A Very Disturbing Book

Today I read this book. It was extremely disturbing to me. It was disturbing, not because I disagree with it, but because I was so shocked by it. I had been used to thinking about the reasons our children leave the church in this way: we haven’t trained them in apologetics, and so when they leave for college, their faith is attacked, and they do not have the weapons at hand to defend their faith, and actually share the gospel. To a certain extent, I think the previous analysis is still partially correct, but it has received a large wake-up call corrective from Ken Ham. His thesis, based on the research of Britt Beemer, is that very few people who leave the church do so because college started them on the road to doubt. In fact, they were already gone! Their doubts started (in 88% of the 20-year olds who were interviewed!) in middle school and high school. Folks, we are losing our children long before college.

I received a further shock upon reading his statistics on Sunday School, and his analysis of why Sunday School, even when conducted by faithful, truth-telling folks, is not helping in this matter. The problem with many Sunday Schools is that they tell a story that is not really addressing the narrative they receive from the secular world even in middle school. Sunday School winds up being about faith, whereas school is about life and facts. In other words, our middle and high school Sunday School curricula, while often faithful to the texts, do not teach the texts apologetically! They hear from scientific teachers, and are typically unable to distinguish between the science of present phenomena and the science of origins (if there even is such a thing!). If science is correct in matters related to rockets, cell phones, robots, organic chemistry, mathematics, and biology (to name only a few fields), then mustn’t it also be right in matters of origin? Certainly not. However, our children are not receiving the message on these matters. The other problem with Sunday School is that parents are often abdicating their home responsibilities with regard to spiritual matters because “the children will learn it in church.” Ken Ham is not advocating the abolishment of Sunday School, and neither am I. But we do need to rethink what we’re doing in Sunday School. Ham argues that we need apologetics much earlier, and that the apologetics needs to address human origins in ways that directly challenge what our kids are hearing in school.

We need to talk about origins, and here’s why. An erosion of faith in the authority of Scripture is taking place. Ken Ham argues that it starts with the age of the earth. If science has proved that the earth is old, then in the minds of most folks, that disproves the Bible’s account, which then must turn into myth. Yes, yes, there are the day-age view, the framework view, and the analogical day view of Genesis 1 and 2. Most people are not able to make such fine distinctions in their head between interpretation and fact. Their minds will not typically jump to the idea that their interpretation of the Bible must alter. Instead, the Bible must go. The erosion starts in Genesis, but never stops there.

Now, Ham’s analysis is much more sophisticated than I have here laid out (and the complete results of the survey are included in the back for the benefit of statisticians). I am simplifying to give people a flavor for the whole. It is a very quick read (I read it in less than 2 hours). I think we need to heed its warnings, and its proffered solutions.

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456 Comments

  1. Reed here said,

    June 21, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    Something I’ve been hoping to address for a while – a complete overhaul of hoc we shepherd covenant children.

  2. Eric said,

    June 21, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    So, you admit that there are alternate interpretations of Gen 1 and 2 which do not struggle with the old age of the earth and are at least not invalid, but you do not advocate them because “Most people are not able to make such fine distinctions in their head between interpretation and fact.” Why not help educate people in sunday school to recognize interpretations may be flawed rather than advocate indoctrination which perpetuates the lack of intellectual honesty? I agree that many people will not instantly realize that it is their interpretation that must go and not the Bible itself, but sadly this is the very mindset that Ken Ham promotes. AIG teaches very clearly that they believe accepting an old earth destroys the authority of the Bible (https://answersingenesis.org/bible-questions/where-do-we-draw-the-line/). This is saying nothing less than “you must believe in our interpretation of the Bible or throw the whole thing out.” You are right that there is a problem in our churches when it comes to properly educating our children, but the answer is not to perpetuate a view that we have an infallible interpretation on which the entire validity of the Bible rests, especially on matters which hold no direct creedal weight.

  3. Truth2Freedom said,

    June 21, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    Reblogged this on Truth2Freedom's Blog.

  4. Daniel said,

    June 21, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    The main issue to me seems not to be lack of apologetic training in most churches but rather a lack of any sense of how to communicate the gospel to children. In most churches the communication methods used in Sunday School are highly inefficient because children’s attention is mainly not held. Children cannot learn if they become too bored to listen which is the case in most Sunday School settings.

  5. Ron said,

    June 21, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    These last six months for various reasons I’ve become more acutely aware of two things in this regard. One thing is we need to demonstrate over and over again that only by presupposing the Scriptures can we make sense of men and things; yet without Scripture all beliefs are reduced to arbitrariness and inconsistency. This isn’t just presuppositional rhetoric. It’s nuclear stuff.

    I believe the second thing is that we must consistently put before the covenant youth in the church that they have a sin problem that must be dealt with according to God’s revelation of justice. I see more and more covenant youth grow up to question the canon; just heard about another one two weeks ago. I had her as a student in a HS SS class maybe sixteen years ago. I’m fully persuaded that the canon is not the real issue. Not until children see their desperate need for pardon and righteousness before a holy and just God will they recognize Christ’s vicarious life and death on their behalf. If they see Christ, the canon polemic is a piece of cake since Christ’s sheep hear his voice in this regard; Christ promised to build his church upon the sure foundation of the word of the apostles along with Himself as the chief cornerstone, which makes the received canon a matter of history.

    So, I believe we must maintain without wavering the teaching of Romans 1, that all people know they’re under God’s wrath. By helping the youth to bring that a priori knowledge to the forefront of their minds, that they know they need forgiveness and righteousness, we are in a good position to present in a most meaningful way God’s wisdom in Christ as the only solution to our plight. In doing so, I believe we should strive to be mindful that we all suppress to one degree or another how bad our sin is. Children even more so. After all, how many covenant children abhor their sin? Truly abhor it, I mean. Weep over it! We must help them to see how truly wretched they are, but how wonderfully merciful God is to those who need a physician. Preach the gospel over and over against the backdrop of the law’s condemnation. Praise be to God for the profundity of the cross!

  6. greenbaggins said,

    June 21, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    Eric, I’m not sure where you’re going with the first two sentences. The day age theory, the framework view, and the analogical day view would not have come into existence without evolution coming along. They are attempts to explain the Genesis text in a way that is consistent with supposed scientific discoveries. The problem is that the so-called science is seriously suspect. The presuppositions are all wrong, and therefore the data winds up getting skewed. Then, the scientifically skewed data tail winds up wagging the exegetical dog. This is not the way we do exegesis.

    Furthermore, nowhere in Ken Ham’s book did he advocate an infallible interpretation. He posited all over the place an infallible text. You are extending here, I believe, and positing something that Ham doesn’t.

  7. Eric said,

    June 21, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    Greenbaggins, my apologies. I misconstrued your simple admittance to the existence of other interpretations without attacking them as a charitable stance towards those interpretations. As I now see that was not your intent, I understand why my initial plea was confusing and will not be shared by you. However, as to the second point you mention, I do not believe I am extending at all, hence my link to the AIG website for proof of my point. I have not read the book, so I cannot speak to how he presents himself in it, but you are correct that he, nor anyone else for that matter, advocates an infallible text in what he says. Nevertheless, to stick with the old earth issue as a particular example, Ham does still practice an infallible interpretation even though he may not explicitly say it. AIG’s statement in the above link that views other than theirs threaten biblical authority is the same all or nothing approach you seem to be questioning in your statements, “Their minds will not typically jump to the idea that their interpretation of the Bible must alter. Instead, the Bible must go.” However, perhaps I am still misreading your intent in the blog. AIG is essentially saying that Christians must believe their interpretation of the age of the Earth or the Bible has no authority for them. This sounds like practicing an infallible interpretation to me as they do not allow any other interpretation but their own to maintain biblical authority. It is one thing to disagree with interpretations, it is another to disallow the possibility that your own interpretation may be incorrect. We all have interpretations of the text which we think are correct, but personally I would much rather encourage someone to disagree with me on an interpretive issue than maintain a system in which his/her alternative is to abandon the Bible altogether. In the end, that is the whole point of both my posts. We are losing many kids from the church on these issues, and I believe part of the reason they are leaving is because they are presented with two alternatives. They can either believe in one specific interpretation, like a young earth, or they can throw the Bible out. There are countless Christians who maintain biblical authority and the full gospel message while holding to different interpretations on these issues. Perhaps if we taught our kids that there are more options, we wouldn’t lose so many. I am not trying to change your interpretation of the text. On the contrary, it is vastly important to teach others what you believe the Bible to be saying to them. I am merely wanting to encourage Christian education which recognizes the diversity of views held within the church as an alternative to allowing children to leave because they can’t agree with one particular interpretation. What is more important, that children completely agree with our interpretation of the text or that they pursue God with everything they have? In many cases, we will be able to have both of the above, but it is more and more clear that it is not always so.

  8. June 21, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    This book was published five years ago (in 2009) but this is the first I’ve heard of it – and I’m pretty good at closely inspecting the shelves in bookstores! Perhaps one reason the youth may tune out is this seeming obsession with the age of the earth. This is a subject that neither the Bible nor the secondary standards (following the Scriptures) addresses. Evolution can be countered from Scripture, but whether the earth, per se, is “old” or “young” is irrelevant to the most important spiritual and theological subjects the Bible is concerned with – such as man’s sin and God’s salvation. Perhaps having the youth concentrate on subjects that Scripture actually speaks to and how those subjects relate to them personally would be a better way to confirm to them the Bible’s reliability and trustworthiness.

  9. Steve Drake said,

    June 21, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    Lane,
    Very apropos brother. Thanks for bringing this topic to post. That we are losing our children is the direct result of the origins issue and the evangelical church’s reluctance to stand where it once stood for 1800 years on the bedrock of God’s authority to tell us how he brought what is into existence. Sin makes no sense if there wasn’t an historical Adam who fell from grace. Christ’s death on the cross makes no sense if death as an entity was His tool over billions and millions of years in His work of creation. The concept of “one flesh” makes no sense in any of the accommodation theories that have homo sapiens and their supposed evolutionary antecedents prior to Adam and God taking a rib to fashion Eve.

    If Genesis 1 and 2 as the words of God Himself don’t mean what they say they mean…if Genesis 6-9 doesn’t describe a universal and global judgment of God in the days of Noah than wiped out all nephesh chayah save 8 and the animals on the ark, then picking and choosing other parts of Scripture to believe or not to believe makes all the sense in the world. It becomes a cafeteria Christianity. The whole house of cards fall down, and our children see it. Shame on us for sacrificing our children up on the worldview of the secularist.

  10. Steve Drake said,

    June 21, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    Richard @ 8,

    This is a subject that neither the Bible nor the secondary standards (following the Scriptures) addresses. Evolution can be countered from Scripture, but whether the earth, per se, is “old” or “young” is irrelevant to the most important spiritual and theological subjects the Bible is concerned with – such as man’s sin and God’s salvation.

    This statement can’t be more naïve or more wrong, brother. The Scriptures give abundant evidence in its chronology of an approximate age for the cosmos, the earth, and all its inhabitants.

    The ‘age’ issue has ‘gospel’ consequences. The ‘age’ issue has both spiritual and theological implications. It is therefore of vital importance to get it right and to teach our children the truth and not some false ideological lie concocted by secularists to further their alienation from God and their hatred of Him.

  11. Steve Drake said,

    June 21, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    Eric @ 7,

    What is more important, that children completely agree with our interpretation of the text or that they pursue God with everything they have?

    What is important brother, is that they know and understand the truth. Truth doesn’t come as multiple-choice. It’s not like going to Baskin-Robbins and selecting your favorite flavor. How do they know to pursue God with everything they have? Why should they do that? Is there someplace that tells them this is the right thing to do?

  12. Philip Larson said,

    June 21, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    Two thoughts.

    1. This question makes me think of the 3-body problem. When we have two heavy (influential) bodies, the third will have a very complicated trajectory. God’s Word clearly is very influential; the world’s current views are taken by some to be very influential; so they weave and bob, trying to accommodate both the Bible and ungodly opinions. I appreciate the note that framework exists only because evolution does.

    2. It may be worth finding online and reading Edwin Hubble’s famous 1929 article that first resulted in many concluding that the universe is billions of years old. You should read it. If you have only had beginning statistics, it’s clear that his model explains a low amount of the variability in the data; additionally, he requires that the model go through the origin, which a simple test says is unwarranted. His conclusions are not at all as clear as the ungodly make it to be.

  13. Don said,

    June 21, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    While the false dichotomy of “believe the 7th-Day-Adventist version of Genesis 1-3 or don’t believe the Bible at all” does lead to some leaving the church, I think the much larger problem is that too many parents delegate Deuteronomy 6:7 to Sunday Schools and youth groups.

  14. June 22, 2014 at 1:54 am

    Steve (#10): Not sure about that “abundant evidence in its chronology.” The genealogies are usually used to “prove” the age of the earth. But, those chronologies can’t be shown, in most cases, to be “tight” – that is, with no gaps. The list in Matthew 1 is a prime example of an edited chronological list.

  15. SLIMJIM said,

    June 22, 2014 at 3:04 am

    Thank you for this review: i have wondered whether or not I should pick up this book. Such a frightening topic but one that I have to better grasp of as a pastor.

  16. Eric said,

    June 22, 2014 at 3:22 am

    Steve (#11): I completely agree with you that truth is not multiple choice. However, your comments are functioning with the same kind of infallible interpretation mentality which I am saying we need to recognize as harmful in the church. Knowing and understanding truth is not necessarily the same as knowing and understanding our interpretation of the Bible. A literalistic reading of the text is still just that, an interpretation. Until we can recognize this, the church is going to continue to lose people over these issues. In calling for a recognition of the diversity of church interpretation throughout history, I am not wanting us to recognize them as all true. What we must recognize is that they are all attempts to know and understand truth. It is better for children to latch on to one of these interpretations that still allow them to adhere to the Gospel, even if we think it is wrong, than to tell them their only alternative is to leave the church.

    And perhaps to preempt just a repeat of your response from #10. You are correct that the age of the earth has gospel consequences in your system. However, those that read the passages used to support a young Earth differently than you do also have a different system for understanding the state of sin and corruption. The ending place of seeing the need for Jesus’ redemptionary work on the cross is the same, but they get there differently and still by reading the Bible. In your responses, you called me and Richard “brother.” This is the kind of charity we need to instill in our children. We may disagree and in the end only one of us will be right, but we are both still part of the same family of God. That is what is important and that matters more for our children than them adhering to our interpretive framework. The Bible is truth. Our interpretations may not be.

  17. Eric said,

    June 22, 2014 at 3:36 am

    Quick Edit: I said “We may disagree and in the end only one of us will be right…” I should add to this a recognition that actually the possibility exists that neither of us are right. I am still thinking solely of the age of the Earth issue, as expanding beyond this example instantly brings far to many other issues into the conversation. Also, I believe we would agree on many interpretations that fall outside of this example anyway, but I digress.

  18. Joel Norris said,

    June 22, 2014 at 3:37 am

    I think it would be a mistake to attribute apostasy of covenant children to learning secular science in the public school. I’m inclined to think the real cause is that they spend the majority of their waking time in a worldly environment around worldly peers who don’t believe in God, sin, judgment, or their need for a Savior. I can’t imagine an hour a week of apologetic teaching in Sunday School is going to do much to overcome that. I’d rather use secular science books in homeschooling and bring the gospel to bear on my children’s lives throughout their day (which is what I do) than send them to a school filled with unbelieving peers and teachers that nevertheless taught young earth creationism.

    Note: I do believe Christian parents have liberty to send their children to public school, though I think that is not advisable in most cases.

  19. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 22, 2014 at 9:10 am

    Indulge the following argument from the other side.

    Lane wrote:

    Yes, yes, there are the day-age view, the framework view, and the analogical day view of Genesis 1 and 2. Most people are not able to make such fine distinctions in their head between interpretation and fact. Their minds will not typically jump to the idea that their interpretation of the Bible must alter

    But isn’t that the message that Biologos and others are stressing, that it’s not the Bible that must go, but our interpretation of it must alter.

    This problem can be solved by teaching how to correctly read the Bible (esp) Genesis. As long as one picks either framework or analogical-day there’s very little tension with the science community. The only remaining tweak that is necessary to the interpretation of Genesis to solve this conflict is to understand Adam and Eve and the Fall as either a framework or analogy that people are morally responsible (created in the image of God) and that we are fallen.

    Since it has been agreed by way of the GA Report on Genesis that Genesis teaches only that God created everything, not specifically how, there is no reason to think that suddenly with Adam, Eve and the fall, that the purpose changes to include the how.

    Since elsewhere in the NT the NT authors use the OT scriptures in ways beyond what the OT texts themselves say, so is Paul in Romans 5 when he uses Adam as a historical individual, so there is nothing in Romans 5 that necessitates reading Genesis 1-3 or 1-11 as historical. Romans 5 is really just an expansion on the idea that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life though Jesus. It’s not really about the how but just like Genesis, it’s only the that.

    How hard is it really to teach kids that message of Genesis 1-3 is only thatGod created and thatpeople are fallen, the details really don’t mean to communicate the how? Especially since it is already the settled agreement of the churches such as the PCA and OPC.

    Doesn’t experience show that it is the failing to do just that is the real cause that kids don’t believe the Bible. How does imposing a personal quest for illegitimate religious certainty (that Genesis 1-3 teaches anything more than the “that” such as the “how”) solve the problem? Isn’t the problem that the teaching on Genesis has been muddled for so long that it teaches the how and not only the that?

    If we eliminate 6×24 or ordinary day view from our allowable interpretations of Genesis, we then would have a consistent message to the children of the Church, and they wouldn’t be faced with a dilemma they can’t handle.

    For the sake of the children of the church, just how much longer are we going to tolerate ordinary day view of Genesis and all that it entails. haven’t we done enough damage already?

  20. Tim Harris said,

    June 22, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    It does no good whatsoever to have an infallible and inerrant Bible if you can’t also say, “and this is what it means.”

  21. Ron said,

    June 22, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    Smack, right between the eyes, Tim. Sufficiency, authority, necessity and perspicuity of Scripture must be upheld.

    Those who leave the church are to be regarded as unbelievers. Unbelievers don’t regard the entirety of Scripture as authoritative regardless of any interpretation of creation. Creation is just a Red Herring. They won’t even acknowledge God’s general revelation that informs them that they are under His wrath. Let’s not put the cart ahead of the horse.

  22. Ron said,

    June 22, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    For the sake of the children of the church, just how much longer are we going to tolerate ordinary day view of Genesis and all that it entails. haven’t we done enough damage already?

    Andrew,

    Assuming your view of creation is the correct one, what would intoleration of ordinary six day look like for you? I’m just curious what you mean by your call to no longer tolerate this view that opposes your own.

  23. Frank Aderholdt said,

    June 22, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    Andrew Duggan,

    Please excuse my ignorance, but I don’t know you. Are you a Ruling Elder or a Teaching Elder in the PCA?

  24. ackbeet said,

    June 22, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    Don @13: Hubble, E., 1929. A relation between distance and radial velocity among extra-galactic nebulae. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 15:168-173.

    Link to full-text article (free, not behind a paywall):

    http://www.pnas.org/content/15/3/168.full

  25. ackbeet said,

    June 22, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    Sorry, I meant to reference Philipp @12.

  26. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 22, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Ron,

    “Tolerate” is pretty clear. Why should people be allowed to put stumbling blocks in front of children and new believers? The Framework or Analogical Day views are not incompatible with science only the ordinary day view is. Analogical Day and Framework don’t pose any risk to the faith of any, its only the ordinary day view that gives rise to the question of the reliability of the Bible.

    The problem will likely, for the most part, resolve itself in another few years. How many ordinary day view professors of OT are there at the seminaries that supply candidates for NAPARC, except for maybe Greenville?

    Its a shame that in the mean time so many children will be driven away from the church because they can see the Bible and Christianity are not worthy of serious consideration if they are taught that the Bible teaches YEC.

  27. ackbeet said,

    June 22, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Interestingly, it was AIG that allowed me to find this article rather quickly.

  28. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 22, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Frank,

    I know we’ve crossed paths and exchanged differing points of view on various subjects elsewhere on the Internet. I’m not sure you held/hold me in contempt to the same degree as Ron D does, but to answer your question, I am neither a TE or RE in the PCA. I’m OPC, and I’m not a minister.

    The question is why does my ordination status and denomination affiliation matter?

    Certainly the AIG article was not limited to the PCA, and neither were my remarks.

    With regard to my comments on GA Creation reports, I certainly had the OPC report more in mind, since it’s more explicit in the that vs how, but I think the analysis is still valid even for the PCA GA Creation report. The PCA report permits views where the hows are incompatible with each other, so that by necessity, you’re left with the importance of the idea that God created over against the how.

  29. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 22, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    Sorry, AIG book, not article, that FWIW is what Lane reference in the original post.

  30. Andrew said,

    June 22, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Does anyone know if the PCA or OPC (or other Reformed bodies) have a Sunday School curriculum that is publically available? I teach Sunday School (16 yr olds), and would like to pick up some ideas on how to improve it.

  31. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 22, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    Other Andrew,

    They do, see Great Commission publications

  32. Bob S said,

    June 22, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    Sunday School? Did anybody say Sunday School?
    IOW 13 Don and 18 Joel nail it.

    IMO the best thing out on it, is Pastor Kerry Ptacek’s unfortunately out of print Family
    Worship: Biblical Basis, Historical Reality, Current Need
    .

    FTM I’d add catechism and family worship, along with family visits by the elders to the second worship service when it comes to defining what a reformed church is according to Scott Clark’s paradigm in Recovering the Reformed Confession.

    Catechism and daily family worship are the reformed solution for the covenant youth contra the evangelical institution of weekly sunday schools, which originally were an outreach to unchurched youth.

    As far as infallible interpretations of the Bible, the P&R, contra muddled evangelicalism – and good faith subscription? – believe in the perspicuity of Scripture cf. WCF 1:6,7,9,10.

    Granted neither we nor the teenagers of the church are saved by just how many animals could be packed into the ark, but work backwards. If Christ is the second Adam and the first is merely a myth or the first hominid that God breathed a soul into, then the biblical narrative/gospel isn’t coherent or self consistent and we shouldn’t believe it either. So move over and make room for us all on the bench for the unbeliever.

    The study of the world as it now exists, i.e. the subject of the physical sciences, is not competent to the question of the origin/genesis of that same physical world. Surmises may be made, but that is all they are and to necessarily assume that all things were as they now are, is a sinful and unscientific surmise for the plain reason that no scientist was around to observe the beginning.

  33. Ron said,

    June 22, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    “Tolerate” is pretty clear. Why should people be allowed to put stumbling blocks in front of children and new believers?

    Andrew,

    You exclaimed earlier, how long shall we tolerate this view? I asked what intoleration would like like to you. I know what tolerate means. I just don’t understand how you think intoleration should play out? Should pastors be deposed from office? Should parents who teach it in their homes be threatened with ecclesiastical censure? I’m not sure why this curiosity suggests contempt for you.

    The Framework or Analogical Day views are not incompatible with science only the ordinary day view is.

    Creation with apparent age is less compatible with science than a virgin birth or man who lived 969 years?

  34. Steve Drake said,

    June 22, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    Andrew Duggan,
    Beautiful satire in 19 and 26.

    For the sake of the children of the church, just how much longer are we going to tolerate ordinary day view of Genesis and all that it entails. haven’t we done enough damage already?

    The above is classic. There is a rift in Christendom right down the middle between the laity and the clergy on the origins issue. The OPC and PCA are no exceptions. Those who are supposed to be upholding the word of God with correct exegesis of the text of “God’s revelation” to mankind are doing such a poor job when it comes to the early chapters of Genesis, and the whole origins and age issue that the laity are in revolt.

    Why else would man like Tim Keller complain about “grassroots educational initiatives, often centered on homeschooling, have won over the majority of evangelicals”, and make such a sweeping and irresponsible claim as:

    To develop a Biologos narrative is “the job of pastors,” Keller said.

  35. Steve Drake said,

    June 22, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    Ron @ 21 said:

    Those who leave the church are to be regarded as unbelievers. Unbelievers don’t regard the entirety of Scripture as authoritative regardless of any interpretation of creation. Creation is just a Red Herring.

    I can’t believe no one has challenged this callous and unloving statement. We’re talking about our children here. Children raised up in the church who have attended with their parents since birth. Are you an RE in a PCA or OPC church somewhere Ron? I notice you’re one who likes the common allowance of partial anonymity. I guess that allows you to think you can say such awful and completely insensitive nonsense such as this.

  36. Ron said,

    June 22, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    Steve,

    With all sincerity, maybe you might break that statement down for me so that I might see why it’s so unloving. Before you do so, please consider the context of the statement “those who leave the church.” It is outright rejection of the faith. It is posited in Lane’s post that such apostasy although manifested in young adult life finds its roots “long before college.” Of course I agree since those who go out from us are only manifesting that they were never really of us. One can’t lose his salvation after all. Appreciate that we’re not talking about calling a teen who struggles an “unbeliever” but rather those who have decidedly left the church (presumably in the face of loving pursuit). We’re speaking of those who will no longer confess Christ as Savior and Lord, and will not be numbered among his people.

    By definition this falling way of which we’re talking about entails the sin of unbelief. The only question is whether we are to regard as unbelievers those who manifest unbelief. To do less is to hate them, not love them.

  37. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 22, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    Ron,

    I think the idea is not censure per se, but rather refusing to ordain. Already in at least one presbytery of the OPC, ordinary day view candidates are required to promise (as a condition for ordination) to never participate in action against men who hold to the other views.

    The unsafe answer to the question on the candidate’s view of creation is “ordinary day view”. This however, is becoming less and less common an answer. So like I said I fully expect this to be less of a problem in the future.

    Can anyone name any ordinary day view YEC professors of OT in a seminar that prepares candidates for NAPARC besides Greenville?

    Having dealt with Ministers and Elders, I don’t think that normal members would likely need to face censure (at least not formal censure) unless they start disturbing the peace of the church over the issue, but then the issue is disturbing the peace not creation per se.

    Finally, you aren’t suggesting that you actually think that Gen 5 teaches some people actually lived for 900 plus years, are you? Come on.

  38. Ron said,

    June 22, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    Andrew,

    Thanks for addressing my question.

    And yes, I believe that people really lived that long. I know, how passé. I, also, believe in the personal union of Jesus’ two natures. Not sure which takes more faith. (Kinda reminds me of the line, “I own some stock in some of the hotels there, but very little. I also have stock in IBM and IT&T.”) Translation: one is no less incriminating than the other. In any case, I’m pretty sure that God will not fault me too much for believing Genesis 5 as I do.

    Again, thanks for answering my question.

  39. Ron said,

    June 22, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    I think there could be some false premises being presupposed in this discussion. Let it be said that the believer, when confronted with the implications of the unbelieving presuppositions of secularists, will by grace not question the authority of the Bible. Rather, the believer will strive to take his thoughts captive to the God’s word. So, when confronted with a different view of the age of the earth, the believer’s first move will not be to outright abandon Scripture’s authority. Even after much consideration and debate within oneself, the true believer will either maintain what he has always believed about creation or else exchange it for another view, but not in an autonomous manner that diminishes God’s authoritative word. How does he do this? Well, if a true believer exchanges a new earth view for an old earth view, he will do so on exegetical grounds and according to genre considerations. He will either conclude that the Bible teaches old earth or that the Bible does not speak to the question. The point, however, is that the true believer will not sit in judgment of the Scripture in any perpetual or damning way. (Of course this progression might not be all that sophisticated, but that doesn’t undermine the point. Believers attest to the final authority of God’s word in matters of faith and practice.)

    When a covenant youth finishes college having decidedly rejected the faith, it is not because he couldn’t reconcile science with the Bible. All that happened while away at school is the young adult learned a few arguments that “supported” his precondition of unbelief. That’s the key. We don’t “lose” our children upon their declaration of unbelief, but rather when they declare unbelief they are only announcing what was always the case.

    It’s hard to imagine that any Reformed person who has not checked his theology at the door would think that we are literally losing our covenant children later in life because they’ve been taught new earth and then later in life found it disagreeable. It’s even less credible that we’re losing our covenant youth in their youth because they’ve been taught new earth since birth. If such were the case, then it might stand to reason that if we’d just go back to those people and tell them that the Bible doesn’t speak to the matter then they might submit to the authority of God’s entire word and become converted (once again?) since this one single question will have been satisfied.

    It’s a sin issue, Beloved. Unrighteous people desperately need righteousness.

  40. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 22, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    Ron,

    Also as a follow up, there is the issue of the vows (to instruct the child regarding the teaching of our Holy Religion) parents take when they get their children baptized. Since it has already been demonstrated that the idea that the Bible teaches the days of creation in Gen 1 were ordinary days is incompatible with idea of the trustworthiness of the Bible, how exactly is can one fulfil his vows taken at his children’s baptism, if he ties the trustworthiness of the Bible and necessarily Christianity to ordinary day view / YE creationism? Even if this is not explicit, most kids, certainly by middle school age can see that under such circumstances that neither the Bible nor Christianity are worthy of serious consideration.

    While I don’t think it’s necessary to go to the extreme that Bill Nye did in suggesting that teaching anything other than evolution is child abuse, given the above I think it could be argued that teaching one’s children YEC is a violation of the 5th and 9th commandments.

    Pastors who don’t follow Keller on this have no one but themselves to blame when the covenant children of the congregation fail to ever make a public profession of faith.

  41. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 22, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    Ron @39,

    The issue is rather to keep the child / young adult from having to face the challenge in the first place. It is completely unnecessary. The primary attack vector is regarding evolution. As long as we correctly interpret Genesis, it doesn’t conflict with science, so the question in the mind or experience of the child / young adult just doesn’t come up. Some young people taught YEC and whose faith was shipwrecked when confronted with science will find out about the correct interpretation of Genesis and may recover their faith. Why put them through that in the first place, when we can spare them by instructing them properly on Genesis in the first place? Why would you want to? Especially since you already agree (if you’re in the PCA or OPC) that the Framework and Analogical Day views are valid ways of interpreting Genesis? Why?

  42. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 22, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    Ron, you wrote:

    In any case, I’m pretty sure that God will not fault me too much for believing Genesis 5 as I do

    That seems as though you’re claiming Christian Liberty on the subject, and while you may have liberty to believe it, I think its important to remember the 1 Cor 8. If the exercise of our Christian liberty causes others to stumble we should forego the exercise of that liberty. Since it has been established that an ordinary day view / YEC and all that it entails causes weaker brothers (children / young adults) to stumble, to teach the ordinary day view or YEC or its implications is to violate that law of love toward the weaker brothers in 1 Cor 8.

  43. Tim Harris said,

    June 22, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    The number of Americans that believe God created the world more or less as it now is less than 10,000 years ago is consistently in the 40-something percent, having reached a high of 47% around 2000, but hitting 46% again since 2012, and most recently marking at 42%.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/170822/believe-creationist-view-human-origins.aspx

    While, the number of evangelicals in America is estimated by the NAE as 30-35%.
    In other words, half again as many American hold to YEC as are evangelical.
    What this tells me is that difficulty with believing the Bible’s teaching on creation is NOT the reason young people are leaving the church. I would point instead to other factors, such as:
    1. the worldliness of the modern church. At the end of the day, too many really value their TV entertainment, NFL football, nice car, and a dozen other things more than taking a risky stand for Christ.
    2. the bombardment from every angle of pornography and blasphemy.
    3. (2) coupled with the fact that few Christians — whether organized as the church or individually — so much as lift a little finger to oppose it. Young people quickly sniff out who’s really in charge, and feel the magnetic attraction to that.

  44. David Gadbois said,

    June 23, 2014 at 2:13 am

    My conviction is that either a VERY good Reformed private school or homeschool is the only appropriate route to take for Christian parents. Either way, we are talking about a very conscientiously-crafted curriculum that gives our children a Christian/Reformed worldview. Not just as “Bible” class tacked on top of the normal status quo education.

    By 18, or even 16, it is already too late.

  45. Don said,

    June 23, 2014 at 2:24 am

    Andrew Duggan 41,

    As long as we correctly interpret Genesis, it doesn’t conflict with science, …

    This statement is a little naive or maybe just oversimplified. It would be better to say something like: a correct interpretation of Genesis will not conflict with a correct interpretation of science. It does not seem wise to me to alter one’s interpretation of Scripture to attempt to fit every scientific hypothesis that comes along. For example, I would consider string theory to be, currently, highly speculative, and see no need to attempt to reconcile it to Scripture. On the other hand, it is very difficult to seriously argue that the scientific evidence for a 14-billion-year-old universe is insufficient (that is, without a priori rejecting evidence that conflicts with one’s preexisting views).

  46. Don said,

    June 23, 2014 at 2:33 am

    Bob S 32,
    Your second to last paragraph displays the kind of false dichotomy that is apparently inviting our youth to leave the church.
    Your last paragraph does not make me confident that you understand how science works.

  47. David Gadbois said,

    June 23, 2014 at 2:53 am

    Don, is “science” really competent to project things about the distant past? As an engineer I deny this premise. So, no, I don’t believe that the old earth is a given.

  48. Don said,

    June 23, 2014 at 3:09 am

    David Gadbois,
    If you look at the sky at night, you are already seeing what happened in the distant past.
    Why do you deny this? What does being an engineer have to do with this? What is the need for the scare quotes?

  49. June 23, 2014 at 4:49 am

    That again assumes a mechanistic projection into the past based on perceived phenomena. The starlight phenomenon is well-trod ground in this debate.

  50. Ron Henzel said,

    June 23, 2014 at 7:26 am

    Philip Larson wrote (#12):

    It may be worth finding online and reading Edwin Hubble’s famous 1929 article that first resulted in many concluding that the universe is billions of years old. You should read it. If you have only had beginning statistics, it’s clear that his model explains a low amount of the variability in the data; additionally, he requires that the model go through the origin, which a simple test says is unwarranted. His conclusions are not at all as clear as the ungodly make it to be.

    I agree. The problem with the conclusion drawn from Hubble’s data is that it suffers from the same logical fallacy that besets all “appearance of age” premises and/or conclusions: we know from empirical evidence what old people look like, what old animals look like, what old trees look like, what old cars look like, what old books look like, etc., but how do we know what old planets, stars, galaxies, and universes look like? No matter how much data is compiled, analyzed, and presented, any so-called “appearance of [old] age” conclusion is ultimately based on the mere assumption that the universe is itself the result of evolutionary processes—and then that conclusion is turned around and (mis)used to validate the assumption, which essentially boils down to: “The only possible explanation for what the universe looks the way it does is that it is billions of years old old.”

    Oh, really? And we know all this…how, exactly?

    We know for certain that the laws of physics have, since the alleged Big Bang, always been identical (or nearly identical) to what they are today how exactly?

    We know for certain that one of those laws—that the speed of light in a vacuum is constant and immutable and has remained that way since at least a few billionths of second after the Big Bang—how exactly? If the history of the philosophy of science has taught us anything, it is that there is no coherent scientific basis for the conclusion that “scientific laws” go any further back in time than our own experience, or that they infallibly and uniformly operate outside of our observations. We cannot even confirm that they are “laws” per se using the scientific method, but only that they are recurring observations. Despite the ingenious efforts of Immanuel Kant, David Hume’s radically skeptical arguments along these lines have really never been answered. Now that Kant’s philosophical game has played out, it has become obvious that simply transferring the basis of “objective reality” from empirical observation to the mind that imposes a priori categories on what it observes, apart from any grounding in divine revelation, is simply to sail toward the Charybdis of radical subjectivism in order to avoid the Scylla of radical skepticism. Ironically, if this subjectivism ever fully trickles down and saturates the general culture (and there’s no guarantee it will) the next generation or the one after that will have no epistemic basis whatsoever for condemning Young Earth Creationism.

    But I wouldn’t count on it.

  51. Ron Henzel said,

    June 23, 2014 at 7:54 am

    Andrew Duggan wrote (#42):

    Since it has been established that an ordinary day view / YEC and all that it entails causes weaker brothers (children / young adults) to stumble…

    Somewhere, Schrödinger’s cat seems to be coughing up a fur ball. Oh, and there it is! Isn’t that cute? It’s actually a piece of pager quoting Einstein saying he doesn’t believe God plays dice with the cosmos! (Of course, the cat was both coughing it up and not coughing it up until I looked at it, but let’s not go there…)

    Since when did indoctrination into a consensus that contradicts at least the natural sense of Scripture on its first read become the equivalent of the scruples of a religious conscience in matters of practice? And was Paul actually saying that you should never teach the weaker brothers what they need to know in order to stop being weaker brothers—which in this case could arguably be the biblical and theological principles by which they might come to an appreciation of the case for Young Earth Creationism?

    Foregoing personal freedoms to protect those who do not understand the doctrinal basis for them is not the same as foregoing truth in order to “protect” the Gospel from being rejected. Does the Holy Spirit no longer accompany the preaching of His own word with His power to apply it to the hearts of children and young adults? If Young Earth Creationism causes some people to stumble (σκανδαλίζω, skandalidzō, “give offense to, anger, shock,” or possibly “lead into sin”), what of the accounts of God commanding the Israelites to slaughter their enemies? Should we also skip over all the references to animal sacrifice to placate the PETAs and Bill Mahers of this present evil age? And what’s next? The Virgin Birth?

  52. Ron Henzel said,

    June 23, 2014 at 8:32 am

    Don said wrote (#46) to Bob S (#32):

    Your last paragraph does not make me confident that you understand how science works.

    Perhaps we should take a look at that. As I understand it, science works by observing nature and then propounding theories to explain the observations. Based on these theories, certain predictions are made. Thus the manner of testing the theory is to test the validity of its predictions. So scientists then tests their theories via the scientific method: collect data; construct a hypothesis (a prediction based on the theory), design experiment to test the hypothesis, conduct experiment, analyze the results, formulate a conclusion. If the conclusion of the experiment’s analysis requires a modification to the theory, the theory is duly modified.

    In the case of theories designed to explain observations for things that cannot be directly observed (e.g., origins), the scientific method has to be modified somewhat. A theory of origins will still make certain predictions, but they will often be predictions about the way things are now rather than predictions concerning the result of an experiment. (Note: experiments designed to, say, replicate the conditions of the Big Bang involve circular reasoning and are not included here.) So scientists test these kinds of theories by first identifying a specific hypothesis (prediction) implied by the theory, and then making an observation designed to test the hypothesis/prediction. So in these cases, the observation becomes the experiment, and often these observations must await developments in technology. Other times the observation itself represents an accidental discovery once new technology is developed, and is then made to fit into the theory, as for example when cosmic microwave background (CMB) was accidentally discovered by radio telescopes in 1964. But here we see a problem inherent in all scientific theories of origins: CMB is used as evidence for the Big Bang theory, and the Big Bang theory is used to explain the origin of CMB. The reasoning here is clearly circular and not linear, and although subsequent observations have only increased the confidence of Big Bang cosmologists that they have it right, the situation is ripe for a Kuhnian moment in which new data appears that cannot be fit into the reigning paradigm.

  53. Chris Mangum said,

    June 23, 2014 at 9:18 am

    “Their doubts started in middle school and high school.”
    Is this not the natural result of today’s public school education? If you place your children from the time they learn to walk in anti-Christian training centers until college you have no reasonable expectation that they will come out of it Christian. Are there any of us left that still believe otherwise? Is this still controversial today? BTW, a fellow around here sent his child to an Islamic private school from the age of kindergarden. You think that child is going to leave college a Christian? Why not?

  54. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 23, 2014 at 9:37 am

    Don @45,

    Neither the Analogical Day view nor the Framework have any stake in what science says. As science continues to progress and refine itself those two views will still be 100% compatible with it, where the ordinary day view won’t ever be.

  55. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 23, 2014 at 9:43 am

    Ron H,

    You asked

    what of the accounts of God commanding the Israelites to slaughter their enemies?

    Well at least where they appear in the Psalms, it is certainly the position of some in the OPC such as Don Poundstone and Richard Gaffin that Psalms that contain such “commands” should not be used in worship, because those passages aren’t safe in the in hands of ordinary people.

  56. Ron said,

    June 23, 2014 at 9:50 am

    Andrew,

    I detect some question begging in your posts and an invalid point that turns on the imprecise notion of Christian liberty as used by you.

    This begs the question: “Since it has been established that an ordinary day view / YEC and all that it entails causes weaker brothers (children / young adults) to stumble…”

    God grants no liberty (i.e. permission) to believe and teach false doctrine. Somebody is promulgating error that God forbids. Having said that, my point is that it is conceivable to believe in an old earth without abandoning the authority of Scripture. (In the like manner, our baptist brethren do not typically abandon the authority of Scripture in order to affirm credo-only baptism.) It’s not as though conceding to an old earth as permissible or even calling it the only acceptable position will result in submission to the rest of Scripture and personal salvation. The unbeliever rejects the gospel and and all its implications (man is sinful, etc.), along with many other things Scripture teaches.

  57. Tim Harris said,

    June 23, 2014 at 9:52 am

    Andrew of course they do, when propounded by believers. An analogical day adherent still believes in fiat divine acts, by which nature is brought out of nothing, launched, or “interfered” with — anathema to the government-scientific authority establishment you are defending. “God of the gaps!” they would cry.

    Both PCA and OPC statements reject evolution for example, if I remember correctly. How is the “not having any stake in what science says.”

    The real point is that what you call “science” is actually “science falsely so-called.” The fact is that the government-scientific authority establishment has no leg to stand on — it is all about funding at the practical level, and serving their father Satan at the high level. Science as an inductive enterprise depends on biblical revelation for its foundation. It can’t then come along and modify its own foundation.

    This is the point that should be brought home to young people: it is not a question of faith vs. science. If anyone is fideistic, it is the official “scientific” community. No, it is a competition between two rival authority claims, one of which cannot give an account of itself, and the other of which can.

  58. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 23, 2014 at 9:58 am

    Ron H,

    Since you bring up Schrödinger’s cat, do you think that the PCA and/or OPC Creation reports are suggesting that Genesis actually teaches all of the acceptable views? If so how then are those reports not in violation of WCF 1:9? The sense of Genesis 1ff can only be one, not manifold. If not, you must then agree that Genesis is silent on how God created. And so if Genesis is silent on the how God created, then teaching children that God did it in six ordinary days, is to speculate beyond Scripture, which will only confuse them into thinking that the integrity of the Bible and of Christianity are tied to theory that you agree that the Scriptures don’t actually teach.

  59. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 23, 2014 at 10:16 am

    Tim,

    Not every act in Gen 1 is fiat, without any second causes.

    And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
    And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

    Gen 1:11,12

    “Let the earth bring forth…and the earth brought forth…”, suggests that secondary causes may be in view. So I don’t think that the understanding of Divine Fiats per the Analogical Day view make any scientific claims.

  60. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 23, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Ron,

    God grants no liberty (i.e. permission) to believe and teach false doctrine.

    Perhaps not, but the PCA and OPC creation reports certainly do grant such liberty, since Analogical Day view and ordinary day view both can’t be true.

    Do you repudiate those reports?

  61. Chip Byrd said,

    June 23, 2014 at 10:38 am

    In his next book, “Already Compromised,” Dr. John Collins from Covenant gets an honorable mention. (Not in a good way)

  62. Ron said,

    June 23, 2014 at 11:01 am

    Andrew,

    Perhaps not? God’s condescension and patience does not preclude the requirements of the Ninth Commandment.

    Although God doesn’t grant permission to believe or teach error, he recognizes the problem and has provided principles to the church by which they might regulate according to man’s condition. Those principles might even result in different conclusions at different times even when dealing with the same issue. There might come a time when 33 confessional chapters or 39 articles of faith are too many, or maybe not enough.

    Anyway, when a denomination grants liberty in such areas, at best all they are doing is operating according to the unavoidable sin condition that exists in all of us.

  63. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 23, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Ron @56,

    I think your charge of question begging is not supported by what follows.

    The main premise of Ken Ham in his book and Lane in his OP is that incorrect teaching on Genesis (and its impact on the trustworthiness of the Bible and Christianity) is leading to a catastrophic crisis of faith in adolescents.

    While they attribute that wrong teaching to other views of creation, I’m suggesting that since of the allowable views of creation in the PCA and OPC Creation reports the only one that is really at odds with science is ordinary day view. Therefore it must be teaching of ordinary day view that really is the source of the catastrophic crisis of faith, not Framework or Analogical day view.

  64. Ron said,

    June 23, 2014 at 11:12 am

    This begs the question: “Since it has been established that an ordinary day view / YEC and all that it entails causes weaker brothers (children / young adults) to stumble…”

  65. Ron said,

    June 23, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Andrew,

    Your argument:

    p1. Ham believes that non-ordinary views causes apostasy
    p2. Denominations believe that only the ordinary view is incompatible with science
    Therefore it must be [the] teaching of ordinary day view that really is the source of the catastrophic crisis of faith, not Framework or Analogical day view.”

    Your dogmatic conclusion of what “must be” and what “really is” doesn’t follow from the beliefs of Ham and these denominations you cite. At the very least, p1 and p2 oppose each other in the same argument. Accordingly, all you’re left with is p2 and your “therefore,” which also is an invalid argument.

  66. Alan D. Strange said,

    June 23, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    The OPC “Report of the Committee to Study the Views of Creation” does not suggest that God’s Word teaches all the views set forth in the Report. Rather, it establishes that the Committee was not able to come to clear agreement on the precise question of the nature and duration of the days of creation.

    The Committee did come to much agreement, even over the “how” of creation (see especially pp. 1601, 1603-04), though not on the specific question of the duration of the creation days. I would urge you to look at the report itself: http://www.opc.org/GA/CreationReport.pdf

    I cannot agree with some of the characterizations of the report in the posts on this thread. I also agree with Tim, Ron, and others that much more is going here with respect to our young people than Mr. Ham suggests. He is hardly a disinterested party with respect to this: it is decidedly in his interest, and that of his organization, to point to this issue as decisive in remaining in or abandoning the faith.

    I do not suggest disingenuity on Mr. Ham’s part, only a penchant, given that this is an issue to which he has dedicated his life, to read everything through that lens. He may be right that this issue is as decisive as he contends but given his own stake in this, and that of his organization, his position should at least be viewed with caution.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I do not disclaim my own personal interest in the matter: I served as chairman of the Committee that produced the OPC Report on Creation Views and I believe that it has had a salutary effect in the church, not in solving what remains an exegetical dispute among us, but in helping develop a way in which we can seek fruitfully to deal with our differences about the nature and duration of the creation days.

  67. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 23, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    Ron, @65

    What you lay out is not correct.

    This is what I am saying

    P1 Incorrect teaching on Genesis combined with teaching on science contribute to crisis of faith
    P2 Of the allowable views on the teaching of Gensis per the OPC and PCA reports, “ordinary day view” is the only one really at variance with science.
    P3. Only teaching on Genesis that is in conflct with science can produce the described crisis of faith.

    P4 Since ODV is the only view in conflict with science it must bhe the ODV that is incorrect.

  68. Ron said,

    June 23, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    Alan,

    Great measured remarks regarding Ham.

    Andrew,

    When in a hole, quit digging.

  69. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 23, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    Hi Alan,

    Perhaps you could help out here, I don’t really see on the pages you referenced any meaning expression on the how that would conflict with any contemporary science, would you be willing to layout what those hows you have in mind are?

    Thanks!

  70. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 23, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Ron, if you can’t even state the other side in a way they recognize…

  71. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 23, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    In answer to the question, “What would you as a Young-Earth Creationist believe if the evidence for evolution were to increase to the point of becoming overwhelming?—When our children are confronted with ‘overwhelming’ evidence for evolution, is abandoning Biblical inerrancy the only option?” I offer the following view, explaining how the acceptance of such evidence would not require abandoning a recent fiat creation: Recent Fiat Creationism: Rendering Evolution & Old-Earth Evidence Irrelevant. Natural evidence can never address a supernatural event.

  72. Ron Henzel said,

    June 23, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    Andrew (#58),

    I find it odd that you should even ask: “…do you think that the PCA and/or OPC Creation reports are suggesting that Genesis actually teaches all of the acceptable views?”

    That would be a bit absurd, would it not, especially in light of what you write next?: “If so how then are those reports not in violation of WCF 1:9? The sense of Genesis 1ff can only be one, not manifold.”

    Obviously, no one who who agrees with WCF 1:9—as I do and I assume the framers of the PCA and OPC documents do—would suggest that Genesis teaches more than one view.

    Even so, it is one thing to be committed to the idea that Genesis has one particular sense, but quite another to allow for disagreement within limits as to what that sense is. So how you get from the concept that there is more than one interpretation of how God created to the notion that Genesis therefore must be silent on how God created is more than a little mind boggling. Even so, you write, “If not, you must then agree that Genesis is silent on how God created.”

    No, I must not agree with that. I think I would have to abandon all rational thought to agree with that. That is a completely indefensible conclusion. And since this non sequitur is your stated premise for the remainder of your comment, your comment begets further non sequiturs:

    And so if Genesis is silent on the how God created, then teaching children that God did it in six ordinary days, is to speculate beyond Scripture, which will only confuse them into thinking that the integrity of the Bible and of Christianity are tied to theory that you agree that the Scriptures don’t actually teach.

    Genesis is clear: God created by speaking things into existence. The New Testament agrees: “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible,” (Heb 11:3 ESV). The word for “day” in Genesis 1 is the word for an ordinary day. (“There can be little doubt that here ‘day’ has its basic sense of a 24-hour period.” Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis 1-15, Word Biblical Commentary, [Waco, TX: Word Books, 1987], 19.) For 3,000 years (or so) the straightforward reading of the text has “confused” (huh?) few if any people. As far as the “how” goes, silence is difficult to find. What more could you want to know?

  73. Mark G said,

    June 23, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    Evangelical mono-cultural church kids are more concerned about themselves and how they relate to their friends (whether gay, straight, Catholic, Muslim, or non-religious, etc.) in their world which is increasingly diverse and polarized over evangelical ideological culture wars defined by what the church is against.

  74. Don said,

    June 23, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    Ron Henzel 52,

    Your summary of how science works is more or less accurate, except that there isn’t anything special about “origins science.” The distinction, if any, is between reproducible and irreproducible events. E.g., geologists can study volcano eruptions and epidemiologists can study outbreaks, but they can only observe the ones that happen when they happen, and cannot order them up at will. That is, as you indicate, not to say that these scientists can’t do anything on these subjects until an eruption or outbreak occurs: they can model, perform controlled lab experiments, etc., and then (ideally!) assemble these observations into a coherent, consistent theory. To dismiss all this as “surmises,” as Bob S does in 32, is to not understand what is going on.

    It is certainly possible that a scientific revolution will replace our current understanding of Big Bang, but I can pretty much assure you that just as classical mechanics will not replace quantum theory, whatever cosmology is next will not provide evidence for a 10,000 year old universe.

  75. Ron Henzel said,

    June 23, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    Don (#74),

    You wrote:

    …I can pretty much assure you…whatever cosmology is next will not provide evidence for a 10,000 year old universe.

    I’m not sure how anyone can be assured of what evidence will present itself in the future, but I can be fairly certain on the basis of God’s word that whatever new evidence for the truths about God’s attributes, power, and divine nature that emerge from observing nature will be suppressed by the unrighteousness of man (Rom. 1:18-20), as it always have been.

  76. Alan D. Strange said,

    June 23, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Andrew, #69, thanks for the question.

    None of the seven affirmations on p. 1603 are amenable to a secularized science. Furthermore, “The Committee also finds itself in essential agreement about how Genesis 1 and 2 are to be understood. The narrative must be interpreted literally: we are to find the meaning that the author intended. The narrative must be understood historically: it is not myth, but a record of what happened in space and time.”

    Contemporary science is naturalistic and the report is decidedly not naturalistic. The report affirms the asiety and sovereignty of God, the inviolability of all His decrees (denies all chance whatseover), the historicity of Adam and the Fall (asserts that Adam, body and soul, is a direct divine creation of God, in whose image he was made), and a number of more specific things about Adam and Eve in the covenant of works, probation, all mankind descending from him by ordinary generation, etc. None of this has any place in a naturalistic worldview, which is the heart of the project of contemporary science in its rebellion against God.

  77. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 23, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    It would help us to realize that our faith ought not to be in any natural evidences, but only in the Biblical testimony of the supernatural creative act, to which no natural evidence applies. As Ron Henzel said, “Genesis is clear: God created by speaking things into existence.” But Genesis does not tell us how old these things were when they were created. Standing firm on Scripture does not require that we believe that God created only “brand new” things; nor does it require billion-year-old things to have been created a billion years ago. To believe the Biblical account is to believe that God created supernaturally—miraculously and without the necessity of natural evidence—and with that, to accept the chronology of that supernatural event as plainly given in the Bible. Any chronology built from natural evidence has no bearing whatsoever on a supernatural event, else God’s creative power must be limited to creating what is brand new—an embryo of Adam rather than a fully grown man. When our faith affirms the supernatural creative act and the Scriptural chronology of that act, then the evidence loses much of its importance. But when we cave in on the supernatural act or the Biblical chronology, then Scripture itself loses much of its importance.

  78. Don said,

    June 23, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    David Gadbois 49,
    You seem to be saying that you are, to quote myself in 45, “a priori rejecting evidence that conflicts with one’s preexisting views.” I suppose you at least understand that science doesn’t work that way?

    If you want, to quote myself again, to “seriously argue that the scientific evidence for a 14-billion-year-old universe is insufficient,” then go ahead. However, you seem to be declaring that you do not think the scientific method is valid, in which case there’s maybe no need to deal with the scientific evidence.

  79. Don said,

    June 23, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    Ken Hamrick 77,

    nor does it require billion-year-old things to have been created a billion years ago

    I have no idea how this makes sense to you. If something is a billion years old, it is because it came into existence a billion years ago. Pretty much by definition.

  80. Ron Henzel said,

    June 23, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Ken (#77):

    You wrote:

    As Ron Henzel said, “Genesis is clear: God created by speaking things into existence.” But Genesis does not tell us how old these things were when they were created. Standing firm on Scripture does not require that we believe that God created only “brand new” things; nor does it require billion-year-old things to have been created a billion years ago.

    Now the word “how” is being used to refer to the final created state rather than the process of creation. But if you are referring to the Appearance Of Age Thesis, this simply begs the question: “What does ‘old’ look like?”

    Well, to someone with totally naturalistic presuppositions, “old” looks like “fully developed,” because a long period of development is assumed within the presuppositions. Magma cooled into hard rocks; mature coastlines formed over eons, mountain ranges that survived continental drift became lower and smoother (e.g., the Appalachians) because “they must have been worn down by erosion” (as compared to, say the Rockies which “must have been produced by recent tectonic stress”). But to someone with non-naturalistic presuppositions, all those features are what “brand new” looks like.

    Oh, yes: don’t forget extensive sedimentary deposits and a plethora of fossils of extinct life forms. Don’t those require millions of years? Not if there was a cataclysmic world-wide flood.

  81. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 23, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Don 79,

    When God creates out of nothing, He is not limited to creating things “new.” God created Adam and Eve as physically mature adults and not as infants. He created mature, fruit-bearing trees for immediate food. “He made the stars also”—and made a universe with mature light-trails already existing so that the stars were already visible. All of these imply a time-consuming natural process that was well under way at the first moment of creation. God chose to create not at the beginning of these natural processes, but somewhere in the middle—as if these processes had been going on long before the moment of creation.

    The very practice of scientific inquiry into origins is itself a presumption that nothing supernatural happened else scientific inquiry would be futile. Where God supernaturally acts, science has reached the end of all possible inquiry.

    Even if the earth could be “scientifically proven” to be a billion years old, it would only be true according to the naturalistic presupposition that the earth was not supernaturally created more recently.

  82. Ron Henzel said,

    June 23, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Oh, by the way: that world-wide flood? I suppose that’s the next thing I’m going to hear is causing people to “stumble.”

    I know, I know: this believing in the Bible thing can be brutal on your faith, can’t it?

  83. Mark G said,

    June 23, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    The book isn’t half as disturbing as this conversation. Maybe it’s suggestive of why kids leave the church.

  84. June 23, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    New here, so trying to tread lightly, but I’m not so sure it’s about giving our children something to “argue” so much as it is giving our children something to “love”.

    My kids’ hope of salvation doesn’t rest in their ability to elucidate the necessity of a young Earth. Their hope of salvation lies in their relationship with the One who is able to hold them back from their own desire for destruction.

    Just my 2c.

  85. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 23, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Ron 80,

    We agree on much. But an Adam old enough to marry cannot redefine what it is to be a “new” human. The Flood might account for the fossil layers, but not everything has an alternative scientific explanation—such as the light from distant stars being visible to us. The cosmos is giant clock, and it was already set to billions of years old when God created it out of nothing.

  86. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 23, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    Hi Alan,

    Thanks for the reply, but I don’t really see how those affirmations are really at odds with science. Perhaps atheistic science, there is nothing about uniformitarian geology or evolution that is aniti historical. I don’t think that is essential to science that God is not the ultimate or first cause. Current science affirms there is space (heavens) an earth, seas, dry land, plants animals and human beings, and that they all came into existence within time.

    Thanks.

  87. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 23, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    Bobby Goodrich 84,

    Our children need more than something to love—they need something they can trust. Our faith in Christ must be grounded on the trustworthiness of Scripture. If we find the supernatural claims of Gen. 1 to be too difficult to hold in light of the world’s insistence on “scientific evidence,” then how can we consistently hold that a man named Jesus defied all the physical laws, woke up from the dead as an immortal man, and walked out of the tomb to die no more? The same scientific embarrassment ought to apply to both. And while we might be satisfied with the contradiction, our children might not.

  88. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 23, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Ken wrote

    Our faith in Christ must be grounded on the trustworthiness of Scripture. If we find the supernatural claims of Gen. 1 to be too difficult to hold in light of the world’s insistence on “scientific evidence,”

    Right, so if we eliminate the tension by correctly understanding that Genesis is not making claims on how these things took place, we eliminate the question on the trustworthiness of the Bible.

  89. June 23, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    Ken,
    I think you may have proved my point without intending to. I agree with you, if my kids’ “faith” is in the coherence of a particular set of propositions (which are never demanded by scripture), then they definitely will be on shaky ground when presented with an alternate set of propositions.

    If my kids’ faith is based on love for and relationship with Christ whose work is evident in their hearts and lives through prayer and and the work of the Holy Spirit (first to call, then to justify, then to sanctify them), it won’t matter if they find themselves in a place where their propositions are challenged.

    Our faith in Christ must be grounded in Christ – who is supremely trustworthy. I believe in Christ because I have experienced Christ, have heard his voice and seen him move in my life. Not because I have epistemic certainty that the seven days of Creation are seven 24 hr days.

  90. Don said,

    June 23, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Ken Hamrick 81,

    [God] made a universe with mature light-trails already existing so that the stars were already visible

    The Bible does not say this, of course. It does say that it is impossible for God to lie. So if you can reconcile what you write here–which is really just a way of explaining away a rather problematic empirical observation–with a way to not have God purposely create a universe that looks far older than it is–i.e., God actively deceiving anyone who attempts to learn anything about the heavens by observing them–then more power to you.

  91. Mark G said,

    June 23, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    I trust the Bible. It’s the interpreters I doubt.

  92. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 23, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Alan,

    You wrote

    The OPC “Report of the Committee to Study the Views of Creation” does not suggest that God’s Word teaches all the views set forth in the Report. Rather, it establishes that the Committee was not able to come to clear agreement on the precise question of the nature and duration of the days of creation.

    I’m glad to hear that it is not the intension of the Report to say that Genesis teaches all the views set forth…

    To follow up, are you suggesting that that only disagreement was regarding the length of the days? Doesn’t the Framework suggest that the creating works of day 1 and 4, 2 and 5, and 3 and 6, really address the same things but from the perspective the realm and rulers?

    It’s been a decade since the OPC report, so the debate has moved somewhat beyond what the report itself addressed. Should we ask if we can’t come to agreement that maybe Gensis really only does teach the that and the how is of the secret things that belong to God? (Deut 29:29)

  93. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 23, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    Andrew 88,

    Right, so if we eliminate the tension by correctly understanding that Genesis is not making claims on how these things took place, we eliminate the question on the trustworthiness of the Bible.

    What you’re really proposing is that we eliminate the tension by ignoring the claims that Genesis is making on how and when these things took place, and allowing input from outside of Scripture to determine how we “interpret” what Scripture is saying. Were it not for the claims of the world’s scientists telling us that the earth must be billions of years old, the plain reading of the creation account and its BIblical chronology would not be a problem. You guys should at least be willing to keep this above board and acknowledge the extremeness of the hermeneutical measures you find necessary in order to “remove the tension.” There is no textual justification found anywhere else in the BIble for interpreting a day when it’s used with a number as anything other than a literal day.

    But on what basis do you presume that God cannot create ex nihilo an old, mature world?

    And why do you find the tension so difficult when it comes to origins, but are happy to ignore the tension between Scripture and the overwhelming scientific evidence that dead bodies do not rise from the dead?

  94. June 23, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    Ken Hamrick 93,

    Different genres of literature require we read them in different ways. Genesis 1-11 is mytho-poetic; it responds to the contemporary Sumerian/Babylonian worldview. It is not a science textbook. Consider the way the days of creation are set up:

    Day 1: The light Day 4: the sun, moon, and stars

    Day 2: The waters (above Day 5: the fish and the birds
    and below)

    Day 3: the dry land and Day 6: animals and man
    vegetation

    It is all about the imposition of order — creating first the habitat/realm, and then the specific inhabitants — on what was previously the chaos of the deep (or “abyss” or “waters”, depending on your translation).

    The text doesn’t “claim” that God created on seven, 24 hr days, nor would the ancient Hebrews have read it that way. You are the one forcing your way through “extreme hermeneutical measures” in order to maintain the reading that you do.

  95. Ron said,

    June 23, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    If God created in six ordinary days and people really did live well into their hundreds, why would the accounts we find in Scripture be inadequate to convey these things?

  96. Zrim said,

    June 23, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    My conviction is that either a VERY good Reformed private school or homeschool is the only appropriate route to take for Christian parents. Either way, we are talking about a very conscientiously-crafted curriculum that gives our children a Christian/Reformed worldview. Not just as “Bible” class tacked on top of the normal status quo education.

    By 18, or even 16, it is already too late.

    It’s sentiments like this that make one wonder just how much faith is placed in the power of academics to foster (or deconstruct) religious belief. The connection seems highly modernist. Is it really true that the school has at least as much power to nurture faith in covenant children as parents and churches? If so, one would think there would be a clear biblical warrant. Is it possible that what is behind this idea is a categorical confusion of curriculum and catechism, or are is there really an obvious connection between learning the three Rs and the three Persons? Do you really want to suggest that for a Reformed parent to favor something other than “a VERY good Reformed private school” (whatever that might mean) or home school is to favor something “inappropriate”? Is this where legalism starts, by passing judgment on a thing indifferent?

  97. Trent said,

    June 23, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Bobby,
    So genesis isn’t a textbook of science? Stop the presses!!!!!!!
    People who say that set up a straw man an are not aware of really anything other than the obvious. I am not necessarily talking about you but other ‘scholars’ who drag that around, and then are thrown around by laymen, sometimes second hand, and an awful lot of the time third and fourth hand.
    If Genesis isn’t written in today’s quantum physics jargon it isn’t apparently correct to some. For instance, If I see a volcano erupt and I talk about a cloud of ash billowing into the air and later it falling to earth and coming down the mountain, does that some how invalidate my eyewitness account because I did not use scientific jargon as like a Plinean Eruption, the cloud going 10.124235 miles high and the pyroclastic cloud phenomenon?
    By the way have you ever had a course in Greek and learned about Waw consecutive and or read studies in Genesis 1 by EJ Young to get a different perspective of the framework hypothesis?

  98. Erik Charter said,

    June 23, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    So much for the Reformed Doctrine of perseverance of the saints.

  99. Ron Henzel said,

    June 23, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    @Andrew (#92):

    Should we ask if we can’t come to agreement that maybe Gensis really only does teach the that and the how is of the secret things that belong to God? (Deut 29:29)

    Absolutely not! The how is what it spends the most time on. If all it taught were the that the creation account would stop at Genesis 1:1. The how is what is revealed; it is not one of “the secret things.”

  100. Ron Henzel said,

    June 23, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    @ Trent (#97):

    The Waw-consecutive is a feature of Hebrew, not Greek.

  101. Steve Drake said,

    June 23, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    ODE TO GOD: FROM AN OLD EARTHER

    Worthy art thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power, for thou didst create all things through an evolutionary process of death from simple to complex over millions and millions of years. What seems as a wasteful and inefficient method of bringing about the diversity of life on this planet through the death of millions and millions of your creatures, was only to show the glorious end product of your highest achievement: man.

    Worthy art thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power, for in thy work of Creation your majestic holiness and love and righteousness, mercy and omnibenevolence has shown through in what thou has created and what thou hast destroyed: in what thou has allowed to live, and in what thou has allowed to suffer and die.

    For it was you, O Lord, who destroyed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago in that magnificent Chixulub meteor impact that gave rise to the glorious mammals.

    It was you, O Lord, who gathered the mega-tsumamis to crash upon the fertile land, who swept hypercanes out of the depths of the oceans to wreak havov across the continents, who shook the earth with massive destructive earthquakes as a sign of your power.

    It was you, O Lord, who instituted disease and decay in your work of creation to help bring about the transition from one species to the next in a marvelous transformative process, thereby signaling death, not as an enemy, but part and parcel of your marvelous work and design.

    It was you, O Lord, in the midst of tens of thousands of soulless homo sapiens and the millions of hominid ancestors before them who brought forth that glorious man Adam, father of us all, and to whom we owe our due.

    Blessed are you, O Lord, for in Adam’s sin, and in your magnificent benevolence, you cursed only Adam, making him to suffer, but spared the rest of your created order in it’s already perfect state of death, disease, and suffering.

    And in your Curse, O Lord, it could have been worse, but you cursed the man and the woman with a harder working of the land for the one and a desire for the one and pain in childbirth on the other. O, Blessed are you O’ Lord, for it was not your desire that man’s sin should affect the rest of your created order.

    And then, worthy art thou, our Lord and our God, for in your death on the cross, you paid only for the sin of man, but had no need to pay for the redemption of your Creation. What seems like a cursed world in need of redemption is only illusion, for to understand your Word correctly, this seemingly unhealthy world is only as you have created it. For it would be cross purposes to think that your death on the cross had any redemptive value for things you instituted in your work of Creation to begin with. You had no need to die for suffering, it was already going on for millions and millions of years. You had no need to die for disease, it was part of your work. You had no need to die for death, as this was your glorious plan from the start.

    O, praise to you, O Lord, you of the powerful mega-tsunami, you of the massive hypercane, you of the ground-shaking earthquake, you of death, disease, and destruction as tools in your mighty work of creation, O’ mighty one of God. All glory and honor and praise be unto You!

  102. Ron Henzel said,

    June 23, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    @ Bobby Goodrich (#94):

    The text doesn’t “claim” that God created on seven, 24 hr days, nor would the ancient Hebrews have read it that way.

    That’s funny: I was just talking to an ancient Hebrew about this the other day He disagrees with you. His name is Morty: you two should talk. And why the scare-quotes around the word “claim?”

    You are the one forcing your way through “extreme hermeneutical measures” in order to maintain the reading that you do.

    Oh, I see. And “mytho-poetic” is a “moderate hermeneutical measure” that doesn’t need to be forced on the text because it’s so obvious. That really clears things up!

    Except that…

    Genesis one is not poetry or saga or myth, but straightforward, trustworthy history, and, inasmuch as it is a divine revelation, accurately records those matters of which it speaks. That Genesis one is historical may be seen from these considerations. 1) It sustains an intimate relationship with the remainder of the book. The remainder of the book (i.e., The Generations) presupposes the Creation Account, and the Creation Account prepares for what follows. The two portions of Genesis are integral parts of the book and complement one another. 2) The characteristics of Hebrew poetry are lacking. There are poetic accounts of the creation and these form a striking contrast to Genesis one. 3) The New Testament regards certain events mentioned in Genesis one as actually having taken place. We may safely allow the New Testament to be our interpreter of this mighty first chapter of the Bible.

    [Edward J. Young, Studies in Genesis One, (Phillipsburg, NJ, USA: P&R Publishing, reprinted 1999), 105.]

  103. June 23, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    @Trent #92

    I get the feeling you’re not really responding to *me* here; or, that you didn’t actually read what I wrote.

    To answer your questions, I was a Greek major in under grad, and taught it as a grad assistant in Seminary. Also took a pretty heavy dose of Hebrew – which is where you find the waw-consecutive construction you mentioned.

    Have also read the Enuma Elish in conjunction with studies in Genesis. Does that qualify me enough to comment now?

  104. Ron said,

    June 23, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    Is it really true that the school has at least as much power to nurture faith in covenant children as parents and churches?

    Zrim,

    Been wondering where you’ve been. Actually, I was today. I must have sensed your lurking. :)

    I think David had a bit more in mind than placing homeschooling or sound, private Christian eductation at odds with parental nurturing and the church. Let’s assume parental nurturing and the role of the church are “givens” for this God-fearing man, shall we?

    Now let me hit F5 and see all the new posts.

  105. Ron said,

    June 23, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    I should add, my strong suspicion is that David doesn’t just advocate these means of education for Bible training alone or so that children might see science and other subjects through the lens of Scripture, but that he, also, sees the importance of a sanctified environment 24/7. In the case of any given Christian school, if it has its act together, it can be a wonderful extension of what the father teaches in the home.

  106. Steve Drake said,

    June 23, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    Ron @ 99,

    If God created in six ordinary days and people really did live well into their hundreds, why would the accounts we find in Scripture be inadequate to convey these things?

    Inadequate according to who? They were more than adequate for 1800 years of church history, why not now? What happened to make them inadequate?

  107. Steve Drake said,

    June 23, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    Sorry, not Ron Henzel at 99, the other Ron at 95.

    If God created in six ordinary days and people really did live well into their hundreds, why would the accounts we find in Scripture be inadequate to convey these things?

    Inadequate according to who? They were more than adequate for 1800 years of church history, why not now? What happened to make them inadequate?

  108. Ron said,

    June 23, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    Lighten up Francis. :) You’re asking my question.

  109. Ron said,

    June 23, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    Steve,

    Let me ask the question this way. If God wanted to convey six 24 hour days and long life (Genesis 5) what more should He have said than what He already said. I’m getting the impression that some believe (not you) that if God truly intended to communicate ordinary days and that men lived into their late hundreds that He failed at being a clear communicator.

  110. Steve Drake said,

    June 23, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    Okay, Ron,
    Ha Ha! Let’s keep it going. Wink, wink.

    Can we be serious here a moment Ron of partial anonymity? Although, I apologize, its probably my personal problem, its hard to take a guy serious who doesn’t want to stand behind his full name. I’ll never understand that if I were to meet you personally, you would not hesitate to introduce yourself to me with first and last name, and yet your prodigious comments on this blog are not backed up with the knowledge that I can check out who you fully are. Does that make sense to you?

  111. Steve Drake said,

    June 23, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Ron,

    I’m getting the impression that some believe (not you) that if God truly intended to communicate ordinary days and that men lived into their late hundreds that He failed at being a clear communicator.

    Agreed. So why would you say in #21 that ‘Creation is just a red herring’?

    You obviously believe that Creation is a fundamental doctrine of Scripture. That in a broad sense, if you’re a Christian, you’re a creationist. The two are part and parcel of one another, as opposed to any non-Christian idea that matter is eternal or self-created.

    So, is it your opinion that the ‘age’ issue is unimportant in Christian theology? If not, why not?

  112. Ron said,

    June 23, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    Steve,

    You’re an interesting guy and I appreciate you. My identity is well known by the mods and many posters and lurkers here. Hit me up on my blog with your email and I’ll satisfy your insatiable desire. For now, I was ordained a RE in the OPC and my membership is with the PCA.

    By the way, although I see that the name you go by is Steve Drake, I don’t know you any better than if you just went by Steve. In fact, I just Googled Steve Drake and I trust you’re not that guy.

  113. Steve Drake said,

    June 23, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    Ron,
    :) No, thank God.

    So, back to my question in #111?

  114. Ron said,

    June 23, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    Steve,

    Regarding your post #111, the issue of creation is a Red Herring for those who deny the faith. Their issue isn’t creation. Their issue is they don’t see that they have a sin problem that must be dealt with before a just and holy God.

    I unashamedly believe in 24 hour day creation. Notwithstanding, I’ve made I believe two points on that matter. The first one is the Red Herring point. Secondly, one can affirm Framework (for instance) without abandoning the authority of Scripture.Just like one can be wrong on the rapture and affirm the authority of Scripture. One’s hermeneutic can determine much. Having said that, I do believe that some percentage affirm long-earth for reasons that compromise the authority of Scripture.

  115. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 23, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    Ron, you said,

    If God created in six ordinary days and people really did live well into their hundreds, why would the accounts we find in Scripture be inadequate to convey these things?

    Talk about assuming the conclusion in the premise! That’s a big “IF”.

    However, neither the Framework nor Analogical Day view require that the days be actual days, and the Framework doesn’t require that they occur in the order in which they are presented in Genesis.

    Should we not then re-evaluate the genealogies as well? What if the supposed longevity of those listed in Gen 5 is analogical for as well?

  116. June 23, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    @ Ron Henzel (#102)

    Does anyone post comments on here that aren’t dripping with sarcasm?

    Are you implying that it is impossible to reconstruct in any way the ancients would have approached a particular text or the worldview they would have had?

    And are you rejecting “mytho-poetic” simply because it sounds complicated? Because, really, its not. Myth as a vehicle for truth is a pretty common concept contemporary to Genesis.

    Finally, are you advocating the “because Ed Young says so” method of biblical interpretation?

  117. Ron said,

    June 23, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    Andrew,

    It’s not assuming any conclusion. It’s completely open ended because you’re free to answer that “God is a clear communicator and, therefore, it is absolutely impossible that he would have been so inept as to communicate ordinary days and long-long life in such a manner. If he meant ordinary days and long life he would have said it this way…”(step up to the microphone).

  118. Ron said,

    June 23, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    Bobby G,

    The question is not whether one would have approached a text this way or that way. The question is what was intended by the communicator. Intended hearers have their biases too. Jesus’ hearers didn’t always approach the Jesus’ words in the way they should.

  119. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 23, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    The bottom line is that we, by virtue of the Creation reports, agree that incompatible interpretations of Genesis are all valid, and at the same time we agree that Genesis actually teaches no more than one of them, and there is no way to know which of those it might actually teach if any of them.

    Two are compatible with science and one is not, and since we agree we’re not sure that Genesis teaches any of them, why continue to permit the one that we know creates tension with science? How would the church be harmed by eliminating the ordinary day view since we all agree that insofar as we receive the Creation report one can maintain the authority of Scripture without it? It’s unnecessary and likely harmful (at least to children), why keep it?

  120. Steve Drake said,

    June 23, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    Ron #114,

    Regarding your post #111, the issue of creation is a Red Herring for those who deny the faith. Their issue isn’t creation. Their issue is they don’t see that they have a sin problem that must be dealt with before a just and holy God.

    Agreed. But how do they know they have a sin problem if they don’t know how they got to be where they have a sin problem in the first place? If they don’t know there was a real Adam in a real garden, who really transgressed the command of God not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, what does ‘sin’ mean to them?

    Secondly, one can affirm Framework (for instance) without abandoning the authority of Scripture.

    I disagree here Ron. The one who holds to Framework, unless he backs it up by saying 6×24 ordinary days, is tacitly buying into an evolutionary/old earth paradigm. This is the “get out of jail card” for many theologians and lay people: they don’t have to commit one way or the other and can hide behind just saying they believe the Framework. Like Andrew mentions in #115, neither the Framework nor Analogical Day views require they be 6×24 and in the Framework the order is off. It’s culpable deniability of the explicit how that God lays out in Genesis 1.

  121. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 23, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    Ron,

    God is a clear communicator…

    Hmm,

    Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

    Matt 13:13

  122. Ron said,

    June 23, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    there is no way to know which of those it might actually teach if any of them

    Slow down, Andrew. There’s no way to know? What if the Holy Spirit bears witness to the plain meaning of words? Your remark suggests that revelation is past finding out. If so, what was the point of communicating it if it cannot be known?

    Two are compatible with science and one is not

    If we assume apparent age, like we do with Adam looking older than an infant upon being created, then science can’t address the question of the age of earth. In which case, the conclusions of science are invalid for all paradigms!

  123. Ron said,

    June 23, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    Re 121, he spoke in parable so the unbelievers wouldn’t understand. Your digging your way to China.

  124. Ron said,

    June 23, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    Steve,

    They know they have a sin problem by nature. Romans 1

    Are you suggesting that all bad interpretations are due to an accommodation of science? Of course not. It is conceivable that many who hold to long earth do so because they don’t think the Bible is attempting to address the age of the earth. As hard as that might be to believe I can’t call them liars (those who say they’re applying a certain genre to the text.)

  125. Ron said,

    June 23, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    Andrew, vs 16 and 17 of that passage: “But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”

  126. Steve Drake said,

    June 23, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    Ron #123,
    I think Andrew’s digging his way to the heart of the matter. Both the OPC and PCA dealt themselves irreparable damage by accommodating a multiplicity of views in their Creation reports. The men who put these reports together, while otherwise God-fearing and God-honoring men elsewhere, did not honor God in any of this mess. It has caused confusion of which the church may take centuries to pull out of. Repentance may be necessary to repair the damage.

  127. Ron said,

    June 23, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    I don’t necessarily disagree. I’d have to become more familiar with the reports. All I’m saying is that…well, I’ve already said what I wanted to say.

    Grace and peace,

    Ron D. :)

  128. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 23, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    Ron H @99,

    Really, how did the waters bring forth the fish? How did the dry land bring forth the plants? What you claim is how is really more that, not how. Evolution has a pretty good explanation of how the earth brought forth the plants, and how the seas brought forth fish and other sea animals and how the animals were brought forth.

    Genesis is pretty light on the how, and the fact that it uses the language of and the earth brought forth, supports rather than denies secondary cause with respect to the rise of plant and animal life.

  129. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 23, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    Andrew 119,

    …why continue to permit the one that we know creates tension with science?

    Why continue to permit the interpretation of Christ’s resurrection that creates tension with science? I can’t seem to get anyone to answer that… I’m sure we can look into our hermeneutical toolbox and come up with something less miraculous and less offensive to the intellect of sensible, scientific people…

  130. Ron said,

    June 23, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    Ken, your question goes at least back to my 38. Keep asking it and maybe someone might answer.

  131. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 23, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    Ron @123,

    Non sequitur. I gave a counter example. The point is God is a clear communicator to some people, He is very unclear to others.

    Plus I’m not the one saying that Genesis is unclear. Its the Creation reports that say there is insufficient information to know, for sure, how God uses the word day in Genesis.

    Thanks for expressing anew your contempt ;-)

  132. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 23, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    Thanks, Ron 130. While we’re at it, could someone side tell me on what basis we should assume that God cannot create an old, mature, fully-developed, mid-process cosmos and earth? Even if the evolutionary theory were “proven” beyond all reasonable doubt, I still see no reason we would have to abandon the Biblical account of a recent creation by divine fiat (as I explained in the article linked in comment 71).

  133. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 23, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    Ken @129,

    Because that’s more of a technology to be developed…

  134. Ron said,

    June 23, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    Andrew,

    Your example of God being unclear was in response to saying that the creation account was past finding out. To support your position you proof-texted a verse that doesn’t apply to the church. Just a few verses later Jesus explains how blessed we are to have understanding. Now you want to hide behind the reports as suggesting the texts aren’t clear when it is you who claimed they aren’t clear and by extension that God is not clear on such matters.

    It seems that you equate my contempt for you with the refutation of your points.

  135. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 23, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    For those who feel they must reconcile the world’s science with Scripture, I propose that there is no reason why they must do so at the expense of the Biblical testimony of God’s miraculous, recent creative acts. I do not find the arguments of evolution compelling, but I do find the testimony in Scripture of God’s recent creation to be ground that ought not to be surrendered.

  136. Steve Drake said,

    June 23, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    Ron @ 124,

    They know they have a sin problem by nature. Romans 1

    Yes, general revelation is sufficient for judgment in this regard. I’m a fan of Van Til as much as I think you are. But our standards say that GR is insufficient to salvation, for that Special Revelation is needed. My point is that the Creation account as recorded in Genesis is fundamental to the understanding of why they have a sin nature, a sin problem; where it arose in the historical Adam, and how it was transgressed and passed on to all, including they themselves today.

    Are you suggesting that all bad interpretations are due to an accommodation of science? Of course not. It is conceivable that many who hold to long earth do so because they don’t think the Bible is attempting to address the age of the earth.

    No, I’m not saying that all bad interpretations are due to an accommodation of science. I’m saying that both the Framework and Analogical Day views tacitly assume an evolutionary/old earth paradigm and that if most holders of this view were to think about it, and were honest with themselves, they would agree.

    For in either case, the question is to put everything on a timeline. Start the timeline, where does it start, what are the key events along the way, and end it today in June of 2014. Do you see what I’m getting at here? Draw the timeline. Put the creation of the cosmos, the earth, man, Noah’s Flood, Christ’s incarnation, death, and resurrection, advance 2000 years to today and what do you have? What does your timeline show? Have the marks and little lines in the timeline indicate dates. What date does your timeline start?

  137. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 23, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    Ken,

    Are you saying that to deny the ordinary day view of Genesis is tantamount to denying the resurrection of Christ?

  138. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 23, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    Andrew 133,

    “…technology to be developed…?” What does that mean?

  139. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 23, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    Ron,

    No its the things like digging a hole to China that expresses contempt. Come on, at least man up and admit it.

  140. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 23, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    Ron

    To support your position you proof-texted a verse that doesn’t apply to the church

    So the Jews weren’t the church before Pentecost?

  141. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 23, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    Ken @138 /133/ 129

    Recovery from death is a technology to be developed. Does that help?

  142. Steve Drake said,

    June 23, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    Ken @ 135

    but I do find the testimony in Scripture of God’s recent creation to be ground that ought not to be surrendered.

    Couldn’t agree more. I’ve seen your posts at SBC Voices Ken, have appreciated them in that forum, and heartily thank you for your input here as well.

  143. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 23, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    Andrew 137,

    No, but I am saying that the one leads to the other. First, the “story” of Adam becomes spiritually meaningful symbolism, with no literal Adam having existed. Then, one by one, the miracles of the Bible fall like dominoes. Noah’s flood becomes a local flood (regardless of the silly task of putting each animal on board). The Red Sea crossing becomes knee deep. All the fulfilled prophecies are then dated after fulfillment. Along with this, all the books are looked at with a much more critical eye, denying authorship, etc., and generally eroding the reliability and supernatural quality of Scripture wherever possible. The Virgin birth is denied by redefining virgin to optimistically and culturally include all unmarried women. On and on the anti-supernatural cancer spreads until even the resurrection of Christ itself is finally denied with the same sophisticated embarrassment with which the literal, six-day creation was abandoned.

  144. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 23, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    Andrew 141,

    Recovery from death is a technology to be developed. Does that help?

    Yes, actually, it helps me to understand your error. Get this straight, Brother Andrew: Christ was raised from the dead only by the miraculous, supernatural power of God—and NOT by any superior technology achievable by any creature anywhere, no matter how advanced they may become. He did not “recover” from death—He defeated death.

    Have I misunderstood you?

  145. Steve Drake said,

    June 23, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    Andrew,
    Relieve the pain, brother, the suspense is killing me :)

  146. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 23, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    Steve 142,

    Thanks. It’s good to find brothers in agreement, as I fear we are becoming fewer all the time.

  147. Steve Drake said,

    June 23, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    Ken at 146,
    Andrew is one of us brothers :)

  148. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 23, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    Ron,

    I’m hardly hiding behind the report. Here’s a quote from the OPC report.

    In its own study, the Committee has not achieved exegetical unity on the days of creation, and this report will disappoint those who expected all of its differences to be resolved. There is disagreement within the Committee regarding the length of the days. More significantly, the Committee disagrees on the character of the days, and specifically whether or not the proper exegesis of the text entails that the days of creation and the separation of the creative events must be, need not be, or cannot be chronological. Furthermore, the Committee does not agree on the precise meaning of the historical nature of the six days.

    If committee thought Genesis was clear on those things (length, character, and chronology) of days wouldn’t the committee have acheived exegetical unity?

  149. Ron Henzel said,

    June 23, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    @ Bobby (#116):

    Does anyone post comments on here that aren’t dripping with sarcasm?

    No, I suppose you’re the only one.

    And yet: sometimes sarcasm can be an expression of frustration at bold assertions that lack reasoned argumentation. Mere assertions are not reasoned arguments. So I decided to turn your non-arguments back at you.

    You made a series of assertions without providing any justification for them, even while characterizing your opponents’ position as “extreme”—again, without justification. If a literal reading of Genesis 1-11 is “extreme,” then the vast majority of the expositors of the text from the period of Second Temple Judaism, through the New Testament, through the church fathers, the Tannaitic rabbis, the medieval doctors, the Reformers, and right up to Charles Darwin’s day were extremists. When “extreme” is the norm, it is no longer extreme.

    And now I am asked to swallow whole this little chestnut:

    Myth as a vehicle for truth is a pretty common concept contemporary to Genesis.

    Once that little phrase, “Myth as a vehicle for truth,” ferments in one’s brain for a while it intoxicates many individuals with the notion that such ideas are not only rational, but that God would inspire something inherently false in order to convey truth.

    We’re not talking about allegory here, but myth, the synonyms for which are words like, “legend,” “fable,” etc.You know: like those Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Persian, etc. myths that were “contemporary to Genesis” and somehow were (according to you) thought of as vehicles for truth, despite the fact that everyone really knew (wink! wink!) that they weren’t—you know—true. You really don’t think that the devotees of those religions took their texts literally? And you can demonstrate that?

    I never said “mytho-poetic” sounded complicated. Many of the most simple-minded people I know would agree with you that Genesis 1-11 is mytho-poetic, although perhaps not with the same exact label. But while it’s far from complicated, I will say that it is inherently corrosive of, and even contradictory to, the biblical doctrine of inspiration, and the text bears no evidence of being written in any such genre. But I don’t know why you would say that I think it’s “complicated.” Are Aesop’s Fables, which all have morals (i.e., they “convey truths”) “complicated?”

    And so you ask:

    Are you implying that it is impossible to reconstruct in any way the ancients would have approached a particular text or the worldview they would have had?

    No, I am implying first of all that the way the ancients would have approached any text does not determine its meaning for us. Reader-response hermeneutics remains invalid even when the readers in question are dead. I am also implying you are misrepresenting the way the ancients would have approached this particular text, or at least the level of available certainty about their approach this text, and probably a host of other texts, because you have swallowed well-worn fallacies (i.e., myths) about that subject whole and you are now regurgitating them for us here.

    Finally, are you advocating the “because Ed Young says so” method of biblical interpretation?

    This is the kind of retort people make when an authority is quoted and they have no answer to what he says. It amounts to an invalid allegation of argumentum ab auctoritate in order to escape engaging in actual reasoning. I did not say, “Because Ed Young says so,” but rather I quoted Ed Young and you ignored the content of the quote. Young provided reasons for rejecting your “mytho-poetic” label that you have not interacted with. The reasons listed in the quote, which came from the conclusion of one of his chapters, are simply summaries of more extensively-reasoned arguments in the body of his essay. These are the kind of arguments that I have found lacking in your remarks,

  150. Ron said,

    June 23, 2014 at 11:06 pm

    “Are you saying that to deny the ordinary day view of Genesis is tantamount to denying the resurrection of Christ?”

    To deny the former due to science but not the latter is arbitrary. Once arbitrariness is in play, the resurrection is up for grabs.

  151. Ron said,

    June 23, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    Andrew,

    You’re not processing anything I’m saying. Your posts are scattered and not dealing with the plain meaning of words.

  152. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 23, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    OK Steve, and Ken,

    I’ve been arguing under a false flag, for the purpose of exposing those who want to have their cake and eat it too.

    I actually agree with you Ken in 143. Church history from the rise of uniformitarian geology to New Testament Modernism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries is exactly how that has played out. While the current NAPARCs all reject NT Modernism, they (with the exception of the RCUS) all permit the first expression of Modernism vis-a-vis Genesis to remain an flourish a fresh.

  153. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 23, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    Ron at 150,

    My question you quoted from 137 wasn’t directed to you, but to Ken, please so whose not tracking with who?

  154. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 23, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    Andrew 152,

    Oh, good—one less on that side than I thought!

  155. Steve Drake said,

    June 23, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    Andrew 152,

    While the current NAPARCs all reject NT Modernism, they (with the exception of the RCUS) all permit the first expression of Modernism vis-a-vis Genesis to remain an flourish a fresh.

    You’ve got that right. This has been the Church’s blind spot. While we rightly, for the most part, reject evolution, we have failed to recognize and destroy the pillar that evolution stands on of uniformitarian geology and its timescale of billions and millions of years. The two are bound up in one another, and the Church has failed to see in their support of the timescale their support of the secularist paradigm that forged it.

  156. Ron said,

    June 23, 2014 at 11:20 pm

    To track means not ever responding to a bad argument directed at another?

  157. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 23, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    Ron at 156, it was question not an argument. ;-)

  158. Don said,

    June 23, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    Ron 150,
    Once again, this false dichotomy isn’t helpful nor useful.

  159. Ron said,

    June 23, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    I surrender. It’s too painful. You wore me out, Brother.

    Peace

  160. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 23, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    Bobby Goodrich 89,

    I think you may have proved my point without intending to. I agree with you, if my kids’ “faith” is in the coherence of a particular set of propositions (which are never demanded by scripture), then they definitely will be on shaky ground when presented with an alternate set of propositions.

    If my kids’ faith is based on love for and relationship with Christ whose work is evident in their hearts and lives through prayer and and the work of the Holy Spirit (first to call, then to justify, then to sanctify them), it won’t matter if they find themselves in a place where their propositions are challenged.

    Our faith in Christ must be grounded in Christ – who is supremely trustworthy. I believe in Christ because I have experienced Christ, have heard his voice and seen him move in my life. Not because I have epistemic certainty that the seven days of Creation are seven 24 hr days.

    You are on dangerous, unbiblical ground if you think that faith in Christ does not depend on (or can be had apart from) the word of God in Scripture. While saving faith is never mere mental assent to a set of propositions, it necessarily includes assent to a set of propositions. Not only this, but such propositions, which come from Scripture, must be presented to the sinner prior to saving faith. Christ is more than a mystical Person to be accepted by subjective experience. He is the Savior of whom Scripture testifies—and it is the preaching of that Scriptural testimony (the gospel) that precedes saving faith, calling men to repentance and belief in Christ. Unless your faith in Christ is grounded on something more than your own ideas of having experienced Him, then you are open to all sorts of false teachings and false ideas of who Christ really is. Only Scripture is our solid ground for knowing that the Christ we have experienced is the true Christ.

    Therefore, as I argued previously and you have rebutted, if the propositions of the Scriptural testimony in Genesis are unreliable and subject to reinterpretation, then so are the propositions regarding what the Bible says about Christ.

  161. Ron said,

    June 23, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    It’s not a false dichotomy at all. It’s a reductio of an arbitrary hermeneutic.

  162. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 23, 2014 at 11:37 pm

    Don 158,

    An assertion may be wishful thinking but it is not an argument.

  163. Ron said,

    June 23, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    Actually, it’s not even a hermeneutic. It’s an arbitrary appeal to science that if applied consistently would undermine the entire Christian faith. Genre is one thing. Science doesn’t allow for x is something else.

  164. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 23, 2014 at 11:48 pm

    Ken
    You wrote

    Therefore, as I argued previously and you have rebutted, if the propositions of the Scriptural testimony in Genesis are unreliable and subject to reinterpretation, then so are the propositions regarding what the Bible says about Christ.

    That’s is the point. That’s the cake they want to have and eat too. The Lord Jesus Christ, God the Word, (John 1:1) is the Author of Scripture, and He had us and future generations as much in view as the Israelites of Moses day in mind when His Holy Spirit breathed out His message to Moses.

  165. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 23, 2014 at 11:50 pm

    Don 90,

    I previously stated, “…[God] ‘made the stars also’—and made a universe with mature light-trails already existing so that the stars were already visible,” to which you replied:

    The Bible does not say this, of course. It does say that it is impossible for God to lie. So if you can reconcile what you write here–which is really just a way of explaining away a rather problematic empirical observation–with a way to not have God purposely create a universe that looks far older than it is–i.e., God actively deceiving anyone who attempts to learn anything about the heavens by observing them–then more power to you.

    The Bible does tell us, “He made the stars also,” and it tells us this in the middle of a uniform and contiguous historical account of the first six days of the existence of the world. As for the light trails, simply looking up into the night sky will confirm for all reasonable people that the light between the stars and the earth do exist. I see no problem with that empirical observation. But I definitely see a problem with your unproven assumption that God would have been deceptive to supernaturally create a mature world. The fact is, Don, every supernatural miracle is deceptive to those who do not believe.

    . Would God have been deceptive to supernaturally create in one day an adult man, Adam? By all appearances, he would have looked much older that one day to any who might be open to the possibility that God didn’t really create him the day before as He said He did. When Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to the disciples, even telling them to feel his hands and arms and see that He has flesh and bone and is not a mere spirit, wasn’t that just as deceptive—after all, He appeared as if He had never died. The supernatural acts of God are always deceptive to those who refuse to believe them. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, some might have been deceived into thinking that he had never died. When Jesus fed the five thousand, some might have been deceived into thinking He had brought enough food. When He turned the water into wine, the guests were deceived into thinking that the host had saved the best wine for last.

  166. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 23, 2014 at 11:54 pm

    Andrew 164, amen!
    How Long Will You Falter Between Two Opinions?

  167. Steve Drake said,

    June 23, 2014 at 11:55 pm

    Ron,

    To follow up on my #136,
    I thought we had something going back and forth there, but you never replied. So, anyway, to follow up on my discussion in 136, ask any Framework or Analogical Day guy to put his view of history on a timeline. What a great ordination question for OPC or PCA candidates this might be. Something to think about. Ask him to go up the chalkboard, or the dry erase board, or take out a piece of paper, and draw a timeline and put his view of history on it. His view of history as in “the entire created order”. Stars, sun, moon, planets, earth, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, hominids, Neanderthals, man.

    But, he won’t do it. He knows he’s cornered. He’s in a box. They simply won’t do it, because tacitly they’re old earth/old cosmos. If he’s honest with himself in his timeline he’ll show you he’s old cosmos/old earth by starting his timeline at 13.5 billion years ago with the Big Bang. The jig is up then, for the rest of his timeline is thus de facto evolutionary in nature. Whether he places the earth at 4.55 billion, and then the first fish at 500 million, the dinosaurs at 170 million etc.,etc., what will be interesting is to when he gets to Adam.

    Where does he place Adam? 100,000 years ago, 200,000? 50,000? 20,000? Do you see what I’m getting at here Ron? So then how about Adam’s ancestors? Were they Neanderthals? Cro-Magnon? Were they living at the time Adam came on the scene? Did Adam come from a Neanderthal or Cro-Magnon, or was he de novo in the midst of Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon? If de novo, then were the Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon not homo sapien? Soul-less pre-humans? How does that make sense biblically?

    Would you like to comment on this? That’s it for me tonight, but will read your reply if you so choose tomorrow.

    Blessings.

  168. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 24, 2014 at 12:10 am

    As someone pointed out, the Bible is not a science text book. But it is, for the most part, an historical account—a Book of history—so much so, that an honest Berean will read every passage as such unless Scripture itself (not extra-Biblical evidences) indicates that the passage in question is not to be understood as historical. Scripture does not need to be a science text book to accurately convey the historical account of the miracle of supernatural creation. Simply telling us, “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light,” is sufficient—the text is historically authoritative without any details of photons or other scientific explanations.

  169. Don said,

    June 24, 2014 at 12:13 am

    Ken Hamrick 129,

    Why continue to permit the interpretation of Christ’s resurrection that creates tension with science? I can’t seem to get anyone to answer that

    Well, since you asked, the whole point of the resurrection is that it’s impossible. As should be obvious. God didn’t display his power by healing Christ’s splinter.

    Now, I suppose you agree that the purpose of creation is to give glory to God/evidence for his invisible attributes. But if you claim that creation is entirely different than it appears to be, then how do you avoid claiming that God is entirely different than he appears to be?

  170. Don said,

    June 24, 2014 at 12:19 am

    Ken Hamrick 168,

    the text is historically authoritative without any details of photons or other scientific explanations.

    Certainly. Which is why I’m not sure why you insist on interpreting the text in a manner that is entirely inconsistent with scientific explanations of creation.

  171. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 24, 2014 at 12:27 am

    Ron D,

    Please accept my apology for pushing your buttons. Once it became clear you thought I was that stupid, it was just too tempting not to feed into it. I do apologize.

    Andrew

  172. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 24, 2014 at 12:28 am

    Don 169,

    You have confused me. I applaud your belief that Christ was resurrected; but I must ask you: Was it impossible or not? Since it happened, then it was not impossible for the supernatural God who is able to act above and outside of all natural laws (since He created them). Yet, “science” insist that belief in supernatural acts are simply ignorance and superstition. If the resurrected Christ had physically appeared to them, they would swear on all their scientific authority that the Man had never yet really died, and you must be mistaken. It is a scientific FACT that people who are really dead for three days CANNOT and DO NOT RISE FROM THE DEAD. It is an impossibility.

    But Don, these same scientists say the same thing regarding origins and the prospect of a recent miraculous creation. “Something CANNOT come from nothing—it is impossible and does not happen,” they will say. All beliefs to the contrary are mere ignorance and superstition. “We don’t need such superstitious beliefs any more, since we now know how things are formed and where they come from—we can analyze and test these things, so now we know the fact of the matter.”

    You have put forth a subtle fallacy. Creation is not “entirely different than it appears to be,” but it is entirely different from what you propose and presume it to be. But you have begged the question of whether your method of determining its appearance is valid and accurate. If creation is entirely different from your inaccurate or invalid assessment of its appearance, then nothing is taken away from God’s attributes as displayed by creation.

  173. Ron said,

    June 24, 2014 at 12:33 am

    Steve,

    I’ve been flying all evening and actually have a meeting in the lobby. I’m not tracking your point very well but it very might be due to the late hour for me. Can we discuss tomorrow? I’d be good taking this idea of yours off line. I’d prefer it but your call. Take care, Ron D

  174. Ron said,

    June 24, 2014 at 12:35 am

    Love ya Andrew. No issues here.

  175. Don said,

    June 24, 2014 at 1:47 am

    Ken Hamrick 172,
    Your personification of science–or rather, “science,” I shouldn’t forget the scare quotes–is neither accurate nor helpful. Do you understand the difference between science and atheism? Because you seem to be talking about atheism and atheists.

    But regarding your last paragraph, no, it is you who is indeed arguing that creation is “entirely different than it appears to be.” I assume you would acknowledge that the scientific method works perfectly well up to six or ten thousand years ago (well, I’m pretty sure at least some of the people in this conversation agree with that, hopefully the engineer at least), but you state that at that point, the scientific method fails suddenly and spectacularly. There is no way to arrive at that conclusion from general revelation. Now, I’m not sure whether it matters to you that you believe that creation is entirely different than it appears, but that is your position.

  176. Ron said,

    June 24, 2014 at 2:21 am

    Don,

    Does inductive inference support the virgin birth and resurrection of Christ or do you accept these miracles as running contrary to science? I only raise the question because you seem to have a selective standard regarding when science is authoritative. By what principle do you reject the overwhelming testimony that pregnant woman get that way through physical relations? Why is that principle not applicable to ordinary days? Short answers appreciated.

  177. Bob S said,

    June 24, 2014 at 2:34 am

    46/74 Don,
    Not to pile on, but science is all about an orderly observation of the universe in an attempt to understand it.

    But this just in!
    Nobody was there to observe creation – except for the divine author of Genesis.

    78 If you want, to quote myself again, to “seriously argue that the scientific evidence for a 14-billion-year-old universe is insufficient,” then go ahead. However, you seem to be declaring that you do not think the scientific method is valid, in which case there’s maybe no need to deal with the scientific evidence.

    There is no scientific evidence for evolution. There are things that appear to have “evolved”, but scientists can only show us the end result – not the process, never mind the genesis.
    Again, there is an appearance of millions of years and the speed of light is a constant and gravity is a law (just like the speed limit?) and Bob’s your uncle.
    Good luck with that.

    IOW science/observation/experiments/hypotheses/technology/the Hubble Bubble telescope cannot tell us authoritatively anything about the beginning of the universe.

    While it may be helpful in a pragmatic way, science is all about induction. You “reason” (my word “surmise”) from observation and experiments to an hypothesis/possible explanation of the facts/reality.

    But induction is not deduction and first causes and first principles are not proveable – by scientific methods. We know water boils at 212 degrees. But can we prove that it will do so tomorrow? No.
    We pragmatically count on it, for coffee first thing in the morning, but aside from God’s promise of a consistent providence for his creation – and this is the suppressed premise from which we jump to the conclusion that science teaches truth – we can not “prove” it will happen again.

    IOW ever since the fathers fell asleep Richard Dawkins said so, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation Big Bang (cf. 2 Pet. 3:4 Darwin, On The Origin of Species, p.216). .

    94Different genres of literature require we read them in different ways. Genesis 1-11 is mytho-poetic; it responds to the contemporary Sumerian/Babylonian worldview. It is not a science textbook.

    Yup, that’s right Bobby.
    We read inspired literature different than we do the uninspired.
    Genesis 1-11 is not mytho-poetic, but an historical account of creation because in part it is very possibly responding to the Sumerian/Babylonian worldviews.
    Read for instance Currid’s Against The Gods and get back to us when you can demonstrate that your mytho-poetic take on Genesis is definitive, instead of the other way around.

    cheers

  178. Bob S said,

    June 24, 2014 at 3:03 am

    116Does anyone post comments on here that aren’t dripping with sarcasm?

    It goes both ways, Bobby.

    Modern science/evolution/old earth theory are all at bottom based on faith, just as Christianity is, though obviously the objects of the respective faiths are different. Consequently the incongruity of those who believe in science and yet castigate historic Christianity as a religious faith for disagreeing with its hermeneutic of understanding and interpreting the universe, comes across as both ridiculous and inconsistent to those of us who are unbelievers, when it comes to science.

    Hebrews 11:3  Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

    Science is all about appearances, what we can see, (smell, taste, hear or touch). The problem again is, no scientist was around to see what happened at creation. Which means some of us are gleefully waiting to see what kind of contortions will result in order to evade the obvious/explain it away.

    Our apologies, but it still is liable to be amusing.
    cordially

  179. Don said,

    June 24, 2014 at 3:45 am

    Ron 176,
    Good question! Short answer: the Text.

    Somewhat longer answer but I’ll try to keep it short: the point of the miracles, or rather signs, (from the Resurrection, virgin birth, etc. on down) is that God is performing that which cannot occur naturally, to display his glory. Of course, the various miracles display his other attributes as well, such as his mercy, justice, or power. Does creation show God’s glory? Certainly. How? By simply looking at it. Is there any direct textual evidence that the nature of creation (e.g., age) is vastly different than it appears to be? Not that I know of. There are in fact a few verses which imply creation operates by fixed rules, such as Genesis 8:22 and Jeremiah 31:35.

  180. Don said,

    June 24, 2014 at 4:02 am

    Bob S 177,

    There is no scientific evidence for evolution.

    This is…just…no. Please don’t say such foolishness. Please say something like, “I reject the scientific evidence for evolution.”

    Then you say

    We know water boils at 212 degrees. But can we prove that it will do so tomorrow? No.

    But immediately after this you acknowledge “God’s promise of a consistent providence for his creation.” So which is it? Can we know, or “prove” if you prefer that word, that water will boil at 212 F tomorrow, or do you not trust the promise that God’s providence is consistent?

  181. Don said,

    June 24, 2014 at 4:03 am

    Bonus question: Anyone know who said the following?

    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. Nevertheless, this study is not to be reprobated, nor this science to be condemned, because some frantic persons are wont boldly to reject whatever is unknown to them. For astronomy is not only pleasant, but also very useful to be known: it cannot be denied that this art unfolds the admirable wisdom of God.

  182. Tim Harris said,

    June 24, 2014 at 6:17 am

    (yawn) sure, Calvin. Who also still believed the Ptolemaic system. So much for “general revelation” as a “second book.”

  183. Tim Harris said,

    June 24, 2014 at 6:25 am

    That second part was not stated precisely. General revelation is indeed a second book, but “science” is in no way shape or form part of general revelation.

  184. Ron Henzel said,

    June 24, 2014 at 6:27 am

    @ Don (#180):

    If there is scientific evidence for evolution, I would like to see it. I keep hearing people talk about it.

    @ Tim (#182):

    You apparently do not know what the term “general revelation” means.

  185. Ron Henzel said,

    June 24, 2014 at 6:29 am

    @ Tim (#183):

    That’s better.

  186. Ron Henzel said,

    June 24, 2014 at 6:37 am

    For Sir Francis Bacon, creation was the “second book”—not the things that men say about creation (e.g., the opinions of scientists, which are popularly confused with science itself), but what God says about Himself through creation. As such, it is not only a “second book,” but a secondary book—that is, what it says must be interpreted through the primary book, the Bible, because sinners inevitably distort what the “second book” says by suppressing its truth in unrighteousness.

  187. Ron Henzel said,

    June 24, 2014 at 6:46 am

    @ Don (#180):

    You quoted Bob S as saying:

    We know water boils at 212 degrees. But can we prove that it will do so tomorrow? No.

    And he meant (I trust) “prove scientifically,” which means, “prove using the scientific method.”

    Then you replied:

    But immediately after this you acknowledge “God’s promise of a consistent providence for his creation.” So which is it? Can we know, or “prove” if you prefer that word, that water will boil at 212 F tomorrow, or do you not trust the promise that God’s providence is consistent?

    We do not prove God’s promises scientifically, but by referring to His special revelation in Scripture. There is no dilemma here. Bob S was correct both times.

  188. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 24, 2014 at 8:30 am

    Alan,

    Since it was I that brought up the OPC Creation report, let me clarify a couple of things. Although I do disagree with much of it, I really do appreciate the labor that went into producing it and the work of the committee, and it has been of great use to the church in navigating the issues the church and its members face regarding the doctrine of creation. The OPC didn’t adopt it, so I recognize it is not binding in any way on the church.

    I have however, come across those who use the report as license that so long as they can fit their view of creation into one of allowable views, they need not bother with wrestling with the implications or consequences of that particular view. They wield the report as though to suggest that Analogical Day or Framework is wrong is be guilty of schism. I know that was not the intent of the committee or its report, but from what I’ve seen it is our current reality.

  189. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 24, 2014 at 9:24 am

    Don 175,

    The reason I put quotes around ‘science’ is because it is not true science that is anti-supernatural and denies Scripture, but the heavily biased form of science that is prevalent in the world today. Bias and science are antithetical. The ultimate, most pervasive human bias is the bias against the truths of God and His Word. Invariably, all unbelievers labor under this bias, which skews all their thinking. Therefore, when an unbelieving scientist deals with an area that does not particularly have to do with a divine truth like origins, such as developing microchips or cures for diseases, then his science can be reliable and objective. But when the unbelieving scientist deals with an issue that does have to do with a divine truth like origins, then the aversion toward divine truth that comes from the sinful core of his being clouds his judgment and skews his results from the start.

    The supernatural is not testable or observable. If we could take a scientist back in time to Eden to examine Adam, he could reasonably claim to be able to duplicate the level of physical maturity of Adam in another man, by observing a newborn throughout twenty years or so. Because he has observed such development in other people, he can reasonably apply this to Adam and theorize that Adam is approximately twenty years old (a rough guess… he was mature enough to be given a wife). However, what the scientist cannot do, is to actually observe how Adam came into existence. He can theorize, assume, and even declare his assumptions as scientific fact, but his science is inadequate to the task, because Adam was supernaturally created, not naturally originated. The very practice of scientific inquiry into this matter is itself a presumption that nothing supernatural happened else scientific inquiry would be futile. Where God supernaturally acts, science has reached the end of all possible inquiry.

    Science can only observe what is observable. When they venture to explain origins, they venture out of the purview of science and into the purview of theology and philosophy. They cannot even approach the question of origins without a philosophical basis, which they have found in materialistic naturalism, which is the belief that the origin and state of the world as it is can be explained according to natural laws and processes alone (which are seen as having been constant throughout time). This philosophy on which their whole scientific authority stands or falls, is unproven and unbiblical (as it allows for no significant role for any supernatural causes). Because their philosophical basis is flawed, they are left with no scientific authority whatsoever when speaking on origins theory—their theories are no more scientific and carry no more weight than any other philosophical or theological paradigms. The question of origins is an inherently religious question, and any endeavor to answer it is a religious endeavor, whether acknowledged or not. Any time that such a scientific method is employed in a way that addresses origins but does not acknowledge at least the “possibility” of a supernatural, young-earth creation, then it has already answered one religious question in the negative. Further, it is operating on an assumption regarding factual possibilities for which it has no evidence—so much for “scientific method.”

  190. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 24, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Don 175,

    As I explained in 165, it is the nature of a supernatural miracle to be deceptive to any who do not believe it, just as the guests at the wedding were deceived into thinking that the host had saved the best wine for last, even though Jesus had made the water into wine. Wine, after all, takes a considerable amount of time to make and its existence is ‘proof’ that the process has already occurred. Jesus and Lazarus both appeared to have never really died when they came out of their graves.

    For those who would say that the world looks old, how are they determining what ‘old’ is or how old the world is? Do they begin with unbelief and the possibility that the historical account of creation in Genesis might be incorrect? Do they use a method of calculation that assumes that natural processes, as they are found today, are reliable as a constant by which to measure age back beyond what the straightforward, “common sense” reading of Genesis 1 would indicate as the point in time when God supernaturally created the world? If they do, then it is not God who is deceiving them, but they who are deceiving themselves. Rather than deceiving, God openly admitted to creating the world, and told us plainly when and how long He took.

    This is not deception, but decision—a matter of chosen presuppositions and philosophies.

  191. Ron said,

    June 24, 2014 at 10:07 am

    <blockquote<Ron 176,
    Good question! Short answer: the Text.

    Somewhat longer answer but I’ll try to keep it short: the point of the miracles, or rather signs, (from the Resurrection, virgin birth, etc. on down) is that God is performing that which cannot occur naturally, to display his glory. Of course, the various miracles display his other attributes as well, such as his mercy, justice, or power. Does creation show God’s glory? Certainly. How? By simply looking at it. Is there any direct textual evidence that the nature of creation (e.g., age) is vastly different than it appears to be? Not that I know of. There are in fact a few verses which imply creation operates by fixed rules, such as Genesis 8:22 and Jeremiah 31:35.

    Don,

    In haste I typed into Google, Genesis 31:35 and found “Rachel said to her father, ‘Don’t be angry, my lord, that I cannot stand up in your presence; I’m having my period.’” I thought, man, what is Don trying to say!

    I would suggest that your proof-texts pertain to providence and not creation. Creation does not run by the same rules of providence given that at creation God brought matter and causality into existence. If creation ran by ordinary providence as depicted by your proof-texts, then there would have been no creation but rather eternal matter and eternal causality. Given that your position hangs upon using induction for the explanation of beginnings I thought I should point that out.

    To your other point, saying that you may interpret the plain meaning of words literally only when they pertain to events that display God’s glory and disclose his attributes seems a bit arbitrary to me. That science should trump prima facie interpretation only on certain occasions doesn’t explain to me why we should interpret Scripture this way. As I asked earlier in the thread, had God wanted to have communicated ordinary days, how could he have given these strictures? He couldn’t have, which would seem to underscore the wrongheadedness of simply assuming without argumentation the primacy of secular presuppositions that would dismiss apparent age without an argument.

    “Science” does not preclude apparent age. Rather, certain scientists do. To believe in apparent age doesn’t make one person less scientific than another; nor does it preclude using the scientific method. To believe in apparent age merely implies an interpretation of Scripture that does not allow prejudice to influence creation in a way that it may not influence other revealed miracles.

    But even if I grant this un-argued premise as axiomatic, why isn’t God’s ability to send star light “into the future” so to speak upon creation not a thing to evoke our praise and adoration? If it evokes our praise of His glory, then it meets your requirements. Why is it such a difficult thing that God might have been pleased, for his own glory no less, to let Adam and Eve enjoy a mature creation?

  192. Ron said,

    June 24, 2014 at 10:09 am

    Ron 176,
    Good question! Short answer: the Text.

    Somewhat longer answer but I’ll try to keep it short: the point of the miracles, or rather signs, (from the Resurrection, virgin birth, etc. on down) is that God is performing that which cannot occur naturally, to display his glory. Of course, the various miracles display his other attributes as well, such as his mercy, justice, or power. Does creation show God’s glory? Certainly. How? By simply looking at it. Is there any direct textual evidence that the nature of creation (e.g., age) is vastly different than it appears to be? Not that I know of. There are in fact a few verses which imply creation operates by fixed rules, such as Genesis 8:22 and Jeremiah 31:35.

    Don,

    In haste I typed into Google, Genesis 31:35 and found “Rachel said to her father, ‘Don’t be angry, my lord, that I cannot stand up in your presence; I’m having my period.’” I thought, man, what is Don trying to say!

    I would suggest that your proof-texts pertain to providence and not creation. Creation does not run by the same rules of providence given that at creation God brought matter and causality into existence. If creation ran by ordinary providence as depicted by your proof-texts, then there would have been no creation but rather eternal matter and eternal causality. Given that your position hangs upon using induction for the explanation of beginnings I thought I should point that out.

    To your other point, saying that you may interpret the plain meaning of words literally only when they pertain to events that display God’s glory and disclose his attributes seems a bit arbitrary to me. That science should trump prima facie interpretation only on certain occasions doesn’t explain to me why we should interpret Scripture this way. As I asked earlier in the thread, had God wanted to have communicated ordinary days, how could he have given these strictures? He couldn’t have, which would seem to underscore the wrongheadedness of simply assuming without argumentation the primacy of secular presuppositions that would dismiss apparent age without an argument.

    “Science” does not preclude apparent age. Rather, certain scientists do. To believe in apparent age doesn’t make one person less scientific than another; nor does it preclude using the scientific method. To believe in apparent age merely implies an interpretation of Scripture that does not allow prejudice to influence creation in a way that it may not influence other revealed miracles.

    But even if I grant this un-argued premise as axiomatic, why isn’t God’s ability to send star light “into the future” so to speak upon creation not a thing to evoke our praise and adoration? If it evokes our praise of His glory, then it meets your requirements. Why is it such a difficult thing that God might have been pleased, for his own glory no less, to let Adam and Eve enjoy a mature creation?

  193. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 24, 2014 at 11:08 am

    The growing acceptance of “scientific evidence” and the corresponding anti-supernatural bias is the reason why all Christian truth claims have been delegitimizedin the eyes of the world.

  194. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 24, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Why would God create the world in such a way as to leave no scientific evidence whatsoever of His creating, but leave plenty of evidence that natural processes predated the recent supernatural creation found in the natural reading of the Biblical account? Quite simply, God created in such a way that He would not be found by scientific evidence but only by faith. This is not to say that the created world does not point to God and reveal a Creator to those who are willing to believe, but only that God and His creating cannot be established by any materialistic evidence. There are no “miracle particles” that science can measure to determine that creation by fiat occurred. Any unbelievers who insist on scientific evidence for God’s existence or His creating will find only natural processes. God requires faith. Truth is first a spiritual matter, and unbelief is the ultimate spiritual rebellion.

    The debate over origins should be restricted to faith and hermeneutics. Scientific evidences and theories are irrelevant to the question of a recent creation by divine fiat. One either believes or not.

  195. Don said,

    June 24, 2014 at 11:56 am

    Ken Hamrick 190,

    For those who would say that the world looks old, how are they determining what ‘old’ is or how old the world is? Do they begin with unbelief and the possibility that the historical account of creation in Genesis might be incorrect?

    Not sure if you realize this, but most of the geologists of a few centuries ago, who started to realize the earth appeared much older than ten thousand years, were in fact Christians.
    Unbelief is not required for any of this.

  196. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 24, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Don 195,

    One may reject the Scriptural testimony of a recent miraculous creation and yet be a believer in Christ. Nevertheless, if they find deception in the prospect that God recently created a world that appears old to them, then it is they who are deceiving themselves by their own unbelief.

  197. Reed Here said,

    June 24, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    Bottom line:

    > Evolution denies God, no matter what form it takes.
    > Denying God leaves the soul that knows it was created with unexplained guilt and shame.
    > Combine this with the moral pollution of sexual immorality and you’ve got a recipe for the destruction of a young person’s hope.

    Accommodation of evolution in any manner is soul destroying. Argue with Ham’s book and Lane’s admonitions all you want. It does not alter the bottom line.

  198. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 24, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    Let’s face it, folks. Christianity is a supernatural religion—a belief in a supernatural God who is above natural law and who acts in miraculous ways, in creation, in providence and in redemption. To allow ourselves to feel the world’s embarrassment at the prospect of a supernatural, miraculous creation is antithetical to Christianity. No matter the miracle, those who believe it give no weight to any physical evidence to the contrary, because to do so would be to give up the argument from the start. We believe in Christ’s resurrection not due to the abundance of evidence in its favor, but primarily because of the witness of the Holy Spirit affirming that the word of God is true. Period—no evidence needed. In the same way, those who believe in a recent fiat creation do so not because of any physical evidence in favor of it, but because the Biblical account plainly and clearly conveys that to be the truth. Period—no evidence needed.

  199. Reed Here said,

    June 24, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Ken, agreed. I might tweak your use of “primarily” and replace it with “ultimately”, but I think this is the direction of your intention.

    At the same time, while no evidence is needed (testimony is another valid source of “fact”), it seems to me that it is biblically valid to offer reasons that serve to “disprove” the unbiblical beliefs about the nature of things. As long as we’re not trying to “prove” (use the world’s method rooted in rebellion) the biblical worldview, we can and should use these to “disprove,” to uncover valid reasons for real doubt of the veracity of the world’s explanation for their rebellion.

  200. Don said,

    June 24, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    Tim Harris 182,

    (yawn) sure, Calvin. Who also still believed the Ptolemaic system.

    Yup! It was Calvin.
    Yes, he also believed in geocentrism, although he was clearly uncomfortable with the (apparent) incredible speeds that celestial objects would take across the sky. But at that point there was apparently no other viable theory.

    Anyway, would you care to point out where, exactly, Calvin is wrong here? Or do you believe that the moon is larger than Saturn?

  201. Don said,

    June 24, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    Ron Henzel 184,

    If there is scientific evidence for evolution, I would like to see it. I keep hearing people talk about it.

    Try calling the biology department of your local community college. I expect they would have a reasonably accessible textbook to recommend. Or there might even be a class you can audit. Then you can learn what the evidence is, and evaluate for yourself whether it is compelling.

  202. Don said,

    June 24, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Ken Hamrick 190,

    Jesus and Lazarus both appeared to have never really died when they came out of their graves.

    Now you’re just making stuff up. The resurrected Jesus still had a bunch of holes in him, right? I’m not sure how you can say he appeared to have not died, when he sure looked like he was crucified. As for Lazarus, who knows if actually–in the beautiful words of the KJV–he stinketh, but he did come out all wrapped up in graveclothes.

  203. Don said,

    June 24, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    Reed Here 197,

    Evolution denies God, no matter what form it takes.

    Have you ever had a flu shot? Or more to the point, have you ever had a second flu shot? If so, have you repented?

    I suppose you realize that one of the reasons that annual flu vaccinations are recommended is that the viruses keep (supposedly) evolving? Even if you deny that the flu virus evolves, the vaccine is formulated with this in mind, so to get a second flu shot is to tacitly acknowledge the evolutionary underpinnings of the vaccine production. This is some form of evolution, so according to what you have written above, it denies God.

  204. Don said,

    June 24, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    Just to be clear, it’s my opinion that to deny yourself or anyone a vaccine (or other medical treatment) _solely_ on the basis of the evolutionary science behind that vaccine (or whatever), is probably a violation of the Sixth Commandment.

  205. Tim Harris said,

    June 24, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    I heard a biology prof from Del concede to his creationist debate opponent that no mutation that added genetic material has every been observed. Help me here biologists — perhaps we need to add “beneficial” or “that was passed to the next generation”?

    In any case, this I think is what the Creation team means by “no evidence for evolution.”

    Note, however, that even if a successful mutation (of the additive, beneficial, inheritable kind) could be induced in the lab, that still wouldn’t prove that evolution happened, only that it was possible. Right now, there is not even proof that it is possible apparently.

  206. Reed Here said,

    June 24, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    Don, not an example of evolution.

    And no, at this point in life I do not get flu shots, but not because of religious conviction. Are you really going to maintain I am violating the 6th commandment? (Sounds like the Evolution Police.)

  207. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 24, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    Don 202,

    I had said, “Jesus and Lazarus both appeared to have never really died when they came out of their graves,” to which you replied:

    Now you’re just making stuff up. The resurrected Jesus still had a bunch of holes in him, right? I’m not sure how you can say he appeared to have not died, when he sure looked like he was crucified. As for Lazarus, who knows if actually–in the beautiful words of the KJV–he stinketh, but he did come out all wrapped up in graveclothes.

    Holes or no holes, Don, dead bodies do not walk around and dead people do not rise from the dead—it is a natural impossibility. Therefore, if any of the scientists that you depend on were to see the resurrected Christ walking around, they (like their theological counterparts) would have went for the swoon theory or some such natural explanation. Believers testify that He rose from the dead, but having a dead man start walking around again is by nature deceptive to those who insist on physical evidence and natural explanations.

  208. Don said,

    June 24, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    Reed Here 206,
    Yes, an example of evolution. The vaccines are designed under the idea that the viruses evolve. You are the one who said “no matter what form it takes.” Presumably this includes what one might term “misguided applications of so-called evolutionary science,” or something like that. So if you are condemning evolution in any form, you are condemning the development and therefore use of flu vaccines.

    There are good medical reasons for various individuals in their various circumstances to get, or not get, a vaccine. If someone declines a vaccine for religious reasons _solely_ (I tried to highlight this word in 204) and therefore unnecessarily puts their health or life at increased risk, then that seems to me to be a violation of the Sixth Commandment. If this is not the case for you, then I hope it is clear that I am explicitly not applying this to you.

  209. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 24, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    Don 203,

    Genetic variations within kind are not examples of evolution. A virus may change but it cannot become a fly. A brown fish may produce a spotted fish, but it cannot produce a frog. Evolutionists assume that minor changes indicate that larger changes are eventually possible, but none have been proven.

    However, it really doesn’t matter either way. Even if the evolution theory and chronology were accepted for the sake of argument, it would not disprove our view. It still remains consonant with a recent supernatural creation that God would supernaturally create (without a trace of evidence) a world already in process—even if that process is evolution. Just as the immediate visibility of the stars at creation can be seen as evidence of a natural process already in progress, the existence of evolutionary processes that were apparently in progress at the moment of creation provides no threat to the literal, six-days view. That man evolved as the crowning achievement of a billions-of-years-long natural process, and that he was supernaturally created out of nothing around 6000 years ago, are perfectly compatible… if God “stepped into” that process right at the point where modern man would have evolved if God had allowed everything to develop over billions of years, and created everything out of nothing at that point in the virtual chronology. In short, this proposes that God in creating the world also created a virtual past full of scientific processes that in themselves are capable of explaining all that exists—that indeed would have resulted in all that exists had God not chosen to miraculously create everything according to the recent chronology of the Bible.

    This is not to say that I believe the outlandish claims of the evolutionists, but only to say that even if they were to some day prove their theory beyond all doubt, the literal six-days view would not be disproven. Therefore, the debate over origins should be restricted to faith and hermeneutics. Scientific evidences and theories are irrelevant to the question.

  210. Don said,

    June 24, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    Ken Hamrick 209,

    he was supernaturally created out of nothing

    Nothing? What about dust?

    this proposes that God in creating the world also created a virtual past full of scientific processes …

    I’m unaware of any textual or empirical evidence for such a proposal.

  211. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 24, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    Don 210,

    What about the dust? Did God not create the dust also? Adam’s body was created from the dust which was created from nothing, and his soul was created from nothing. Is there a point you wanted to make?

    Empirical evidence has no bearing or application on supernatural, miraculous acts. There is no trace of “miracle particles” that science can analyze and prove that a miracle took place. The only textual evidence we need is the testimony that God created by fiat, out of nothing, the whole world in six literal days, approx. 6-10 thousand years ago. If you find evidence of scientific process that predate that creative act, then it fits with our view as well as with yours. If you don’t, well that fits too. The question is not, “How old is this rock,” but, “How old was this rock when God miraculously created it?” The most that you could possibly prove with natural evidences is what state the world was in when God created it by fiat 6 to 10000 years ago.

  212. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 24, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    An a priori faith-based decision in one direction or the other must be made—indeed, has already been made—by all of us. God can create out of nothing a rock, a world or a man, at any age that He wants it to be, with whatever erosion, maturity or aging that He chooses to create it with. God is not limited to creating things brand new, and neither can science be so arrogant as to assume that they can determine how long ago something was created. Supernatural miracles such as creation out of nothing leave no trace of “miracle particles” or any other natural evidence that a miracle took place. Therefore, to take an evidence-based approach to origins is to a priori rule out that a miraculous supernatural creative act took place—not ruled out due to the weight of evidence available, but ruled out prior to admitting evidence (since, in the case of a supernatural creation, no evidence could ever prove or disprove it). The act of admitting such evidence and supposedly weighing it “objectively” reveals the anti-supernatural bias and its foregone conclusion.

  213. June 24, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    @Ron Henzel #149

    I think in response I would say that your definition of myth lacks nuance. I do not mean to invoke the popular notion of “made-up stories about fake beings” – and having not been clear about that, I apologize.

    What I have in mind is something more like C.S. Lewis’ idea, which treats myth much like art, in that it uses non-standard forms to communicate realities (truths) that go beyond what can be listed in a series of propositions. And I would make a distinction between “true” and “factual”. No one reads Yeats’ “Second Coming”, for example, and then calls him a liar, when he speaks of seeing the “spiritus mundi” slouching toward Bethlehem. (Nor would we call Jesus a liar, for that matter, when he calls himself a “mother hen” or a “vine” or a “door” – but these are no less non-factual)

    As for the bit about Reader response, that’s not quite what I am advocating. What I mean is that it seems quite natural to me that if God addressed himself to a particular people and then made use of the metaphors and themes that were already common within their cultural context (even while repurposing them), it might make sense to try to understand how that particular people would have understood them.

    For example:

    In the Enuma Elish, the sky gods (Ea and Marduk) fight with and overcome the water gods (Apsu and Tiamat) and out of their bodies create the domain for the gods (heaven) and the domain for man (earth). And Marduk initially proves that he has the ability to defeat the others – and is actually all powerful – by causing a constellation of stars to disappear and then reappear, just by speaking.

    In Genesis, we begin with “the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters”, but that God doesn’t have to fight, he also just speaks and causes the heavens and the earth to appear.

    Are we supposed to pretend those parallels are accidental? Or that they weren’t intended to evoke a certain type of literature with which the people were already familiar?

    As for Ed Young, you could accept every one of his “reasons” – even this account’s distinctiveness from other poetic accounts in the scriptures – and still not be forced to hold the days of creation were literal 24hr days.

    The first 11 chapters are coherent with the remaining chapters (which I’d argue are actually 2 more parts – a the saga of Abraham and the Saga of Jacob)? Absolutely. The first 11 chapters introduce the conflict in worldviews, and the remaining portions show the gradual conversion of one family out of the Sumerian/Babylonian worldview to the YHWH-centric worldview.

    The remaining parts refer back to the first part? Absolutely – for the same reasons and in the same ways as listed above.

    The NT authors regards certain events of creation as having actually taken place? Of course! The Creation *DID* take place! Until you find me an NT author saying, “A lo, there were 24 hours within each of the days of creation,” this again falls short of what you seem to think it accomplishes.

  214. Reed Here said,

    June 24, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Bobby, can you provide a side by side comparison of the similarities of the Enuma Elish and the Gn account?

    I remember seeing this before and I was decidedly unimpressed. Even pushing it there was only a minority of comparisons. And the underlying theology is not even close.

    Such “similarity” is more likely the result of one source being more accurate and the other a corrupted account a third source. Of course, those given to trust God speaks plainly will not have to try hard to believe that the Genesis account is the accurate one, and the Enuma Elish simply a horrible knock off with a ghost writer parroting the Satanic counterfeit.

    Seriously, it stuns me that otherwise intelligent Christians would give any credence to the Enuma Elish influence theory. Absolutely worthless bunk1 Take no offense at my strong words. They are directed at unbelief, not necessarily you.

  215. Reed Here said,

    June 24, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    Bobby, as to NT writers assuming the 6-24 hour reading of Gn 1:1-2:4, does not Jesus’ words assuming the historicity of Adam and Eve’s creation demonstrate that Jesus himself assumed this?

    If he thought the one fact was true, on what biblical basis can we deny he thought the other was fact? One has to introduce outside the Bible considerations to arrive as such a diverging conclusion.

  216. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 24, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    I find it sadly humorous that when the world steps in with scientific objections, then, suddenly, what should be beyond all doubt now needs to be proven. Given the straightforward language of Gen. 1, the burden of proof is firmly on the shoulders of those who would propose any other understanding than that of a simple, contiguous, historical account of the first 6 days of the world. It’s silly, really. Whether in English or in Hebrew, a day used with a number is a normal day. If I say, “Back in my father’s day, we all know what I mean; but if I say, “In my father’s third day…” we all would understand that this meant the third 24-hour period in a series of 24-hour days—the third day of existence, the third day of fatherhood, or the third day of something else. Never would such usage of a number and a day be appropriate in Scripture or in daily usage for the representation of a figurative day. And discoveries of order or organization in the different days of the six-day creation account must be assumed to be order in the way that God performed His creative acts, and not presumed to indicate a less than literal account of these historical events. Merely because some theory can be made to fit the text does not justify adopting it: any proposed theory must fit better than the plain, straightforward reading—and there must be indication within Scripture itself that the proposed theory is the better understanding.

  217. Don said,

    June 24, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    Ken Hamrick,
    Since you’re advocating a strictly plain-language interpretation of the text, let me ask you: if a group of items are being discussed, and two of them are called great, does that not mean they are bigger than the others?
    You perhaps know where I’m going with this, but I’ll wait for your reply.

  218. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 24, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    Don,

    You might be great at this sort of thing, but I would need more of the context before I could do anything other than guess at the meaning of ‘great.’

  219. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 24, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    BTW, Don, I would appreciate it if you would address 212, which I think ought to settle the issue.

  220. Don said,

    June 24, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    You might be great at this sort of thing

    Doubtful. But anyway.

    OK, let’s say the items are lights in the sky. Two of them are described as “great.” Does this mean they are the biggest, or brightest, or most luminous, something along those lines?

  221. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 24, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    Don,

    I think you’ve described the meaning well: “biggest… brightest… most luminous…”

  222. Don said,

    June 24, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    Ken,
    So then, would you agree with the statement that the sun and the moon are bigger and brighter than anything else in the sky?

  223. Bob S said,

    June 25, 2014 at 1:54 am

    So then, would you agree with the statement that the sun and the moon are bigger and brighter than anything else in the sky?

    Yep/Duh. They are to the naked human eye. But maybe not to your 3d printer copy of the Hubble telescope you got in your backyard.
    And your point is, Don?

    201 Yeah, there’s lots of evidence for evolution. But all of it contested and not of it conclusive.
    Neither is micro evolution within a specie as Ken mentioned, the same thing as macro evolution between species.
    Can we say equivocation?
    How about a shell game?
    As in can we do better than this, please?

    213 Currid, Bobby. You need to read Currid.

    IOW which came first, the chicken or the Enuma Elish?

    And you can prove that and not just assert it?

    There are similarities, but the differences are decisive.

    Monotheism vs. polytheism.
    Man as made in the image of God and man as incidental or a marginal mention.
    God as creator and gods as various created natural elements.

    Hmmm. And why did those salient distinctions get left out of the narrative in which the ANE mytho – poetic epics decisively trump Genesis?

    Better yet, how long shall we halt between Scripture and science so called?

    As long as we have to until they find the missing link between men and monkeys?

    And no, none of the current or previous administration in Mordor on the Potomac, aka Washington DC. qualifies.

    (Admit it, a lot of you were about to raise your hand and say you had the answer.)

  224. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 25, 2014 at 2:16 am

    Don,

    They are bigger than anything else in my sky. The sun most definitely rules the day, and the moon the night, for anyone on this earth.

  225. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 25, 2014 at 2:33 am

    It all comes down to a single question. To which will you give the benefit of the doubt: Scripture or Skepticism? I’m still waiting for the old-earthers to admit their a priori commitment to materialistic naturalism. An a priori faith-based decision in one direction or the other must be made—indeed, has already been made—by all of us. God can create out of nothing a rock, a world or a man, at any age that He wants it to be, with whatever erosion, maturity or aging that He chooses to create it with. God is not limited to creating things brand new, and neither can science be so arrogant as to assume that they can determine how long ago something was created. Supernatural miracles such as creation ex nihilo leave no trace of “miracle particles” or any other natural evidence that a miracle took place. Therefore, to take an evidence-based approach to origins is to a priori rule out that a miraculous supernatural creative act took place—not ruled out due to the weight of evidence available, but ruled out prior to admitting evidence (since, in the case of a supernatural creation, no evidence could ever prove or disprove it). The act of admitting such evidence and supposedly weighing it “objectively” reveals the anti-supernatural bias and its foregone conclusion.

    Let them answer that.

  226. Sjoerd de Boer said,

    June 25, 2014 at 2:45 am

    Reading this post for the first time just now, I have to say that I was a little surprised (to say the least) about the disturbance of not only pastor Lane and some commenters about the apparent facts in the book presented about youth leaving the church, but also the discussion following. As if the youth could be “kept in church” if we teach them the right things at the right time in the right place by biblical truth, whatever that might be.

    What I completely miss (excuse me if I missed half of the 222 comments) is the Scriptural and Confessional truth that “unless one is born again, he cannot see (let alone, enter!) the kingdom of God.”

    According to Scripture (and the WCF, Chapter IX and X) a miracle is needed for EVERY SINGLE Covenant child AND ADULT to become a true believer. In other words: do we really believe what we confess, or do we in fact have a somewhat watered down idea of TOTAL DEPRAVITY, that the reason why our children “physically” leave the church is most likely because of the “wrong” interpretation of Genesis?

    Commenter Ron somewhere mentioned a “red herring” because the real issue is not found in any methodical teaching of creation/evolution, however important that is, but how and when a (covenant) child comes to true faith.

    In this regard I noticed in many Presbyterian Churches that preaching faith and repentance (if it already occurs) is more directed toward adults and my impression is that preachers assume automatically that if youth not “openly” rebel, it is quite well with their souls.

    The results of this book show the more that the children and youth in the church ought to be seriously and urgently addressed with the gospel of sin and grace in a discriminative, experiential way of preaching as THE means of grace whereby they might be “effectually called”.

  227. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 25, 2014 at 3:23 am

    Getting back more to the point of the opening article…
    I’m not sure about how your Covenant Theology views these children who leave the church. As a Baptist, I see in Scripture that those who have the Spirit of Christ will never be lost. But I also recognize that there are many people who are in church but not in Christ. Of that group, some will go on to eventually be saved while others will eventually leave. Not all people follow the usual pattern of conversion, as some seem to begin by drawing “near” with an inadequate repentance and disingenuous faith, and then later (with some, years later) come to full repentance and genuine saving faith. Paul seems to realize this when he does not take for granted that all the members of the churches he writes to are saved, but instead includes such warnings as, “…unless you have believed in vain.” This category is not given much attention, but is particularly true of many of our children who are raised in the church as a part of that “covenant community” long before even comprehending the gospel.

    The idea that children leave the faith does not contradict the doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints, but rather, addresses that God uses means to save His elect—and it is our job to attend to those means. God does not tell us to be silent and preach not the gospel and He will do it all and save whom He will without the means of our efforts to convert them. Rather, He tells us to preach the gospel, and to raise our children in the fear of the Lord and the knowledge of His Word and the understanding of His gospel. We dare not presume upon the sovereignty of God’s grace that we are not responsible for the ineffectiveness of our methods in attending to those means—or deny that such means can indeed be effective.

    What Ham’s book reveals is that the means by which God has traditionally brought to salvation the children raised in the church have grown sorely ineffective, so that these children are leaving rather than coming to full repentance and saving faith. And Ham illuminates the fact that the failure is found precisely in how the reliability and veracity of Scripture is taught (or undercut) to our children.

  228. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 25, 2014 at 3:42 am

    Wow—I didn’t see 226 until after posting 227. Sjoerd de Boer, what say you? If the universal Church stopped preaching the gospel and witnessing all together, would people continue to be converted? And if not (which I hope you will acknowledge), then what if the Church began preaching a watered-down gospel that failed to convey the reliability of God’s Word as true? Would this not result in the reduction of how many would be saved? God ordains all that happens, yes, but that even includes the sinning of the saints; and yet, we are not to rest comfortably on His sovereignty as if our sin were only up to Him, but we are to make much effort to attend to the available means by which we might “find a way in the will of God” to reach a more sanctified state. We must avoid fatalistic tendencies in both our sanctification and our preaching; therefore, we cannot afford to deny in either case that our efforts and effectiveness do make a difference.

  229. June 25, 2014 at 8:45 am

    @ Reed (214,15) & Bob S. (223)

    I know a common secular strand of argument says that “because these parallels exist, they show that Genesis was influenced by the ANE mythology and is therefore no more trustworthy.” If that’s the line of reasoning you thought I was advocating, I’m sorry I was not more clear.

    I’m starting from the apriori assumption that God is real and that He is as he has been revealed in the Judeo-Christian scriptures. I’m not trying to show these scriptures are somehow untrustworthy. My point is that they are doing something specific (i.e. taking on the most dominant worldview at the time they were written down), and therefore don’t quite speak to what some are so insistent that they must.

    So, I think the thematic parallels are intentional, and are meant to re-orient certain strands of ANE thinking and thoroughly undermine others.

    Of course, I agree the underlying theology is completely different; of course, there are plenty of wide-ranging differences between the two texts. Nor am I saying that Genesis takes any one passage from the EE and copies it verbatim.

    However, the thematic realities in both their parallels (which I noted above, in 213) and their divergence show an engagement between the two texts that I think is a necessary one, especially if we consider that Abraham, the first great patriarch, comes out of the very worldview that the first section of Genesis seems to be engaging.

    To be clear, I think all of Genesis, but this first portion especially, functions as a polemic against the extant, ANE worldview. I don’t believe Genesis is derivative of or, in any way, shaped or influenced by that worldview, except to say that it provides the content to which Genesis is responding.

  230. June 25, 2014 at 8:55 am

    @Reed,

    This probably isn’t the place to lay out the full, extensive argument of the exact parallels between Genesis and the ANE worldview; but I came across this write-up the other day that I think does a really good job:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2014/06/03/genesis-1-10-as-ideological-critique-rjs/

    It’s really worth your time, if you are so inclined, to check it out.

  231. Reed Here said,

    June 25, 2014 at 9:27 am

    And so, if the parallels are real, and the engagement is intentional, then on what basis do we allow these factors to determine what parts of the Genesis account are “corrections” and what are mere accommodations and not intended to be understand as straightforward?

    Seems to me that the Enuma Elish comparisons have no weight whatsoever in determining whether or we are to understand 6-24 hours days. If God was giving Moses the corrected version of the creation account, than we’ve no cause to bifurcate ANY part of the correction and say it is not factual.

  232. June 25, 2014 at 9:46 am

    Reed,
    Genre determines the reading. No one condemns C.S. Lewis as a heretic for claiming that God is a lion, or even for proposing a god (aslan) who is alternative to YHWH — even though that is the most straight forward reading of his writing.

    Is it possible they were 24 hr days? Sure. I’m simply arguing that to draw that from Genesis is akin to arguing that Romeo *actually thought* Juliet was some huge cosmic body when he said she was the Sun.

    (As a side note, if we insist on reading scripture in the way that you describe, we will all end up believing in transubstantiation. Isn’t that the clearest, most literal reading of “this *is* my body” and “this *is* my blood”?)

  233. Ron Henzel said,

    June 25, 2014 at 9:53 am

    To conclude that Genesis seeks to correct the mytho-poetry of ancient paganism with mytho-poetry of its own is just as inimical to a high view of Scripture as the conclusion that Genesis is no more trustworthy than the ANE literature to which it responds. There are no “true myths,” except in the most existential, Barthian sense, which, again, is inimical to true biblical inspiration.

  234. Ron Henzel said,

    June 25, 2014 at 9:54 am

    @ Bobby (#232):

    C.S. Lewis claimed that God is a lion? That is the most straightforward reading of his writing???

  235. Reed here said,

    June 25, 2014 at 10:08 am

    Bobby, so then you agree with me that the Enuma Elisha us irrelevant to determining how to read Gen, unless it is to show us that the for re is a lie and the latter truth?

    Then why bring it up? If it’s not relevant it does not add anything but confusion to the conversation.

  236. Ron Henzel said,

    June 25, 2014 at 10:13 am

    @ Bobby (#232, again):

    (As a side note, if we insist on reading scripture in the way that you describe, we will all end up believing in transubstantiation. Isn’t that the clearest, most literal reading of “this *is* my body” and “this *is* my blood”?)

    So if Jesus had a map of that evening’s activities spread before him and the disciples, and He put His finger on it and said, “This is the temple,” the ink and parchment at the tip of his finger would have been miraculously transformed into the temple?

    Gee, I never thought of it that way before…

  237. June 25, 2014 at 10:14 am

    @Ron (233)

    If that’s how you feel, then I must ask how you are doing at finding the actual “Jesus-door”, so that you can enter into the kingdom. I’m guessing it must be in Israel somewhere?

  238. Ron Henzel said,

    June 25, 2014 at 10:15 am

    @ Bobby (#237):

    Please refer to my comment #236.

  239. June 25, 2014 at 10:17 am

    @Ron (236)

    And you have located the problem in your own reasoning, exactly!

    You insist on a form of hyper-literalism as the “high view of scripture” in one place, and conveniently excuse yourself from it in others.

  240. June 25, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Reed (235)

    No, I don’t agree that it’s irrelevant. Understanding what Genesis responds *to* definitely colors how we understand the *manner in which* it responds.

  241. Ron Henzel said,

    June 25, 2014 at 10:26 am

    Bobby,

    You are clearly missing my point. Figurative language is easy to spot. When you see it, you do not interpret it literally. Your point is therefore bogus.

  242. Reed here said,

    June 25, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Bobby, so what is the relevance of the Enuma Elish? In determining whether or not God intends us to understand Gen to be giving a factual accounting of God’ S creative work?

    If you say the point of comparison is only genre, then are you saying that the only relevant difference is the identity of the Creator, that beyond that both accounts are merely just telling a story to offer transcendental truths? Then the details are just window dressing, flourishes to grab the reader’s attention. It’s all just Cambellism myth-truth!

    If you object, then what is the point of the comparison?

    More importantly, what tool do you use to determine how to apply the comparison? The Bible alone, or something outside the Bible?

    I’ll cut you some slack at this point and not label you with the following. Usually folks who bring up the Enuma Elish have not thought through what their reliance on it entails. They end up using an admitted lie about Creation to distinguish levels and kinds of truth in Genesis. That’s like using the first knuckle of a thumb (the origin of the inch), to determine if a ruler’s inch marks are correct it not.

    I repeat, the Enuma Elish is worthless in helping to determine the historicity of Gen. Appeals to it only serve to confuse at best, or support opinions rooted in unbelief.

    Sincerely, with no rancor Bobby, it is simply unhelpful to use the Enuma Elish for any other purpose than as a foil; it is false, and in contrast Gen is truth. That’s it. Any positive comparisons, where the Enuma Elish is used to help determine the level or kind of truth in Gen, is using a product of the Serpent’s lie to once again determine what God really said.

  243. Reed here said,

    June 25, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Ron, good!

  244. June 25, 2014 at 10:48 am

    @Ron

    What criteria do you use for spotting figurative language. Could you elucidate that a bit for me?

  245. Tim Harris said,

    June 25, 2014 at 10:56 am

    How about … being able to speak a language, and being at least 10 years old? Just sayin.

  246. June 25, 2014 at 10:58 am

    @Reed

    Genesis responds to the worldview of the Enuma, given in mytho-poetic language, with its own worldview, also given in mytho-poetic language.
    ———
    Points of distinction:
    The Enuma has man created as an undignified servant of the gods, ruled over by kings who are granted a sort of higher status by divine fiat.

    Genesis has all humanity created in the image of God, bearing the same dignity and value as all others.

    The Enuma says that creation *follows* violence, and therefore human impulses toward violence and dominance can be rooted in the nature of the gods who created them.

    Genesis says that violence follows creation and is a corruption of the nature of the God in whose image we have been created.

    The Enuma has gods that vie for and hoard authority.

    Genesis shows God delegating that authority through the waters which “bring forth life” and the earth which “brings forth vegetation” and His commands to man to “be fruitful, multiply, and cultivate the land” and through His invitation to Adam to “name” the animals.
    ————

    Those are just a few, and they aren’t flourishes. They are deep level truths about the nature of the Creator and creation, that strike at the basis of Mesopotamian culture — and none of them depends upon a 24 hr day.

  247. Reed here said,

    June 25, 2014 at 10:58 am

    Tim, hah!

  248. Ron Henzel said,

    June 25, 2014 at 10:59 am

    @ Bobby (#244)

    “I am the door.”
    “I am the vine, you are the branches.”
    “Our God is a consuming fire.”
    “The Lord is a man of war.”
    “Heaven is my throne; the earth is my footstool.”

    Need I go on?

    Now, which of these is difficult to spot as being figurative?

  249. Ron Henzel said,

    June 25, 2014 at 11:01 am

    @ Tim (#245),

    Ditto what Reed said. Figurative language is intuitive by design.

  250. Reed here said,

    June 25, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Bobby, the critical component is the positive comparison you make, namely that both are mytho-poetic accounts.

    How do you know this? How do you know that this is supposed to be a point of positive comparison? How do you know that rather this too is to be a point of contrast? How do you know that Gen is not exhaustively comprehensive in its disagreement with and correction of the Enuma Elish? How do you know that all the details in Gen are to be read as history in contrast with all of the Enuma Elish to be read as myth? How do you know that one is simply all truth and the other all lie?

    You must import a presupposition in to make this positive comparison. It is a presupposition NOT found in Scripture. It is merely worldly, and therefore (I repeat in hopes of being helpful) of NO value.

    (I think we tend to forget that in labeling literature by different genres we do not thereby void the moral component. Source is more vital to accurate interpretation than genre. A failure to reckon with the Satanic source of the Enuma Elish will lead one to discount, even miss, the validity of the comparisons to be drawn it. Rightly reckoning the source then serves to highlight the wonder and joy of God who deigns to speak truth truthfully, not tritely, to people who deserve nothing but the lies of myth.)

  251. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 25, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Isn’t a creation (& flood) story of one form or another found in every culture? The unbelieving critics claim that the similarities prove that these “myths” were popular and shared at trading centers. But the similarities are fully explained by the fact that all men have descended from both Adam and Noah, so that men from all cultures had access to the truth of these matters at the beginning. And the differences in the stories are fully explained by the depravity of man and his tendency to corrupt everything over time. Only one account of these events was divinely preserved truth, written by a divinely inspired author. And even though the one true account was written down by Moses, the truth was known to Noah and his family and passed down to their descendants; but only Scripture escaped corruption.

  252. Don said,

    June 25, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    As Sjoerd de Boer in 226 gets back to the main point of the original posting, I think he does a good job as he points out that saying the right things (or putting them in the right sort of school) is not going to automatically keep them in the church.

    I think we (and by “we” I mean “I,” but I’ve seen it in plenty of other places) understand our own salvation as Calvinist, but we often treat our children’s salvation as Arminian–that is, that it is our responsibility to save our kids. This is not to excuse or ignore the parents’ responsibility, but ultimately it is the work of the Holy Spirit.

  253. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 25, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Don 252,

    And what of 227 & 228? Does God use means to save His elect? And if the Church everywhere stopped witnessing and preaching the gospel, would there continue to be sinners getting saved?

  254. Reed here said,

    June 25, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Ken, this is the best explanation for two essential factors:

    1) Anthropological: it takes seriously the organic connection, the humanness of the references, what they have in common, and

    2) Spiritual: it takes seriously the Bible’s doctrine of the fall-depravity and inspiration-inerrancy, the only sound explanation for multiple stories, all but one showing an exclusive characteristic of fallen man (error) and only one showing the exclusive characteristic of divinity (perfection, freedom from error).

    It is easily seen in a popular social game played in our family. Each person writes a sentence down on a piece of paper, and then passes it to the next. That person draws the sentence on another piece of paper and then passes it to the next. This third person is not allowed to consider the first person’s sentence, only the second person’s drawing. This third person then writes a sentence to accurately reflect the drawing. This process then proceeds through the rest of the players, alternately only considering the previous person’s sentence or drawing and passing a new one of the opposite type to the next person.

    When everyone is done the fun begins. The first person reads his original sentence, then shows the second’s drawing, then reads the third’s sentence, then each following drawing and sentence. By the end it is very rare that there is anything more than minimal similarity between the original sentence and the final one. The differences are usually so dramatic that all that can be said to be in common is that they are both sentences written by people playing this game at this particular time, but that’s it.

    This is the best that can be said for the Enuma Elish and it’s sister ANE origin myths. They are the product of error guaranteed humans.

    Even more, when I play this game I sometimes take delight in tweaking the picture or sentence to which I am responding. I don’t outright change it completely, but only by a fraction of a degree; one that guarantees the remaining players think they are dealing with the original sentence, but are hopelessly lost in the error introduced.

    This is the Enuma Elish and it’s ANE sisters, the products of error-proned men, backed up by an error determined Evil. They are of no value in helping determine the truth of Gen. Even worse, using them may very well result in one using something that is merely earthly and the product of fallen-sinful man whose master is Satan to sit in judgment of the very word of the very only and truly God.

    If that is not blasphemous, then call me post-modern. Words really do mean whatever I want them to mean. God has not truly spoken. It’s just the confusion of opinions.

  255. Don said,

    June 25, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    Ken Hamrick 253,
    Did you read the last sentence in 252? What are you even talking about?

  256. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 25, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    Reed 254,

    Excellent points!

  257. Reed here said,

    June 25, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Don, no. 252, and therefore, because salvation is promised to me, my children, and strangers, I express my faith in manners God has ordained.

    I do not provoke them to anger by giving them the biblical worldview and then ignore the challenges to it from the secular world. (Eph 6:4)

    Instead, I offer them a credible defense, one that takes serious the challenges to the biblical position. (1Pe 3:15)

    As well, I model for them how the Bible does battle with any thought that raises itself in opposition, showing how the Scriptures take captive such unbelief. (2Co 10:5).

    I’ve not read your previous comments, nor Sjoerd’s, so please do not read me as disagreeing with you. Instead hear me offering “amen and also!”

    For me this means giving my children AnswersInGenesis’ Answers books (3 volumes). It means watching with them the various DVD series from this fine ministry. It means equipping them to recognize theory from fact, interpretation from observation.

    It means, in short, trusting God and loving my children in action. Lane’s original intent in this post may get cloudy some as we (once again ;-) ) important matters. Yet we must not forget that these things form the source of attack our children’s confidence that a God has spoken truthfully in the gospel. We cannot debate that, as since the Serpent first spoke, the Lie is trying to steal our children.

  258. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 25, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    Don 255,

    I was not implying your objection to those questions, but simply using them to further draw out your view of where our responsibility ends and the Holy Spirit’s begins—to ask where you are on that spectrum between the view that nothing we do matters (since God does it all) and the view that only what we do matters.

  259. Don said,

    June 25, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Ken Hamrick 258,
    OK, now I understand what you were getting at. Let me refer to a sentence from the original post that, in isolation, could be taken a number of ways: “Folks, we are losing our children long before college.” If by “losing” Lane means “we are not doing enough to provide salvation for our children,” that’s problematic, since salvation isn’t ours to provide or guarantee. But if it means “failing our children by not fulfilling our responsibilities of Deuteronomy 6,” if it means we should do basically what Reed outlines in 257, then I completely agree. Obviously Reed and I differ on the extent to which AIG media are useful, but I wouldn’t disagree with anything he wrote there.

  260. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 25, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Don 259,

    The question I was getting at was not whether we fail our children by not providing them with an adequate view of the reliability of Scripture, but what the results of that failing are. In other words, how much does the salvation of our children depend on our fulfilling of our responsibilities in that regard? I think it is easy for Calvinists to miss the connection between the means and the decree.

    If the Church, hypothetically, were to stop all preaching of the gospel, the rocks would not cry out with the gospel and fill the gap, and neither would God continue to bring sinners to salvation without His Church performing her task as the means of bringing sinners to salvation. Without the preaching of the gospel, sinners are simply not brought to salvation—and this is demonstrated in those places where the gospel even today has not yet been preached.

    Of course, where preaching is absent, the fact that sinners are perishing and are not brought to salvation is in accordance with God’s plan, but notice this: where the Church has sent missionaries to such places to introduce the gospel, the word bears fruit and sinners are saved—again, all in accordance with God’s sovereign plan. However, had the Church neglected to send any missionaries to such lands where it was within her power to do so, and instead rested upon the sovereignty of God’s grace and a confidence that God saves whom He will, then that, too, would have been in accordance with God’s plan—but unnecessarily so. Had the Church in this hypothetical instance felt her duty and sent missionaries to this unreached people, then we know from experience that some souls would have been saved—and they would have been part of the unconditionally elect from eternity past.

    Rather than viewing unconditional election as a limitation on whom may be saved by our evangelistic efforts, we should see it as a mysterious correlate to how much effort we are willing to apply to the fields “white with harvest.” Rather than thinking that the salvation of our children does not depend upon the effectiveness of our teaching, or that our neglect to adequately present the truths of Scripture does not increase the number who leave the church, we should view God’s sovereign grace as a preordained correlate to how well the Church teaches and raises her children.

  261. Steve Drake said,

    June 25, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    Don @ 195,

    Not sure if you realize this, but most of the geologists of a few centuries ago, who started to realize the earth appeared much older than ten thousand years, were in fact Christians.

    Not to go back a ways in the comments, Don, but can you provide names? Who are you referring to?

    The naturalists who started arguing for ‘deep time’ in their studies of the natural world in the 1700’s and early 1800’s were at best Deists. Most of them were outright antagonistic to the Biblical creation account and the wholescale judgment of God in the universal and global Flood of Noah.

  262. Tim Harris said,

    June 25, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    Hugh Miller

  263. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    June 25, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    This is a good old fashioned Green Baggins thread…reminds of 2008.

  264. Steve Drake said,

    June 26, 2014 at 1:25 am

    Tim @ 262,
    Come on Pastor Tim, you can do better than that. One guy? Miller was influenced by Thomas Chalmers (popularizer of the Gap Theory and not a geologist) who in turn was compromised by the savants in France in the mid to late 1700’s before him. Both Miller and Chalmers in the 1820’s – 1830’s were well after guys like Buffon, Soulavie, Cuvier, Hutton, Werner, Desmarest, Saussure, Hamilton, et al, who for the most part were Deists with a bone to pick against the Creation account in Genesis and the global Flood. Starting with wrong assumptions they came to wrong conclusions.

  265. Don said,

    June 26, 2014 at 1:43 am

    Steve Drake 264,
    Also Buckland and Sedgwick.
    If you’re lumping Cuvier in with deists then you’re not being very discerning.

  266. Steve Drake said,

    June 26, 2014 at 3:28 am

    Don @ 265,
    Cuvier may not be the best example of the majority who were outright Deists but he still uncritically classified his fossil discoveries into a ‘former world’, and a ‘now living or alive world’. His ‘former world’ was a pre-human world very much longer than the traditional 6000 years; sharply distinct from the present human world since Adam, and in direct contradistinction to Scripture which has man on the 6th day of a six-day creation.

    Buckland was an Anglican clergyman and leading geologist in England in the 1820’s who like Cuvier, believed in multiple supernatural catastrophes before humans and favored the Gap Theory of Thomas Chalmers. As a lecturer at Oxford, one of his students was Charles Lyell.

    Adam Sedgwick, receiving the chair of geology in 1818 was Buckland’s counterpart at Cambridge. He was an old-earth catastrophist in the mold of Buckland and Cuvier.

    My point however Don, is that the leading naturalists primarily in France and also men like Hutton in England prior to Cuvier, Buckland, and Sedgwick, as men of the Enlightenment and so-called ‘Age of Reason’ had already paved the way; had already begun speaking and writing about “deep time”; had already uncritically countermanded the straightforward account in Genesis of a recent and mature creation.

  267. Don said,

    June 26, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Steve Drake 266,

    …uncritically…

    No.

  268. Ron Henzel said,

    June 26, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    If not uncritically, then with extreme prejudice.

  269. Don said,

    June 26, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Ron Henzel 268,
    Prove it. By the process. Not by your opinion of the results.

  270. Ron Henzel said,

    June 26, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Don,

    Their presuppositions demonstrate their extreme prejudice. They prejudged the evidence based on an Enlightenment worldview that made fallen human reason the arbiter of truth.

  271. Don said,

    June 26, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Ron Henzel 270,
    You’re prejudging by the results. Go ahead and say, “You will know them by their fruits” etc., but you are not demonstrating that they prejudged anything.

  272. Reed Here said,

    June 26, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    Don, you are demanding empirical proof. Talk about prejudging.

  273. Don said,

    June 26, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    Reed Here 272,
    I’m not entirely sure what you mean. But Steve Drake and Ron Henzel are putting out words like “uncritically” and “extreme prejudice” without explanation/defense, except perhaps that the conclusions of those scientists do not align with Steve and Ron’s interpretation of Genesis. I understand that they don’t like the outcome of the research. But they are smearing the process of the research and alleging bias in the research efforts, essentially that the scientific process was being performed dishonestly. I would say that such a charge deserves to be substantiated.

  274. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 26, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    I’m still waiting for the old-earth side to answer 225… if they can.

  275. Steve Drake said,

    June 26, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    Don @ 267, 273,
    Now there you go again Don, putting words in my mouth. It’s an old trick of yours. Where did I say that the work was being performed dishonestly?

    In an attempt to shore up a defunct position as a Christian, especially in light of the numerous theological problems that have been explained to you over the years Don, you are really grasping at straws. Thank you Ron Henzel for trying to help Don see to what extremities he must go to hold on to his old cosmos/old earth position.

    Of course there’s bias. Do you think in your research as a scientist you have no bias? We’re all biased. But you’re not saying that the scientists or the naturalists of the 18th century performed their research and proferred their conclusions without bias, are you? Certainly not.

    Perhaps you disagree with the conclusion Don, but please no grasping at straws as red herrings for a view that completely dishonors the God and Christ you say you love. To hold to an old cosmos/old earth position is blasphemous. It is an unequally yoked connection to a secularist worldview that hates and abhors its Creator. It charges Christ in his work of Creation with an unholy, unmerciful, and maleficent character. This is a seriously grave offense.

  276. Ron Henzel said,

    June 26, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    Don (#271) wrote:

    You’re prejudging by the results. Go ahead and say, “You will know them by their fruits” etc., but you are not demonstrating that they prejudged anything.

    No I am not. I did not mention results. Nor did I have in mind, “You will know them by their fruits.” Rather I described their presuppositions, which are well-known.

    It is unnecessary to point to naturalistic conclusions in order to simply recognize naturalistic presuppositions, because it goes without saying that naturalistic conclusions are the inevitable outcome of naturalistic presuppositions. One does not begin with notion that the observable universe is totally explainable via natural processes and end up with the explanation (i.e., theory) that God intervened in time and space with divine acts of creation and cataclysm.

  277. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 26, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    Right, Ron 276,

    To take an evidence-based approach to origins is to a priori rule out that a miraculous supernatural creative act took place—not ruled out due to the weight of evidence available, but ruled out prior to admitting evidence (since, in the case of a supernatural creation, no evidence could ever prove or disprove it).

  278. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 26, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    This is where apologetics and YEC have strayed. Whether we are arguing for the existence of God, the resurrection of Christ, or the recent creation by divine fiat, in all cases we must first insist that such things be accepted by faith—that they are not provable except by the witness of the Holy Spirit to the conscience in conjunction with the written word of God—and only present correlating evidences as that which points to but does not prove the truth. Not only must such things be accepted on faith alone, they are rejected by faith alone, with no proof to the contrary. The evidence-based mindset is antithetical to Christian faith. Evidence only goes as far as probabilities. Nothing but what is written in the word of God and affirmed by the Holy Spirit is certain.

  279. Don said,

    June 26, 2014 at 9:17 pm

    Steve Drake 275,

    Where did I say that the work was being performed dishonestly?

    Maybe you don’t understand the accusation you are making, but words like “uncritically classified” and “extreme prejudice” are accusations of, at best, scientific ineptness, and more likely fraud. This is not grasping at straws, it is asking you to defend your words.

  280. Bob S said,

    June 26, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    246 Bobby,
    That the ANE creation accounts are mytho-poetic fables
    and Genesis is likewise an explanation of creation around the same time is not an argument that Genesis is mytho-poetic. Rather it is a non sequitur.
    You continue to assert what you must prove.

    Genesis is the book of generations, of the universe singular and then of Adam, Moses and Abraham.

    They are deep level truths about the nature of the Creator and creation, that strike at the basis of Mesopotamian culture — and none of them depends upon a 24 hr day.

    Exodus 20:9  Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
    10  But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son. . .
    For in six days of a million years apiece the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. (Extremely Old Earth Version redaction)

  281. Don said,

    June 26, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    Ron Henzel 276,
    OK, that’s interesting to me; I’m sorry if I misunderstood and mischaracterized you.

    You say you don’t care about the results of scientific inquiry into origins, the presuppositions are naturalistic and just plain wrong. Now, I’m sure you are aware that AIG, ICR, and such organizations use scientific inquiry to find evidence of a young earth. Is that wrong of them? You might object and say their presuppositions aren’t naturalistic, but I’m talking specifically about the part of their work that advances entirely naturalistic evidence for recent creation. Is that effort just as “extreme[ly] prejudiced” because, as Ken Hamrick said in 277, “no evidence could ever prove or disprove it”?

  282. Ron Henzel said,

    June 27, 2014 at 8:18 am

    @ Don (#281),

    You wrote:

    You say you don’t care about the results of scientific inquiry into origins…

    Again, I said no such thing. I care a lot about the scientific inquiry into origins, because (a) I believe what the Bible says, (b) the Bible has a lot to say about origins, (c) the Bible has a lot to say not only about how the universe originated, but how it came to be in its present state. In other words, origins is not only about creation, but also the Fall.

    Therefore, all Christians should care about the results of modern scientific inquiry into origins, not only because of what potential knowledge it might yield about creation, but because of what it says about fallen man’s conclusions concerning creation as well. And for the past few hundred years, what we’ve seen of sinners’ conclusions has abundantly confirmed the prophecy of 2 Peter 3:3-6: that a heresy of uniformitarianism would arise designed to explain everything by denying special revelation, as we saw in the Enlightenment. Therefore, scientific inquiries into origins inevitably yield diametrically opposite conclusions for believers than they do for non-believers, not only on the question of God’s existence, but on all questions pertaining to his activity with respect to creation.

    Although modern science maintained the pretension of neutrality for many generations, in the 1950s scientists and philosophers of science finally began to abandon this untenable position. They now freely (brazenly!) acknowledge that in their view that there are certain conclusions to which science “cannot” come because their a priori categories militate against them, and that if you come to those conclusions you are, by necessity, not engaging in science. Thus they insist that any thesis that posits God, or the necessity of God, anywhere in natural processes be dismissed as “not science, but religion,” a distinction that automatically privileges the former over the latter. There is no scientific basis for any of this, and it is a position that no biblically-informed Christian can take.

    But philosophers and historians of science have gone further and now unashamedly abandon the concept that science and the scientific method themselves provide the basis of scientific authority, in favor of the view that scientific authority (i.e, epistemic justification) is based on the consensus of scientists. While they admit that this is a type of the informal fallacy of appealing to authority (argumentum ab auctoritate), somehow the fact that the authority is a group of people sharing their supposed “collective wisdom” magically eliminates the fallacy. The Harvard historian of science, Naomi Oreskes, explains this at length in a recent TED talk. Of course, this has been true of modern science all along, but only recently have they begun to admit it: it’s not the science that makes it “true,” it’s the scientists.

    To deny the “extreme prejudice” of modern science is foolish. To turn the tables on this point with Ken Ham’s “no evidence could ever prove or disprove it” position is also foolish, because he is simply relying on the criteria of the scientific method for that statement, even though such criteria no longer serve as the basis of authority for modern science.

    But such turning of the tables also misses the valid point Kant made in his transcendental arguments: we cannot even begin to make sense of the world without a priori categories, which by definition are unprovable by the scientific method. When we become Christians we presumably abandon the a priori categories of the world in favor of the a priori categories of special revelation. Unfortunately, however, many Christians only do this partially, as we see not only in the creation-theistic evolution debate but in many departments of historical theology. Tragically, many believers have chosen the latter of the following two options:

    (1) The Bible is true, and because the Bible is true, human reason is corrupted by sin. Therefore, the Bible is the ultimate authority and human reason is not.

    (2) The Bible is true, but to some significant extent human reason is not corrupted by sin. In fact, human reason is so authoritative that our understanding of Scripture must be read through the lens of our reason, rather than the other way around.

    The sad thing in all this is that believers today are embracing theistic evolution in order to gain respectability among unbelievers for ostensibly evangelistic purporses. They fail to take into account the extent and impact of the Fall, not only regarding the world, but with respect to their own thinking. It’s akin to Elijah adopting the origins myth of Ba’al worshipers in order to gain their respect and convert them to Yahweh. It only gives Ba’al worship a foothold while compromising revealed truth. To modern science, the “theistic” part will never be as legitimate as the “evolution” part (which, unfortunately, is also because of Kant), thus the theistic evolutionist’s hope of “removing a stumbling block” is vain. The real stumbling block is God Himself, as He has revealed Himself in the person of Christ.

  283. Reed here said,

    June 27, 2014 at 8:30 am

    Ken, no. 278: I appreciate your point but I’m not sure I agree with your criticism. Agreed that often people will use AIG arguments in an attempt to (empirically) prove the divine fiat creation position of Scripture. Yet that is not what I’ve heard Ken Ham himself say AIG is trying to do. Instead I believe the goal of such work us two-fold: 1) disprove evolutionary-materialism, and 2) demonstrate the plausibility of divine fiat creation. This is an appropriate biblical apologetic, one that necessarily leads to the discussion of the gospel.

  284. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 27, 2014 at 9:11 am

    Reed 283,

    I appreciate the fine efforts Ken Ham and those associated with him are making. His Creation Museum is wonderful and I’ve been there many times. But I don’t think it’s necessary to argue, as Ham does, against radiometric dating methods, for example. Often he seems to argue from natural evidence that the earth is only 6000 years old; which, to me, misses the point that a created rock can be millions of years “old” from its first moment of existence.

    What ought to be non-negotiable for the believer is the testimony of Scripture. If we so intertwine arguments of natural evidence with the testimony of Scripture that both are seen as non-negotiable, then our faith will only be as strong as the evidence. But of what does the Scripture testify? It only testifies that God created the world out of nothing at about 6000 years ago. It does not testify that we will not find rocks millions of years old (or rays of light that old from distant stars only now arriving here). It does not testify that we will not find the results of millions of years of erosion within caves or on the surface of the earth. In fact, it makes no promises at all with regard to physical evidences and their relation to the supernatural act of creation—except one: the Bible testifies that all humanity came from one pair, and so that piece of physical evidence is non-negotiable.

  285. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 27, 2014 at 9:39 am

    The book, Already Gone, shows that we’re losing our kids in middle school, long before they go to college. But what of those who start out as Young-Earth Creationists but are unable to “win” the argument at the college level (even in their own estimation)? What if they are confronted with a stronger argument for evolution and old-earth than they had realized, and what if the valiant arguments of men like Ham are made to seem very week after all (whether justifiably so or not)?

    How would you counsel one who begins to find the evolutionists’ arguments compelling? I would explain why I do not find their arguments compelling, but then I would stress that even if I did, it would not cause me to doubt in the least the Scriptural testimony of a recent creation by divine fiat, since the most that any scientist can prove is what condition the world was in when God miraculously created it 6000 years ago.

  286. Mark G said,

    June 27, 2014 at 10:00 am

    If the center of their faith is the age of the earth YEC or can be demolished by such arguments they never had a saving faith to defend.

  287. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 27, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Mark G 286,

    Please read comment 227 & 260. Thanks.

  288. Don said,

    June 27, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Ron Henzel 282,

    Therefore, scientific inquiries into origins inevitably yield diametrically opposite conclusions for believers than they do for non-believers

    No.

    I think you have a very firm and well-developed understanding of how you would like science to work. But it does not bear much resemblance to how science actually works.

  289. Ron Henzel said,

    June 27, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    @ Don (#288):

    Your response is disingenuous.

    First, as I was careful to distinguish, this is not about how the scientific method works, or even how science is supposed to work, but how modern science is actually practiced. So your response hides behind an equivocation—unless, of course, you can personally verify from your own empirical observation that scientists today scrupulously follow the scientific method with an attitude of absolute neutrality, an absurd pretension that even scientific academics are themselves eschewing.

    Second, even if you believe in evolution, if you are a Christian then you still have a diametrically opposite conclusion about origins than non-believers have, since you would at the very least have to assume that it was the process God used, and therefore believe that God was involved. In fact, if you are a Christian theistic evolutionist, you are required to conclude that the process actually required Him, since the thesis that God’s existence and power were necessary conditions for the universe is a fundamental requirement of all Christian doctrine (Psalm 19; Rom. 1:19-20). And yet unbelievers will always oppose any such view of origins.And since the modern science of origins was built by unbelievers, that is how it “works,” and the reason you are unaware of it is because you refuse to submit to the biblical view of the Fall.

  290. Ron said,

    June 27, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Don has used providence verses to explain creation doctrine. I believe he must have missed my post 192, which is where I pointed this out to him.

  291. Don said,

    June 27, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    Ron Henzel 289,
    No equivocation. I’m simply denying your allegation that believing vs. nonbelieving scientists should come to differing conclusions when doing science. You are alleging that the results of the scientific method should depend on the religion of the scientist.

    since the modern science of origins was built by unbelievers

    No, not exclusively.

    the thesis that God’s existence and power were necessary conditions for the universe is a fundamental requirement of all Christian doctrine

    I agree, of course. But do you think there is some sort of scientific test that could provide direct evidence of God’s existence or power? (By “direct” I mean, that some sort of personal deity was at work, not just that “Whatever happened, the source was very powerful.) Do you think a Christian scientist could/should find specific evidence for the Christian God in their research pursuits?

  292. Don said,

    June 27, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    Ron 290,
    I did see your post, but I didn’t know how I could top Genesis 31:35.

    But really, it’s not especially obvious to me that these verses, especially Jer. 31:35, refer solely to providence. The sun was given and the order of the moon and stars were fixed at creation, right?

  293. Reed Here said,

    June 27, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    Ken, no.285, we’re not disagreeing if what you mean is that it is NOT enough to simply give our children AIG info.. Amen.

    Taking every thought captive includes both demonstrating unbelief is unbelief AND communicating the truth of the gospel, initially uttered in the words, “In the beginning,”.

    Our children need to be encouraged that belief in a simple straightforward reading of Genesis is not simply possible, but the best position for a sound faith that grows. GIve ‘em plausible explanations, but then go on to give them the gospel.

    The Spirit will use our faith to give and grow their faith.

  294. Ron said,

    June 27, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    The sun was given and the order of the moon and stars were fixed at creation, right?

    Don,

    Typically providence runs on schedule, though there are exceptions. (Isaiah 38:8) However, your observation is irrelevant to your conclusion. Your observation only supports the basis for induction. It does not address the question of whether the world was created with apparent age. The only thing that has exceeded your arbitrariness in this thread is your question begging.

    Your argument goes something like this:

    p1. The uniformity of ordinary providence was instituted at creation

    p2. God only violates ordinary providence through miracles in order to glorify himself

    p3. Creating with apparent age does not glorify God (unlike the virgin birth)

    Therefore, the world is really old.

    That’s all anybody is getting from you. Not only are your strictures arbitrary (p2. and p3.), your conclusion does not follow from your disjointed premises.

    I’m simply denying your allegation that believing vs. nonbelieving scientists should come to differing conclusions when doing science.

    Would an unbelieving scientist conclude that a virgin could be with child or that a man could come to life after death? Or do presuppositions determine what can constitute as admissible evidence. A precommitment to naturalism precludes miracles. Similarly, naturalism as a theory must reject creation of apparent age (and any other creation account for that matter). So, let’s not pretend that believers and unbelievers should come to same conclusions about such things. You don’t live by your axiom, so don’t expect anyone else to.

  295. Ron Henzel said,

    June 27, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    @ Don (#291):

    No equivocation. I’m simply denying your allegation that believing vs. nonbelieving scientists should come to differing conclusions when doing science. You are alleging that the results of the scientific method should depend on the religion of the scientist.

    And so equivocation now evolves into misrepresentation. My subject is not science in general, but the science of origins.

    Therefore I am alleging nothing whatsoever about the results of the scientific method per se. I am only making assertions on the application (or lack thereof) of the scientific method to the question of origins, as well as to the question of the basis of scientific authority. To allege that Christians get different results than non-Christians when they apply the scientific method to origins is to allege a demonstrable absurdity: that the scientific method is consistently applicable to, and therefore serves as the basis of authority for, anyone’s view of origins.

    I wrote:

    the thesis that God’s existence and power were necessary conditions for the universe is a fundamental requirement of all Christian doctrine

    And you responded:

    I agree, of course. But do you think there is some sort of scientific test that could provide direct evidence of God’s existence or power? (By “direct” I mean, that some sort of personal deity was at work, not just that “Whatever happened, the source was very powerful.) Do you think a Christian scientist could/should find specific evidence for the Christian God in their research pursuits?

    We already have direct evidence. What would be the point of coming up with a scientific test to prove what every person in reality already knows?

  296. Don said,

    June 28, 2014 at 12:19 am

    Ron Henzel 295,

    My subject is not science in general, but the science of origins.

    If we’re talking science–not philosophy, not theology, not philosophy of science, there is no difference!

  297. Don said,

    June 28, 2014 at 12:22 am

    Ron 294,

    Would an unbelieving scientist conclude that a virgin could be with child or that a man could come to life after death?

    Explain to me what the scientific experiment looks like, then I think I can answer you. I’m not sure what empirical evidence you’re talking about, that one would draw a conclusion from.

  298. Don said,

    June 28, 2014 at 4:33 am

    I suppose I should expand a bit upon 296.

    There seems to be a general, if non-explicit, acceptance here that the universe appears to be old. That is good, because frankly there is no evidence that the world or universe is a few thousand years old. I was at a conference about three years ago, and a speaker with some sort of AIG affiliation claimed that dinosaurs were alive until fairly recently; his evidence was that two cowboys in the 1800s shot a pterodactyl out of the sky. My pastor, who is YEC, was holding his hand over his face and was shaking his head.

    (I don’t entirely understand the resistance to the related idea that life *apparently* changed via evolutionary processes. But that’s neither here nor there.)

    So if the universe appears mature, that is, old, then it does not appear as if anything special happened a few thousand years ago. Perhaps, then, we agree that there is no scientific reason, that is, no empirical evidence, to suddenly stop scientific investigations at the 6000-year-ago point. Thus, to claim that the scientific method no longer works as of a point 6000 years ago, is to import an idea that is totally foreign to the scientific method. There is no reason, arising from science, to claim that “origin science” is or is not applicable at the 6000-year-ago point.

    Now, I’ve been saying that there is no difference between “science” and “origin science.” What I mean here is that it is a scientifically valid exercise to try to reconstruct the history of something (i.e., the earth or the universe) back to its origin. I think there are two critiques of so-called “origin science” here that aren’t being completely distinguished. (1) The earth is 6000 years old so you shouldn’t try to do science before that; as Ken Hamrick said in 285, “the most that any scientist can prove is what condition the world was in when God miraculously created it 6000 years ago.” (2) If you use science to investigate origins then you automatically deny creation; as Ken Hamrick said in 277, “To take an evidence-based approach to origins is to a priori rule out that a miraculous supernatural creative act took place.” Not to pick on Ken but these are good quotes for illustrating the arguments.

    My responses:
    (1) This criticism’s pretty weak. If nothing else, if the universe appears to be old, then there is no scientific reason to not attempt to figure out how it got from its 14-billion-year-old (appearing) state to its current state.
    (2) This one gets close to, but I think misses, an actual problem with the science of origins. At no point in scientifically tracing the universe back to its origin does “a miraculous supernatural creative act” need to be either invoked nor denied. However, at that point, at the origination itself, it is a good question of whether the scientific method can be applied. That is, I don’t know whether science can address the question of “What started the Big Bang;” or “What was there before the Big Bang;” or “Is the concept of ‘before the Big Bang’ even a well-posed question;” and certainly not “Why did the universe have a beginning?”

    So yes, there is a problem with “the science of origins,” but the problem is not in tracing the universe back to its origin (which I believe is mainly what the concept has meant in this conversation). But neither does the tracing of the universe back to its origin require a particular world view, other than that the universe operates according to fixed laws.

  299. Ron Henzel said,

    June 28, 2014 at 6:23 am

    @ Don (#298):

    I do not accept the notion that the universe “appears old.” To say that is to concede a major premise of the old universe view without sufficient basis. People believe that the universe “looks old” because that is what modern scientists tell them. No one can even conceive of what an “old universe” looks like except within a purely theoretical construct that posits what the entire process of a universe’s birth, growth, aging, and maturity looks like. Current notions of this can only assume that a “young universe” looks like what evolutionary cosmologists say it looks like, which necessarily assumes processes that are not demonstrable.

    I also believe it is a false analogy to point to Adam and Eve, who were created in an adult state, as examples of “mature creation.” We know what young and old plants, animals, and humans look like. We observe empirically that they go through processes to attain maturity, so we know that such processes exist. We do not observe universes beginning, growing, and then coming to “maturity” through self-sustaining natural processes apart from any divine intervention. And on top of that, as Christians, we have special revelation that contradicts such a notion.

    You wrote:

    But neither does the tracing of the universe back to its origin require a particular world view, other than that the universe operates according to fixed laws.

    And this, of course is the fundamental presupposition of an unbiblical, non-theistic worldview: the universe operates according to fixed laws apart from any divine intervention whatsoever. Even if you somehow import God into the picture, you merely end up with the watchmaker God of the Deists. He winds the universe up, puts it on the table, and essentially ignores it except when he wants to know what time it is. In ancient terms this uniformitarian view was expressed as, “all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” Peter refuted it in his second epistle:

    …knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished.

    [2 Peter 3:3-6, ESV]

    As Peter shows here, you can either have the God of the Bible, who formed the heavens and the earth as described in Genesis 1, and who further intervened in Earth’s geological history with a worldwide flood in Genesis 7, or you can have some other god. You can’t have both at once.

  300. Ron said,

    June 28, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Explain to me what the scientific experiment looks like, then I think I can answer you. I’m not sure what empirical evidence you’re talking about, that one would draw a conclusion from.

    Don,

    First off, you did not interact with my demonstration that your argument was inadequate on two counts. A) Your premises were arbitrary and B) your conclusion did not follow from the premises.

    Now you ask me to show what the scientific method looks like as it pertains to the virgin birth. Before I do that, I should tell you that it’s striking to me that you’ve entered into a discussion regarding the scientific method as it relates to revelation while denying that believers should come to different scientific conclusion than unbelievers on some things.This indicates two things to me. It tells me that you don’t understand how presuppositions influence the kinds of evidence that is permissible. It also tells me that you don’t realize that you yourself don’t abide by your own axiom.

    Anyway, at your request let me labor with you over how the scientific method in the hands of secularists refutes the virgin birth, which demonstrates that believers and unbelievers should not arrive at the same conclusions. Why would they if they have different starting points for the scientific pursuit?

    Inductive inference for the thesis that pregnancy occurs from physical relations:

    1. If pregnancy occurs from physical relations, then all pregnant women we examine will have had physical relations

    2. All pregnant woman we have examined have had physical relations (asserting the consequent)

    3. Therefore, pregnancy occurs from physical relations

    Inductive inference for the thesis that there is no other way to become pregnant other than through physical relations:

    4. If there is no other way to become pregnant other than through physical relations, then in our examination of pregnant woman we should not find evidence of virginity in any woman

    5. In our examination of pregnant woman we have not found evidence of virginity in any woman (asserting the consequent)

    6. Therefore, there is no other way to become pregnant other than through physical relations

    Derived proposition hat pregnancy occurs only from physical relations:

    7. Pregnancy occurs only from physical relations (from 3 and 6)

    Deductive argument for the thesis that Mary was not a virgin:

    8. Pregnant woman became pregnant only through physical relations (from 7)

    9. Mary was a pregnant woman

    10. Mary became pregnant through physical relations and no other way

    I trust you will deny that Mary became pregnant through physical relations, but that is where the scientific method brings you if unaccompanied by the authority of Scripture. Consequently, believers and unbelievers should not always end up with the same conclusions.

    Are you now willing to retract your bald assertion that believers and unbelievers should end up with the same conclusions? If so, then you need to consult the principles of Scripture and the text itself to determine your view of origins, no less than other miracles. We can’t even get to that point of discussion because you’ve unwittingly denied all along how the scientific method works as it relates to presuppositions. You’ve reasoned like an unbeliever who doesn’t understand the philosophy of prejudice, but I won’t hold that against the long earth view since long earth proponents that know their stuff appreciate this and would not claim your arguments. I reject the long earth views on other grounds.

  301. Ron said,

    June 28, 2014 at 11:12 am

    I do not accept the notion that the universe “appears old.” To say that is to concede a major premise of the old universe view without sufficient basis.

    Ron,

    I might put that differently. After all, I wouldn’t say that Adam didn’t look older than he was on his first birthday. When we say that something or someone “appears old” we’re merely comparing appearance to that which is more common. On that basis, creation does “appear old” (as did Adam relative to any other one year old). Acknowledging these things is not detrimental to a short earth position, but to deny these things could suggest we have something to hide or that we’re equivocating over what it means to “appear” a certain way. In other words, apparent age is not the same thing as actual age. Given a short earth, God created with apparent age (but not actual age).

    Just a thought is all…

  302. Ron said,

    June 28, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    Don,

    This probably goes without saying, but be mindful that the first pursuit aims to establish that physical relations can be sufficient for pregnancy. (It leaves open, or doesn’t address, the possibility that physical relations does not always result in pregnancy.)That is what is meant by “pregnancy occurs from physical relations.” Also, it is not an argument for the necessity of relations or the sufficiency of relations in all cases but rather the sufficiency of relations under yet to be established circumstances (that go beyond the relevant point being made). That is all that is implied by the first empirical pursuit, which aims to establish that pregnancy results from physical relations. (It’s like “lung cancer comes from smoking.” That inferences does not speak to the 100% sufficiency of smoking let alone the necessity of smoking.)

    The second empirical pursuit aims to establish that without physical relations one cannot become pregnant. Its focus, which is equally narrow as the first pursuit, aims to establish a more grand conclusion, the necessity of physical relations; yet without a view toward the sufficiency of physical relations under any set of circumstances. The second pursuit is driven by the credibility of the first, but to have begun there without having established any sort of sufficiency of physical relations would have been a bit premature given the more dogmatic claim of the second hypothesis. By building upon the first pursuit we finally end up with the grand secular inference that physical relations are necessary and often sufficient depending upon the circumstances.

    Now indeed, other than the hypothesis (i.e. the respective antecedents of the first premise in each pursuit) both inductive pursuits look the same, but that’s part of the point! Inferences are treated as “facts” upon establishing a degree of veracity. Eventually we draw more grand inferences and eventually those inferences become the axioms we pump into our deductive syllogisms. For instance, “all men are mortal” and “Socrates is a man” are not facts but rather inductive inferences unless we go to Scripture to establish the nature of man. Yet they’re treated as facts to prove (deductively) that Socrates is mortal. What you seem to lack is any philosophy of fact let alone a Christian one.

  303. Steve Drake said,

    June 28, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    Ron @300 said in reply to Don,

    You’ve reasoned like an unbeliever who doesn’t understand the philosophy of prejudice…

    For most Christian old cosmos/old earther’s this is indeed how they reason and argue. As unbelievers. They have uncritically accepted the secularist’s premises when it comes to the “age” issue, not understanding the philosophy behind it; from where it came from and how it arose. Many of them are pastors and theologians who should know better, accurately handling the Word of Truth and the fundamental doctrines built upon that Word.

  304. Ron Henzel said,

    June 28, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    @ Ron (#301):

    I still get back to this: we have empirical criteria for what constitutes “age” or “maturity” when it comes to plants, animals, people, etc., but what are the criteria for what constitutes “age” or “maturity” when it comes to planets, stars, and universes? What specific features of a planet assure us that it is billions of years old? Of stars? Of galaxies?

  305. Ron said,

    June 28, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Steve,

    I agree that most reason this way. I’m also suspicious that those who appeal to genre and exegesis (and not so much science) to prove old earth are doing so because they’ve bought into the presuppositions of this present age and are not willing to acknowledge that. However, I’d be willing to take one at his word if they’re prepared to offer an answer for how God should have worded 24 hour days if He intended to communicated 24 hour days. Are they willing to step up to the microphone and say that Genesis forbids apparent age? If not, then it would seem that they are not basing their view on the text so much as they are on a science-principle that precludes creation with apparent age. Also, I never get other than an arbitrary answer for why we should believe the miracle accounts given that they are equally incredible to the secular mind as the Genesis accounts.

  306. Ron said,

    June 28, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Ron,

    Arguably, if the world exists for another 20 billion years the light people will be seeing from the stars at that time could very well originate today. Accordingly, the light we see today would “appear” to be from a very old creation. I agree that such an analogy of reason fallaciously concludes actual age upon appearance of age, which of course is philosophical harakiri. Notwithstanding, the inference of appearance is not the problem. Rather, equating appearance to actuality is the problem.

    Consider a picture of Adam being taken one day after he was created. Then imagine that picture being seen generations after, even today if you like. In common parlance we’d say that Adam appeared older than one day. That’s all that is meant by Don’s statement, which although true is not very interesting. That the earth appears old does not imply that the earth is old. Accordingly, we should not deny that the earth, at least the star light, might appear to imply significant age anymore than we would deny that Adam appeared older than he was on his first “birthday.”

    I really don’t want to get hung up on this though because I don’t think it’s helpful.

  307. Ron said,

    June 28, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    Ron re: 304, but yes(!) agree with that post. We cannot get from apparent age to actual age, which is what Don thinks he has done.

  308. Steve Drake said,

    June 28, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    Ron @s 305,

    Also, I never get other than an arbitrary answer for why we should believe the miracle accounts given that they are equally incredible to the secular mind as the Genesis accounts.

    Wonderfully said. Let me ask you a question: Have you ever taught a creation class at your church? Have you beenblessed by a Pastor to allow that?

  309. Ron said,

    June 28, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    Steve,

    Never have and never wanted to. In fact, I’m only sure that in my life one of my Reformed pastors affirmed 24 hour days. Others might have, but I don’t know. I, also, know one wasn’t “24-hour” but I never got into it with him because he said said he was basing in conclusion on Scripture. I think the elders were a mixed bag (many of whom were scientists). One elder, a non-scientist, was overtly Framework (and strangely enough anti-presup). I think being thoroughly presup in one’s apologetic could lead to a higher probability of being young earth as compared to those who don’t affirm presup apologetics because presups are more aware that there are no brute particulars and that science depends upon God and the justification of science depends upon Scripture. However, I’m painfully aware that many if not most presups are old earth now. Of course we have staunch fundamentalists on our side, who are not so much presup but rather fideistic.

    {Regarding post 300, technically speaking “all” in 1 and 2 should be removed given that the intermediate conclusion at 3 is to point to a sufficient condition under undefined circumstances (as opposed to a universal sufficient-condition…). Also, it would have been more clear to have written in 1: “we can expect pregnant woman we examine..” However, I think the general point of secular science affirming non-supernatural pregnancy is clear enough without the amendation, but just in case Don calls a foul.} :)

  310. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 29, 2014 at 8:01 am

    Ron,

    When you want to ask

    However, I’d be willing to take one at his word if they’re prepared to offer an answer for how God should have worded 24 hour days if He intended to communicated 24 hour days.

    I think they would answer that they are not God, and therefore can’t answer such a question. They would claim (rightly) that how God would “word” something that He hasn’t said is an unknowable hypothetical, and that speculation is not exegesis.

    In your second part you asked

    Are they willing to step up to the microphone and say that Genesis forbids apparent age?

    To which they would answer “No, but so what? Not forbidding apparent age doesn’t mean the text actually teaches that some things were created with the appearance of being billions of years old”

    If they answer that way, do you accept their claim of purely exegetical reasons for holding either the Framework or Analogical Day view?

  311. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 29, 2014 at 8:19 am

    Ron 302,

    The question of the virgin conception, or any other miracle, is religious and not scientific. Where God acts supernaturally is the end of all scientific inquiry. Believers as well as scientists should come to the save scientific conclusion: it is scientifically impossible for a woman to conceive without the male contribution. That is the scientific question, and it only has one answer. Then, the religious question: in the case of Mary and Jesus, did God supernaturally intervene to do what is scientifically impossible? Those who believe will affirm this, while those who do not will deny it.

  312. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 29, 2014 at 8:21 am

    Change in 311 the phrase, “…should come to the save scientific conclusion…” to read, “…should come to the same scientific conclusion…”

  313. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 29, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Don 298,

    So if the universe appears mature, that is, old, then it does not appear as if anything special happened a few thousand years ago. Perhaps, then, we agree that there is no scientific reason, that is, no empirical evidence, to suddenly stop scientific investigations at the 6000-year-ago point. Thus, to claim that the scientific method no longer works as of a point 6000 years ago, is to import an idea that is totally foreign to the scientific method. There is no reason, arising from science, to claim that “origin science” is or is not applicable at the 6000-year-ago point.

    The problem with origins science is that it rules out evidence (the testimony of Scripture) regarding origins, and rules out as impossible (and unworthy of consideration) the supernatural beginning of the world by a divine creator 6000 years ago. In other words, it is not operating purely from a scientific approach, but from a philosophical-religious approach, by defining validity of evidences and possibilities as only that which is material-natural and “testable.” Before science can answer even the first scientific question regarding origins, they have already answered the first religious question—that of the possibility of a recent supernatural miracle. Such science from a basis of materialistic naturalism can be applied to extrapolations beyond the actual miraculous origin of the universe, but its results will not be scientifically valid in the true sense, since true science would not rule out valid possibilities due to religious-philosophical assumptions.

  314. Ron said,

    June 29, 2014 at 9:55 am

    Believers as well as scientists should come to the same scientific conclusion: it is scientifically impossible for a woman to conceive without the male contribution.

    Ken,

    Not so. It is not “scientifically” impossible. Let’s not pit God’s miracles against science. The fact of the matter is, it’s past finding out that it is possible lest we employ the presuppositions of Scripture. That’s the difference between the two groups. It has to do with what the kinds of evidence that is admissible.

  315. Ron said,

    June 29, 2014 at 9:57 am

    Andrew,

    You’ve missed the point. The point is that there is no reason to believe that the wording of Genesis 5, for instance, should not be taken literally. You reject such a rendering of the text because you don’t observe people living that long anymore.

  316. Ron said,

    June 29, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Ken,

    You do appreciate that the unbeliever’s hypothesis is based upon the minor premise of his pursuit (which is the same as the consequent of his major premise). His hypothesis is based upon what he observes and consequently does not accept what God has revealed. Consequently, the Christian scientist rejects the hypothesis outright because the Christian is informed by Scripture.

  317. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 29, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    Ron,

    No, I didn’t miss the point. The point is that they (Framework and Analogical Day adherents) do think there is reason to believe that the wording of Genesis 1-11 should not be taken in its plain sense. The Framework and Analogical Day view guys at least in NAPARCs all say that they take Gen 1-11 literally, it’s just not clear what all those words mean in the context of what God is really trying to say.

    Go read Scott Clark’s blog on the subject. They really do think they are interpreting Genesis literally. Go ask Scott Clark your question,

    …how God should have worded 24 hour days if He intended to communicated 24 hour days.

    and see what he says. He’s pretty representative. He thinks that the Ordinary Day view of Genesis is far more dangerous than the Theonomy and the Federal Vision combined (based on the number of pages he devotes to each on the chapter of QIRC in Recovering the Reformed Confessions.

  318. Ken Hamrick said,

    June 29, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    Ron,

    Not so. It is not “scientifically” impossible. Let’s not pit God’s miracles against science. The fact of the matter is, it’s past finding out that it is possible lest we employ the presuppositions of Scripture. That’s the difference between the two groups. It has to do with what the kinds of evidence that is admissible.

    Just as God completely transcends creation, the supernatural acts of God completely transcend what is natural in creation. A virgin conceiving a child is not possible within nature. It is naturally impossible. Since science studies nature, it is scientifically impossible. If science were to include God’s miracles in their study of nature, they would only be included as objects of faith and not objects of scientific study. One can study the creation God has made, but one cannot put God’s power under the microscope. Scripture shows that God performs what is supernaturally possible—possible only for an omnipotent God.

    You do appreciate that the unbeliever’s hypothesis is based upon the minor premise of his pursuit (which is the same as the consequent of his major premise). His hypothesis is based upon what he observes and consequently does not accept what God has revealed. Consequently, the Christian scientist rejects the hypothesis outright because the Christian is informed by Scripture.

    First, he rejects what God has revealed. Second, he accepts as valid only what he may observe. Origins science is founded on a religious assumption.

  319. Ron said,

    June 29, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Thanks, Andrew.

  320. Ron said,

    June 29, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    Ken,

    First you note that,

    Believers as well as scientists should come to the same scientific conclusion: it is scientifically impossible for a woman to conceive without the male contribution.

    This first premise of yours is confused, for it pits believers against scientists, implying that one cannot be both. What you intended to say is that all scientists, whether believers or not, should conclude from the scientific method that a virgin birth is impossible.

    The scientific method is not just a matter of empirical observation alone, but a matter of patterns of plausible inference that presuppose perceived sources of authority and causality, both of which are not empirical in nature. If empirical observation is all that is authoritative, which is the foundation of your objection, then the scientist cannot do science since causality is not observable. Nobody has ever seen a causal connection, so by the nature of the case, scientists (not science!) must borrow from a Christian view of providence; they also have to borrow from the Christian view that a common creator stands behind the external world and the internal matter-independent mind so that a fruitful connection can exist between the two whereby rational inferences can be drawn that go beyond the mere psychologizing of brute particulars in motion (Kant’s answer to Hume) but rather tells us how things truly are as God sees them. Moreover, projections about the future cannot be rationally maintained on strictly empirical grounds since induction presupposes the uniformity of nature, which grants many things that defy observation alone and don’t comport with the naturalist’s view of chance acting upon time over matter. All that to say, let’s not act as as though faith takes over where science ends, but rather we are to appreciate that faith saves the very principles of science. But the punch line comes later…

    Since science studies nature, it is scientifically impossible. If science were to include God’s miracles in their study of nature, they would only be included as objects of faith and not objects of scientific study.

    You’re equivocating, which I think could be obstructing you from processing what is being said. Science studies nothing and proves nothing. People try to prove things using inductive inference. Science doesn’t “include” anything in “their study of nature” since science doesn’t study. With that point in mind, the question is what will scientists allow as truth when doing science! So, back to your original point I take issue with:

    Believers as well as scientists should come to the same scientific conclusion: it is scientifically impossible for a woman to conceive without the male contribution.

    Again, believers should not come to the same conclusion because a Christian scientist would never accept the hypothesis(!) that “there is no other way to become pregnant other than through physical relations.” As long as you don’t deal with that premise you will continue to avoid the argument that is before you. As a reductio I offer that if your position is correct, that Christians and non-Christians alike should conclude that the scientific method rules out the virgin birth, then you have to also say that the Christian affirms the hypothesis that “there is no way to become pregnant other than through physical relations.” Of course you won’t say that, which is good thing! But that scientific conclusion, which you think believers should come to, is based upon an hypothesis that the Christian scientist will not affirm – hence your dilemma.

  321. Ron said,

    June 29, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    Andrew,

    Please don’t take me as being dismissive. I’m fine with those who claim that “there is reason to believe that the wording of Genesis 1-11 should not be taken in its plain sense.” Since you reference Clark, I’ll reference Frame! :) His new systematic gives a fair treatment of the matter. I have to agree with Frame that it’s a false dilemma (he doesn’t use that term) to suggest that the hermeneutical principles of long earth views do not allow room for a 24 hour view of days. He makes a logical case and an exegetical one.

    In any case, my point all along is really twofold. 1) Due to the secular claims from the scientific community more people are flipping, in my opinion of course, to long earth and trying to defend it with Scripture rather than taking the text in the “plain sense” (as you put it). 2) When one claims that he is deriving long earth from Scripture, I typically find a lot of question begging, arbitrariness and inconsistency when the person is pressed.

    Grace and Peace

  322. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 29, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    Ron,

    This:

    I’m fine with those who claim that “there is reason to believe that the wording of Genesis 1-11 should not be taken in its plain sense.”

    is what I’ve wanted you to just plain say. Thank you.

    Question for Steve Drake: Are you “fine” with those who claim there is reason to believe that the wording of Genesis 1-11 should not be taken in its plain sense?” Or am I the only one not fine with that?

  323. Ron said,

    June 29, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    Great, Andrew.

    I think I said that early on, but in marathon threads I don’t expect everyone’s utterances to be noted, especially mine!

  324. Ron said,

    June 30, 2014 at 12:52 am

    Andrew,

    Don’t you want to modify your second question to Steve? Or have I misunderstood your post to him? I don’t think you intended to say that you are “not fine” (or the only one not fine) with those who are fine with those who claim there is reason to believe that the wording of early Genesis should not be taken in its plain sense. I think you meant to ask whether Steve is fine with those who are fine. like myself, with those who allow for such an exegetical approach to early Genesis. But, if that’s what you meant – you are not the only one fine with that for I am.

    That said, note well that I am not conceding that their reasoning is sound. So,although I am “fine” with those who think differently with me on this matter does not suggest that I think that their reasons are defensible. Similarly, I’m fine with Baptists too. My point is that their interpretation of Genesis, as long as it’s accompanied by a confession of the authority of Scripture, does not necessarily undermine the major tenets of the Christian faith. When it leads to that I’m no longer fine. In other words, although I find their interpretation arbitrary and inconsistent, I don’t believe that it must necessarily lead to a liberal theology that denies the heart of Christianity, although I am suspicious that the door is left wide open. (Also, I don’t believe in 24 hours because I’m afraid of the door being left wide open if we allow for other views. I believe in 24 hours because I believe that is what the text plainly teaches.)

  325. Ron said,

    June 30, 2014 at 12:57 am

    This is a bit more clear I trust…

    Andrew,

    Don’t you want to modify your second question to Steve? Or have I misunderstood your post to him? I don’t think you intended to say that you are “not fine” (or the only one not fine) with those who are fine with those who claim there is reason to believe that the wording of early Genesis should not be taken in its plain sense. I think you meant to ask whether Steve is fine, like I am fine, with those who are fine with others who allow for such an exegetical approach to early Genesis. But, if that’s what you meant, then you are not the only one fine with that for I am too.

    That said, note well that I am not conceding that their reasoning is sound. So,although I am “fine” with those who think differently with me on this matter does not suggest that I think that their reasons are defensible. Similarly, I’m fine with Baptists too. My point is that their interpretation of Genesis, as long as it’s accompanied by a confession of the authority of Scripture, does not necessarily undermine the major tenets of the Christian faith. When it leads to that I’m no longer fine. In other words, although I find their interpretation arbitrary and inconsistent, I don’t believe that it must necessarily lead to a liberal theology that denies the heart of Christianity, although I am suspicious that the door is left wide open given what I believe to be a flimsy defense that seems to be brought on by secular mindset. (Also, for what it’s worth, I don’t believe in 24 hours because I’m afraid of the door being left wide open if we allow for other views. I believe in 24 hours because I believe that is what the text plainly teaches.)

  326. Don said,

    June 30, 2014 at 3:01 am

    Ron 300,
    This is still not exactly a scientific experiment you’re describing, that is, a way to answer your question (“Would an unbelieving scientist conclude that a virgin could be with child?”) specifically for a scientist, rather than just for an unbeliever in general.

    However, your list of inferences is pretty useful for helping me realize what you’re missing about the scientific method. I could ask you at which point on this list a Christian scientist would disagree with a nonchristian one, but I would venture to guess that the answer would be along the lines of “naturalistic presuppositions.” Regardless of presuppositions, the scientific method is not equipped to deal with the supernatural. I trust that you are aware of this. But you seem to be missing the consequence, that a scientist’s presuppositions regarding the supernatural, therefore, do not matter in regards to applying the scientific method.

    Are you now willing to retract your bald assertion that believers and unbelievers should end up with the same conclusions?

    This is of course not what I have said. What I have said is that believing and unbelieving scientists apply the scientific method the same way, and will end up with the same scientific conclusions. But if you’d like me to explain where the differences between believing and unbelieving scientists come up, let me adjust your list of inferences. First I’d add:
    0. Science can only deal with natural/material events.
    Then I’d adjust one of the others, let’s say 8, to say:
    8. Pregnant woman became pregnant only through physical relations under natural conditions.
    I’m phrasing it this way to highlight what the actual difference between believers and unbelievers would be. No believer (whether or not they are scientists) would argue that Mary became pregnant thru natural means; we believe that Mary became pregnant supernaturally, which is not a condition that science is equipped to handle. On the other hand, the unbeliever (atheist, specifically, but not necessarily scientist) would not disagree with my modification to point 8 but would say it’s unnecessary, since they would say there is no condition other than the natural/materialistic.

    So you are right that the difference between the unbelieving (scientist) and the believing (scientist) is due to their differing presuppositions, but it is not at the level of how they do science; it is in whether they believe there is anything beyond what science can investigate.

  327. Don said,

    June 30, 2014 at 3:41 am

    Ken Hamrick 313,

    The problem with origins science is that it rules out evidence (the testimony of Scripture) regarding origins, and rules out as impossible (and unworthy of consideration) the supernatural beginning of the world by a divine creator 6000 years ago.

    No. The testimony of Scripture (or the claims of any religious text) are not ruled out; they are simply beyond the domain of science. Similarly, the supernatural is not ruled as impossible by the scientific method, but merely as untestable. If there is empirical evidence for a 600-year-old universe, that evidence is valid.

    In other words, it is not operating purely from a scientific approach, but from a philosophical-religious approach, by defining validity of evidences and possibilities as only that which is material-natural and “testable.”

    Here you are essentially defining the scientific method as unscientific. Well, maybe that depends on what you mean by valid and possible, so I might be missing some nuance, but if I can add an adverb or two, this would make a pretty good description of what science is equipped to investigate: “the scientific validity of evidences and scientifically-investigatable possibilities is only that which is material-natural and testable.”

    true science would not rule out valid possibilities due to religious-philosophical assumptions.

    Right. True science does rule out possibilities due to lack of, or rather contradictory, empirical evidence, though.

  328. Don said,

    June 30, 2014 at 3:55 am

    Ron Henzel 299,

    No one can even conceive of what an “old universe” looks like except within a purely theoretical construct that posits what the entire process of a universe’s birth, growth, aging, and maturity looks like.

    No, experimental as well as theoretical.

    You [I] wrote:

    But neither does the tracing of the universe back to its origin require a particular world view, other than that the universe operates according to fixed laws.

    And this, of course is the fundamental presupposition of an unbiblical, non-theistic worldview: the universe operates according to fixed laws apart from any divine intervention whatsoever.

    Who said anything about “apart from any divine intervention”? Not me. You are confusing that which science is equipped to handle (only natural phenomena can be investigated by science) with the idea that science is equipped to handle everything (that is, natural phenomena are all that exist). These are not the same thing.

  329. Reed Here said,

    June 30, 2014 at 7:48 am

    Don, is creation a natural or supernatural event?

  330. Ron Henzel said,

    June 30, 2014 at 8:21 am

    @ Don (#328):

    Do tell what experiments have been conducted that have demonstrated what an “old universe” must look like.

  331. Steve Drake said,

    June 30, 2014 at 8:56 am

    Andrew @ 322,
    Thanks for bringing this to my attention. This is the problem in both the OPC and PCA that fuels the debate and keeps this fire going; men who are or were Ruling Elders or Teaching Elders who are allowing blasphemy and heterodoxy to run amuck because they don’t want to stir the pot or discipline someone. Men who think it’s fine that someone hold an Analogical Day or Framework view which are both ‘de facto’ evolutionary and old earth views, and are the tools the secularists use in their war against God and Christianity. Men who haven’t taken the time to study and investigate the foundational doctrines of Scripture that must be completely altered and changed to accommodate these views, and how the gospel they claim to believe and preach is no gospel at all under these views. Why would anyone who claims to be a Christian hand the enemy of God the tools to continue in his hatred and rebellion of God I’ll never understand.

    Ron D.,
    I’m disappointed.

  332. Ron said,

    June 30, 2014 at 8:59 am

    But you seem to be missing the consequence, that a scientist’s presuppositions regarding the supernatural, therefore, do not matter in regards to applying the scientific method.

    Don,

    This is simply false. The scientific method is one of induction. Induction requires a hypothesis with an antecedent that gets asserted into the minor premise. By definition the naturalist and the super-naturalist have difference biases, different presuppositions and, therefore, will not formulate the same hypothesis. Without operating from the same hypothesis, they can’t agree on the same hypothesis.

    Moreover, the scientific method does not prove or disprove one’s hypothesis given the formal fallacy that induction is based upon. Scientists accept or reject theories; theories are not proved to be correct or incorrect. If the experiment coincides with the hypothesis, then the scientist has gained support for the hypothesis. Notwithstanding, another forthcoming explanation can overturn any natural projection given the nature of induction. Accordingly, the naturalist-scientist cannot properly conclude that it is impossible for there to be a virgin birth for the scientific method allows for revision based upon new data. (This is another reason why Ken is wrong when he claims that all scientists should claim “impossibility” based upon induction.)

    I wrote: Are you now willing to retract your bald assertion that believers and unbelievers should end up with the same conclusions?

    You responded: This is of course not what I have said. What I have said is that believing and unbelieving scientists apply the scientific method the same way, and will end up with the same scientific conclusions.

    You’re mincing words. In any case, method alone does not dictate one’s conclusions. What one will accept as premises will largely dictate one’s conclusions. You seem to acknowledge that a bit more in your last post. Bottom line is, the believer rejects the hypothesis and scientific conclusions, being based upon a formal fallacy, are always more tentative than what is being suggested.

  333. Ron said,

    June 30, 2014 at 9:15 am

    Sorry you’re disappointed, Steve, but it’s a bit hard for me to call one a heretic who affirms the Trinity and all the miracles that pertain to the gospel, etc. while claiming that the genre of the text prohibits him from finding the age of the earth in those chapters in question.

    However, if you can delineate specific charges of heresy that do not involve reading a person’s motives, I think we’d all be interested in seeing that. In a word, what would your case look like for deposing a such a one from office? Your case, of course, would need to be methodically put together and not just full of claims of “blasphemy,” “heterodoxy,” “hated,” “rebellion,” “no gospel at all,” “war against God…” Saying that they merely “claim” to believe the gospel but really don’t hardly cuts it.

  334. Ron Henzel said,

    June 30, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    @ Steve (#331):

    Men who haven’t taken the time to study and investigate the foundational doctrines of Scripture that must be completely altered and changed to accommodate these views, and how the gospel they claim to believe and preach is no gospel at all under these views.

    This raises two questions:

    1) Which foundational doctrines of Scripture must be completely altered to accommodate the intolerance of the Analogical Day or Framework views?

    And,

    2) How does such intolerance make the gospel they claim to believe and preach “no gospel at all?”

  335. Steve Drake said,

    June 30, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    Ron 333 and Ron 334,
    Am at work, guys. Will try to respond this evening.

  336. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 30, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    Ron Henzel,

    It’s the basic hermeneutical approach, that ultimately undermines the Gospel. Allowing for non-Ordinary Day views, is to admit Modernism, since both Analogical Day and Framework views require a Modernist’s (or post-Modernist’s) view of Genesis. That some adherents are inconsistent, and shift to a Christian doctrine of Scripture for the New Testament doesn’t change the fact that they are basically (post-)Modernists regarding the Scriptures of the Old Testament.

    Go ask Peter Enns how that works, since he now agrees with Andrew Lincoln on the Virgin Birth.

    That’s how it goes. The denial of the Virgin Birth and the bodily resurrection of Christ by the Modernists in the early 20th century was absolutely a result of the failure to discipline the Modernists approach to Scripture while it was only attacking the Old Testament.

    Continuing to allow the same Modernism (or it’s neo-Orthodox child) in contemporary NAPARC that was the spring of the Presbyterian Controversy of the 1920s and 1930s is not going to produce a better outcome this time.

    Inconsistent Modernists (those who are naturalists in OT but supernaturalists in NT) such as the Framework and Analogical Day view adherents are, are not really more trustworthy. Will all of them go the Enns, Longman and Walke route, probably not, but their students more and more will.

    Now, I also recognize they are not really technically Modernists in the strict, since I think their overall approach is more neo-Orthodox post-Modern than anything else.

    I think the reason the middle school kids are dropping out is because they can see the utter inconsistency of basic Naturalism with Supernaturalism tacked on when it comes to the Resurrection, and conclude rightly that if the Bible is wrong on Genesis, then it (and Christianity in general) is not something to seriously consider in terms of ordering one’s life.

    Jesus Christ as the ultimate author of Scripture, and as God the Word, has to be as trustworthy when he spoke from above Mt. Sinai the ten Commandments, which which he said “for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the seas and all that in them is” as when he said “I am the resurrection and life”, or “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”.

    If Christ is playing word games when speaking audibly from Mt. Sinai, then who’s to say he’s not playing the same word games when he spoke during His earthly ministry as recorded in John 11 and 14 as cited above?

    It’s doesn’t matter how anyone wants to couch it, suggesting that the days of creation are anything other than the same kinds of days that the Sabbath that the Israelites at the foot of Mt Sinai, and we also are to keep necessarily entails God being equivocal.

  337. Don said,

    June 30, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Ron Henzel 330,
    Um, Michelson-Morley plus most beyond-the-solar-system astronomy?

  338. Don said,

    June 30, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Wait, sorry, I just reread 330. I have no idea what an old universe “must” look like. My answer in 337 was what it *does* look like.

  339. Tim Harris said,

    June 30, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    No the question is what a young universe (already populated with men) looks like.

  340. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 30, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    Tim Harris @339, well it’s pretty easy to see what a ~6K year old universe looks like. Observe it, you’re living in it.

  341. Don said,

    June 30, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Reed Here 329,

    Don, is creation a natural or supernatural event?

    This is a good question! The result of creation is of course the “natural world.” This “natural” world operates according to “natural” laws, but ultimately that is because of God keeping his providential promises. Is providence natural or supernatural? I guess it’s supernatural by definition, that (in general terms) a supernatural power is governing/sustaining the natural world. So following that, I guess I’d say that creation is a supernatural power bringing the natural world into existence.

    I’m not sure if this entirely answers your question. Please follow up if you like.

  342. Bob S said,

    June 30, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    330Do tell what experiments have been conducted that have demonstrated what an “old universe” must look like.

    Come on Ron, Doncha know/where ya bin? An old universe looks just like the one we got right now.

    Seriously, out here in the home state of Ma and Pa Kettle, before 1980 when Mount St. Helens blew up that argument might have passed the sniff test, but now not so much.

    True, Ma and Pa can’t figure out how a Murphy bed works, but a real live observable catastrophe – why the “scientists” should have been all over it.

    Well, they are, but the forest for the trees/the blind leading the blind paradigm predominates.

    Nevertheless, for the curious or even open minded, an alternative scientific POV exists:

    Why Does ICR Study the Mount St. Helen’s Eruption?

    30 Years Later, the Lessons from Mount St. Helens

    317 Andrew, as to”…how God should have worded 24 hour days if He intended to communicated 24 hour days?”,
    Geerhardus Vos On The Creation Days over at the Heidelblog might be of interest to you.

    cheers

  343. Don said,

    June 30, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Ron 332,

    You’re mincing words.

    No.

    In any case, method alone does not dictate one’s conclusions.

    Baloney. If the method (scientific method, specifically) is only able to evaluate natural events, any valid (scientific) conclusions deal with natural events only. You can recast this to be at the level of presupposition or hypothesis or whatever, but this doesn’t change the limitations of the method.

  344. Ron said,

    June 30, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Don,

    You keep talking about the “method” but fail to do justice to the fact that all who apply the method don’t agree upon the premises that should be pumped into any given equation. If everybody had the same presuppositions and premises, then theories could never be improved upon. Yet theories are improved upon and when that occurs scientists don’t have 100% agreement on the hypothesis being tested; nor do they always agree after the fact about the veracity of the conclusion. Accordingly, even secularists disagree over premises and statistical veracity.

    A implies B, but we don’t know whether B is true of false. How does our opinion of B influence our statistical or epistemic confidence in A? If B (the consequence) is proven false, then we can be certain that A is false. However, if we find B is true, we still are without a demonstrative inference for A. All we have is a heuristic inference. Accordingly, the inference is even less apt to be agreed upon, not only because people don’t always agree on the premises but also because agreement, if it’s to mean anything at all, must be according to some level of confidence! However, confidence in inductive inference is undefinable. Given the inductive data or evidence and a set of given propositions there is no way to derive veracity or credence for any given result, let alone a veracity that can be agreed upon apart from utter arbitrariness.

    Rather than just call all these posts “baloney,” maybe you might become acquainted with the subject matter.

  345. Reed Here said,

    June 30, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    Don, no. 341: wow, no, not in any helpful manner. Maybe confusion from my original question.

    It almost sounds like you are positing a power of supernaturalism in the Cosmos (everything in existence) itself. Am I correct that what you mean is that a Supernatural Being stands behind the Cosmos, and that He works in it either naturally or supernaturally?

    Leave off the state of providence for now, the question of God’s relationship to the Cosmos after creation. Instead, just answer with reference to the creation of the Cosmos?

    Maybe more focused, did God create the Cosmos: a) via natural means or b) via supernatural means?

    Second question: what is your authority for this conclusion?

    Thanks!

  346. Don said,

    June 30, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    Ron 343,

    You keep talking about the “method” but fail to do justice to the fact that all who apply the method don’t agree upon the premises that should be pumped into any given equation.

    I’m not talking about “any given equation.” I’m talking about the scientific method specifically. Why are you shifting the discussion to a particular theory?

    If everybody had the same presuppositions and premises, then theories could never be improved upon.

    This is not even true. Even if all scientists agree with what they think is true, if it is shown incorrect by experiment, then the theory will have to be improved upon.

    Rather than just call all these posts “baloney,” maybe you might become acquainted with the subject matter.

    I am not calling “all these posts” anything. Just the ones that are fundamentally mischaracterizing or misunderstanding the scientific method, with which I believe I am sufficiently acquainted, thank you.

  347. Ron Henzel said,

    June 30, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    @ Don (#337):

    Um, Michelson-Morley plus most beyond-the-solar-system astronomy?

    & (#338):

    … My answer in 337 was what it *does* look like.

    Michelson-Morley was basically about aether, although it did lead to the widespread acceptance of the constancy of the speed of light. But then, we are now falling back again on an unproven uniformitarian presupposition if we insist that the speed of light has always been a constant—or the same constant that it is now. True, the speed of light is currently seen as an important factor in the overall cosmological balance, and changes to it would theoretically throw the fine-tuning of the cosmos out-of-whack, but that in turn assumes that the same unproven uniformitarianism applies to the other cosmological factors.

  348. Ron said,

    June 30, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    It’s become apparent that Don doesn’t understand anything about inductive inference.

  349. Ron said,

    June 30, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    Andrew,

    You say RS Clark is “pretty representative. He thinks that the Ordinary Day view of Genesis is far more dangerous than the Theonomy and the Federal Vision combined (based on the number of pages he devotes to each on the chapter of QIRC in Recovering the Reformed Confessions.”

    I found a link to Vos on Dr. Clark’s site that would suggest he believes this matter is not one to divide over as long as the Scriptures are not compromised as authoritative by long earth proponents. Have you represented him correctly? That he spends many pages on the matter does not imply it’s a test of orthodoxy for him.

  350. Ron said,

    June 30, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    Andrew,

    This doesn’t seem terribly strident either.

    http://clark.wscal.edu/substance.php

  351. Steve Drake said,

    June 30, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Ron 334 said,

    1) Which foundational doctrines of Scripture must be completely altered to accommodate the intolerance of the Analogical Day or Framework views?

    1) Hamartiology-The doctrine of sin and the Curse. AD and Framework guys in waffling on the historical chronology of the created order and man, are ‘de facto’ bowing to the secularist version of uniformitarian geology and its timescale of billions and millions of years. They are also bowing to some form of evolutionary development in the biodiversity of life and death over those millions of years. By allowing death as an entity in the created order before Adam’s sin, they make Adam’s sin and the resultant Curse of God on that sin of no consequence. One needs to remember that buying into an old earth buys into the fossil record of that old earth over those millions and millions of years. One also needs to remember that with that death in the animal kingdom, (and here we’re also talking about the death of prehuman hominids including Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon that were long before Adam), there was disease, decay, and predation, killing and blood, and at least 5 massive extinction events that wiped out large portions of that created order.

    An AD or Framework guy who isn’t allowing Gen. 5 and Gen. 11 along with the 6×24 days of Gen. 1 to determine the age of the cosmos and earth is thus undermining the orthodox position of Christianity and of our Reformers that Adam’s sin and only his sin brought death into a perfectly created mature order, and that sin brought on the Curse of God to not only Adam, but the entire created order of which Adam was to have dominion over.

    2) the doctrine of marriage and one flesh.
    AD and Framework guys of necessity in their ‘de facto’ evolutionary and old earth views believe that Adam was descended from previous human stock of perhaps 10-20000 or even 100,000 individuals and that Eve was of this same stock, both called “out of” this stock and infused with souls to be in communion with God. Not only does this destroy the long held orthodox position that Adam was created ex nihilo from the dust of the earth, it also destroys the idea of “one flesh” in that Eve was then created from Adam’s rib, the bedrock formula for why marriage is between a man and a woman and to why it should be the strongest human relationship.

    3) Christology
    Since Christ was the agent in Creation (Col. 1:16, John 1:3), millions of years of death, disease, decay, destruction, predation and killing in the created biodiversity of life including any prehuman hominids, Neanderthals, and Cro-Magnons then become the work of Christ in creation and the very outflow of His being. Therefore, when He comes to His work in the New Testament, He would be dying for His own work, bruised for His own iniquities, not as judgment for the consequences of Adam’s sin. It makes Christ guilty of a creative process that involved death, suffering, disease, tumors, plagues, and a host of natural evil in the process of arriving at man millions and millions of years later. It thus impugns Christ with divine confusion and cruelty and charges Him with these things as part and parcel of His character. Certainly a blasphemous act if ever was one.

  352. Steve Drake said,

    June 30, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    Ron 334

    2) How does such intolerance make the gospel they claim to believe and preach “no gospel at all?”

    A Christ who died on a cross as judgment for the consequences of Adam’s sin, of your and my sin, is no God who should be honored or believed for His self-sacrifice if that same God in Christ instituted the horrors of millions and millions of years of cruelty and confusion, death and bloodshed, disease and plague, decay and massive destruction in His work of Creation to begin with.

  353. Ron said,

    June 30, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    Ron, these must be yours. I’m simply looking for how we can bring charges.

  354. Bob S said,

    June 30, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    346 Just the ones that are fundamentally mischaracterizing or misunderstanding the scientific method, with which I believe I am sufficiently acquainted, thank you.

    Regarding that scientific method, Don, we’re still waiting for a scientist who one, either observed creation (or arguably the the big bang) and two, can duplicate it in a lab setting/experiment.

    Until then, maybe just maybe, the scientific method isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
    Even when it’s properly understood.

  355. Andrew Duggan said,

    June 30, 2014 at 11:56 pm

    Ron D,

    Read Recovering the Reformed Confession. You can also read John Byl on Clark. In that link, NB point #5.

    Then you can learn about QUACK.

    Clark wants you to think that he argues that the Reformed Confessions should be the test for orthodoxy, but when it comes to it, such as WCF 4.1 not so much. Then he wants it like Kline.

    Clark argues that there should be no test for orthodoxy when it comes to the doctrine of creation other than that God created all things, and maybe that Adam and Eve are the first human beings.

    Like all Framework and Analogical Day adherents, he’s long on tolerance and short on specifics. He can’t tell you much of anything about the nature of, the length of, or the order of the days of creation, even though Genesis 1 speaks to all three.

    When writing a book on the subject of what’s wrong with the church and how to fix it, such as Recovering the Reformed Confession the amount of space devoted to each “wrong” is not a bad measure of what the author thinks the relative importance of each “wrong” is, especially when the author spends no time actually discussing the relative importance. The critical reader will also want to evaluate the choice of the wrongs selected. In the QIRC chapter, the three things Clark selects are the three very big Klinean touchstones. Hmm, yeah, is he really advocating recovering the reformed confessions, or substituting Klinean orthodoxy for reformed orthodoxy?

    From Kline himself

    To rebut the literalistic interpretation of the Genesis creation week propounded by young earth theorists is a central concern of this article…The conclusion is that as far as the time frame is concerned, with respect to both the duration and sequence of events, the scientist is left free of biblical constraints in hypothesizing about origins.

    …I regard the widespread insistence on a young earth to be a deplorable disservice to the cause of biblical truth.

    1996, Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 48:2-15) as quoted by Byl in the first link above.

    That is what Kline and his followers such as Clark are really all about when it comes to the doctrine of Creation. They want to ensure there is only agreement from the Christians that “the scientist is left free of biblical constraints in hypothesizing about origins”.

    Hmm, to be free of biblical constraints, reminds me of Psalm 2.

    The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.

  356. Andrew Duggan said,

    July 1, 2014 at 12:09 am

    Ron D asks:

    I’m simply looking for how we can bring charges.

    What? Isn’t this a safe place? ;-)

  357. Don said,

    July 1, 2014 at 2:19 am

    Reed Here 345,
    Would it have helped if I capitalized terms like Supernatural Power? I certainly didn’t mean to personify the cosmos.

    So let me try to rephrase: Before God created, there was no natural/material anything. So creation was supernatural, by default. The alternative would be, I guess, that nature somehow created itself, which clearly contradicts Genesis 1:1.

  358. Don said,

    July 1, 2014 at 2:58 am

    Bob S 354,

    Regarding that scientific method, Don, we’re still waiting for a scientist who one, either observed creation (or arguably the the big bang) and two, can duplicate it in a lab setting/experiment.

    You mean like Ellen G. White did?

  359. Don said,

    July 1, 2014 at 3:23 am

    Ron Henzel 347,
    You asked; I answered. If you have evidence that the speed of light in vacuum isn’t a constant, please share it. If not, then please realize that whether you care for it or not, there is an enormous amount of evidence that the universe is billions of years old.

  360. Ron Henzel said,

    July 1, 2014 at 3:41 am

    @ Don (#359):

    If you have evidence that the speed of light in a vacuum has always been a constant, and has never changed, please share it. If not, please realize that whether you care for it or not, there is no evidence whatsoever for your uniformitarian presuppositions.

  361. Ron said,

    July 1, 2014 at 6:15 am

    Andrew,

    All I see is someone trying to defend a view while seeking tolerance. I wish you’d be more discerning in what you’re willing to write about Dr. Clark.

  362. Andrew Duggan said,

    July 1, 2014 at 7:21 am

    Ron D @361,

    I’m going to take that as you haven’t read Recovering the Reformed Confession. Since you advocate tolerance über alles you obviously agree with Clark on tolerance for error, or at least some specific errors.

    You are now arguing like Machen’s adversaries. While you personally may believe the truth, you don’t have the courage of your conviction. And as is so very typical you would much rather side with those who advocate the error then those who do the truth, because at least you’re tolerant.

    Tolerance for error is not a virtue. Liberty of Conscience is the liberty to believe and obey everything that Christ has communicated to us in the Scriptures, not to believe anything one wants.

    Keep Hedging your bets — that’s a winning strategy.

  363. Andrew Duggan said,

    July 1, 2014 at 7:30 am

    As a follow up, yes I know that Machen was someone who did not believe that God created the world in six ordinary days. This was one of his blind spots, just like for most of his life he denied the imputation of the active obedience of Christ. The Machen case is a classic one of those who place toleration over the truth in general, not about creation specifically.

  364. Ron Henzel said,

    July 1, 2014 at 8:12 am

    @ Andrew (#363):

    …for most of his life he [Machen] denied the imputation of the active obedience of Christ.

    Documentation, please!

  365. Ron Henzel said,

    July 1, 2014 at 8:46 am

    @ Steve (#351):

    I agree that the Analogical Day and Framework views are problematic for the doctrinal topics you’ve listed. I am a literal-24-hour-day guy. But I believe you are vastly overstating your case by saying that those other views are necessarily destructive of the doctrines you’ve listed.

    John R.W. Stott would provide us with a classic example of how a theologian could even hold to theistic evolution and yet still affirm the biblical fall, the imputation of Adam’s sin to his posterity, a biblical doctrine of marriage, and so on. You can find out how he tries to square his view of origins with these doctrines by reading his commentary on Romans, particularly on the fifth chapter.

    Not that I think it would be a good thing if my own denomination (the PCA) were to allow theistic evolution to be taught in its midst. I would fight that tooth and nail (although not in the Jurassic sense of that phrase). But the Analogical Day and Framework views are not hills to die on.

  366. Don said,

    July 1, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Ron Henzel 360,
    Since explaining astronomy to you is beyond the scope of these comments, I would again encourage you to call your local community college for a recommended textbook or course to audit.

    But very very briefly, there’s no empirical evidence that is better explained by a variation in the speed of light, than by it being constant.

    (Per the other Ron and for the sake of inductive logic, yes I know this is not proof. Which is why we’re discussing evidence here.)

  367. Ron Henzel said,

    July 1, 2014 at 9:59 am

    @ Don (#366):

    I have already completed the requisite studies in the fields about which I am writing. I would encourage you to complete your own studies in logic and the philosophy of science, as you apparently do not understand my previous comment.

  368. Andrew Duggan said,

    July 1, 2014 at 11:25 am

    Ron Henzel,

    Thanks. I withdraw and apologize for that. I read too much into the way Stonehouse phases in the interaction between Murray and Machen on the subject, and the fact that Machen wanted to acknowledge Murray’s role in developing Machens appreciation for that doctrine, and then
    projecting Machen’s serious internal struggle with Modernism from his early life and studies in Germany into that topic.

  369. Bob S said,

    July 1, 2014 at 11:32 am

    358 Yo Don, you saying EG White is a constant like the speed of light?
    How many Nobel Prize winners agree?

    By the way we’re still waiting for the missing link between Darwin’s hypothesis and the fact of evolution (macro).

    But science knows everything/all things.
    And that’s a good thing. We can all go down for our nap now.
    cheers

  370. Don said,

    July 1, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Ron Henzel 367,
    I thought in 330 when you asked “what an old universe looked like” you were asking for scientific evidence. Based on your comment in 367, I trust you understand there is plenty of this. But from the second sentence of 360 it seems you’re shifting the goalposts and only interested in discussing “uniformitarian presuppositions.”

  371. Don said,

    July 1, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Bob S 369,
    No, but I would say that the founder of modern YEC claims that she was there.

    As you probably know, the applicability of the scientific method is not restricted to events in which some guy in a white lab coat is standing there watching.

  372. Reed Here said,

    July 1, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    Thanks Don, no. 357. Just wanted to make sure.

    Follow up question, if the act of creation is supernatural, how do we adequately examine it using a method limited to naturalism, empiricism? Are we not by definition NOT going to get a correct correspondence?

  373. Ron Henzel said,

    July 1, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    @ Don (#371):

    I have not shifted the goalpost. You simply keep missing it.

    The two currently-acknowledged givens (which I will assume for the sake of argument) that (a) the speed of light in a vacuum is constant in all places, and (b) the universe is billions of light-years in size does not demonstrate that (c) the speed of light has always been the same constant that it is now, and therefore (a) + (b) do not add up to experimental proof for an old universe.

  374. Don said,

    July 1, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Ron Henzel 373,
    You are certainly shifting the goal posts. I did not ask you to prove that the speed of light is not constant, I asked you for evidence (this was in 359). In 360, you’re asking for evidence of “uniformitarian presuppositions.” Now in 373 you are asking for “experimental proof.”

  375. Ron Henzel said,

    July 1, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    @ Don (#374):

    Once again: I most certainly am not shifting the goalposts, since way back in comment 347 I wrote:

    But then, we are now falling back again on an unproven uniformitarian presupposition if we insist that the speed of light has always been a constant—or the same constant that it is now.

    I have no idea why, in response to this, you asked (in 359) for evidence that the speed of light is not currently a constant. I never raised that issue. I only raised the issue of how you proposed to prove the uniformitarian presupposition that the value of c has never varied.

  376. Bob S said,

    July 1, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    371 Don, I am not trying to be difficult, but you really need to come clean on what you believe science to be if the rest of us wooly headed idiots don’t think science is quite the last word we think you think it is.

    Two, science/the results of science may be pragmatically applicable to a lot of things. Vide the technology that surrounds us. But that is not to say science is competent to the question of origins, which imo fwiw is the real issue in all this.

    We observe what appear to be laws and constants now in the material universe and reason/infer backward that it has always been that way – until we get to creation the big bang.

    But can we prove any of it? No, that is a question of what we have faith in, whether it is general revelation, special revelation or even a “scientific” harmonization o the two.

    cheers

  377. Bob S said,

    July 1, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Long story short Don, if you don’t like our definition of science, what’s your’s?

  378. Ron said,

    July 1, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    Moderators,

    Andrew made this claim about R.S. Clark: “[Clark] thinks that the Ordinary Day view of Genesis is far more dangerous than the Theonomy and the Federal Vision combined (based on the number of pages he devotes to each on the chapter of QIRC in Recovering the Reformed Confessions.”

    Andrew makes this allegation “based on the number of pages” Clark devotes to the subject matter. Robert Reymond dedicated 27 pages in his systematic theology to the order of the decrees; does that imply that he thought the infralapsarian position was more dangerous than, say, Federal Vision? No, and the same Christian charity and powers of reason should apply when evaluating anyone’s who work, especially when we might disagree with the position being advocated.

    Andrew suggested I go to Dr. Clark’s blog so I did. I then provided two links, one from the Heidelblog and the other from the seminary. I then responded with, “Have you represented him correctly? That he spends many pages on the matter does not imply it’s a test of orthodoxy for him.” I noted that the the articles did not seem strident but rather they contained a call for tolerance. (The Vos article even put forth a version of opposing views.) Rather than retract (or substantiate) the allegation that Dr. Clark believes that ordinary days presents a danger to the Reformed tradition, the only thing of relevance that Andrew could provide was a quote from Kline, “I regard the widespread insistence on a young earth to be a deplorable disservice to the cause of biblical truth.” So, now we are expected to impugn Dr. Clark by association? It should be apparent that one can agree with another’s thesis while rejecting the prominence the other person thinks the thesis should find in the corpus of Reformed doctrine.

    So, I wrote again “All I see is someone trying to defend a view while seeking tolerance. I wish you’d be more discerning in what you’re willing to write about Dr. Clark.” I was met with “you obviously agree with Clark on tolerance for error, or at least some specific errors.” So, again, Andrew didn’t retract or corroborate his allegation. Even worse, Andrew operates according to a hypocritical standard unless he allows no liberty for individuals within a session to maintain mutually exclusive interpretations of Scripture. Of course Andrew allows for some liberty as it pertains to interpretative differences, hence his double standard. (More on that point later.)

    You are now arguing like Machen’s adversaries. While you personally may believe the truth, you don’t have the courage of your conviction. And as is so very typical you would much rather side with those who advocate the error then those who do the truth, because at least you’re tolerant. Tolerance for error is not a virtue. Liberty of Conscience is the liberty to believe and obey everything that Christ has communicated to us in the Scriptures, not to believe anything one wants.

    That remark is incendiary and reckless, just like this remark about Machen was reckless: “most of his life he denied the imputation of the active obedience of Christ.” But to Andrew’s credit he did acknowledge that he had become confused over Stonehouse and Murray discussions. Maybe Andrew might also tease out Dr. Clark’s views from Meredith Kline in a similar way by retracting his remark about Dr. Clark finding 24 hour days dangerous, or else Andrew should corroborate his allegation.

    Tolerance for error is not a virtue. Liberty of Conscience is the liberty to believe and obey everything that Christ has communicated to us in the Scriptures, not to believe anything one wants.

    This is a very troublesome statement that warrants breaking down. Andrew’s theology is not pristine, but if God’s people don’t show forbearance toward him when they think he’s wrong on non-essentials they’d be disobedient to God. In that sense, tolerance is a virtue and Andrew needs to be the recipient of it if he’s to survive in the church. We all do. In a word, we are to show leniency one toward another on many matters of interpretation. Regarding Andrew’s understanding of liberty of conscience, it’s should be obvious that although God doesn’t grant permission to believe incorrectly, that observation is irrelevant to questions pertaining to the sorts of interpretations the church should tolerate within her pale.

    In any case, I don’t know that Dr. Clark finds the 24 hour day view dangerous to the Reformed tradition (he might for all I know), but I do know that the Andrew’s posts have not demonstrated this allegation. So, even if he can produce such proof, he has not been dealing adequately with the reputation of another.

    Please read with a critical eye the response(s).

  379. Ron said,

    July 1, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    Moderators,

    Andrew made this claim about R.S. Clark: “[Clark] thinks that the Ordinary Day view of Genesis is far more dangerous than the Theonomy and the Federal Vision combined (based on the number of pages he devotes to each on the chapter of QIRC in Recovering the Reformed Confessions.”

    Andrew makes this allegation “based on the number of pages” Clark devotes to the subject matter. Robert Reymond dedicated 27 pages in his systematic theology to the order of the decrees; does that imply that he thought the infralapsarian position was more dangerous than, say, Federal Vision? No, and the same Christian charity and powers of reason should apply when evaluating anyone’s work, especially when we might disagree with the position being advocated.

    Andrew suggested I go to Dr. Clark’s blog so I did. I then provided two links, one from the Heidelblog and the other from the seminary. I then responded with, “Have you represented him correctly? That he spends many pages on the matter does not imply it’s a test of orthodoxy for him.” I noted that the the articles did not seem strident but rather they contained a call for tolerance. (The Vos article even put forth a version of opposing views.) Rather than retract (or substantiate) the allegation that Dr. Clark believes that ordinary days presents a danger to the Reformed tradition, the only thing of relevance that Andrew could provide was a quote from Kline, “I regard the widespread insistence on a young earth to be a deplorable disservice to the cause of biblical truth.” So, now we are expected to impugn Dr. Clark by association? It should be apparent that one can agree with another’s thesis while rejecting the prominence the other person thinks the thesis should find in the corpus of Reformed doctrine.

    So, I wrote again “All I see is someone trying to defend a view while seeking tolerance. I wish you’d be more discerning in what you’re willing to write about Dr. Clark.” I was met with “you obviously agree with Clark on tolerance for error, or at least some specific errors.” So, again, Andrew didn’t retract or corroborate his allegation. Even worse, Andrew operates according to a hypocritical standard unless he allows no liberty for individuals within a session to maintain mutually exclusive interpretations of Scripture. Of course Andrew allows for some liberty as it pertains to interpretative differences, hence his double standard. (More on that point later.)

    You are now arguing like Machen’s adversaries. While you personally may believe the truth, you don’t have the courage of your conviction. And as is so very typical you would much rather side with those who advocate the error then those who do the truth, because at least you’re tolerant. Tolerance for error is not a virtue. Liberty of Conscience is the liberty to believe and obey everything that Christ has communicated to us in the Scriptures, not to believe anything one wants.

    That remark is incendiary and reckless, just like this remark about Machen was reckless: “most of his life he denied the imputation of the active obedience of Christ.” But to Andrew’s credit he did acknowledge that he had become confused over Stonehouse and Murray discussions. Maybe Andrew might also tease out Dr. Clark’s views from Meredith Kline in a similar way by retracting his remark about Dr. Clark finding 24 hour days dangerous, or else Andrew should corroborate his allegation.

    Tolerance for error is not a virtue. Liberty of Conscience is the liberty to believe and obey everything that Christ has communicated to us in the Scriptures, not to believe anything one wants.

    This is a very troublesome statement that warrants breaking down. Andrew’s theology is not pristine, but if God’s people don’t show forbearance toward him when they think he’s wrong on non-essentials they’d be disobedient to God. In that sense, tolerance is a virtue and Andrew needs to be the recipient of it if he’s to survive in the church. We all do. In a word, we are to show leniency one toward another on many matters of interpretation. Regarding Andrew’s understanding of liberty of conscience, it should be obvious that although God doesn’t grant permission to believe incorrectly, that observation is irrelevant to questions pertaining to the sorts of interpretations the church should tolerate within her pale.

    In any case, I don’t know that Dr. Clark finds the 24 hour day view dangerous to the Reformed tradition (he might for all I know), but I do know that the Andrew’s posts have not demonstrated this allegation. So, even if he can produce such proof, he has not been dealing adequately with the reputation of another.

    Please read with a critical eye the response(s).

  380. Steve Drake said,

    July 1, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    Ron Henzel

    John R.W. Stott would provide us with a classic example of how a theologian could even hold to theistic evolution and yet still affirm the biblical fall, the imputation of Adam’s sin to his posterity, a biblical doctrine of marriage, and so on. You can find out how he tries to square his view of origins with these doctrines by reading his commentary on Romans, particularly on the fifth chapter.

    Can you summarize it for me Ron? I don’t have access to this reference. What are you thinking Stott says that makes your point specifically?

    But the Analogical Day and Framework views are not hills to die on.

    I respectfully disagree. It’s an authority of Scripture issue. It’s fidelity to the truth; the truth of Scripture as recorded and written down for man. If the authority of Scripture is not a “hill to die on”, if fidelity to Scripture is not a “hill to die on”, then what is for you? The AD and Framework guys who won’t put history (and again I’m speaking of the entire created order in chronological order) on a timeline because they know it puts them in a old cosmos/old earth box, we can see through their unwillingness to do so and rightfully claim them disingenuous on the so very important matter of origins. Are ears are pricked that there’s something they’re trying to hide, or waffle on, or disguise in some way. We can rightfully claim them not handling accurately the Word of God.

  381. Steve Drake said,

    July 1, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    Ron D @ 378 & 379 (repeated twice for emphasis?)
    Boy, someone’s feelings got hurt. It is the RE’s and TE’s (both former and present) in both the OPC and PCA that have allowed the confusion and consternation we now find ourselves in on this matter. The blame is not with the laity.

    You guys (TE’s and RE’s) have let the wolf in at the door and it is destroying the sheep. This OP on Ham’s book is proof of that. The tolerance has got to stop, and you must begin to be men with a backbone who (metaphorically) kills the wolf and slams the door. The rift is spreading wide open between compromising leaders who tolerate untruth and the laity beseechingly crying out for men who will stand on the whole of God’s Word. It is time for the whining to stop.

  382. Ron said,

    July 1, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    Steve,

    I own the commentary. His treatment on the matter is horrific. “The likelihood is that they were all pre-Adamic hominids, still homo sapiens and not yet homo divinus, if we may so style Adam. ..though our bodies are related to primates, we ourselves …are related to God.” He later posits Kidner’s theory that God may have “conferred his image on Adam’s collaterals, to bring them into the same realm of being.” In other words federal headship would have extended to us and them.

  383. Ron said,

    July 1, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    Steve,

    If I were a godlier man I’d tremble over the allegations I’m reading, but as it is I’ll pray for you my brother.

  384. Don said,

    July 2, 2014 at 5:11 am

    Ron Henzel 375,

    way back in comment 347 I wrote:

    But then, we are now falling back again on an unproven uniformitarian presupposition if we insist that the speed of light has always been a constant—or the same constant that it is now.

    I have no idea why, in response to this, you asked (in 359) for evidence that the speed of light is not currently a constant. I never raised that issue.

    Not only are you raising the issue, you are quoting yourself doing it! That is to say, in 347 you are declaring that the theory of the speed of light being a constant is on unstable philosophical grounds. You seem quite open to the idea that the speed of light has varied over time. So I asked you what evidence you have that it isn’t a constant; because if there is none, I’m not sure why you seem so eager to raise the hypothetical possibility that it varies.

  385. Don said,

    July 2, 2014 at 5:52 am

    Reed Here 372,

    Follow up question, if the act of creation is supernatural, how do we adequately examine it using a method limited to naturalism, empiricism? Are we not by definition NOT going to get a correct correspondence?

    The supernatural events recorded in the Bible have consequences in the natural world. For creation, the consequence, obviously, is the very existence of the natural world. That natural world can be explored empirically. As I said above, somewhere, science can’t be used to explore the supernatural act itself; that would be a problem. So if by not getting a correct correspondence you mean that empiricism will not detect the supernatural, sure. But if you mean that empiricism will not correctly understand and interpret the resulting natural world, I don’t think that’s necessarily true.

  386. Ron Henzel said,

    July 2, 2014 at 6:11 am

    @ Don (#384):

    I quoted myself raising the issue back when I first did because you’ve been acting as though I have since changed the issue when in fact I have not.

    If the speed of light has varied over time—let’s say, for example, that it may have once been much, much faster than it is now—then the light we are now seeing from the remotest corners of the universe would not have taken 13 billion light years to arrive here. Thus it would not be required for the universe to be billions of years old. The idea of a variable speed of light is no stranger to recent theoretical physics.

  387. Andrew Duggan said,

    July 2, 2014 at 7:39 am

    Ron D,

    Wow, You mistake the fact that I am sinful for the idea that I think I have the liberty to be sinful, while denying that to others. While I am sinful, I don’t have (nor anyone else has) the right to be sinful, we all have the right to believe and do everything Christ has said and commanded. Capacity to do so, not so much, especially me.

    God alone is Lord of the conscience, and has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are, in any thing, contrary to His Word; or beside it, if matters of faith, or worship. So that, to believe such doctrines, or to obey such commands, out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience: and the requiring of an implicit faith, and an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience, and reason also.

    WCF 20:2

    Note well, “in anything contrary to His Word or beside it”. The definition of liberty I gave was basically just WCF 20:2 in my own words.

    WCF 20:2 teaches we have the liberty to believe the truth. It doesn’t provide anyone the liberty to believe, teach or tolerate error.

    The first and foremost of men of whose doctrines and commandments from which we are free is each of us individually. We are primarily not to tolerate error in our own thinking.

    Now I (and I suspect most people) fail to live up to that standard, but my failure doesn’t diminish the standard.

    Finally, as of July 1, 2014 have you read Recovering the Reformed Confession or not? Simple question. I have read it. That book is not a systematic theology book. It is a polemic. Very different genres. You claim I pointed you to his blog, but I also pointed you to that book. I also pointed you to other’s interactions with Clark on the subject such as John Byl. Did you look at any of that?

  388. Ron said,

    July 2, 2014 at 7:46 am

    Andrew,

    I believe it is best that I leave your yet to substantiated accusation of Dr. Clark and evasiveness to the moderators.

  389. Reed Here said,

    July 2, 2014 at 8:06 am

    Don, no. 385, no I mean that the creation event cannot be measured by empirical means if it was the product of supernatural means.

    You cannot use a consequent state to measure a previous state unless their conditions coincide. In this case, if creation is a supernatural event then you cannot use natural considerations to determine how it was accomplished.

    All your arguing based on naturalism denies your profession that creation was a supernatural event.

  390. Ron Henzel said,

    July 2, 2014 at 8:08 am

    @ Andrew (#317)

    You wrote:

    Go read Scott Clark’s blog on the subject. They really do think they are interpreting Genesis literally. Go ask Scott Clark your question,

    …how God should have worded 24 hour days if He intended to communicated 24 hour days.

    and see what he says. He’s pretty representative. He thinks that the Ordinary Day view of Genesis is far more dangerous than the Theonomy and the Federal Vision combined (based on the number of pages he devotes to each on the chapter of QIRC in Recovering the Reformed Confessions.

    Have you checked your understanding of how “dangerous” he believes the Ordinary Day view to be with Scott Clark himself? If not, please refrain from imputing beliefs to someone that may very well turn out to be slanderous.

    This is a public service message from one of the moderators.

  391. Ron said,

    July 2, 2014 at 9:12 am

    Thanks for weighing in, Ron, but until Andrew sees the difference between (a) referring people here and there while claiming he has read this and that, and (b) producing evidence for his claims, it is not likely he will recognize that he has not substantiated his claims.

    Although I remain somewhat agnostic on Dr. Clark’s alleged disdain for 24 hour days, my belief that he does not disdain that view is directly proportional to Andrew’s delay in producing evidence that can corroborate the claim (especially in the light of it being be repeatedly requested). What mystifies me most is that since the evidence is so clear to Andrew and he has all he needs at his fingertips, then why hasn’t he produced this evidence with the same ease he was able to prove Kline’s disdain for 24 hour days? Why not put the nail in the coffin?

    Related to this, why hasn’t Steve taken up the challenge to delineate relevant charges and specifications so that we spineless and cowardly ruling and teaching elders might learn how to proceed with such a case against those who profess the authority of Scripture while maintaining that Scripture does not speak to the length of days. I would think that at least an overture might be forthcoming given their passion for the matter. It’s a bit hard to go to any court, let alone a Christian court, with “I know you say you agree with the authority of Scripture but I know that you don’t.”

  392. Andrew Duggan said,

    July 2, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Ron Henzel,

    I did qualify my original remark which you cite, while you might dismiss that as evidence, it is still a matter of fact on the amount of space Clark devotes to each QIRC item. While it may not rise to the level of being conclusive for you, it is still evidence.

    I have interacted Clark on the subject and I’ve not been convinced by what he has said to the contrary.

    RRC is a book about what is wrong with the Church. That some hold 6×24 creation only is one of those things that Clark cites as being wrong. Does Clark really think that 6×24 is more dangerous than Theonomy and FV combined? Maybe not, but why then did he spend more time on 6×24 creation than the other two combined?

    Clark’s views to the relative dangers is not really the point. Never was.

    So withdrawn and apologies to Dr. Clark.

    Ron D, asked rhetorically how an AD or Framework guy would answer the question of if God did want to communicate 24 hour days how would he do it? The fact of the matter is that is is an invalid question, since the Framework and AD guys would claim its an unknowable hypothetical, because God didn’t want to communicate 24 hour days. Duh.

    Ron D, at least I did read RRC, did you? If not, you don’t really know what Clark has said or not. I don’t have it at my finger tips, I don’t own a copy because I would not contribute to enriching Clark. Did you read Byl? You’ve still not answered those questions. Pot meet kettle.

  393. Ron Henzel said,

    July 2, 2014 at 10:35 am

    @ Andrew (#392):

    You wrote:

    I have interacted Clark on the subject and I’ve not been convinced by what he has said to the contrary.

    Duly noted—especially the part about you not taking Dr. Clark’s word for the matter.

    And you wrote:

    So withdrawn and apologies to Dr. Clark.

    Thank you. Let us consider the matter dropped.

    And Andrew, we’re not in gradeschool anymore, and you’re not Homer Simpson. So please leave off with the “Duhs.” That is a rather juvenile form of personal attack, which is off-limits. Please refer to our Guidelines for Commenters.

    .

  394. Ron said,

    July 2, 2014 at 11:38 am

    Ron,

    I appreciate your moderation on this.

    Andrew,

    I’ve read everything you’ve recommended that is available on-line and nothing incriminates Clark as you originally suggested. Now you yourself have withdrawn your remarks with the admission that those links and the book you recommended don’t make your case against Dr. Clark. That you’ve read Clark’s book and I haven’t is even more irrelevant than before. Let me explain…

    First off, I never offered Clark’s book as evidence contrary your claim. Had I, then it would have been reasonable of you to have asked me to produce contrary evidence from the book. Secondly, given your claim that was in large part based upon the book, it was reasonable of me to ask you to draw from the book with evidence regarding his alleged disdain for 24 hour days, (which is a request for a bit more than telling me that he spent many pages on defending a particular view). So, that you read the book and I didn’t is not germane. Lastly, you agree that Clark’s book does not incriminate him as you originally suggested. So, you yourself have come to disregard your own exhibit-A – that crucial piece of evidence with which you wanted me to become so acquainted.

    …you don’t really know what Clark has said or not.

    I became acquainted only with the on-line sources (and the seminary statement) and they all ran contrary to what you alleged about Dr. Clark. Even more, I’ve acknowledged all along that I don’t know that Dr. Clark finds 24-hour day “dangerous,” so I asked you to substantiate the claim rather than my reading a tome looking for something that you now say isn’t even there.

    Pot meet kettle.

    Now that’s an interesting interpretation of things on several fronts.

    Ron D, asked rhetorically how an AD or Framework guy would answer the question of if God did want to communicate 24 hour days how would he do it? The fact of the matter is that is is an invalid question, since the Framework and AD guys would claim its an unknowable hypothetical, because God didn’t want to communicate 24 hour days. Duh.

    You missed the meat and potatoes, Andrew. This “rhetorically” asked question underscores the point that the plain meeting of words communicates 24 hour days and that in order to disregard that position one should be able to offer at least some answer, even if just a hypothetical hint, to how God might have been more clear. I don’t think this point was missed by too many other than yourself.

  395. Don said,

    July 3, 2014 at 3:46 am

    Reed Here 389,
    OK, sorry, I misread your question, which was to ask how do we measure the _act_ _of_ creation. Yes, as I said in 326, “the scientific method is not equipped to deal with the supernatural,” which is what the act of creation (but not the result, obviously) is.

    if creation is a supernatural event then you cannot use natural considerations to determine how it was accomplished.

    I think I agree with this, it might depend on what is meant by “how,” but that is not the only question that can be asked. Looking at the five W’s, natural considerations are completely unable to answer “Who accomplished a supernatural event” or “Why.” On the other hand, “What was accomplished” is certainly amenable to natural considerations (because if the results of a supernatural event can’t be observed, was the event real? We believe that the miracles of the Bible were real changes to actual pieces of physical material and not some sort of murky “spiritual healing”: people saw that the lame could walk and the blind could see). Where we seem to disagree is whether “When” goes more with “How” or “What.”

    All your arguing based on naturalism denies your profession that creation was a supernatural event.

    No. This doesn’t follow from anything I’ve said.

  396. Andrew Duggan said,

    July 3, 2014 at 9:55 am

    Ron D,

    You missed the meat and potatoes, Andrew. This “rhetorically” asked question underscores the point that the plain meeting of words communicates 24 hour days and that in order to disregard that position one should be able to offer at least some answer, even if just a hypothetical hint, to how God might have been more clear. I don’t think this point was missed by too many other than yourself.

    Still Ron, not right. Rhetorical flourish is not argument, and you’re begging the question. It only underscores it if one already agrees. At least the AD guys don’t have to do that because they already have 2 Peter 3:8 and Psalm 90:4. Your claim is that God could not have been more clear, but their claim is that He’s not saying what you think He is saying. I can appreciate that you still don’t get that. But that’s the point.

    Sorry to have to reopen the RRC discussion again, again Ron D you’re conflating two different issues. That Clark spends so many more pages on 6×24 creation than the other two problems he sees with the church in the RRC chapter on QIRC, doesn’t have anything to do with what he says about Genesis or creation. Based on your initial response I was pretty sure you hadn’t read it, and therefore couldn’t actually engage with it.

    Neither of the links you supplied had anything to do with your main objection as to my opinion of Clark on the relative dangers. Neither piece mentioned anything about the other two topics in the QIRC chapter of RRC

    You didn’t actually give any counter for my expressed opinion. That’s an important point. I’m not saying their aren’t any, just you did not actually supply any.

    Lastly it is not necessarily so bad to deny the IOAC. See J Wesley White “The Denial of the Imputation of the Active Obedience of Christ: Piscator on Justification” in The Confessional Presbyterian 2007 Volume 3 Page 147. It’s available online here.

    While an important doctrine and one to which I personally subscribe, suggesting merely that someone denied the IAOC is not necessarily reckless or incendiary. You called me both, but actually didn’t supply any evidence (instead you presented “evidence” that did not address my assessment of the page space on 6×24 Creation in QIRC in RRC), and regarding Clark, you didn’t read the book on which my comments were based. Can I ask if you’ve read Stonehouse on Machen? I make a remark on a book I did read but you didn’t and then call me reckless in my remarks, without having read it. Regarding Machen, before labelling me reckless you could have least offered one item of evidence of Machen’s writing explicitly on the IAOC prior the the last year of his life.

    The bottom line Ron D, is that the tolerance you’re advocating is for the very teaching Lane’s original article implicates as contributory to the crisis of faith that many middle-school aged kids are facing.

  397. Ron said,

    July 3, 2014 at 10:42 am

    Andrew,

    All I’m doing by responding is making you more culpable before the Lord. I think it’s best for your sake I refrain from more refutations.

  398. Andrew Duggan said,

    July 3, 2014 at 11:29 am

    Ron D,

    Would you like contact information for filing of charges?

  399. July 3, 2014 at 11:37 am

    Reed, Bob S., Ken, Ron et al:

    I left our conversation earlier because the responses I ended up crafting kept getting longer and longer (RE: the connection between the Enuma and Genesis), and I didn’t want to get to a place where I was filling up this comments section with my own novels.

    However, on my own blog, I did try my very best to craft what I think is a thoughtful and full explanation of the value of this kind of thinking.

    I wanted to invite you over to check it out and then feel free to let me know what you think:

    http://wherevertruthisfound.blogspot.com/2014/07/mytho-what.html

  400. Reed Here said,

    July 3, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    Andrew, I understand you and Ron are dealing with some tension right now. Might I suggest a gentle word in response to him. Instead of “filing charges,” maybe “would you like to contact me off blog?”

  401. July 3, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    The attack on Machen and Warfield in creation is one of the reasons I wrote Recovering the Reformed Confession. Straining at gnats we have lost our children—not because we went bad on the age of the earth or the length of the days but because we lost the very category of creation, that God spoke into nothing and made all that is, that he is not created, that we are, that there is a creational pattern of work and rest, that there are 2 sexes etc.

    Since the 1950s and 60s the Reformed have been tempted to give up their iwn way of thinking in favor of alien, no -confessional ways of thinking. At the same time we’ve been publishing articles about losing our kids. Maybe there’s a connection?

    Here are some recent resources on “science”:

    [audio src="http://rscottclark.org/wp-content/audio/heidelcast-65-mar-23-2014.mp3" /]

    [audio src="http://rscottclark.org/wp-content/audio/heidelcast-68-apr-13-2014.mp3" /]

  402. July 3, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    Correction (early reply was typed on a phone) iwn should own (why doesn’t autocorrect kick in when I need it?).

    Follow up to #401. In 2001 Synod Escondido URCNA the URCs agreed to the following:

    Synod affirms that Scripture teaches, as summarized by the Creeds and the Three Forms of Unity:
    • The authority and perspicuity of Scripture (Belgic Confession V; Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s
    Day VII).
    • Necessity and sufficiency of Scripture (Belgic Confession VII; Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s
    Day VII).
    • God the Father almighty created the heavens and the earth and all things visible and invisible
    (Apostle’s and Nicene Creed).
    • The Father created the heavens and the earth out of nothing (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day
    IX).
    • God gave every creature its shape and being (Belgic Confession XII).
    • The creation and fall of man. “God made man of the dust of the earth; man gave ear to the
    devil.” (Belgic Confession XIV).
    • The historicity of Adam (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day VII.20; Canons of Dort III, IV.1).
    • Man was created good, in a garden, and tempted by the devil, committed reckless disobedience
    (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day III and IV).
    • God’s words to the serpent in Paradise are noted as the first revelation of the Gospel
    (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day VI).
    • Adam plunged himself and his offspring by his first transgression into perdition (Belgic
    Confession XVI).
    • Adam’s fall into sin and our connection to it (Canons of Dort I.1).
    • God came seeking man when he, trembling, fled from Him (Belgic Confession XVII).
    • God created all things good in six days defined as evenings and mornings (Genesis 1 &2 and
    Exodus 20:11). This means that we reject any evolutionary teaching, including theistic
    evolution, concerning the origin of the earth and of all creatures (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day IX).
    4. Synod affirm our commitment as churches to discipline those who teach anything that stands in
    conflict with the Bible, as summarized in the Creeds and the Three Forms of Unity.

  403. rfwhite said,

    July 4, 2014 at 9:52 am

    403 Dr. Clark (Scott): thanks for your posts. When you say, “Straining at gnats we have lost our children—not because we went bad on the age of the earth or the length of the days but because we lost the very category of creation,” I agree, and at the same time we guard ourselves with the realization that what we call gnats at one time may, at a later time, emerge as camels we have swallowed. The affirmations of the 2001 Synod Escondido URCNA are helpful boundary markers.

    One question for clarification: your block quote includes the statement, This means that we reject any evolutionary teaching, including theistic evolution, concerning the origin of the earth and of all creatures (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day IX).

    Does that statement apply to all that preceded it (from Synod affirms …) or only to the bullet point just before it (God created all things good in six days …)?

  404. July 4, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    (Dr) Fowler, :-)

    I’m not sure that I understand your question.

    If you’re asking what Synod intended by “six days” I can say that there was debate about that on the floor of synod. I was there. There have been overtures to define them more precisely and those overtures have been defeated.

    Best I can tell, we are not agreed as to the precise nature of the days but we are all agreed that God created in 6 days. Some of those days were solar and some were not. Some of us think those days were 24 hours and some of us wonder, with E J Young, how a day can be 24 hours without a sun. So, for the moment, we agree to tolerate each other on the basis of our common confession and commitment to God’s inerrant, infallible Word.

  405. rfwhite said,

    July 5, 2014 at 7:06 am

    Hey, RSC. :-) … Sorry to be unclear. I was just asking a kind of grammatical question: To what do the words “This means …” relate: do they relate to all of what preceded it (going back to Synod affirms … ) or to a part of what preceded it (going back only to the bulleted sentence God created … )? It seems that those words are provided as an interpretive gloss for the reader’s benefit, but, from the way the block quote comes out in the combox, it’s difficult to tell which statement it’s intended to help us interpret.

  406. rfwhite said,

    July 5, 2014 at 7:11 am

    Let me try that post again, with corrected formatting. Mr. Moderator, if you want to delete the incorrectly formatted post, fine with me!

    Hey, RSC. :-) … Sorry to be unclear. I was just asking a kind of grammatical question: To what do the words This means … relate: do they relate to all of what preceded it (going back to Synod affirms … ) or to a part of what preceded it (going back only to the bulleted sentence God created … )? It seems that those words are provided as an interpretive gloss for the reader’s benefit, but, from the way the block quote comes out in the combox, it’s difficult to tell which statement it’s intended to help us interpret.

  407. July 5, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    Fowler,

    I’m not sure I can answer your question. I compiled those points a few years ago. The only way to know with certainty is to go back to the minutes on the urcna.org site and read the pdf of the minutes from 2001

  408. Steve Drake said,

    July 6, 2014 at 8:09 am

    Ron D. @ 391,

    Related to this, why hasn’t Steve taken up the challenge to delineate relevant charges and specifications so that we spineless and cowardly ruling and teaching elders might learn how to proceed with such a case against those who profess the authority of Scripture while maintaining that Scripture does not speak to the length of days. I would think that at least an overture might be forthcoming given their passion for the matter. It’s a bit hard to go to any court, let alone a Christian court, with “I know you say you agree with the authority of Scripture but I know that you don’t”

    The tide is building and it’s coming Ron. Are you looking for ammunition?

  409. Ron said,

    July 6, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    Steve,

    I’m not looking for ammunition and I know of no elder who believes in regular creation days who also believes this is a hill to die on, let alone how such a pursuit to purge the church of long-earth elders might even look like. What I wanted you to do is put forth the specifics of a charge so that you might see that such an endeavor is not as easy as you seem to think. Without a case and without the backing of elders, maybe you might begin to rethink some things yet while maintaining what we both agree to be the correct interpretation of creation days.

  410. Ron Henzel said,

    July 7, 2014 at 4:42 am

    @ Steve Drake (#380):

    You wrote:

    I respectfully disagree. It’s an authority of Scripture issue. It’s fidelity to the truth; the truth of Scripture as recorded and written down for man. If the authority of Scripture is not a “hill to die on”, if fidelity to Scripture is not a “hill to die on”, then what is for you? …

    I don’t think so. You do not appear to be “respectfully” disagreeing here. You may be avoiding obviously disrespectful language, but your thesis is inherently disrespectful. To accuse someone who affirms the authority of Scripture of denying it because they (a) interpret Genesis 1 differently from the way you interpret it, or (b) tolerate (as I do) those who do, is inherently disrespectful. You have essentially questioned my integrity, along with the integrity of everyone else who disagrees with you on this. This is simply feigning respect while administering contempt.

  411. Ron said,

    July 7, 2014 at 7:06 am

    we can see through their unwillingness to do so and rightfully claim them disingenuous on the so very important matter of origins.

    Steve,

    It seems to me that your case would then rest upon the supernatural powers of seeing one’s unwillingness followed by a “claim” of deceitfulness. As I said earlier, “It’s a bit hard to go to any court, let alone a Christian court, with ‘I know you say you agree with the authority of Scripture but I know that you don’t.’” This is why I’ve asked you to go through the exercise of coming up with charges and specifications.

    You asked Ron which hill is worth dying on. Well, how about ministering to those who will not turn from seeking their own pleasures and speaking their own words on the Lord’s Day (while showing them what it is to delight in the Lord’s Day)? My guess is that the flagrant desecration of the Sabbath has resulted in more spiritual decay than one’s interpretation of the age of the earth. Sabbath keeping has been reduced to attending two worship services while doing whatever one wants in between. It’s as though God said don’t work in order that we might have more time to play.

    I once heard a minister say to his congregation that it’s OK not to work on the Lord’s Day. Can you imagine saying it’s OK not to commit adultery?

  412. Steve Drake said,

    July 7, 2014 at 7:49 am

    Ron and Ron 410 @ 411,

    Lane said and perhaps we’ve forgotten:

    We need to talk about origins, and here’s why. An erosion of faith in the authority of Scripture is taking place. Ken Ham argues that it starts with the age of the earth. If science has proved that the earth is old, then in the minds of most folks, that disproves the Bible’s account, which then must turn into myth.

    It is the acceptance of the uniformitarian geological timescale of billions and millions of years that must be demolished within Christianity. It is this anti-Biblical timescale built upon secular premises and suppositions, and a false and anti-God philosophy not built upon the authority of Scripture that is driving our children away from the Church. If you guys can’t see that and can’t think of ways to root it out, then all hope is lost for future generations of kids that come up through PCA and OPC churches. Maranatha, Lord. Come.

  413. Ron Henzel said,

    July 7, 2014 at 8:20 am

    @ Steve (#412):

    First: there’s a difference between “in the minds of most folks” and actual reality. Second: I am basically sympathetic to Ham’s view. But third: what does that have to do with your slander against our fundamental integrity? Why can’t we be wrong with respect to our opinion of those who disagree with us without it involving us in duplicity, according to you?

    And while it is a quite heady notion to think that “all hope…for future generations” of PCA and OPC kids rests on our approach to this issue, I think you need to reexamine your view of the sovereignty of God.

  414. Ron said,

    July 7, 2014 at 8:50 am

    If you guys can’t see that and can’t think of ways to root it out…

    Steve,

    I think you would do well to consider a couple of things.

    1. If the predominant number of OPC and PCA elders don’t see things as you do, then maybe you might be missing something with respect to what can be done.

    2. But let’s assume you’re not missing anything. In which case, why won’t you condescend by showing us how to “root it out,” this evil that will result in the demise of future generations? How does one go about proving in an ecclesiastical court (we’re not papists after all) that long earth proponents are lying and that they’re basing their views on secular premises alone rather than upon the conviction that the Bible is not addressing the specifics of creation in this way and then turning to those premises?

    I can see it now, such a trial. It would sound a bit like: “”I strenuously object?” Is that how it works? Hm? “Objection.” “Overruled.” “Oh, no, no, no. No, I STRENUOUSLY object.” “Oh. Well, if you strenuously object then I should take some time to reconsider.”” (From A Few Good Men)

  415. Bob S said,

    July 7, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    399 It’s called writing precis, Bobby.

    IOW if you can’t explain your thesis in the proverbial 25 words or less, you don’t have a command of your material and there is only so much time in the day.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but at a glance, the similarities between Genesis and the ANE accounts are played up in yours, while again the salient distinctions are ignored.

    As per 223 they remain:

    1.Monotheism vs. polytheism.
    2.Man as made in the image of God and man as incidental or a marginal mention.
    3. God as creator and gods as various created natural elements.

    Yeah, Genesis is a polemic against the surrounding ANE poetic origin myths, but it is much more than that, if not that it obviously (?!) transcends/trumps the category.

    Now if you reviewed Currid or somebody like that, you might get more than drive bys, but hey, until then, that’s the way the innurnet werks.

    cheers

  416. Steve Drake said,

    July 7, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Ron Henzel @ 413,

    Second: I am basically sympathetic to Ham’s view.

    Herein lies one of the biggest issues Ron: characterizing a 6×24 recent and mature creation as “Ham’s view”, when in reality it was the view of the Church for 1800 years, the view of Calvin, Luther, the Westminster Divines, and most all of Christendom leading up to a shift in both philosophy and natural history during the Enlightenment. What does “basically sympathetic” mean by the way?

    But third: what does that have to do with your slander against our fundamental integrity?

    How does one deal with false teachers within the body of Christ? Perhaps you can answer that for me in your next post. To tolerate a false teacher, when Scripture warns the elders to rid the body of them, is silent acquiescence and participation in the falsehood.

    Why can’t we be wrong with respect to our opinion of those who disagree with us without it involving us in duplicity, according to you?

    Strong denunciation of falsehood is required of you (are you a TE or RE in a PCA church?). All old earth views at basic fundamental level destroy the sin-death causality: the sin of the first man, Adam which brought death to a “very good” and non-death Creation, and the righteousness of Christ as the second man, the last Adam, who brought resurrection from the dead. This has been non-negotiable. Begin by starting there.

  417. Steve Drake said,

    July 7, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    Ron D. at 414,

    . If the predominant number of OPC and PCA elders don’t see things as you do, then maybe you might be missing something with respect to what can be done.

    Yes, perhaps the damage is too far entrenched. The OPC and PCA Creation Reports have ensured that ecclesiastical censure is nigh near impossible.

    But let’s assume you’re not missing anything. In which case, why won’t you condescend by showing us how to “root it out,” this evil that will result in the demise of future generations? How does one go about proving in an ecclesiastical court (we’re not papists after all) that long earth proponents are lying and that they’re basing their views on secular premises alone rather than upon the conviction that the Bible is not addressing the specifics of creation in this way and then turning to those premises?

    Start with the sin-death causality connection of Scripture which is foundational to a right understanding of the gospel. This is most likely a multi-step process. Censure the BioLogos men within your ranks, the theistic evolutionary false teachers who claim Christ used a process over billions and millions of years to bring his “very good” Creation to fruition. Show how any form of theistic evolution destroys this sin-death causality by allowing death, disease, decay, predation, and destruction to occur over millions and millions of years all before Adam even came on the scene and sinned. Is this not enough to root out false teaching in your midst?

    Then make the connection between any old earth view and the secularist worldview which birthed it. The uniformitarian geological timescale of billions and millions of years is part and parcel of a worldview which is antithetical to the Judeo-Christian metanarrative and denies the most major geological event of earth history. It is the pillar upon which evolution is based. Without the timescale, evolution falls. The timescale also destroys a major premise of Scripture in God’s judgment over all mankind save eight and our Lord’s parallel to this (Matt.24:37-39) as a template for His second coming.

    As to how this would play out in an ecclesiastical court you’re asking a layperson and non-seminarian to figure this out? Where are the seminarians themselves to lay the groundwork for charges? Surely there are some somewhere.

  418. Ron Henzel said,

    July 7, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    @ Steve (#416):

    You confuse wrong interpretation with false teaching, and the manner in which you express it comes across as malicious—as exemplified in the way you take me to task for referring (favorably!) to “Ham’s view.” Really, Steve? Are you going to lower the tone of your input even further with such insulting, pedantic bickering? Of course I know who has held to this position in church history. But you have apparently forgotten that the six 24-hour day interpretation was not Augustine’s view, and no matter what you may think it would be reprehensible to label Augustine a “false teacher” on this basis.

    Yes, I am sympathetic with Ham’s view insofar as I hold to the six 24-hour day interpretation of Genesis 1. But if he is saying that one cannot legitimately hold any other interpretation of that chapter while simultaneously affirming the authority of Scripture—which is the position I understand you to hold—then my sympathy ends at that point.

    I am a PCA RE, and the reason I cannot hold your position is because it would violate my vow to uphold the peace of the church in order to uphold a distorted sense of its purity. My position is basically the same as what was affirmed by the PCA’s Creation Study Committee in its report to the 28th General Assembly in 2000—a report submitted by, among others, William S. Barker II, J Ligon Duncan II, Morton H. Smith, and my good friend, Mark R. Wardell, who currently serves as moderator of my presbytery. (You can view a PDF of the report here, or view it in HTML here.)

    That report specifically excluded evolution from the list of acceptable views, and required affirmation of the historicity of Adam and Eve. But it also noted that such scholars as John Murray have limited “the sin-death causality” to man. (I would also note that Francis Schaeffer expressed openness to this view.) While I think that this limitation has problems, I cannot deny that John Murray or Francis Schaeffer upheld the authority of Scripture simply because they disagree with me, and neither should you, because it would be a violation of the ninth commandment.

  419. Ron said,

    July 7, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    As to how this would play out in an ecclesiastical court you’re asking a layperson and non-seminarian to figure this out?

    My Brother,

    All I’m asking you to consider is that if you can’t figure out how such a case can be won, then maybe you might show some leniency toward those who understand the process a bit better than you yet tell you it’s a bad case.

    I truly feel sorry for you, Steve. I really do but not in a begrudging sort of way. I feel sorry for you because you’re in conflict unnecessarily. You’ve seemingly lost all respect for elders for not achieving that which you can’t be sure is even achievable. Your unjustified expectations are your source of disappointment and internal conflict, not the so-called cowards who’ve considered the matter thoroughly and put it to rest.

  420. Brad B said,

    July 8, 2014 at 2:57 am

    I’m a little tardy getting to this post-just saw it today, got up to post 94 right now and out of time for today but I wanted to respond to a claim right now before continuing tomorrow eve. The claim made a few times by implication and even directly somewhere prior to 94 is: if God made a mature universe with mature creation and starlight in place etc, that this somehow makes God a liar or deceitful.

    I see no reason to put any motive for deceit in this acton and even less here, than I do when I see God ask “who will convince Ahab to go to battle” when then, God sends a lying spirit to accomplish His will by inclining the false prophets to convince Ahab “go up” you will surely win.

    If God wants to provide an anvil that helps forge disbelief in the ungodly by providing a convenient stubling block of “appearance of old [billions and billions of years] creation”, this somehow makes Him a liar? I dont see a problem–it’s His world and He’s proved Himself Holy,Holy,Holy beyond reproach–“who are you oh man”?.

  421. Tim Harris said,

    July 8, 2014 at 9:44 am

    No. Because using a deceiving spirit is only a relative good, on the hypothesis of the existence of evil creatures. The declaration at creation was absolute good (though a good that could be developed further).

    The proper criticism is simply to point out that what we call apparent age is a comparative exercise under certain assumptions. Pulling those assumptions in to a creation context is invalid. Indeed, the “apparent age” of many created objects is infinite, since they do not suffer internal change. Electrons, for example. It is the nature of all created things to “look like” they are somewhere between X and infinite years “old” (on the assumption that they were not created ex nihilo).

    To ask God to create a world ex nihilo that “looks like” it is zero years old is to demand something not so much false as meaningless.

  422. Ron said,

    July 8, 2014 at 11:09 am

    Tim,

    Neither side is introducing “looks like it is zero years old” as a premise that can support or refutes a position. Rather, apparent age, which is a relative consideration, is aimed to demonstrate that God cannot but create with apparent age, which greatly reduces the effectiveness of any argument that would appeal to apparent age as a proof for true age. Now what am I missing?

  423. Brad B said,

    July 8, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    Hi Tim, it seems to me you are assuming appearance of long age is deceit in your response….this is the point of contention…so unless I misunderstand, the dismissal is question begging. Calling the creation good with an appearance of long age can be good when you consider all of the fine tuning considerations for carbon based life to be made possible. It is reasonable…even when it carrries with it an appearance that leads ungodly men further into hardened rebellion to call that creation good.

  424. Ron said,

    July 8, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    Brad B,

    I took Tim as saying that creation being “good” could not have been with an intent to deceive.

  425. Tim Harris said,

    July 8, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Ron — right, at both 422 and 424. I think we are in violent agreement.

    Brad B — no I’m upping the ante and suggesting that the “stuff” of the universe — atoms, electrons, etc. — actually appear to be eternal. That is, there is no difference in properties between an electron that is one second old, and one that is T years old, for any T. Forget this 15 billion year stuff. Those are the “young universe” accommodationists. But no honest person would continue to say the stuff is eternal after the author says how old it really is. So there are multiple layers of confusion going on here. There is no deceit anywhere.

  426. Brad B said,

    July 8, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    Thanks for bearing with me…I am following you now. Thanks to both of you Ron and Tim. This is what I get for reading via mobile device..I will pick this up again from #94 on tonight where I can give due attention to what is being discussed.

  427. Steve Drake said,

    July 8, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    Ron D @ 419,

    then maybe you might show some leniency toward those who understand the process a bit better than you yet tell you it’s a bad case.

    Is it a bad case to stand on the truth of Scripture? What’s a bad case, to insist on a 6×24 recent and mature creation and worldwide and universal judgment of God in the Flood of Noah? I’m not sure I follow here.

    When is it ever a bad case to insist that men who stand in our pulpits and expound the Word of God, exhorting us to listen and obey the Word they are proclaiming, preach it correctly? Are you guys (TE’s and RE’s) so far above criticism from the laity to even listen to what your congregations are saying? I fear that you have become an elite, unable to discern your errors, and that like a good friend of mine said, “We today are more similar to the days of Hus and Wycliffe, than Calvin and Luther.”

    Start over and throw the OPC and PCA Creation Reports out. Insist on a proper understanding of the doctrine of Creation from all who want to become ministers of the gospel within the denomination. Any timeline of history that starts with any notion of millions and billions of years destroys the sin-death causality connection central to the gospel. Isn’t this enough?

  428. Tim Harris said,

    July 8, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    Steve, for example, your “6×24″ imports the idea that metrical time is absolute and 24 hours is meaningful prior to certain providential correlations taking place.

    I don’t think animal death per se would be problematic, but rather terror. An animal sauntering along, and suddenly… darkness … doesn’t seem to throw a good universe out of joint.

    As far as bringing charges, laymen can do that also… you don’t need to pass the buck to elders.

  429. Ron Henzel said,

    July 8, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    @ Steve Drake (#427):

    You referred to “the sin-death causality connection central to the gospel.” The only such “causality connection” that is central to the Gospel is that which applies to mankind, not to animals. Romans 5:12 teaches that “sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men [εἰς πάντας ἀνθρώπους] because all sinned.” Thus the crucial “causality connection” is not only limited to fallen humanity, but is also based on the imputation of Adam’s sin to his posterity. Adam’s sin was not imputed to animals.

  430. Steve Drake said,

    July 8, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    Ron H. 429,
    Did Christ just die for man, Ron? Or was His sacrifice to also redeem the whole of His creation and as payment for the effects of the Curse?

  431. Steve Drake said,

    July 8, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    Tim @ 428,
    Animal death includes the supposed pre-humans that are part and parcel to the evolutionary old earth picture. Your “prior to certain correlations taking place” is somewhat enigmatic Tim. What do you mean by that phrase?

  432. Steve Drake said,

    July 8, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Ron H @ 429,
    As follow up: How did the Curse of Gen. 3 affect the animal kingdom in your view Ron?

  433. Don said,

    July 9, 2014 at 2:22 am

    Tim Harris 421,

    Indeed, the “apparent age” of many created objects is infinite, since they do not suffer internal change. Electrons, for example. It is the nature of all created things to “look like” they are somewhere between X and infinite years “old” (on the assumption that they were not created ex nihilo).

    No, I don’t think this is correct. One should say that electrons et al. do not have an apparent age. Not being able to tell the age of something is not the same as it appearing eternal.

    Nevertheless, just because some elementary particles are stable, I don’t see what that has to do with the (apparent) age of the universe that these particles are assembled into.

  434. Reed Here said,

    July 9, 2014 at 8:07 am

    Ron, no. respectfully I would demur. The rule of death alters fatally all creation, as per rom 8. I agree that plant “death” is not included, as Scripture ascribes the “breath of life” to animals and mankind. To say death is pre-fall norm for animals goes too far in my estimation.

    And no, while I agree with the significance of the case Steve makes, I disagree with necessity of his conclusions that would have us anathematize so tightly.

    I’ll not ask “repent or perish” of those I disagree with. I will plead with earnest, even fearful cries for the errors I believe they are maintaining to their hurt and the hurt of others.

  435. Ron Henzel said,

    July 9, 2014 at 10:13 am

    @ Steve Drake (#430 & 432):

    You wrote:

    Did Christ just die for man, Ron? Or was His sacrifice to also redeem the whole of His creation and as payment for the effects of the Curse?

    This is the nub of the issue that I have taken with your reference to “the sin-death causality connection central to the gospel” (comment #427) in the context of a discussion of animal death (cf. #417).

    The only sin-death causality that is “central to the gospel” is the one Paul discusses in Romans 5: the death that spread to all mankind on the basis of the imputation of the sin of their federal head (Adam) to them. As Paul makes clear, the reason this is central is because it parallels the basis of our righteousness before God: the imputation of the righteousness of our federal head (Christ) to us.

    To speak of Christ “dying for” any beings other than those among Adam’s posterity (as your initial question in #430 implies) is biblically unwarranted and theologically dangerous. This is not to say, however, that there is not a secondary “sin-death causality” that the gospel also addresses, which I will deal with in response to your next question:

    As follow up: How did the Curse of Gen. 3 affect the animal kingdom in your view Ron?

    The curse of Genesis 3 that affects the animal kingdom is found in verse 17: “cursed is the ground because of you.” It is because of this specific curse that “the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now,” (Rom. 8:22). But it is not this curse that the gospel primarily addresses. That curse is found in verse 19: “for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

    Yes, just as creation, as part of man’s dominion. had a share in humanity’s curses, so it will also have a share in our redemption, but the redemption of creation is not central to the gospel, and does not have the same basis. The curse on creation will be lifted because of Christ’s redemption of us, not because of Christ’s redemption of creation per se. After mentioning the groaning of all creation, Paul does not turn our attention to its redemption, but rather to “the redemption of our body” (Rom. 8:23), which the new heavens and new earth will be designed to serve.

    Thus I believe that those who deny the six 24-hour day view of Genesis 1 have a theological problem: how do they explain the effects of the curse of Genesis 3:17 occurring before the events of Genesis 3? I don’t think they explain it very well, that they’re making an unnecessary exegetical accommodation to the spirit of the age, and that they’ve stepped out onto a very real theological slippery slope. But are they denying the authority of Scripture? Obviously not.

  436. Tim Harris said,

    July 9, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Just to make sure we are complete, logically, one could be 6×24, yet put Gen. 3 at a million years ago and one could be day-age or some other ancient-earth view, yet put Gen. 3 six thousand years ago. Thus the °four views° do not capture all the issues even within orthodoxy.

  437. Tim Harris said,

    July 9, 2014 at 10:54 am

    Don, so the elementary substance of the world appears timeless or changeless (which is the same thing); composite objects change their configuration of the base substance, and thus appear (and only appear) to change or be in time. This is why the ancients concluded that the world is eternal. And there is no reason for revelation-less moderns to conclude differently. Even the big bang is something of a cop out. The singularity seems to be beyond time and thus eternal as well. But then how does something transition from eternity to time? Only because they don’t ask these fundamental questions do they think they escape the embarrassment.

    Moreover, what if the configuration of stellar matter was such as to have led astronomers to believe that the universe was eternally oscillating (which view was allowed for not so many years ago)? Would the Christian accommodationist even then hold out that the “apparent age” was infinite? And would this lead to an “eternal creation” accommodation, or what?

  438. Ron Henzel said,

    July 9, 2014 at 11:47 am

    @ Reed (#434):

    I heartily agree that making death a “pre-fall norm for animals goes too far.” (Please see my comment #435 for more on this.) I don’t think I’ve written anything like that, but if I have I will gladly retract it. All I’ve been trying to say is what I read you to be saying: “I’ll not ask ‘repent or perish’ of those I disagree with,” even though I, like you, find their position corrosive to biblical theology. I simply don’t think they’ve thought it through sufficiently.

    To be clear: I think that any position that concedes the normality of the effects of the Fall at any time ultimately sabotages biblical apologetics. As K. Scott Oliphint points out in Covenantal Apologetics, the world’s unrighteous suppression of revelation rests on the tripod of “neutrality,” “naturalism,” and “normality:” the presumptions that skepticism or unbelief constitutes a truly neutral position, that everything observed can be explained in terms of unguided naturalism, and that the world as it is now is not abnormal but normal. If we say that death and destruction was “normal” for untold ages prior to the Fall, we have not only surrendered to one of the primary props of unbelief, but we have prepared the way for surrendering to the presumptions of the other two (but especially unguided naturalism).

  439. Don said,

    July 9, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Tim Harris 437,

    composite objects change their configuration of the base substance, and thus appear (and only appear) to change or be in time

    So are you saying that time is an illusion? Or that change is an illusion?

    Timeless and changeless are not the same thing. Just because one cannot determine the length of time a given electron has been in existence, does not mean it does not change. Beyond that, electrons (etc.) are created and destroyed all the time, and not just in particle colliders. The Big Bang is not “beyond time” even if it “seems to be” that way to you. I honestly do not understand what point you are trying to make.

  440. Reed Here said,

    July 9, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Ron, thx.

  441. Bob S said,

    July 10, 2014 at 2:04 am

    439 Just because one cannot determine the length of time a given electron has been in existence, does not mean it does not change. … The Big Bang is not “beyond time” even if it “seems to be” that way to you.

    How do you know that/can you scientifically prove it, Don?
    As in good luck with that. Yeah, we know the electrons we observe now change or we can destroy them or whatever, but how do you know that’s the way it’s always been which Ron H brought up again with Oliphant on naturalism.

    I honestly do not understand what point you are trying to make.

    Something may appear to be deceiving, without it being the intention of whoever made it. Rather the viewer jumped to that conclusion based on their own mistaken presuppositions.

    IOW people bring their biases, as well as their appetites to the table. Which is bad enough, but Homer does more than nod, when he can’t even tell you he’s blind in the first place.

    But just how old would Adam appear to be to us? Two? Twenty? Forty? How old would 900 years look like? Ninety? Again, age and appearance of age are not necessarily synonymous, which if you don’t suppress, you necessarily assume that any disparity is deception. As if God owes the creature anything.

    If science is all about observation, experiments and conclusions and nobody observed creation or can reproduce it experimentally, then surmises, guesses and estimates is all we’re left with when it comes to the “age” of the universe versus the experiment with the leftovers in the fridge. (That sure looks like freezer burn to me. Nope, it’s charcoal.)

  442. Ron Henzel said,

    July 10, 2014 at 7:38 am

    I was 4 years old when Surtsey Island first appeared as a volcanic eruption off the coast of Iceland in 1963, and 8 years old when the eruption ceased in 1967. During those years it dawned on the world that we were witnessing the birth of a new island. For us kids, it was an opportunity for teachers to assign essays and projects. As the island was forming, experts told us that perhaps someday, hundreds of years in the future, it would support plant life and humans would be able to live on it, but it would remain far to “young” for that in our lifetimes.

    And yet, soon after the eruption started, higher forms of plants began to take root, and soon after the eruption ceased, moss was observed growing on the new island. Within a few years it had a “mature” coastline that seals soon started using for breeding. Although wind and wave erosion have since reduced the island’s size by nearly 50 percent, and landing on it is closed to all but scientists, it supports several dozen species of plants, including bushes, a dozen species of birds, and hundreds of land invertebrates including earthworms, slugs, spiders, and beetles.

    One can only wonder what it would look like today if it had not been formed so close to the Arctic Circle.

  443. Don said,

    July 11, 2014 at 2:03 am

    Bob S 441,

    If science is all about observation, experiments and conclusions and nobody observed creation or can reproduce it experimentally, then surmises, guesses and estimates is all we’re left with when it comes to the “age” of the universe

    No.

    Look, I don’t really care if you don’t believe in evolution, the Big Bang, relativity, or electrons. Because it really doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you believe, with the SDAs, that the universe it 6000 years old. (It does matter if you believe, with the JWs, that the Bible forbids blood transfusions; that belief carries direct, actual danger with it.) (Also, if you don’t believe in relativity then you may experience cognitive dissonance every time you use a GPS. Let alone electrons.) But I do care that if you critique an idea, you should at least try to understand it. Statements like “There is no scientific evidence for evolution” are simply wrong. You can dispute the evidence if you like, you can proffer alternate interpretations of the data if you can, but to claim the evidence does not exist is self-deception. On the other hand, statements like “the big bang … seems to be beyond time and thus eternal as well” are, as far as I can tell, nonsense–a misunderstanding of Big Bang theory, time, eternity, or some combination of the three. And finally, statements like “‘science’ insist that belief in supernatural acts are simply ignorance and superstition” are a (hopefully) unintentional confusion of science and atheism, and (again, hopefully unintentionally) lend credence to AD White’s shoddy scholarship.

  444. Bob S said,

    July 11, 2014 at 2:38 am

    443 Don, you’ve been asked any number of times to define “science” or even “scientific evidence” since we obviously don’t agree about any number of things surrounding or flowing from it, much more what it is.
    Fine. I can understand that, but when you have a chance to clear the air about what your own view is, all we get is crickets.

    For the record, I do believe in the trinity, which the papal antichrist does also. So what?

  445. Bob S said,

    July 11, 2014 at 2:43 am

    443 And the “scientific evidence” for “macro evolution”?
    I always understood they called it “the missing link” for a reason.
    But hey, call me a skeptic/scientist.

  446. Reed Here said,

    July 11, 2014 at 9:39 am

    For the life of me, I cannot quite appreciate why there is such a strong insistence that we now before the altar of science, agree that the Cosmos MUST be billions of year old when we know that such behavior as this defies all scientific “fact” about the nature of time:

    http://www.newstatesman.com/science/2014/07/entangled-photons-spooky-behaviour-light-particles

  447. Don said,

    July 11, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    Bob S 444,
    Check what I’ve written in 74, 327, 328, and 343. Let me know if there’s any details you’d like fleshed out.

  448. Don said,

    July 11, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    Bob S 445,
    Again, check your local community college’s bio department. They probably have some useful resources.

    Reed Here 446,
    “Counterintuitive” is not a synonym for “defies all scientific ‘fact.'”

  449. Ron Henzel said,

    July 11, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Ah, yes, I forgot. Observation + Interpretation = Fact.

  450. Bob S said,

    July 13, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    447 Don, it’s called cognitive dissonance.
    In 74 you talk about “reproducible and irreproducible events”.
    Well, which is it? Is creation/the Big Bang the first or the second?
    But if the second, what can “science” tell us about it?

    While we’re on hold waiting for that call to go through, I make bold to say the local biology department at the community college cannot produce any genuine evidence for macro evolution.

    Micro? Any dog or cattle breeder can’t demonstrate it without having to resort to ‘booklarnin’ or ‘perfessors’.

  451. Don said,

    July 14, 2014 at 1:58 am

    Bob S 450,

    But if the second, what can “science” tell us about it?

    As I already said, “they [scientists] can model, perform controlled lab experiments, etc., and then (ideally!) assemble these observations into a coherent, consistent theory. To dismiss all this as “surmises,” as Bob S does in 32, is to not understand what is going on.” You can replace “surmises” with “cognitive dissonance” if you like.

    Let me know what the cc says. Obviously they’re not doing much active research there, but as their focus is on teaching and, likely, outreach, you’ll probably get a better and quicker answer than if you try whatever R1 university may be in the neighborhood.

  452. July 27, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    Just by looking at the description of the book, I’m shocked that he dared to identify Sunday School as the problem! But if Sunday School is the problem, then obviously apologetics training in Sunday School is not the answer: getting rid of Sunday School is.

  453. July 27, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    Since the book is only 3 bucks on Amazon Kindle, I think I’ll actually read it.

  454. July 27, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Another possible solution is this; Quit pretending that questioning the canon means you have to leave the church. I’m sure plenty of people who question the canonicity of a particular book would be fine to stay in the church, if pastors and others wouldn’t harass them for it and run them out. I’m not talking about immoral people who question a book because they want to be homosexuals or nonsense like that. But rather especially I’m talking about people who question a book for the opposite reason. There have been plenty enough people in church history who questioned the canonicity of Song of Songs precisely because its too erotic and would lead to immorality. The same goes for the Percipe Adulterae! And this is certainly the complaint of those who question the canonicity of Romans or Galatians, that its just too liberal. If you don’t want your kids leaving, don’t teach them that the Bible is take it or leave it. The constant Evangelical mantras is that if the Bible is barely wrong on one minute point, the whole thing is toilet paper and you might as well become an atheist. Well, if you’re teaching your kids that, they’re gonna leave because of course they’re going to find one thing they can’t believe in the Bible. Everyone does! You do too! You don’t believe in Acts 2:38 “Repent and be baptized everyone one of you in the name of Jesus FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS….” You reject that baptism is for the remission of sins. Essentially, you’re questioning the canonicity of Acts 2:38. I guess now you have to become atheists…..

  455. Tim Harris said,

    September 1, 2014 at 8:36 am

    Steve Drake @431.
    By correlations, I mean that motion, time, and space and correlative, in that motion is some kind of change of spatial place in some time. Likewise, time, to be metrical, entails not only that there is motion, but motion that organized or coherent. A topsy-turvy world in which everything was jiggling and moving, but so randomly that no regularity could be discerned, would have time but not metrical or measurable time. To be measurable, there needs to be not only motion but coherent, regular motion that is the same in all part of the world — or if not the same, at least determinately related.

  456. Steve Drake said,

    September 2, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    Hi Tim,
    Is this Pastor Tim or layman Tim? Just checking, because I’m getting old and use to dialog with a Pastor Tim several years ago but can’t remember last names.


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