time period. In that case, the use of the word day (I’m assuming it’s the same word) in Genesis 2:4 in connection with the whole act of “heaven-earth creation”, must also refer to a literal 24-hour time period. Which is of course a mathematical impossibility.

    The use of the preposition ‘be’(uppercase e) with ‘yom’ in Gen. 2: 4 rendering the Hebrew as ‘beyom’, not just ‘yom’, is an idiomatic expression for ‘when’. ‘Beyom’ is used again in Gen. 2:17 ‘in the day you eat of it you will surely die’. Scripture records that Adam lived 930 years, so obviously didn’t die the same day he ate of the fruit, but the death process had begun. There is no use of this preposition ‘be’ with any of God’s creative acts (yom) in Genesis 1 however.

    God Himself speaks and confirms His own description of what He did and the duration of a ‘day’ in Exodus 20: 8-11. The use of the word ‘days’ in verse 9 as a commandment for man’s workweek, is the same word used in verse 11 for God’s workweek. The Hebrew word is the same in both verses.

    Which in turn implies a metaphorical (figurative, poetic, call it what you will) interpretation of at least some of Genesis 1-2. (I say “some of” because this doesn’t preclude the existence of a historical Adam.)

    Genesis 1 carries no hallmarks of Hebrew poetry such as the poetic books of Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, and Lamentations. There is no synonymous, antithetic, or synthetic parallelism as you find in these books. Moreover, a scientific statistical determination of the genre of Genesis 1 and the predominant use of preterite to finite verbs precludes this possibility. The text is historical narrative with statistical certainty. To say it another way, it is statistically indefensible to argue that this text is poetry.

    Finally, you claim in blog 45, that all of this is not only true hermeneutically, but self-evident philosophically -that is, it’s a presupposition. Which does seem pretty hard to swallow.

    Everyone starts with presuppositions. “If the Christian apologist is to rid himself of profane audacity, his faith in the greatness of divine wisdom must be championed by means of a procedure that itself honors the same wisdom. After all, in ‘Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge’ (Col. 2: 2b-3). This means that the apologist must presuppose the truth of God’s Word from start to finish. In matters of ultimate commitment, the intended conclusion of one’s line of argumentation will also be the presuppositional standard that governs one’s manner of argumentation for that conclusion–or else the intended conclusion is not his ultimate commitment after all”. (Greg L. Bahnsen, Van Til’s Apologetic, Readings and Analysis, P&R Publishing, 1998, p.2).

    The science of hermeneutics does indeed have a role. Philosophically, we are talking about that aspect of philosophy called epistemology.

  52. CD-Host said,

    November 19, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Of course early Genesis is poetic. Take the basic structure: 7 with 2 sets of 3 and a 1 conclusion. That’s a Hebrew poetic meme with 7 as a symbol for completeness.

    Day 1 Light / Day 4 Lights (sun, moon stars)
    Day 2 Sky, Sea / Day 5 fish and birds
    Day 3 Land and Plants / Day 6 Land animals

    Day 7 Sabbath.

    “God” is used 35 times in a 7 x 5 pattern. The blessings use language right out of the temple 1:22, 28; 2:3 compare with Lev 9:22-3, Num 6:22-7. Keeping with these theme look at the language between Exod 25-31 and the construction of the Tabernacle. For example Gen 2:1-3 and Exod 39:32, 42-3.

    I could keep going, but I’m hard pressed to see how this could be more poetic than it is. This isn’t even a borderline case.

  53. Steve Drake said,

    November 19, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Church-Discipline Host @ 52,
    With stated allegiance to atheistic theosophy, you are hardly an unbiased contributor to this dialog. Since you chose to reply to my post #51, and not to my question in post #49, I am going to assume your greatest need is the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as Lord. Any further replies from me will be evangelistic in nature. God calls on all of us to repent; to recognize our sinful nature and submit our autonomy to His Lordship. The discussion for you should focus on the claims of Jesus as Lord, God Incarnate, and your need to recognize His Lordship over all of your being, both your thoughts and actions.

  54. CD-Host said,

    November 19, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Steve –

    That’s fine. And replies from me on this thread will continue to focus on contradictions of objective facts like the heavy poetic structure of the bible. And we can keep talking past one another. You’ll post things contradicted by the bible, and I’ll try to stick the topic at hand in my responses.

    But I will say this, if you want to be a successful evangelist and even be able to preach “Jesus as Lord, God Incarnate” its going to require you engage with your own holy book which so far you seem unwilling to do. If by biased you mean that when you throw off platitudes about what the bible says that are contradicted by the actual text, I’ll point that out I’ll happily agree I’m biased. I think anyone can look for themselves and see the parallelism, in the first creation story. If eliminating bias requires paying homage to the bible while ignoring its actual content I’m happy to remain biased.

    I do find it amusing though a faction that wrote books like “The Truth Wars” attacking the emerging church for postmodernism is getting to be more postmodernist than any ECer, I’ve met.

  55. Don said,

    November 19, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    @Steve Drake #53,

    With stated allegiance to atheistic theosophy, you are hardly an unbiased contributor to this dialog.

    If I could say so gently, ad homs like this aren’t going to advance the conversation.

    And regarding #51,
    If you accept a “a scientific statistical determination” that Genesis 1 isn’t poetry, do you also accept the scientific/linguistic evidence that around half of the Pauline epistles (the Pastorals and I forget which others) were not written by Paul? If not, then why is it OK to pick and choose when to analyze the texts in this way?

  56. Steve Drake said,

    November 19, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Don @ 55,
    Claiming to speak the mind of God through His Word, without having a personal relationship with God, is rife with misinterpretation and misrepresentation. Scripture clearly states that the unbeliever is futile in his thinking and darkened in his understanding, because of the ignorance that is in him and because of his hardness of heart (Eph. 4: 17-18).

    Paul reiterates the same thing in Romans 1:21, “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks, but became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”

    Stating his/her allegiance to atheistic theosophy comes from Church-Discipline-Host’s post of #41 and is not ad hominem. The conclusion of bias comes from Scripture. Scripture actually goes further, “professing to be wise, they become fools” (Rom. 1:22).

    Why is it okay to pick and choose what you will believe about Scripture? You believe the Scripture for your personal salvation when it testifies to a man rising from the dead as solution to your sin problem, yet won’t believe Scripture when it testifies to God’s workweek being the same as man’s workweek. A schizophrenic epistemology to say the least.

  57. Don said,

    November 19, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    @Steve Drake #56,

    Claiming to speak the mind of God through His Word…

    I’m pretty sure this CD-Host guy did not claim that. The ad hom is that because he’s apparently atheist, you don’t need to take his contributions to this discussion seriously, since he cannot possibly be right.

    Or perhaps I should say (based on what I quoted in #55) that it’s unfair to paint him as “hardly unbiased” and therefore you can ignore his arguments. Of course no one here is unbiased. If you don’t like his bias–which I suppose is the issue–does that give you the right to ignore him?

    You…won’t believe Scripture when it testifies to God’s workweek being the same as man’s workweek.

    Um, sorry, no that’s not my belief that you’re stating. Unless you’re asking if I think that God moves thru time like a human does, in which case the answer is obviously no.

  58. Darlene said,

    November 19, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    The split p’s are at it again. :-) Some PCA parishes are quite similar to non-denominational evangelicals are they not? Praise choruses, bands, & that sort of thing. Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi!

  59. John Harutunian said,

    November 19, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Steve -Like a true Anglican, I’m going to try to bring a more irenic tone to this exchange.

    I think that what is upsetting some of the bloggers is your use of concepts such as “presuppositions” and “autonomy”. (Your _use_ of them, not necessarily the concepts themselves.) Let me present two examples.

    1. As you doubtless know, Luther and Zwingli had different views on the Eucharist (I believe they actually split over the issue). Whichever view you concur with, isn’t it clear that the correct understanding of “This is my body” is an exegetical matter (no pun intended!), not one involving philosophical presuppositions? In the same way, let’s grant, for the sake of argument, that your position is correct. Nevertheless, the meaning of “yom” in the contexts you mention is an exegetical issue, isn’t it?

    2. More to the point: Here are two citations from an online article, “The Hebrew Word ‘Yom’ Used with a Number in Genesis 1″ by Rodney Whitefield-

    >Gleason L. Archer, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, pages 60-61, Baker 1982:
    “ There were six major stages in this work of formation, and these stages are represented by successive days
    of a week. In this connection it is important to observe that none of the six creative days bears a definite
    article in the Hebrew text; the translations “the first day,” “ the second day,” etc., are in error. The Hebrew
    says, “And the evening took place, and the morning took place, day one” (1:5). Hebrew expresses “the first
    day” by hayyom harison, but this text says simply yom ehad (day one). Again, in v.8 we read not hayyom
    hasseni (“the second day”) but yom seni (“a second day”). In Hebrew prose of this genre, the definite
    article was generally used where the noun was intended to be definite; only in poetic style could it be
    omitted. The same is true with the rest of the six days; they all lack the definite article. Thus they are well
    adapted to a sequential pattern, rather than to strictly delimited units of time.”

    (Gleason Archer was Associate Editor of the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. In the quote above,
    the first two italicized letters ha of words like harison indicate the Hebrew prefix “heh” meaning “the.)”

    >Norman L. Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, page 271, Zondervan 1999:
    “Numbered days need not be solar. Neither is there a rule of Hebrew language demanding that all numbered
    days in a series refer to twenty-four-hour days. Even if there were no exceptions in the Old Testament, it
    would not mean that “day” in Genesis 1 could not refer to more than one twenty-four-hour period. But there
    is another example in the Old Testament. Hosea 6:1-2 . . . . . . Clearly the prophet is not speaking of solar
    “days” but of longer periods in the future. Yet he numbers the days in series.”

    To push my point home, both Archer and Geisler are leading Evangelical scholars. Neither would claim infallibility. But, why can’t one simply disagree with their exegesis? Why the need to bring in philosophical presuppositions? For all we know, their presuppositions may be the same as yours.

    Thanks for your consideration.

  60. Steve Drake said,

    November 20, 2012 at 11:00 am

    John @ 59,
    Joseph A. Pipa, Jr., Douglas F. Kelly, William D. Barrick, Morton H. Smith, David W. Hall, and John F. MacArthur are also leading Evangelical scholars (should I name more?) who all take the literal 24-hour meaning of ‘yom’ in Genesis 1, so while reading Geisler and Archer may prove interesting, your post 59, (1) hints at the fallacy of the faulty appeal to authority, and (2) Geisler and Archer’s claims are refuted by these other scholars. I’m not saying this was intentional on your part, and granted, we both do this in support of any position we might hold. For example, I’ll use one of my own:

    The beginning of the day rests on God’s word: ‘Be light made, and light was made.’ The end of day is the evening. Now, the succeeding day follows after the termination of night. The thought of God is clear. First He called light ‘day’ and next He called darkness ‘night’. In notable fashion has Scripture spoken of a ‘day’, not the ‘first day’. Because a second, then a third day, and finally the remaining days were to follow, a ‘first day’ could have been mentioned, following in this way the natural order. But Scripture established a law that twenty-four hours, including both day and night, should be given the name of day only, as if one were to say the length of one day is twenty-four hours in extent.(St. Ambrose in The Fathers of the Church: St. Ambrose, Hexameron, Paradise, Cain and Abel, John J. Savage, trans., New York: Fathers of the Church, Inc, 1961, vol. 42)

    If both parties to this issue presuppositionally claim Scripture as their ultimate standard, the final arbiter of truth, then yes, proper exegesis of the Scriptures follows. However, in practice, it has been my observance, that theistic evolutionists, Framework Hypothesizers, Day-Agists and Progressive Creationists, Cosmic Templeists, Analogical Dayists, and any and all of the novel accommodationist positions out there, while paying lip service to Scripture as their ultimate standard, actually defer to the naturalistic claims of science when it comes to origins. Their presuppositional starting point when it comes to origins as Bob. B so eloquently stated in post #8 above is:

    ‘but I want to hear the best arguments for why Christians should disbelieve entire fields of scientific study in favor of a literal interpretation of Genesis 1 poetic writing

    As to upsetting other bloggers, John, this thread is not my first go at this. Far be it from me, that I should challenge my Christian brothers and sisters back to the original and historic position of the Church and an understanding that all accommodationist positions on origins attack the nature and work of Christ and undermine the gospel. Far be it from me, that I, like many, should be concerned about the rise of theistic evolutionary holdings and teachings by Teaching Elders within the PCA denomination that I love. There is too much at stake for a few cracked eggs and hurt feelings to minimize the importance of staying faithful to Scripture and the great doctrines that flow from it.

  61. Cris Dickason said,

    November 20, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    @59 – John H: Thanks for those references. I’ve had the itch to delve into Hebrew days and numbers and those are good starting points.

    I’ve wondered if the pattern in Genesis 1: “there was evening and there was morning, the first day” (ESV, etc) is often used to explain the idea that the “day” started the evening before. Which is a strange idea. Is it Monday evening, or is it Tuesday’s proto morning, for instance. But that way of sperakling already assumes our modern 24-hour clock oriented way of thinking.

    I wonder if the meaning of the brief phrase is “there was evening [the evening arrived] and when the following morning arrived, day one was complete.

    I do think there is a tendency in the OT to see night time as significant in a way that changes in the NT. By that I mean that in the OT, in the redemptive history prior to Christ’s first comming, redemptive acts of the Lord often (?) occur at night. The Passover is example par excellence of that. Memory fails me for examples to state this in a more sweeping way, but it’s an interesting pattern to reflect on.

    -=Cris=-

  62. CD-Host said,

    November 20, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    @Don –

    Thank you.

    _____

    Now lets deal with a bit of inaccuracy:

    I should challenge my Christian brothers and sisters back to the original and historic position of the Church

    7 day creation was not the original and historic position of the Church. The ancient fathers like almost all Greeks believed that the universe was eternal subject to cycles within cycles: morning, afternoon, evening, night which sits inside the cycle of 7 days of the week which sits inside the cycle of the waking and waning moon which sits inside the cycles of the year which sits inside the cycle of great year (about 28k years, with 12 months “aions” (αἰών) each 2200 years long which Paul uses frequently)….

    They believed the bible stories were allegorical and rejected the historical / critical methods that conservative Protestants used.

    The way they reconciled their beliefs was via. middle-Platonism or neo-Platonism the idea that things that were mythically true (i.e. true in the realm of ideals) were more true than material reality.

    Steve’s position, the position that the creation story documented actual historical events that happened in a real historical sense seems to have come into Western Christianity after the Islamic wars during the early middle ages. Its possible they originate in Christianity and flowed back via. Islam. People for the Eastern Church like John Philoponus (6th century) argued against any notion of an infinite time, but they were clearly in the minority (as their own works make clear). Thomas Aquinas is a rather excellent source on the debate during his life

    The early church supports neither the modern 7 day creation nor theistic evolution.

  63. John Harutunian said,

    November 20, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Steve,

    What I was making in post 59 was not an “appeal to authority” in any abstract or formal sense. Rather, it was an appeal to distinguished Evangelical scholars who are far better exegetes than I, and whose “authority” is therefore persuasive (though not compelling). You of course have the prerogative to do the same. Which, in and of itself, puts us at a stalemate.
    What breaks the stalemate is the fact that you’ve gone further than I. Your ultimate focus is not on the exegesis of Archer, Geisler or anyone else. Rather, it’s the thought processes (perhaps even the heart attitudes) which you believe have led Archer and Geisler to their exegeses. I say this because of your emphases on presuppositions, autonomy and humanism, plus your use of Greg Bahsen’s quote (@51).
    It seems to me that the only way out for you at this point would be to claim that your (and MacArthur’s, Pipa’s, Kelly’s, et. al.)exegesis of Genesis 1 is not only correct, but self-evident. That is, it enjoys the status of a presupposition.
    But: I thought you believed that Scripture itself is the only thing which holds that status.

  64. Steve Drake said,

    November 20, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    RE: #62,
    Enough of this Gnostic heresy. Church-Discipline Host is not here promoting anything similar to Christian faith and practice, but openly and divisively promoting a heresy that was dealt with centuries ago. He is here as a troll, actively engaged in subverting the Christian doctrines we hold dear within the Reformed tradition. There are other blogs where he/she may peddle his/her damning doctrines, but it shouldn’t be this one.

  65. drakesteve said,

    November 20, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    John @ 63,

    Rather, it was an appeal to distinguished Evangelical scholars who are far better exegetes than I,

    Agreed. It boils down to which authority are you going to believe. If one cannot take God at His Word from the very first verse, then why take Him at His Word when Scripture claims Christ rose from the dead (an impossible feat according to naturalistic science) as penalty and answer for one’s sin problem.

    It seems to me that the only way out for you at this point would be to claim that your (and MacArthur’s, Pipa’s, Kelly’s, et. al.)exegesis of Genesis 1 is not only correct, but self-evident. That is, it enjoys the status of a presupposition.

    If you are speaking of the perspicuity of Scripture I concur. Which ultimate standard is your presuppositional starting point, the word of man, or the Word of God. From there it is exegesis if the Word of God. I happen to be able to read the Scriptures for myself (as hard as that may seem) which under the guidance of the Holy Spirit clearly indicates that God used six days for His work, just like He ‘commands’ man to use six days for his (Ex. 20:8-11). Even a child can see this. A proper exegesis of this text here as well as Genesis 1 confirms this understanding. Contrary to CD-Host’s claim otherwise, this was the original and historic position of the Church for 1800 years until the advent of ‘deep time’ within the secular uniformitarian geological community. The Church under intense pressure caved, and you then had the Gap Theory, the Day-Age theory, the Tranquil-Flood theory, more recently the Framework Hypothesis theory, the Analogical-Day theory, and the Cosmic-Temple theory. All in an effort to justify the secular naturalistic interpretations of origins to Scripture.

    If one studies the great chronologists of Church history: Eusebius of Caesarea, Julius Africanus, Isidore of Seville, Bede the Venerable, Joachim of Fiore, Martin Luther, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, up through James Ussher and the writings of the Westminster divines in the Confession of Faith, one will find a consistent belief in a young creation of both the universe and earth and six 24-hour length days.

    Joseph A. Pipa, Jr. and David W. Hall, eds., Did God Create in Six Days, Presbyterian Press, 1999, 2005, chronicle the discussions and beliefs of the Westminster divines at this juncture of history.

    If you wish to peruse an article on the importance of an historical Adam, you might find interesting the article by Scott Oliphint at the Reformation 21 blog, http://www.reformation21.org, http://www.reformation21.org/articles/the-eternal-inextricable-link.php.

    Bottom line, there is plenty of evidence, both Scriptural and scientific to take God at His word that He did it all in six 24-hour length days. One only has to look.

  66. CD-Host said,

    November 20, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    Steve –

    Since when is Aquinas a Gnostic? Since when is allegory Gnostic? Galatians 4:21-5:1 Paul makes use of allegorical interpretation of Genesis. I think it is time you get a grip. Your historical claims are true or false regardless of my beliefs. Your false claims about the structure of Genesis are true or false regardless of my beliefs. Stop fabricating church history in your posts.

    Either the early church did believe what you are saying they did or they didn’t. I wasn’t alive then and had nothing to do with it one way or the other. If I’m wrong whip up a list of early fathers who supported a literal 7 day creation. Either Aquinas was lying or Aquinas’ assessment of the debate he took part in during his life was accurate you are spouting falsities to strengthen a weak hand. I’m not preaching anything. You just keep saying stuff about history that is easily contradicted.

    As for this being Gnostic theology here is Against Heresies by Irenaeus, where is attacking Gnosticism and considering the days to be allegorical.

    Thus, then, in the day that they ate, in the same did they die, and became death’s debtors, since it was one day of the creation. For it is said, There was made in the evening, and there was made in the morning, one day. Now in this same day that they ate, in that also did they die. But according to the cycle and progress of the days, after which one is termed first, another second, and another third, if anybody seeks diligently to learn upon what day out of the seven it was that Adam died, he will find it by examining the dispensation of the Lord. For by summing up in Himself the whole human race from the beginning to the end, He has also summed up its death. From this it is clear that the Lord suffered death, in obedience to His Father, upon that day on which Adam died while he disobeyed God. Now he died on the same day in which he ate. For God said, In that day on which you shall eat of it, you shall die by death. The Lord, therefore, recapitulating in Himself this day, underwent His sufferings upon the day preceding the Sabbath, that is, the sixth day of the creation, on which day man was created; thus granting him a second creation by means of His passion, which is that [creation] out of death. And there are some, again, who relegate the death of Adam to the thousandth year; for since a day of the Lord is as a thousand years, 2 Peter 3:8 he did not overstep the thousand years, but died within them, thus bearing out the sentence of his sin. Whether, therefore, with respect to disobedience, which is death; whether [we consider] that, on account of that, they were delivered over to death, and made debtors to it; whether with respect to [the fact that on] one and the same day on which they ate they also died (for it is one day of the creation); whether [we regard this point], that, with respect to this cycle of days, they died on the day in which they did also eat, that is, the day of the preparation, which is termed the pure supper, that is, the sixth day of the feast, which the Lord also exhibited when He suffered on that day; or whether [we reflect] that he (Adam) did not overstep the thousand years, but died within their limit—it follows that, in regard to all these significations, God is indeed true. For they died who tasted of the tree; and the serpent is proved a liar and a murderer, as the Lord said of him: For he is a murderer from the beginning, and the truth is not in him. John http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103523.htm

    So no. The doctrine of a mythic duality was common before 1850. The creation story has poetic structure. The fundamentalist literal method of reading the bible you are advocating was rejected through most of church history. Sorry dude, you are wrong on the facts and your name calling doesn’t change that.

  67. John Harutunian said,

    November 20, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Steve, @65,

    > If one cannot take God at His Word from the very first verse, then why take Him at His Word when Scripture claims Christ rose from the dead

    But Baptists and Lutherans alike take God at His word regarding the words of institution of the Lord’s Supper. Yet they’ve come up with two different beliefs, based on how literally those words are meant to be understood. I personally think Luther came closer to the truth. But I’d never say that Baptists don’t believe the Bible, or that they start from a different presupposition, or whatever.

    >If you are speaking of the perspicuity of Scripture I concur. Which ultimate standard is your presuppositional starting point, the word of
    man, or the Word of God[?]

    John Calvin and Charles Spurgeon both used the Word of God as their presuppositional starting points. But they ended up with very different beliefs as to the proper subjects of Baptism. Presumably you’d agree that this issue involves hermeneutics and exegesis. I can’t see why it should be otherwise with the meaning of ‘yom’ in Genesis 1.

    > this was the original and historic position of the Church for 1800 years until the advent of ‘deep time’ within the secular uniformitarian
    geological community. The Church under intense pressure caved,

    Do you mean that the whole Church, Eastern and Western, Catholic and Protestant, caved in to this pressure? That’s a tough pill to swallow. More specifically, you seem to imply that Archer’s and Geisler’s positions represent a spiritual capitulation on their part. It seems like you’d need to quote from some of their other [presumably heretical] writings to show that this is what happened.

    Thanks for the ongoing dialogue.

  68. Don said,

    November 21, 2012 at 1:57 am

    @Steve Drake #64,
    You’re name-calling again. Which is not to say the name is inappropriate. But still. If you think this guy is wrong, then show it specifically. Or ask him to provide some evidence or sources for these rather sweeping claims.

  69. Steve Drake said,

    November 21, 2012 at 10:26 am

    John @ 67,

    But I’d never say that Baptists don’t believe the Bible, or that they start from a different presupposition, or whatever.

    John, did you see what I was trying to say about Bob B.’s statement in my post #60. There seems to be a difference as to ultimate starting points when it comes to origins. I’m not arguing that Baptists and Presbyterians and Lutherans and Methodists and Anglicans don’t ‘say’ they claim Scripture as their ultimate standard and final arbiter of truth. I am arguing that when it comes to Genesis 1, 2, 3, 4- (actually all way through 9, 10, 11) and origins, in practice, the tendency of many, in their thinking, is to sweep this all under the rug and defer to the naturalistic interpretations of science as the final arbiter of truth on origins.

    I apologize, while typing this comment, something’s come up and I’ve gotta run. More later.

  70. John Harutunian said,

    November 21, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    Steve-
    A couple of points while I’m awaiting your further thoughts.

    You write,
    1. > I am arguing that when it comes to Genesis 1, 2, 3, 4- (actually all way through 9, 10, 11) and origins, in practice, the tendency of many, in their thinking, is to sweep this all under the rug and defer to the naturalistic interpretations of science as the final arbiter of truth on origins.

    I don’t see that one can conclude that they’re deferring to science as the final arbiter of truth – rather than [possibly] misinterpreting Scripture- without having a fairly intimate knowledge of their thought processes (as opposed to what they finally state in print). I, for one, have no such knowledge.

    2.I _think_ that you would concur that Archer is correct insofar as “day one”, “day two”, etc, is a more accurate translation of the Hebrew than “the first day”, “the second day”, etc. If you would grant this, then I’d point out that “even a child” (to use your phrase) would be more inclined to give _this_ word combination a more loose, “storybook” quality than “the first day”, etc. (which would more readily suggest a literal 24-hour period of time).

    Thanks for the ongoing dialogue.

  71. Steve Drake said,

    November 22, 2012 at 10:58 am

    John,
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! Back in post #46, you say you don’t know enough about theistic evolution to make up your mind one way or the other. What is the biggest negating factor there in your mind? In other words, what is holding you back to going full bore with theistic evolution?

  72. John Harutunian said,

    November 22, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Steve,
    A Happy Thanksgiving to you also. To answer you question: There’s no factor “holding me back” from subscribing to theistic evolution as I understand it. What I meant in @46 was that I don’t know enough either about the Hebrew language nor about modern geology to have a settled view on the question. (This of course doesn’t in any way suggest that I place geology [or any other science] on a level with Scripture regarding discovering truth.)
    I do believe that the sciences, like all fields (history, language, culture, etc.) can assist us in arriving at the right meaning of Scripture. Under language would obviously come a knowledge of ancient Hebrew and Greek; under culture would come the significance of the practice of foot-washing, or of greeting each other with a kiss (which had a very different meaning back then than it would have in our culture), etc.
    So, I do think that modern geology can help us to understand the meaning of Genesis 1 -without in the least usurping the authority of God’s Word as a presuppositional starting point.

    Meanwhile, back on the ranch, I’d be especially interested to hear your response to my #70, point 2. (You can bypass point 1 if you prefer.)

    Thanks!

  73. Steve Drake said,

    November 22, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    John,
    Before the festivities start. A proper understanding of geology that takes into account the worldwide, universal judgment of God as recorded in Scripture in the time of Noah, would be essential, would it not? However, mainstream uniformitarian secularist geology dismisses this as a myth. If one studies the ‘history’ of modern geology starting in the late 1700′s through early 1800′s you will find that this was an express purpose that came out of Enlightenment thinking to once and for all ‘do away’ with the idea of Noah’s Flood.

    As to your #70 point #2, I do not concur that Archer is correct. I’ll try to address why tomorrow.

  74. Steve Drake said,

    November 23, 2012 at 10:22 am

    John,
    For your interest:
    Robert V. McCabe’s article, ‘A Defense of Literal Days in the Creation Week’ at:
    http://www.dbts.edu/journals/2000/McCabe.pdf

    Benjamin Shaw’s article ‘The Literal-Day Interpretation’ in the book, ‘Did God Create in Six Days‘ referenced in my post #65 above might also be of interest.

    We can keep throwing sources back and forth at each other and get nowhere. You’ve obviously made a decision to side wtih Archer’s interpretation and his day-age scenario. Archer and Hugh Ross have co-authored together on the day-age, progressive creation side of things. Ross has been refuted in a number of on-line sources and books, e.g. Refuting Compromise, Jonathan Sarfati, Master Books, 2004. You’re also admittedly, an Anglican, posting to a PCA blog. While this debate may be of interest, I’m more concerned with the controversy within the PCA and its Teaching and Ruling Elders, and while I appreciate your comments and questions, I can see that you’re not convinced by anything i reference or post. Since no one else except the original poster (Lane at #3) has been willing to add a comment in support of the conclusions by Phillips and Keister on the teaching of theistic evolution within the PCA, I may be beating a dead horse, and will not comment further. Thanks for your interaction.

  75. John Harutunian said,

    November 23, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Steve-
    In the light of the conclusion of your post 73, I’m surprised that you’re terminating our exchange. But of course that’s your prerogative.

    I hope you won’t think me boorish if I nevertheless voice my perspective (as well as what I see as a problem with yours) as succinctly as I can:

    If I were reading the opening of Genesis for the first time, with no knowledge of modern geology (as a child, as you might put it), then I agree -my initial gut reaction to the word “day” in verses 5, 8, and so on would probably be “a 24-hour time period”. But when I came to verse 14, in which the sun and moon first appear and separate day from night, I’d wonder if a 24-hour time period was really meant. Then I’d come to chapter 2, verse 4, which refers to the whole of creation as being accomplished in a “day”. Therefore, particularly since the entire creation narrative of Genesis 1-2 isn’t broken up by chapter divisions in the original, I’d probably come to see its use of the word “day” as figurative (even without any knowledge of modern geology, or of conscious presuppositions. etc.).

    >A proper understanding of geology that takes into account the worldwide, universal judgment of God as recorded in Scripture in the time of Noah, would be essential, would it not?

    But now you’re not starting with the opening of the Biblical record -that of origins (as you’ve been claiming to do all along). You’re starting with Genesis 7, and the issue of a universal-vs.-local flood. I’ve preferred to limit myself to the creation passage (and commentaries on it). Please understand that in interpreting it, I’m not making any inferences from either the universal-flood position or the local-flood position. And my choice not to do so represents, I think, the most widely held hermeneutic.
    I also found that the plot thickened when I checked my New American Standard Bible, widely regarded as one of the most literally accurate translations. The relevant passages there are translated, “And there was evening and there was morning, one day…And there was evening and there was morning, a second day, …a third day…” etc. What is used is the indefinite, rather than the definite, article. Which in turn is less likely to indicate a definite, i.e., 24-hour-long, time period than it is a quantity of time hereafter designated as day one, day two, etc.
    And, contra McCabe, I would think that if the word “day” appears in the Hebrew, it should then appear in the English translation (leaving it up to the reader to determine its sense).
    Last, I see a potential problem with your hermeneutic/theology: the possible implication that a)one either understands the whole Bible (including all of the details in Daniel and Revelation) or b)one understands none of it. Perhaps I’m taking your position too far.

    Anyway, thanks for the dialogue. If you find that you’d prefer to reply to any of the above, by all means do so. I’ll probably leave things at that.

    Blessings,
    -John

  76. Steve Drake said,

    November 26, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    To the original poster, TE’s and RE’s within the PCA
    RE: The divisiveness of theistic evolution.

    The Report of the Creation Study Committee opened the door in 1999/2000 to the current dilemma of theistic evolution being taught in the PCA denomination by allowing three other views in addition to the classic and historic calendar day view.

    The current crop of theistic evolutionists 12 years later, see the connections that were not made in 1999/2000 with the day-age, framework, and analogical day views. To wit, a connection with real history; the real history of the biodiversity of life before Adam, whether mere days, or millions and millions of years, as evidenced in the fossil record. It is this connection that the framework and analogical day views do not address. It is this connection that the day-age view does address but which impugns Christ with death, disease, decay and destruction in His work of creation over these millions of years, all before Adam. To say that death, disease, decay, and destruction are all ‘good’ and part of God’s plan pre-Adam is currently the sine qua non of these concordist opinions.

    As Phillips points out in the podcast, this is the PCA’s silppery slope issue, and will divide the PCA right down the middle. To leave the issue to judicial action and the SJC, Phillips concludes, will not be enough, and will lead to the historic and conservative wing of the PCA to walk away and leave. He gives it another 10 years, I personally think it’s already happened, and will continue to happen at a much faster rate.

  77. Steve Drake said,

    November 29, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Before it’s too late, and before the wolves in sheep’s clothing completely destroy the PCA flock, one or several of you PCA theologians need to tackle this issue head-on and write up a position paper or something, laying out each and every Biblical doctrine that is attacked, undermined, and comprised by the millions and millions of years ideology inherent within theistic evolution, the day-age, framework, and analogical day views.

    Aside from the obvious sin-death causality in Adam, and Adam’s historicity, which have been discussed and written about, there are other key doctrines of the historic and Reformed faith which should be brought forth and shown deficient from any old universe/old earth scenario:

    1) The doctrine of marriage and one flesh. Eve specially created from Adam’s side. Did God plop Adam down, created ex nihilo in the midst of a group of hominids and then ex nihilo take a rib from his side and fashion the woman? One must think through each of the different old earth scenarios, and the writings of those who promulgate them, and see if this doctrine of marriage and one flesh hold up.

    2) the shedding of blood for the remission of sin. The ‘covering’ atonement of animal skins in Gen. 3:21, and the whole of the OT unblemished and spotless animal sacrificial system. The question must be addressed if animals red in tooth and claw, shedding each other’s blood for millions of years undermines or compromises this key doctrine in any shape or form, and what relationship this has to Christ’s own sinless, spotless, unblemished and pure, sacrificial death.

    3) Christology and the work of Christ in His Creation. How do any and all old universe/old earth scenarios that postulate death, disease, decay and destruction as part and parcel of Christ’s work in Creation over millions and millions of years as evidenced in the fossil record, impugn Christ with these various things, or does it?

    4) Do death, disease, cancer, tumors, bloodshed and gore, destruction and devastation oppose the character of God or not? One would need to specify each and every character trait of God we hold dear, and show how an OU/OE attacks and undermines this character trait of God. and does it uphold or compromise His glory?

    5) how does an OU/OE undermine and compromise the eschatological significance of Christ’s own words in Matt. 24: 37-41, or does it? If Christ is comparing His return with what happened in the days of Noah and the universal and global Flood that took them all save eight (2 Pet. 3), then what significance is borne out of the OU/OE belief that the Flood was local in extent, or merely myth? Is there any significance to God’s universal judgment in the days of Noah and His universal judgment at His second coming?

    6) how does the OU/OE compromise or undermine the Jesus age-verses in Mark 10:6, 13:19-20, and Luke 11:50-51? Does Jesus give any indication that He was a young-earth creationist? I think He does. Better exegetes than myself should be able to show us how.

    I’m sure you can think of others not listed above.

    Where is the watchman on the wall? Where is the man who will take up the challenge for the sake of the elect? You are charged in Scripture with protecting the flock, for destroying every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of Christ. Show the flock how an OU/OE does this. Ferret out the wolves and uphold sound doctrine. It’s now or never, gentlemen.


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