Fifth Plenary Address: The Bible and Evolution (Rick Phillips)

Did science correct the Bible in the case of Galileo? Or was the interpretation of Joshua incorrect? Does evolution correct our interpretation of Genesis 1-2? Even advocates of evolution will admit that if Genesis is teaching literal history, then it rules out evolution. The species in Genesis were created by God according to their kind. People who advocate evolution posit a non-literal reading of Genesis 1. Are we saying that Genesis 1 teaches science? No, but it DOES teach history. Objections from the Biologos crowd will be that Genesis 1 is poetic. Genre analysis tells us that Genesis 1 is a classic example of historic Hebrew narrative, NOT poetry. It does not have parallelism, but vav-consecutive. Does the supernaturalism of Genesis 1 rules out the possibility of historical narrative, as Keller says? No. Even the presence of more highly exalted language does not rule out historical narrative, as Hebrew poetry itself shows us, since Hebrew poetry can still legitimately refer to historical events. The same objections made against the historical narrative of Genesis 1 could be made against John.

Do Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 conflict? No. Genesis 1 is a wide-angle lens, whereas Genesis 2 is a telephoto lens on day 6. The hermeneutics of the Biologos crowd subordinates the authority of the Bible to the higher authority of secularist science. On the one hand, we have fallible scientists, who have mixed motives, and mixed intellectual capacities, working with limited data. On the other hand, we have God, who has no fallibility, completely holy motives, absolute intellectual capacity, and working with ALL the data. Which authority is higher? Surely it is God.

Another casualty of this Biologos perspective is the doctrine of man. Man is no longer unique, but is on the same level as the animals. But when God made the animals, He created them by fiat. When He created man, He used His own “hands,” forming Adam personally from the dust of the earth. Psalm 8 does not say, “You made him a little higher than the animals,” but rather associates us with the higher beings, “You made him a little lower than the angels.” Modern secularism directs humanity (already having problems with self-loathing!) to their association with the animals. This is not calculated to solve the problems of despair so rampant in today’s society. Evolution is compatible with racism. Evolutionists are not necessarily racist, but evolution is compatible with racism, because a logical conclusion of evolution is that there are inferior strands of DNA that need to be weeded out. Can anyone say Final Solution? Furthermore, sin will need to be redefined as a form of imperfection, rather than transgression of God’s law.

The Bible says that death is the result of the Fall. Evolution says that death is the mechanism of improving the gene pool. According to evolution, then, death is good, and part of the world which cannot be eliminated. Death is no longer the intruder that the Bible says it is. Leviticus law says that death is bad. Life is part of the camp, and death is to be outside the camp. If Jesus conquered death, how can evolution be true, when evolution says that death is how progress comes to the world? Revelation 21:4 tells us explicitly: death shall be no more. One possible answer is that the Fall is only resulting in spiritual death, not physical death. This is inconsistent with Genesis 3 compared with Genesis 5. The refrain “and he died” is a reflection on the curse of the Fall. Revelation tells us that the first death and the second death are related, but for the grace of God. Christianity says that physical death is wrong! When will you get over the death of your loved one? Ultimately, the RESURRECTION! Christianity is never reconciled to death. If evolution is true, then God pronounced death good. This is absolutely blasphemous!

The problem with wanting to be respectable in society by believing in evolution is that the resurrection of Christ, the miraculous nature of the virgin birth, the miracles of Christ are all equally distasteful to the secularists as creation.

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75 Comments

  1. paigebritton said,

    April 20, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    Ha! I got home just as you posted that. Thanks for a terrific day, Lane! So great to finally meet you. I’ll post mine on Derek Thomas’s Creation seminar another day — gotta recover from that drive now. :)

  2. Steve Drake said,

    April 20, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    Lane, Paige,
    What a blessing to know that you both had the desire to go hear these speakers on this important topic. Thank you for your willingness to attend and your willingness to share your notes and thoughts!

    What i think needs consideration by Christian theologians, pastors, and speakers such as Phillips and ya’ll is the need to be connecting the dots between evolution and millions and billions of years in the minds and hearts of those you serve by your preaching and teaching. Evolution and billions and millions of years are two sides of the same coin. Take away the millions of years, you take away the support structure for evolution to wend its way through death and struggle in its supposed upward development from molecules to man.

    This has clear implications to the gospel we preach to the unregenerate. It is the billions and millions of years that justify to the unregenerate his denial of his Creator. It is the characteristic mindset that Peter talks about in 2 Peter 3:4 of the mockers who in the last days say that “all things continue just as it was from the beginning of creation.” In other words, Christ isn’t coming again as judge for me (the unregenerate), because we’ve had billions and millions of years of evolutionary history on this old earth and this old universe and it will just continue on the same for billions and millions of years more. A coming day of the Lord in global judgment (2 Pet. 3:10-12) which should be part of any gospel outreach to unregenerate man is nullified and rendered meaningless by the assumption that everything continues just as it has for millions and billions of years.

    The millions and billions of years also destroys the corollary component of global judgment in its first installment (and to which Peter is comparing the coming day of the Lord to in its second installment), in that of the global and universal cataclysmic Flood of Noah. We are taking a quite significant portion of Scripture (Gen. 6-9), let alone minimizing Christ’s own words in Matt. 24:37-39 off the table by not connecting the dots from evolution- to -billions and millions of years (together in its cosmological, geological, and biological components).

    It is not only a proclamation of an historical Adam and denunciation of evolution that the heart of the battle is raging, but the billions and millions of years that is part and parcel to it.

    Thank you, once again, for your live-blogging Lane and your stance on a six-day recent and fully-functioning mature creation, and look forward to reading your blog post about your participation as well Paige.

    Blessings.

  3. Roy Kerns said,

    April 20, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    Surely, Steve, you do not wish us to declare that which looks billions of years old does not look billions of years old.

    Put another way: as a 6×24 recent creationist I insist that everything created have exactly the characteristics appropriate to whatever that thing is. God don’t make junk. Everything created was exactly correct, perfect in every aspect. When Adam saw Eve soon after her creation, she did not have the properties of a few celled zygote, but of a woman with the maturity to be just what was needed to be a suitable helper for Adam. When Adam felt sunlight from a sun created only a few days earlier, he felt that generated by a star with exactly the right properties (weight, mass, *and* age of billions of years) to do what the sun does (in harmony with the physics God created to govern the creation).

  4. Steve Drake said,

    April 21, 2013 at 8:20 am

    Getting a little bit nervous Roy? More and more of us are seeing how the pieces of the puzzle fit together. An historical Adam and no evolution means an earth and universe that are not billions and millions of years old. An historic global and universal cataclysmic judgment of God in the Flood of Noah wipes away the billions and millions of years.

  5. CD-Host said,

    April 21, 2013 at 9:20 am

    @Roy —

    I like your solution in the sense that it doesn’t require a rejection of cosmological science. But I’m unclear on a few points. I’ll start with this one, in this recent creation looks old world, is the fossil record from the flood or is it from the appearance of a world that just looks old? Could Adam have found a fossil?

    Second, why? Why create a moon that looks scarred? Why make the human hip weaker than it should be to leave room for a tail we don’t have? Why do this? Does you view of recent creation / looks old have an explanation?

  6. Richard Cronin said,

    April 21, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    This is inconsistent with Genesis 3 compared with Genesis 5. The refrain “and he died” is a reflection on the curse of the Fall.

    I don’t see this in Genesis 5. Any further explanation?

  7. Roy said,

    April 21, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Steve #4 and CD #5

    CD, you correctly recognize that Steve’s paradigm (totally unintentionally, I grant) makes special and natural revelation contradict. He entirely correctly defends and insists upon the historicity of Adam and also (again correctly) a recent creation. But then he concludes, in disregard for the exegetical (nB not natural revelation) evidence, that the creation cannot have any marks of great age.

    Exegetically I’m absolutely persuaded that the creation happened relatively recently. Exegetically I’m just as persuaded that any attempt to restrict created things to small ages disregards what the Bible says.

    Think about Adam seeing Eve 5 seconds after God created her with what we would say an age of, say, 20 years. That’s 126 million times older than she was. Same sort of reasoning regarding any part of the creation for which our understanding would enable us to approximate an age.

    Scientifically I’m persuaded creation has (with the internal consistency I’d expect from a Creator who makes no mistakes) all sorts of indications of huge age. That internal consistency thing demands that I take an entirely different than the pagan approach to evaluating natural revelation.

    If I see a 5 foot diameter tree of a given kind, I expect it would have X number of rings. I expect Adam cutting down a similar tree would be able to count the same number of rings. If I see a star which current understanding enables me to know is millions of light years away, I realize it must have appeared millions of light years away (minus at most a few thousands of years) to Adam. The pagan reasons: 1) the Bible says recent creation, 2) stuff looks like millions of years old, hence 3) the Bible is false. Some (bless them) Christians reason 1) the Bible says recent creation, 2) stuff looks like millions of years old, hence 3) bad interpretation of the evidence. I suggest as far more in harmony with submitting to Scripture: 3) what does 2) tell me about the sort of world God created? In other words, I reason exactly the opposite direction than the pagan.

    Thus I have no problem with Adam finding: coal, oil, river deltas, dino bones. Of course the moon looks scarred: it has no atmosphere and physics says it and the solar system have been around for a while. (Just like Eve had to have the features of a woman to be a woman, including age, our solar system has to have some features in order to be the site of a planet suitable–just right for–people. Its sun *has to be* (I kid you not) on the order of billions of years old.)

    Flood geology: pressed for time, so restricted comment ’til further elaboration. I recommend not assuming that the Flood involved only natural processes.

  8. CD-Host said,

    April 21, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    @Roy —

    OK thank you. So let me repeat this back.

    a) Ecosystems and cosmological systems as they exist must look old.
    b) Therefore God had to create them looking old.

    OK. Does all this apply to human remains we found? So for example the two 10,0000 humans or the more primitive skeletons going all the way back. Are they simply the appearance of human evolution?

    And more importantly are there other human communities at the time? For example the natural evidence has the aboriginal Australian population forking from the South Asian population 40k years ago. I assume both groups of humans are both descended from Eve in your model? So how is that possible?

  9. Steve Drake said,

    April 22, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Richard @ #6,

    I don’t see this in Genesis 5. Any further explanation?

    I think what Phillips is saying, and what Lane is recording here is that the chronogenealogies in Gen. 5 are a record of llfe, and to point, physical death of our forefathers from Adam through to Lamech, Noah’s father. The curse of Genesis 3 was not only spiritual death, as some might argue, but physical.

  10. Steve Drake said,

    April 22, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Roy @ #7,

    CD, you correctly recognize that Steve’s paradigm (totally unintentionally, I grant) makes special and natural revelation contradict. He entirely correctly defends and insists upon the historicity of Adam and also (again correctly) a recent creation. But then he concludes, in disregard for the exegetical (nB not natural revelation) evidence, that the creation cannot have any marks of great age.

    The phrase ‘appearance of age’ is fraught with the adopted monistic assumption of the unregenrate consciousness rather than reasoning analogically from the divine. This should be recognized and avoided at all costs by the Christian.

    The oft repeated example of the miracle of water into wine of John 2 is apropos. One moment it was water, the next moment it was wine. The transition from water to wine was instantaneous, and could not have been measured in “age”. So it is with any supernatural event of God.

  11. Richard Cronin said,

    April 22, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    I still dont see how “and he died” is a reflection on the fall. Is it not just a part of the narrative being pushed on. Spiritual death is not ruled out by this exegesis.

  12. Steve Drake said,

    April 22, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Richard @ #11,
    How do you read the word ‘die’ in Gen. 2:17? Spiritual, physical, both? Remember, the use of this word and God’s command to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil are pre-fall.

  13. Roy said,

    April 23, 2013 at 1:12 am

    CD Host @8 Just finished work.Gotta seize some time to respond, but will be truncated.

    Suggest better to say, “Created looking as they should look with whatever were appropriate features” rather than merely “created to look old”. But, yeh. You got it.

    Fossils that appear to be human are (essentially only) tough nut for paradigm I’m suggesting. Will make these comments: 1) Not all such fossils are necessarily human. Have in mind both the phony stuff where some piece of bone from something other than person proclaimed as super ancient human. Suggest this as skeptical test: humans worship. If the bone claimed as human not found in context of evidence of worship, doubt it’s human. 2) OK, 10-40K yrs. That’s a lot less than 100s of Ks. And maybe close enough to lead to modifying what I think about how recent creation was. On the other hand, I’m willing also to test whether that 10-40K is solid science or not. 3) BTW, while thinking about humans, what does the present population strongly imply about how long ago there were only two?

    Finally: everybody, including modern (progressive) pagans, for all practical purposes believe in an Adam and Eve. If not, then which race is superior?

  14. Roy said,

    April 23, 2013 at 1:30 am

    Steve @10
    OK, I bite. You don’t like “appearance of age”. What would you choose as terminology to describe what Adam thought of Eve’s age when, after he’d had kids and watched them grow up, he realized about how “old” Eve had been when he first met her? What about the dirt in the Garden where Adam initially lived? What properties do you, even without being trained extensively in biology, know characterized garden soil? To continue a reductium: do you deny Eve had in her blood iron atoms? If not, how ‘old’ were the atoms (I’m presuming here a little bit of awareness of what happens in stars)?

    Re that wine in John 2: what did the tongue witness say about it? I don’t merely agree with you that one ‘moment’ it was water, the next wine. I insist on it because that’s what the text says. One moment it had all the properties we associate with water. The next moment-without a vineyard, without growth of grapes, without a wine press, without a fermentation process, without having been stored and (heh) aging–the next moment it was, said the tongue witness who as master was I’d bet an expert, “best” wine. Put in your own words, Steve, what that means. And try to do so without the factors that make a fine wine.

    While on topic, name for me one of anything, anything at all, that God could create which would not appear to have some history.

    All I’m doing is taking seriously the idea that God made for man a creation that was just right.

  15. Don said,

    April 23, 2013 at 1:37 am

    Roy 13,
    Actually, the primary “tough nut for paradigm [you're] suggesting” is that you’re claiming that God intentionally made creation appear significantly different than it is–that creation deceptively appears much older than it is.
    Beyond that, I think I understand what you’re talking about in point #2, that you’d be willing to consider the possibility of medium-young creation? But honestly, I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about in points #1 and #3, and especially your last paragraph. You should maybe be careful about casually tossing around implied charges of racism, if you don’t have the time to justify the charge–if that’s what you mean?

  16. CD-Host said,

    April 23, 2013 at 6:03 am

    @Roy

    When it comes to human fossils there and not classifying them with human the big thing is where you draw the line? Typically we tend to call anything in genus “homo” human. Anatomically modern humans (AMH): homo sapiens sapiens are typically what people call fully evolved humans. Drop the notion that humans evolved and things get tricky.

    You have to draw a line and say that some of these fossils are just appearance of age and didn’t exist or the years stretch out. For example homo sapiens idaltu is the first type of homo sapien we know of. This is a type of African humanish creature (our species different subspecies) it clearly looks very close to human, here is a link t a reconstruction: http://www.npr.org/programs/atc/features/2003/jun/humanfossil/idaltu.html They aren’t AMH homo sapiens sapiens, there are definitely differences, but you need to do something these sorts of fossils in your theory.

    This plays into the second issue is that after AMH emerged from Africa there was some cross breeding with other local humanish populations. If we only allow homo sapiens sapiens to be descended from Adam and Eve and consider everything else to be animals then humans as they exist today have some descent from animals. For example assuming you are of European origin about 1-6% of your ancestors (in your theory appear to be) going back 200k-10k years ago are Neanderthals and Denisova. But that sort of genetic variation isn’t true of humans from places that didn’t have Neanderthals (Homo sapiens neanderthalensis) and Denisova (Homo sapiens denisova) populations. If everyone came from two parents you have a problem. You could so something like in the tower of babel genetic differences were introduced in addition to linguistic differences and push that back into ancient prehistory tens of thousands of years ago…

    Ultimately I was asking if you had worked through a timeline, if we are treating fossils as created but non-existant.

    Finally: everybody, including modern (progressive) pagans, for all practical purposes believe in an Adam and Eve. If not, then which race is superior?

    I’m not following that at all. Modern pagans don’t believe in Adam and Eve in the sense you mean. Most of them hold that human experience can only be understood as a series of overlapping myths each of which only tells us part of the past. So for them modern evolution is true, Hopi indian myths (from which they draw a lot of origins) are true, Christian myth is true… The stories are reductionistic the truth is holistic.

    Heck most Christians don’t believe in Adam and Eve. And why would disbelief in Adam and Eve imply anything about racial superiority? Even large differences don’t imply superiority / inferiority is a dog superior or inferior to an alligator?

  17. Roy said,

    April 23, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Don @15. Please interact with and respond to the questions I posed for Steve in 14. Don’t simply assert that I’m proposing a contradiction which makes God a deceiver. Show how you think that is so. Wrestle thru Adam looking at Eve for the first time. Tell in your own words what problems the very reality of creation does to any attempt to assert an age. Wrestle thru instantly transformed water having all the properties of fine wine. What conclusions do you reach from the testimony of the eye witnesses present at the wedding feast?

  18. Roy said,

    April 23, 2013 at 10:40 am

    CD@16 You cite several pieces of anthropological story with which I do not have extended familiarity.

    Up front I’d suggest a healthy dose of skepticism regarding the air tightness of conclusions extrapolated from DNA. I suspect/hope you are aware of how few pieces of bone are used to draw such enormous conclusions.

    More importantly, I insist upon the primacy of scripture in trying to figure out the story suggested by natural revelation.

    Putting that last a little differently: I cannot reconcile to the Bible’s account any human not descended from only Adam and Eve. That’s where the Bible draws the line. I suggest using that Alexandrian Sword to slice Gordonian Knots. If some theory proposes people not coming from Adam and Eve, I know in advance there is an error at some place in the link of assumptions/interpretations upon which that theory’s conclusions rely.

    Instead of trying to determine fossil humanity based upon bones, I suggested a more certain test: evidence of worship. Humans, made in God’s image, worship. Animals do not.

    Regarding even progressive (political term there) pagans simultaneously denying and also believing, for all practical purposes, there was an Adam and Eve. What if human group X isn’t descended from the same source as human group Y? Evolutionists, if consistent with their faith that evolution produces the most fit, have to ask which group is superior. But they simultaneously insist that all people are equal. And, when confronted, also insist that no critter has any more worth than any other: eg, the frequent theme of ‘Green Movements’ that people should stop invading the habitat of critter Z and certainly give up the nasty habit of eating critter W which has as much right to life as they do.

  19. Steve Drake said,

    April 23, 2013 at 11:20 am

    Roy @ #14,

    You don’t like “appearance of age”. What would you choose as terminology to describe what Adam thought of Eve’s age when, after he’d had kids and watched them grow up, he realized about how “old” Eve had been when he first met her?

    As I stated in #10 above, the phrase “appearance of age” and its use by the Christian is to accept uncritically a secular premise. The unregenerate man takes for granted, both in his conclusions and method, his own ultimacy. To the extent that he works according to this monistic assumption, he misinterprets all things, especially any supernatural event of God. His unregenerate consciousness says that this ‘appears’ old, therefore it ‘must’ be old.

    C. John Collins in his book Science and Faith, Friends or Foes makes the same claim you make Roy, but has been answered here

  20. Roy said,

    April 23, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Steve@19 I already know and agree that you don’t like “appearance of age”. How can our discussion get past that? Would you make it a discussion rather than your bare assertions?

    You have not put in your own words how you would describe what you would see if you put yourself in the Garden recorded by the Bible. Instead, you assert that anyone that said, “Hey, that gal looks like a grown woman, a babe, not a baby” has ‘accept(ed) uncritically a secular premise”. I don’t think it unfair of me to expect you to tell me how that’s so.

    I cannot read your mind. You will have to tell me what leads you to think my expecting, well, soil in Eden BECAUSE the Bible calls it a Garden is erroneous.

    BECAUSE the Bible says so, I believe Eden had rivers. Don’t you? We even know, Gen 2:2, that the rivers had water in them. Even tho at most 3 days had passed since the events of Gen 1:9-13, hardly enough time for moisture to evaporate from oceans, blow in wind, condense, gather, and flow to Eden. What do you think about taking the Bible account seriously? How would you, in your own words, describe the phenomena of water in Eden’s rivers?

    I’m not interested in citations arguing with C.J. Collins (who, btw, does not agree with recent creationism, especially not the YEC view I’m defending). I’m interested in reading your own words.

  21. Richard Cronin said,

    April 23, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    Steve 12
    “How do you read the word ‘die’ in Gen. 2:17? Spiritual, physical, both? Remember, the use of this word and God’s command to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil are pre-fall.”

    Actually the phrase is surely die or certainly die. I don’t know enough about the underlying Hebrew of that phrase to think it through better but I see this as possibly indicating a type of death that is different. Note that when Adam and Eve eat the fruit they didn’t die- then. I have Calvin on my side for this “Truly the first man would have passed to a better life, had he remained upright; but there would have been no separation of the soul from the body, no corruption, no kind of destruction, and, in short, no violent change.”

  22. April 24, 2013 at 1:16 am

    There was a death that day – a substitute died in their place (Genesis 1:21), foreshadowing the death of Christ.

  23. Don said,

    April 24, 2013 at 3:08 am

    Roy 17,
    Let me try to spell out the points.
    1) God made creation exactly the way he wanted it to be. –This should not be controversial to any Christian, I think.
    2) You claim that God created the universe around 10,000 years ago; maybe it’s a few times that old, but still something like that scale.
    3) All modern scientific evidence is that the universe is a bit over a dozen billion years old. You don’t dispute this.
    4) Therefore, it would follow that God intentionally created a universe that (deceptively) appears a million times older than it is.
    5) Yet we know it is impossible for God to lie. He certainly _could_ have created the universe in this way, but is that consistent with his character? If the heavens declare the glory of God, but they were designed to produce a false image of themselves, how does that reflect on their Creator?

    I’m not entirely sure why the Cana wine is relevant. There’s no deception, it’s not water that appeared to be wine, it was wine. It did not become wine in the ordinary way, but I don’t see anything from the text which would indicate that God acted contrary to his nature. In fact this event was recorded specifically to teach us about who Christ is.

    You can say the exact same thing about the Nile River turning to blood. Nothing bled, but it was blood. God was acting consistent with his nature. This was an important enough event in redemption history to be included in Scripture. The only difference is that at Cana it was a blessing; here, not so much.

    I’d be interested your response to the points I outlined above, if you have an answer to the questions or if you think I’m misrepresenting you somewhere. But if you don’t even see this as a problem, I don’t know what further to say and I think we’re stuck.

  24. April 24, 2013 at 7:37 am

    Lane, you said The Bible says that death is the result of the Fall. Evolution says that death is the mechanism of improving the gene pool. According to evolution, then, death is good, and part of the world which cannot be eliminated. Death is no longer the intruder that the Bible says it is. Leviticus law says that death is bad. Life is part of the camp, and death is to be outside the camp. If Jesus conquered death, how can evolution be true, when evolution says that death is how progress comes to the world? Revelation 21:4 tells us explicitly: death shall be no more. One possible answer is that the Fall is only resulting in spiritual death, not physical death. This is inconsistent with Genesis 3 compared with Genesis 5. The refrain “and he died” is a reflection on the curse of the Fall. Revelation tells us that the first death and the second death are related, but for the grace of God. Christianity says that physical death is wrong! When will you get over the death of your loved one? Ultimately, the RESURRECTION! Christianity is never reconciled to death. If evolution is true, then God pronounced death good. This is absolutely blasphemous!

    I think this needs further qualification. Human death is certainly bad, but is animal death necessarily? This goes back to the old “was Adam a vegetarian before the Fall?” sort of question. It seems to me that precluding animal death before the Fall would also preclude plant and even microbial death by principle.

    And if animal death is bad, then that would mean that we are going to be vegetarians in the new heavens and new earth? I think that would be incredibly sad! I say this partially jokingly, but I think it also makes a real point. The Bible everywhere mentions the consumption of meat approvingly. Jesus, in His post-resurrection body, consumed fish. This is not an airtight proof about the reality of the eternal state, but isn’t it a weighty indication?

    I don’t say this to grant credence to macroevolutionary theories. I just question the tactical wisdom of this line of argument.

  25. April 24, 2013 at 7:44 am

    Don, “appearance of age” is just something we project onto the phenomena we encounter. Objects don’t have inherent appearance of age. That is purely inference on our part.

    Also, it is worth noting that God is described in the Bible as engaging in deception in various ways. That is not the same thing as lying, making a propositional statement that is false. But when we engage in making inferences from the created order and general revelation, that is not God speaking to us propositionally, so by definition that cannot be lying.

  26. Roy said,

    April 24, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Don@23 What David@25 said.

    Everything you wrote, Don, in your 1-4 is spot on with the exception of the word “deceptively”

    Can you name even one item, just one, that if God created it would not appear to have a history? Try that exercise: it will help you get past being stuck thinking that something created cannot appear to be older than it actually is.

    The pagan, who begins with rejecting the Creator and hence the very idea of creation, would insist if something appears to have a history, it must. Not so for the Christian. We Christians have no problem with wedding guests drinking seconds ago created wine, with its history of aging (it was, after all, best wine said the taste witness) preceded by a history of growing preceded by a history of a vineyard preceded by a the history of grape seeds preceded by a…..etc. We have no problem with Adam meeting a seconds old Eve, with the two of them walking in a Garden with soil which cannot be more than days old from which grow trees with fruit, with Adam and Eve seeing stars that are at least 4 light years away even if they were not there just a few days earlier.

  27. CD-Host said,

    April 24, 2013 at 11:05 am

    @Roy

    If you want to use religion than you have to count Neanderthals. We have Neanderthal gravesites with religious artifacts and drawings. So they seem to be practicing ceremonial burial, some form of religion and are engaging in behaviors consistent with a belief in an afterlife. If you want Adam and Eve to be common parents of both Neanderthals and humans then they are homo heidelbergensis. And AFAIK the newest evidence we have of any homo heidelbergensis is well over 50k years ago, with the vast majority having been long before that. They would have had a brain capable of some limited level of speech. Communication but not something like literature. They have tools, they have rituals they have culture.

    This works… within the scheme you are trying to establish though as Steve mentioned you definitely have to be skipping years in genealogies.

    What if human group X isn’t descended from the same source as human group Y? Evolutionists, if consistent with their faith that evolution produces the most fit, have to ask which group is superior.

    Evolutionists don’t ask those kinds of questions now about species. Like I said above we don’t ask, “is a dog superior or inferior to an alligator?” Evolutionists don’t hold that evolution produces the most fit but the best in some generic sense but best adapted to a particular ecological niche.

    Take .anatomically modern humans (AMH) vs. Neanderthals. Neanderthals are much stronger, far better at functioning after sustaining damage, better adapted to the cold, smarter and better technology. AMH have better cultural organization skills and thus can maintain larger more diverse cultural structures, have longer reach and better endurance.

    AMH won, but they probably won because the world was warming and the neanderthals were pushed into ever smaller ecosystems to compete. Had the world been cooling the neanderthals win. They are different but I think superior / inferior doesn’t make much sense. The superior / inferior stuff is not part of evolutionist thinking.

  28. Steve Drake said,

    April 24, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Roy @ 20,

    We essentially and substantially agree I believe. The use of the phrase ‘appearance of age’ by the unregenerate consciousness and subsequent fallacy of concluding it therefore must be old is based on the unregenerate belief system of naturalism (the basic postulate of science that the supernatural is excluded from scientific explanation by definition). This faith-based belief system is at fundamental odds with Christianity.

    My concern is that the use of the phrase by Christians fails to see the unstated premise of positivism; the idea that science rules the realm of truth. In discussions of these matters with the unregenerate, it should not be used by Christians, nor amongst ourselves. Rather, the unstated premises should be clearly spelled out and the unregenerate challenged on them.

    Age is not a tangible property that can be measured by any man-made tool in our arsenal. We can measure the passing of time (within human lifetimes), but age is more than just time. Age is the time that has elapsed from a given starting point. There must be an agreed upon starting point for “age” to have any meaning. Then we would need observations and a number of assumptions to establish the correlation. However, in matters of origins, the age of the cosmos. or the age of the earth, there is no universally agreed upon starting point.

    All I think I’m trying to say is that as Christians we never let the phrase “appearance of age” go unqualified and unchallenged, by either the unregenerate or regenerate.There are too many unstated assumptions associated with it. “Age” is meaningless unless there is an agreed upon starting point. I begin there.

  29. Mark G said,

    April 24, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    I would have expected a Christian to show more integrity and honesty, and to represent the views of his “opponents” fairly and accurately. For example, this is a falsehood and worse:

    a logical conclusion of evolution is that there are inferior strands of DNA that need to be weeded out. Can anyone say Final Solution?

    I would assume that Phillips is just ignorant of biological evolution, but these statments are worse than gross misrepresentations. They’re more akin to statments to the effect that Christianity is racist because Dabney could argue for slavery from the Bible, or is the cause of wars based on certain historical conflicts.

  30. Steve Drake said,

    April 24, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    Mark G. @ 29,

    You stated that you had a Ph.D in Zoology. Are you an evolutionist?

  31. Mark G said,

    April 24, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    “Evolutionist” is a loaded term. So is “theistic evolutionist” which too often means deistic evolutionist.

    I believe that God created all things supernaturally and by his providence. I believe he governs all things providentially. I believe God created the historical Adam in his image and gave him dominion for God’s glory.

    I believe there is good evidence that:
    1) organisms vary
    2) some of that variation is heritable
    3) some individuals have greater reproductive success
    4) Those with greater reproductive success have an increased probability of passing on heritable traits to their offspring.

    Given reproductive isolation speciation may occur as can be seen from ring species (e.g., herring gulls) and other examples.

    In so far as the points are true they occur by the providence of God, just as with every other event or activity in the universe.

  32. Steve Drake said,

    April 24, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    Mark G. @ 30,

    Thanks. I think perhaps part of your reply gives answer to the following question, but I would be interested in further elaboration: How or where do you think Phillips went wrong in his statement of “a logical conclusion of evolution is that there are inferior strands of DNA that need to be weeded out?”

    As a zoologist, how would you have stated it?

  33. Mark G said,

    April 24, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    In short, selection doesn’t work on races. One race isn’t evolutionarily superior to another. Evolution bu natural selection is also adaptive. Organisms become adapted to the environments in which they live. You can see this in that people who live in dairy cultures retain active mechanisms for digesting lactose whereas those who do not are lactose intolerant. Another example is that sickle cell becomes more prevalent in environments where malaria is found. It gives heterozygous individuals some tolerance to malaria. Following another poster above, dogs are not better adapted than alligators. Dogs are better adapted on land, but they would do quite poorly in the alligators niche. Dark skinned people predominate in tropical environments and light skinned people predominate in northern areas. That doesn’t make one race superior to another in an evolutionary or any other sense.

    I’m rushing … to pick up the kids. Hope that makes some sense.

  34. Steve Drake said,

    April 24, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    Mark G.,

    In short, selection doesn’t work on races. One race isn’t evolutionarily superior to another.

    This seems completely contrary to Darwin’s Descent of Man. In fact, evolutionists have had to hide the fact that Darwinian evolution inherently carries, as the Nazi’s coined it, the concept of the Untermenschen.

    Stephen Jay Gould himself believed that arguments for racism increased “by orders of magnitude” after the acceptance of evolutionary theory by most scientists.

    The Nazi’s were the prime example, and prima facie evidence of evolutionary theory carried to its logical consequences.

    Academics are quick to deny this of course, and we are incessantly told it is ignorant to think Darwinism justifies, or even implies, racism, (much like your post 29), but the tragic fact of the connection is well documented.

  35. Mark G said,

    April 24, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    Hey Steve,

    As you know man will use any and every argument to justify himself, including so-called Christian arguments. Konrad Lorenz, the father of ethology, believed that the Jews were an inferior race and justified the Nazi atrocities. Social liberals might claim that man is evolving to some “higher” order. I had a Jewish friend tell me the Apostle Paul was antisemitic. I think that until recently the Roman Catholic church had an official position stating that the Jews crucified Jesus. That’s pretty biggoted. There were Romans there too. And the fact that certain Jews at a certain time killed Jesus should not put the blame on Jews as a class of people. As you know, in a sense, we all murdered Jesus. Regardless, natural selection is non-directional or as biologists will say “random.” It works on heritable variation. It is not a thoughtful process producing some higher or improved creatures or superior and inferior races. Speaking of Gould and the abuse of science, read “The Mismeasure of Man” if you want to see how scientists and their biases can affect their research and conclusions.

    The five point argument I gave above in #31 is the basic “neo-Darwinian” / modern synthesis argument integrating genetics genetics evolution by natural selection in a nutshell. .

    Which one is evolutionarily supoerior, a dolphin or a worm? If I drop them both in the ocean the dolphin is “superior.” However, if I bury them in a compost pile the worm is clearly “superior.”

    I think the real problem with “evolutionism” is the philosophical naturalism and materialism associated with it. One can see this easily in someone like Richard Dawkins who thinks matter exists because matter exists, therefore there is no need to appeal to god.

  36. Tim Harris said,

    April 24, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    The fact is that there are differences between the races — IQ, athletic ability, ability to prosper in various climates, etc. The differences (not necessarily superiority/inferiority — that would involve an addition premise) need to be accounted for whether you take the single-pair origin of humanity or the group-origin. So I think this is a red herring.

  37. Steve Drake said,

    April 24, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Mark,

    Yes, that said however, if the Nazi concept of the Untermensch is what Phillips was referring to in his statement, and as well documented this came out of an adoption of wholesale Darwinian evolution, Darwin’s Descent of Man, his Origin of Species, and its natural outflow within the Nazi movement, then I would agree with Phillips. I’m not sure why you posted what you did in #29 with this as backdrop.

    The connection between evolution and racism, at least for the Nazi’s, and much of the German scientific community, seems pretty clear.

  38. Mark G said,

    April 24, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    I’ve met Jewish people who claim that Christianity is antisemitc because Naziism came out of Germany, the seat of the reformation. People will believe what they want to believe and twist things to their own purposes. You don’t even have to appeal to the Nazis. There was the whole eugenics movement. However, the appeal to the Nazis is to greater polemical effect, sort of like Bin Laden appealing to the “crusaders.” I guess that must appeal to someone.

    I think the article is confusing “social Darwinism” with biological evolution. Social Darwinism is not a necessary consequence of biological evolution by natural selection. It just conveniently serves Phillips ends.

  39. Mark G said,

    April 24, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    I think Margaret Sanger the founder of Planned Parenthood was into eugenics. I think she saw birth control as a way to get rid of the unfit in society. Just sayin’ ya doesn’t have to appeal to the Nazi’s to discredit evolution.

  40. Mark G said,

    April 24, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    I will also say that these Nazi/Darwin claims have been around for decades. For every claim there is a refutation. I would hope that Christians would be above cherry picking and presenting it as if it was widely accepted.

  41. Don said,

    April 25, 2013 at 2:52 am

    Roy 26,

    Can you name even one item, just one, that if God created it would not appear to have a history?

    How about the universe, immediately at the Big Bang, if indeed God created it that way?

  42. Don said,

    April 25, 2013 at 3:53 am

    David Gadbois 25,

    Don, “appearance of age” is just something we project onto the phenomena we encounter. Objects don’t have inherent appearance of age. That is purely inference on our part.

    I have no idea where you’re getting this idea from; I’m not even sure what you mean. Are you claiming that if you picked up a yellowed newspaper which was dated 1943, it would _not_ appear to be 70 years old? I’m not asking you if it has to be 70 years old, it could be a replication or a forgery, I’m asking if you can tell me how old it looks. Not even how old it is. How old it looks.

    Also, it is worth noting that God is described in the Bible as engaging in deception in various ways. That is not the same thing as lying, making a propositional statement that is false.

    Well, of course as far as people are concerned, “engaging in deception” and “lying” are both pretty well covered as violations of the 9th commandment in WLC 145. Therefore, I’d be cautious about claiming that God was deceiving someone, without pretty strong evidence. The only instance I can remember of this from Scripture was when God sent the lying spirit to Ahab, which was clearly in the context of judgement of the king. And judgement of course is God’s prerogative. So I suppose one could try to show that the universe being far younger than it appears is a form of judgement from God on humanity. But I am not sure where one would get sufficient Scriptural support for such a claim.

  43. April 25, 2013 at 7:07 am

    Don said I have no idea where you’re getting this idea from;

    These are basic philosophy of science issues, my statement is hardly novel.

    I’m not even sure what you mean. Are you claiming that if you picked up a yellowed newspaper which was dated 1943, it would _not_ appear to be 70 years old?

    It would appear that way subjectively under most circumstances, that is it is something we project or infer onto the object. But it is not inherent to the object in an objective sense.

    Others, who don’t have a normal frame of reference, might not make the conclusion that the newspaper is old. Who is to say that newspapers aren’t yellow when they are new, if one has never seen a newspaper before?

    Well, of course as far as people are concerned, “engaging in deception” and “lying” are both pretty well covered as violations of the 9th commandment in WLC 145.

    It is simply begging the question to assert that deception is a violation of the 9th commandment.

    There are many obvious prooftexts that indicate that God was involved in deception:

    “God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false” 2 Thessalonians 2:11.

    This is all well-trod ground: http://www.frame-poythress.org/must-we-always-tell-the-truth/

  44. April 25, 2013 at 7:14 am

    Steve, if racism is only one possible logical outcome of the belief in evolution, but not a necessary logical conclusion inherent in evolution, how weighty an objection is this really? I don’t think anyone has made the case that racism follows by resistless logic from the premises of evolution, and especially theistic evolutionists would disagree.

    BTW, I don’t believe in common descent. I just don’t think we should use any club that is handy to refute evolution.

  45. Andrew Duggan said,

    April 25, 2013 at 7:54 am

    David,

    Your point

    “‘appearance of age’ is just something we project onto the phenomena we encounter. Objects don’t have inherent appearance of age.”

    as being “basic philosophy of science” is well made, and as you subsequently pointed out is hardly novel. It is also incredibly important.

    When it comes to the rest of it, I think the issue revolves more around men being deceived more than the source of the deception, which is really ourselves. Ever since we bought into the first and greatest lie in the garden, we by nature believe lies especially the ones we make up ourselves.

    Those strong delusions are really just a working out of the Romans 1 principle in the area of intellectual endeavor.

    It is basic fallen human nature, while believing something false (for which we do have a way of knowing it to be true or false), rather than take responsibility for that man tries to shift the blame to someone/something else. The only place we have an infallible source of truth is the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Of course much of the argumentation on the issue of Creation is the delusion that the Scriptures really don’t speak about Creation beyond the one fact that God created all things from nothing, and many want to even define “nothing” as “the singularity of the big bang”, rather than nothing.

    After the serpent’s lie, Eve “saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise”, and subsequently rather than taking responsibility both Adam and Eve blamed others, and in Adam’s case he blamed not Eve first but God himself “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me,”

    So if the earth is not as some perceive it to be vis-a-vis appearance of age, rather than take responsibility for their own believing a lie, they suggest that God is lying. Seems very similar to the final hook of the serpents lie, which begins with the question “Yeah Hath God said?” and ends with with the declaration that “Ye shall not surely die”, which carries with it the foundational implication that God himself lied regarding the consequences of Adam and Eve’s eating the of that fruit.

    Ever since that day in the Garden men lie, believe lies and ultimately blame God when it is pointed out to them, even while maintaining the idea that the lie is the truth.

  46. Mark G said,

    April 25, 2013 at 8:13 am

    Steve @ 37

    The claimed connection between Nazism and biological evolution (evolution by natural selection and speciation) is not credible. Natural selection is non-personal and not goal directed. A more plausible connection would be between animal breeding (artificial selection) and Nazism or eugenics via “social Darwinism.” Artificial selection is conducted by humans for the goal of producing animals and crops with desired traits. Eugenics and things such as that are more logically connected (or better, misappropriated) with artificial selection. I say misappropriated because racism and eugenics is not based upon population genetics (heritability) as is artificial selection, and for that matter natural selection also.

    To suggest that “evolutionists” are ignorant of or hiding a necessary connection between biological evolution is an attempt to discredit them by misrepresenting their views. I think there’s some intellectual dishonesty in this argument which I would kinda hope Christians would rise above. However, after having attended a number of presbytery meetings I know this is but an ideal.

  47. Steve Drake said,

    April 25, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Mark @ 46,

    The claimed connection between Nazism and biological evolution (evolution by natural selection and speciation) is not credible.

    It most certainly is credible, but I’ll take your dismissiveness of it for what it is. Please understand if I think it an attempt to justify your field of zoology and the evolutionary assumptions you were conditioned with in that endeavor. Ideas have consequences. Darwinian evolution was the idea; the eugenics movement, the German scientific community and Nazi idea of the Untermenschen, and the death camps were the consequences. There’s a logical connection that is hard to deny. Phillips is right in that assessment.

    Pick a paradigm, any paradigm, with both God and evolution in the equation, and you run into the insurmountabe problems that these posts by Lane and Paige and the PCRT conference were called to address.

    The problem, which many in the Christian community are failing to see, is the supposedly “high place” of an adopted methodological naturalism. They see it as a way to reject atheism, while escaping the equally unpalatable (to them) option of Biblical creation. They reject naturalism’s metaphysical approach, but fail to see the link in its methodological approach. Trying to sanctify naturalism – and in particular to our discussions, evolution – in the scientific method, they repeat the mistake of trying to triangulate between that of atheism and Biblical creation. Searching for a ‘golden mean’ between the two, they only end up dishonoring God.

    Thankfully, conferences like the PCRT, are attempting to address this issue.

  48. Mark G said,

    April 25, 2013 at 9:52 am

    Steve @ 47.

    That’s Ironic. Now I’m dismissive.

  49. Roy said,

    April 25, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    Steve@28. Glad to read “we essentially and substantially agree”. I concur that we do, gathering that your concern was that I not leave unchallenged the unrecognized, unstated, question-begging assumptions that often permeate the term “age” or the phrase “appearance of age”.

  50. Roy said,

    April 25, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    CD @27 re “if evolution true, and not Adam and Eve, then which race superior”. I think Steve@34 and Mark@39 already made adequate responses. For lots of documented examples of folks using an evolutionary model to advance a superior race agenda, see chapter 7, “Liberal Racism: the Eugenic Ghost in the Fascist Machine”, in Jonah Goldberg’s book “Liberal Fascism”.

    Anecdote: 3 times in last 3 decades local newspaper has had something that provided occasion for me to write letter about everyone, for all practical politically correct purposes, essentially agreeing that all people descend from some original pair, else would have to argue about which race superior. Each time letter was tongue in cheek mocking of some speech, event reported by paper. But in no case did the paper print the letter. I have zero doubt the editors recognized the firestorm I wanted them to enter, that they had some awareness of Planned Barrenhood’s eugenic connections, knew something about the racism of Margaret Sanger, Jane Addams.

  51. Tim Harris said,

    April 25, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    Mark @46,

    “Natural selection is non-personal and not goal directed.”

    Which is also why theistic evolution is oxymoronic.

  52. Don said,

    April 25, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    I asked in 42:
    I’m not even sure what you mean. Are you claiming that if you picked up a yellowed newspaper which was dated 1943, it would _not_ appear to be 70 years old?

    David Gadbois replied in 43:
    It would appear that way …

    I suppose you consciously chose to use the word “appear” in your response, which tells me you agree that the newspaper has an appearance of age. Which is all I asked. Thank you.

  53. Don said,

    April 25, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    David Gadbois 43 said

    It is simply begging the question to assert that deception is a violation of the 9th commandment.

    I realize this is getting off-topic, and leaving aside God’s right to judge his creation as he wishes, I again have no idea what you mean here. I would like to understand your point here; I don’t see what begging the question has to do with anything we’re talking about. I’m referencing WLC 145, which granted, does not use the word “deceive,” but has plenty of synonyms for it, such as “giving false evidence” and “concealing the truth.” Of course, “lying” is explicitly included in the list of sins forbidden by the 9th. So I really don’t see how I’m assuming what I’m trying to prove, I’m just reading a standard Reformed exposition of the Commandment.

  54. Mark G said,

    April 25, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Tim @ 54

    All goal directed means is that the mechanism in and of itself isn’t trying to achieve some rational , foreseeable, or moral end. That does not exclude divine providence. Melecules moving with the wind aren’t trying to get to a particular place or accomplish a certin task and yet they are under the sovereign control of God. As the WCF states, all actions and creatures act in accordance with divine providence whether they are necessary, contingent or free.

  55. Alfonzo M. Bass said,

    April 25, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    One of the most firmly established laws of science is the Law of Biogenesis, which says that life comes only from living things. There is no evidence that dead, non-living matter can spontaneously generate life. The Bible agrees with this scientific fact, for it says that life came from the eternally living Creator [cf. also Acts 14:15]. However, evolution contradicts both science and the Bible, since it demands that dead matter must have sometime come to life.

  56. Steve Drake said,

    April 26, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Roy @ 49,
    Going back to post #7, patronizing fellow “agreeers” won’t win you many points. There is no exegetical evidence in Scripture for marks of great age (billions and millions of years). “Appearance of age” is terminology from the unregenerate mindset and must include an agreed upon starting point which the Christian implicitly does with the unregenerate when adopting that phrase.

  57. Don said,

    April 26, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Steve Drake 55 said

    There is no exegetical evidence in Scripture for marks of great age (billions and millions of years).

    That is completely correct, and it is because

    Moses wrote in a popular style things which without instruction, all ordinary persons, endued with common sense, are able to understand; but astronomers investigate with great labor whatever the sagacity of the human mind can comprehend.

    –Calvin on Genesis 1:16, dealing with the apparent disagreements between science and Scripture of his day. That entire paragraph is actually a beautiful defense and instruction on how Christians should approach science.

  58. Steve Drake said,

    April 26, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    Don @ 56,

    And yet Calvin was a 6-day 24-hour recent and mature creationist. Go figure?

  59. Don said,

    April 26, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Steve Drake 57,
    Sure, why would he be otherwise? I guess it’s unclear whether he even knew about Copernicus, let alone modern evidence for the age of the earth or universe.

    Any speculations on how he would deal with scientific data that disagrees with the 24/6 interpretation would surely just reveal the bias of the speculator.

  60. CD-Host said,

    April 26, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    @Steve

    Just to clarify since the Reformed played such a leading role in the slave trade, and Reformed theologians spoke in defense of it… I just want to ask if slave trading is a consequence of the idea of Reformed Christianity? Do you really want the sorts of arguments in play given how easily they cut both ways?

    There is no question that evolution’s widespread adoption led to many philosophical and movements in trying to reconceptualize how man fit into the cosmos. The fascist movements were one of those. The Victorian Moralizers that brought about the norm of marriage to England and America were another.

  61. todd said,

    April 26, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    “And yet Calvin was a 6-day 24-hour recent and mature creationist. Go figure?”

    Hi Steve, long time. I do not believe Calvin can be used as unqualified support for the YEC position today. His view was much more nuanced, and he was much less confident than the YECs tend to be in our day that Genesis 1 could be easily understood by a plain reading of the text. See here:

    http://spectrummagazine.org/node/2128

  62. Roy said,

    April 26, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    Steve@55 & Don@56 and 41
    Job does not have me away from desk today, so can see posts and reply.

    OK, Steve, maybe there is not yet ‘substantial and essential’ agreement. That’s what discussions should lead to….eventually. ;^D

    Experience tells me that some ideas take a while for people to put their minds around, that the scripturalness and consistency which seem to one person immediately apparent don’t instantly click with all other persons. Most of the ideas/paradigm I wish to advance in threads similar to this one I have already noted. Tho I’m certainly willing to assist refining and working thru the ideas/paradigm.

    However, one major idea I have not mentioned the responses of you two provides an appropriate point for pointing out. Thought question: what sort of creation do you think would appropriately reflect the character of the Creator? I’m not asking in jest. Nor do I ask without significant awareness of the circularity of the question.

    I think (and hope you agree) the creation ought have characteristics which absolutely boggle the mind of anyone considering that creation. The more aware, better skilled that mind, the greater the boggle factor. Of course the creation is huge and ancient while simultaneously infinitesimal and complex. How would it be otherwise? (And, btw, as technology enables physicists to better grasp/measure the cosmos, it will get bigger and older and smaller and more complex!)

    Just because folks can say words like “14 billion years” does not mean they have any grasp of what that means. Not even expressing it as on the order of half a billion human generations allows one to comprehend.

    Just because I can google Hubble deep field photos displaying scores of galaxies in the portion of sky my little finger nail covers does not mean I comprehend the number and variety and vastness.

    Just because I can write Avagadro’s number telling me the number of molecules in a specified volume of a gas (6.02x10exp23 in 22.4L at STP), and can manipulate that number using it to make all sorts of accurate predictions about size and activity of individual molecules, does not mean I really know what that minute, infinitesimal world is like.

    Think of this again: Of course the creation is huge and ancient while simultaneously infinitesimal and complex. How would it be otherwise? Do you think it was any different the instant it was created? What does that understanding do to any attempt to date something?

    Further return, Steve, to your (correct) earlier point regarding age as implying “age from when”, who but the Christian can say anything absolute about a starting point? None but the Christian, who has access to an eyewitness account provided by the Creator, has anything like certainty that “Last Thursdayism” is false.

    Hence Don’s comment in 41 has an obvious but unstated assumption: that there is agreed upon consensus that the Big Bang is necessarily something before which there was not. (Put another way: Don has not yet answered my question of #26)

  63. Don said,

    April 26, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    Roy 61,

    None but the Christian, who has access to an eyewitness account provided by the Creator,…

    I hope it’s not minutia for me to say so, but Genesis 1 is not an eyewitness account. Moses was not there. There’s no indication that God is giving a third-person narration (in contrast to Job 38-41, where His creation discussion is first-person).

    But back to your point, I don’t understand why you think there needs to be “consensus” for the Big Bang for me to answer you. The consensus of science (or, rather, of naturalism) seems to be heading toward multiverses. If God created the universe in something like this theory suggests, then the universe will appear to be 14B years old. I don’t necessarily expect you to agree with this answer, but it is an answer.

  64. Mark G said,

    April 27, 2013 at 6:37 am

    Alfonzo @ 55

    “since it demands that dead matter must have sometime come to life”

    Philosophical naturalism and materialism demand that non-living matter must come to life. I would argue that speciation by natural selection (biological evolution) does not. One can make a distinction between origins and naturalism on the one hand and biological evolution on the other.

    Gravity grounded on naturalism is also a contradiction. However, it does not then follow that Christians must choose between gravity and providence. Speciation by natural selection and reproductive isolation occurs by providence.

  65. Reed Here said,

    April 27, 2013 at 8:31 am

    Don: well, maybe not eyewitness, but definitely personal testimony from the One who did the work reported. That, coupled with the Spirit’s illumination makes Gn 1 more trustworthy than any report made by any scientist on the results of any experiment, let alone a “peer” review of God’s self report on what he did.

  66. CD-Host said,

    April 27, 2013 at 9:21 am

    @Alfonzo

    One of the most firmly established laws of science is the Law of Biogenesis, which says that life comes only from living things.

    That’s mid 19th century science. In the last almost 200 years we have been able to generate organic compounds in a lab from in inorganic materials similar to what would have existed on earth 4b years ago. We can in a lab watch these simple organic compounds form into polymers. The only part of the entire chain we are still missing is an inorganic mechanism that would combine polymers to make proteins and nucleic acids. But it is something that your body along with all other animals does every time you digest food so we certainly know it can happen.

    I don’t know if it is 5, 10, 50, 100, 200 years till we figure out the missing piece but we are down to very specific missing pieces. It is jigsaw puzzle with a few holes not a box of pieces anymore.

  67. Steve Drake said,

    April 27, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Don @ 59,

    Sure, why would he be otherwise? I guess it’s unclear whether he even knew about Copernicus, let alone modern evidence for the age of the earth or universe.

    It starts from the exegetical evidence of Scripture. Sound theology alone provides a clear, consistent basis for science, and that’s really the point. Calvin and Luther and the early Reformers understood this. Scientists like Kepler and Newton understood this, and by the way, were 6-day 24 hour recent and mature creationists, as evidenced by their works on chronology. They understood that science was limited and contingent, with axioms upheld by Scripture.

    But science since the Enlightenment has blurred the distinctions between the traditional scientific method and methodological naturalism. Christians have bought into it with deplorable acquiescence, uncritically accepting the secular premises. Failing to see the link between naturalism as a method and naturalism as a worldview, we have granted science the power to dictate truth outside its legitimate boundaries; an autonomous arbiter of truth. This must end.

  68. Steve Drake said,

    April 27, 2013 at 9:58 am

    Todd @ 61,

    Good to hear from you again Pastor. I’ve not read Ron Osborn, nor am I familiar with Spectrum Magazine, but Osborn’s view that Calvin taught that plants and animals were not created ex nihilo seems to fly in the face of Calvin’s Institutes themselves. See David W. Hall’s analysis in ‘Did God Create in Six Days’, Tolle Lege Press, Powder Springs, GA 1999, 2005.

  69. CD-Host said,

    April 27, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Scientists like Kepler and Newton understood this, and by the way, were 6-day 24 hour recent and mature creationists, as evidenced by their works on chronology. They understood that science

    Isaac Newton was a guy who rejected orthodox Anglicanism and became one of the founders of Deism. He believed in a God who operated according to rational principles. He didn’t know of a well developed theory of evolution but there is little doubt he would have supported it had he known.

    Kepler we don’t have to speculate. He believed that geometry had pre-existed creation and was the model for creation not its product a huge step towards a belief in evolution. Kepler attacked the immutability of the heavens which was a key component of Christian dogma since it origins. He associated mainstream beliefs with witch trials and he opposed those on several occasions aggressively.

    These two may very well have supported a 6-day 24 hour recent creation. They also worked hard to lay the groundwork that would ultimately undermine that belief.

  70. Steve Drake said,

    April 27, 2013 at 10:12 am

    CD-Host @ 60,

    Just to clarify since the Reformed played such a leading role in the slave trade, and Reformed theologians spoke in defense of it… I just want to ask if slave trading is a consequence of the idea of Reformed Christianity? Do you really want the sorts of arguments in play given how easily they cut both ways?

    While I’ll grant you have the right to criticize the Christian belief system and those who practice it, we’ve got to get you over the hurdle of thinking an existence with no God, no true moral guilt before this God, and no answer in Christ’s payment for your sin problem offers you legitimacy to keep standing outside and reining blows within.

    Christianity, historically and in the main, has recognized and emphasized the equality of races.

  71. Steve Drake said,

    April 27, 2013 at 10:29 am

    CD-Host @ 69,

    Kepler we don’t have to speculate. He believed that geometry had pre-existed creation and was the model for creation not its product a huge step towards a belief in evolution. Kepler attacked the immutability of the heavens which was a key component of Christian dogma since it origins. He associated mainstream beliefs with witch trials and he opposed those on several occasions aggressively.

    The attempt at revisionist history by the unregenerate consciousness with a distinct bias to push is profoundly sad. See Max Caspar’s biography “Kepler”, trans. C. Doris Hellman, New York, Dover Publications, [1959], 1993.

  72. Don said,

    April 27, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    “Geometry is unique and eternal, a reflection of the mind of God. That mankind shows in it is because man is an image of God.”
    “It is not the purpose of the Holy Scriptures to instruct men in natural things.” — Kepler
    His efforts at explaining away the geocentrism which Scripture apparently taught is an indication on how he would react to scientific evidence for the age of the universe. But again, speculation is in the eyes of the speculator.

  73. Don said,

    April 29, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Reed Here 65,
    I agree with you, especially if “personal testimony” is somewhat of a synonym for “inspiration.”

    Put another way, the Gospel of Luke is no less trustworthy than Matthew or John, just because it is not an eyewitness account.

    That’s why there’s no need to make a passage of Scripture out to be something it isn’t.

  74. May 11, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    This raises an interesting problem for the evolutionist. He must believe that God intended man and animals to be carnivorous, even though God’s words are very clear (Genesis 1:29). He must, in all reality, call God a liar; he must say that God did not mean what He said. If men and animals were vegetarian, then the possibility of death in the original creation becomes remote.

  75. Thomas Martin said,

    May 14, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    BioLogos it appears subscribes to the notion of Evoluionary Creation. If that is the case then they sold creation short by not considering the Creation/Intelligent Design plus Micro-evolution model. There is plenty of room for God’s 6 day Creation with an old earth perspective to be in accord through a clear translation of the proto-Hebrew in Genesis, as my Messianic Jewish friends have helped me to see. Combined with Einsteins’ Theories of Special and General relativity which derived the concept of time being observer dependent and thus a variable rather then constant. Proof is in our hands when our cell phones with GPS actually works everyday within God’s Creation.


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