Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 8

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Guided by Theology

One would think Dr. Ross became a biblical creationist in between ch7 and ch8 as he begins this chapter with

The Bible is a harbor of truth. And yet, navigating a harbor safely often requires a guide who offers clear, specific direction around dangerous obstacles especially during a storm. God calls Christians to love Him with all of  their minds, and to do so, serious followers must explore the breadth and depth of His recorded Word. Jesus said, “Seek and you will find” (Matthew 7:7). Good theology helps direct an honest search. Wise church scholars throughout history have acknowledged that determining the precise meaning of a biblical word or passage sometimes requires more effort than a mere surface reading. Many passages that address or allude to the age of the universe and Earth are difficult to interpret. Such sections require careful consideration of both context and relevant theological points.

Failure to be cautious and thorough in analyzing them can lead to inaccurate conclusions.

Amen. Theological considerations should be ever present when reading God’s Word. In sections regarding the origin and state of the universe prior to human rebellion against the Creator is a significant question since we (in the present) see evil, death, suffering, and corruption. Creation and human plight seem somehow marred, broken, and tarnished. Has it always been so, or did something bring the corruption we now see?

For the old earther, death, suffering, cancer, corruption, and thorns have always been a part of the creation despite God calling his creation “very good”

Is cancer, suffering, death and corruption very good? The old earth would be forced to say ‘YES!’

Dr. Ross continues well when he says,

According to the Bible, God is truthful and He expresses Himself truthfully all His works and words, both in the creation of the physical world and in the inspiration of His written Word. When Jesus, the visible expression of the Visible God, said to His disciples, “I am…the truth,” He identified one of His divine attributes (John 14:6). Many familiar Bible verses declare that God is truthful and He does not lie in word or in deed.’

God is indeed truthful and trustworthy, and I’m starting to think Dr. Ross has matured into a biblical creationist since his next two paragraphs sound like this:

The Bible clearly affirms the God’s handiwork displays His character…According to Christian theology, then, an honest investigation of nature leads to discovery of truths

But sadly, in the very next paragraph Dr. Ross devolves back to his old earth arguments and unsuccessfully tries to make the case that because the modern paradigm disagrees with the text of Genesis that the Bible needs to be reinterpreted to accommodate

In no way does God’s revelation via the universe detract from the importance of His written revelation. Nor does this belief in the trustworthiness of nature’s message imply that God never intervenes in the natural realm by performing miracles. It does mean that when He performs miracles God does not remove, hide, or distort physical evidence for them.

Dr. Ross continues to make clear that when there appears to be a discrepancy between the modern academic paradigm and the Bible, he’s ready to change the definition in the Bible, so it has not problem accommodating the interpretation of observations. So, while he talks about scripture having the highest authority, in practice, he surrenders the Biblical text to academia. 

Suddenly, Dr. Ross takes a dark turn on page 82 when he writes:

The accelerating expansion of the universe due to the effect of dark energy will eventually cause the radiation  from the cosmic creation event [13.8 billions years ago] to move away from us at greater then the velocity of light.

There’s some serious SERIOUS problems with dark energy and the Big Bang model upon which Dr. Ross hangs all of his theory. If the Big Bang or dark energy/dark matter fail as explanations, old earthism loses all of its foundation.

Let’s look at some recent crushing blows to the foundation of the Rossians.

Ross inadvertently hampers his own argument when he writes,

Writers of scripture compared the number of God’s children with the number of stars in the sky and the number of grains of sand on the seashore – a ‘countless’ number. Hebrew and Greek numbering systems included numbers up to billions. ‘Countless’ suggests at least an order of magnitude greater than billions: tens of billions.

So, when God revealed to Moses how long it took from the creation until He created mankind, God said 6 days. Why did God not use these “Countless” numbering analogies or the simile He used with Abraham: number of days like the number of grains of sand on the seashore. But God chose instead to use definite boundaries and ordinal numbers of the word day to very specifically limit the creation time periods.

p83

In the above inset, Dr. Ross sneers at the old young earth model that proposed light might have been faster in the past and has decayed to its present rate. Unfortunately, he forgets that his own sandy foundation has a light time travel problem. For the universe to exhibit such uniform temperatures as is observed, light would have had to travel much fast in the past or the universe be much older than his error bars could apologize for. Ooops. 

Pg 83 turns out to be a rough page for Dr. Ross because he finishes this page with some very poor logic

God’s fourth commandment says the seventh day of each week is to be honored as holy: “Six days you shall labor…but the seventh day is a Sabbath….For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth…but he rested on the seventh day” (Exodus 20:9, 11). Young-earth creationist leaders often cite this passage as proof positive for the 24-hour creation-day interpretation. However, this passage is just one of five in the Pentateuch (the books of Moses) that address the fourth commandment. For three of these passages (Exodus 35:2; Leviticus 23:3; Deuteronomy 5:12-15), no connection at all is drawn between God’s work week and humanity’s. For the remaining two passages, the “proof” would hold only if neither the word for “day” nor the word for “Sabbath” were ever used with reference to any time period other than 24 hours.

Conveniently, Hugh Ross leaves out Exodus 31:17 which (along with Exodus 20) ties the creation week to the weekly cycle that God’s people are to observe. 

Six days you shall labor
For in
Six days the LORD made

The seventh day is a Sabbath
For on
The seventh day the LORD (SHABATH – Gen 2:2) abstained from work

It is made perfectly clear in Exodus that the days of creation week were not only a pattern for God’s people, but the same time duration. Were Dr. Ross’s interpretation valid, then the expectation would be for God’s people to work for 6 epochs of time (upwards of 13 billion years or whatever the current academic paradigm declares the age of the universe to be) and then rest for a single epoch before repeating it all again. Poor logic, Dr. Ross, but he continues

The seven days of our calendar week follow God’s established pattern. His “work week” gives us a humanlike picture we can grasp.

Exactly! So day ≠  billions of years

This communication tool is common in the Bible. Scripture frequently speaks of God’s hand, eyes, arm, even wings.The context in each case makes clear that these descriptions are not to be taken concretely.

But Dr. Ross, the context of Ex 20 and Ex 31 are not figurative or poetic in nature like Psalm 104. The text in question gives no openness to smuggle in your old earthism. There clearly are passages that are poetic in nature, and we honor the LORD because of them by their context. We also honor the LORD when He reveals historic and commandment passages. The context here in both Genesis and Exodus are not figurative, therefore, we must exercise proper exegesis and put the 24 hour boundaries on the days just as God says.

On pg 85, Dr Ross attacks a clear reading of Mark 10:6 in favor of his old earthism

Jesus said, “At the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female” (Mark 10:6). Ken Ham, Henry Morris, and John Morris have claimed this statement implies that virtually no time transpired between the creation of the universe and the creation of Adam and Eve.” Henry Morris asserted that “Jesus Christ…who was there at the beginning of the creation, said that man and woman were there, too!” Morris used this passage to assert that Jesus was a young-earth creationist.”

Jesus IS a biblical creationist 

However, even from a young-earth perspective on the creation week, this interpretation of Mark 10:6 cannot be correct. Adam and Eve were not created until the sixth creation day, after the creation of the universe and the earth. Therefore, Adam and Eve could not have been present at the beginning of the Universe.

Let’s look at the 2 opposing timelines of old earthism vs. biblical creation.

Timeline

ReasonsTimeline

 

You can see from the biblical creation timeline on top, that mankind was created during the creation week…at the beginning. Jesus was not speaking about the initial nanosecond of the creation, but the creation week as has been established in Genesis 1 and confirmed in Exodus 20/31. The word that Jesus used:“beginning” now makes sense because both from the perspective of Moses (who wrote Genesis) and Jesus (who spoke 4000 years after creation) the 7 days of creation week very clearly were the beginning.

Conversely, when we analyze the old earther timeline (which is from Hugh Ross’s website reasons.org), we see humans did not emerge until the very END of time…almost 14,000,000,000 years after creation. In this case, it makes no sense to refer to male and female being created at the beginning since from their perspective, it is at the end.

We can combine the differing perspectives into a single timeline to further highlight the distinctions

TimelineCompareYEtoOE

 

Ross makes a similarly futile attempt to discredit the passage in Mark 10:6 as having an anchor in history when he says:

The question asked of Jesus was about marriage. Thus, the context suggests that He was referring to the is beginning of humanity’s story, the story of the first husband and wife. On that basis, the Mark 10:6 “beginning of creation” most likely refers to the beginning of marriage.

Notice, how Ross inserts his own thoughts and words intermixed with Jesus’s words. This is called eisegesis and is a no-no when interpreting scripture. Rather than being content with the actual words Jesus spoke, Dr. Ross changes “the beginning of creation” to “the beginning of marriage”

The chapter is winding down when Dr. Ross adds to the bad logic with:

He (God) will replace this present universe with new heavens, a new Earth, and a new Jerusalem, all having new physical laws and dimensions to make possible our eternal life and rewards in His presence.

Dr. Ross, will the new heavens and earth take 14,000,000,000 years of death, suffering, cancer and bloodshed like you think this creation experienced, before it’s ready for resurrected humans? Why do you assume the current creation took that time to get to where it is in spite of the Bible rejecting that view?

To finish chapter 8 on pg 86 Dr. Ross makes a point that is in strong contention with biblical creationists because of the nature of God.

The clearest evidence of different physics in the new creation comes from the promise  of “no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” As Romans 8:21-23 further amplifies, the universe “will be liberated from its bondage to decay.” 

Dr. Ross has defined “bondage to decay” as the 2nd law of thermodynamics. The text in Romans does not support this as we read in Romans 8:20

“For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.”

Creation was SUBJECTED to futility and its corruption by the curse of sin. Creation has not always been corrupted with death/disease/suffering/bloodshed/evil/thorns as Dr. Ross would have us believe because the passages in Genesis and here in Romans forbid his model of thinking. Dr. Ross, thinking that corruption was part of God’s initial creation is “very good”, but here in Romans we see that God calls it bondage. 

Even though Dr. Ross calls this chapter “Guided by Theology”, we see that his theology is poor, and we don’t want to be guided by poor theology. We want to be guided by biblical theology with a proper understanding of scripture rather than eisegesis. 

Praise God for the consistent nature of his revelation. As Christians, we do not have to redefine the words in the Bible to accommodate modern academic paradigms or cultural changes in sexuality or political revolutions as we have seen Dr. Ross do. God’s Word is eternal and we can trust God to keep his word regarding the future since we can trust his revelation from the past.

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7 thoughts on “Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 8

  1. Pingback: Book Review: A Matter of Days 2nd Edition by Hugh Ross | ApoloJedi

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