Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 23

Tranquility through Testing

To finish his book Dr. Ross proposes a way that he thinks will bring resolution to the choice between the “creation-day controversy”. Whether you’ve been following the chapter reviews up to this point or not, you might be able to guess what Dr. Ross proposes as the solution:

Interpretations of Evidence!

Those who have been following along know that he would NOT choose the highest authority – God’s Word.

Given that various creation perspectives are readily testable, a pathway exists for peaceful resolution of creation-day controversies. With so much scientific data  and many different biblical creation accounts open for investigation, little basis remains for conflicts or disputes over creation doctrines.

Ross seems deaf to the effects of interpretations when discussing evidence, and I want to return to the last chapter’s review. Ross claimed that he won a debate with biblical astronomer, Danny Faulker because when both he and Ross presented their evidence to the panel of 13 old earthers, the old earthers determined that Ross was correct. I wonder what would happen if Dr. Ross presented his evidence for special creation of each kind of creature over periods of time to a panel of Christians from BioLogos against the evidence presented from a Biologos evolutionist. Is there any doubt that this panel would expel Ross for his heresy against biological evolution? Interpretations of evidence are used to confirm one’s worldview biases and Ross does not recognize the inherent bias that old earthism has had on him since he was very young. Dr. Jason Lisle has tried valiantly to point out the role that biases have played in Dr. Ross’s eisegesis of scripture, but those habits have been ingrained deeply in Ross’s thinking and business model.

Below is the chart that Dr. Ross includes in his book as a way to resolve the “Creation-day controversy”. He explains that if both the young and old earth predictions get analyzed as more data is discovered and interpreted, that the old earth model will win out. From the biblical creationist perspective, the data from the expected predictions have lined up perfectly to confirm the young earth model. So, while I recognize my young earth bias, I want to point out how since Dr. Ross has written his book, the predictions he makes about the big bang completely unravel

Evidences for the big bang will increase and become more compelling. Astronomers will establish the big bang model as the uniquely explanation for the origin and structure of the universe.

Over the last few years, evidence for the big bang has NOT increased or become more compelling. It has been in massive need of resuscitation and repair

The other areas of the chart have not fared well for old earthism either

If you’ve learned anything from the review, I hope it is that God’s Word is the authority for the life of the Christian. There’s no need to compromise with the hollow and deceptive philosophies of the world as a way to interpret scripture.

As biblical creationists, we can praise God for the consistent nature of his revelation. 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.

Back to the Table of Contents

Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 17

time lapse photography of waterfalls during sunset

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The Scientific Case for a Young Cosmos

In this chapter, Dr. Ross lays out 12 well known arguments from biblical creationists that are used and that were used in the past to refute old earthism. He then gives a reply to all twelve in an attempt to preserve old earthism. In the first sixteen chapters (and the introduction), I have shown that he has failed to build a congruent case for old earthism from both scripture and science. Let’s see how he does responding to these dozen claims for a young cosmos

Exhibit A: The continents erode too quickly for Earth to be old

Essentially the case for a young earth is measuring the erosion rate of the continents, and this extrapolation gives a time limiting factor of only 16 million years.

Reply: This challenge focuses on one side of the equation only. It fails to acknowledge that lava flows, delta and continental shelf buildup (from eroded material), coral reef buildup, and uplift from colliding tectonic plates occur at rates roughly equivalent to, and in some cases far exceeding, the erosion rate.

I’m not a geologist…neither is he. But neither of us need to be a geologist to identify the GIGANTIC problem in his rescue device. The short answer is that fossils exist, so his reply is impotent.

The long answer, will take a little explaining and maybe a few pictures. While Dr. Ross is not a biological evolutionist he agrees with their interpretation of fossil layers since he rejects the worldwide flood account of Genesis 6-9. While he says he believes the Bible, he thinks instead that the account in Genesis is a local flood.

Let’s start with the picture below, which is a picture of what Ross is describing, but clearly not what is found. To begin with, I disagree with the ages that have been assigned to each layer for both biblical and scientific reasons, but for the sake of argument, we’ll use Dr. Ross’s understanding of the fossils to refute his rescue device. As wind and water erosion takes off the top level, Dr. Ross has claimed that uplift from tectonic plates replaces the levels that are lost to erosion. As stated earlier, and clearly an extrapolation with which Dr. Ross agrees, the continents could have been COMPLETELY ERODED AWAY were it not for continental uplift. The continental uplift replaces the eroded layers, but the erosion would have removed the fossils completely in at most 16 millions years. But there are fossils. The fossils that are dug from the earth are clear evidence for a worldwide flood about 4500 year ago, just as the Bible tells us.

ErosionDestroysFossils

In “Exhibit B: Lunar dust accumulates too quickly to allow for an old earth” Ross mentions a contention that biblical creationists abandoned more than two decades ago, so there’s no need to go into this one.

Exhibit C: Earth’s magnetic field decays too rapidly to allow for an old Earth

Reply: Earth’s magnetic field does not undergo steady weakening but rather a variable alteration

Dr. Jonathan Sarfati and Dr. Jason Lisle have built cases for the steady exponential decline of the earth’s magnetic field such that the earth must indeed be young instead of Dr. Ross’s claims.

https://creation.com/the-earths-magnetic-field-evidence-that-the-earth-is-young

https://answersingenesis.org/astronomy/the-age-of-the-universe-part-2/

Exhibit D: The Sun burns by gravitational contraction, so it cannot be billions of years old

Reply: This argument overlooks significant data.

This is another obsolete argument for biblical creationists…however, the resolution with which Dr. Ross replies turns out to have its own serious shortcoming. It is so bad in fact, that it’s been given the name: The Faint Young Sun Paradox. Essentially, since the sun provides energy by nuclear fusion, it is getting brighter. So, billions of years ago, the sun would have been so dim that there would not have been enough energy reaching the frozen earth to sustain any kind of life. The older that old earthers think the sun/earth combination is, the worse the problem gets for them

Ch17FaintYoungSunParadox

 

Exhibit E: Galaxy clusters would be more widely dispersed if the universe were old.

Reply: This argument rests, first, on an incorrect assumption. It assumes that all the mass within galaxy clusters is luminous.

First of all, it is rich that Dr. Ross would accuse someone else of incorrect assumptions when we’ve seen over and over how he assumes the creation, which has been corrupted by sin, is on equal authoritative grounds with God’s revealed and eternal Word. We’ve also seen him incorrectly assume that the modern academic paradigm is the same as science. But on to his reply

Dr. Ross’s reply depends upon the non-scientific concept of dark matter/energy. He also resorts to dark ordinary matter (brown dwarfs, planets, asteroids, rocks, dust, and cold gas) as being four and a half times more mass than luminous matter. However, this is the special pleading fallacy since our own solar system, which is the best place for measuring matter and mass shows that the sun has 99.9% of the mass. He’s got to assume all of the other solar systems (which are much harder to get accurate measurements) are not just different from the one we inhabit but so different as to make them completely unrecognizable

Exhibit F: The crystal halos that arise from radioactive polonium decay indicate that the earth is young.

Reply: If the granite crystal halo evidence proves reliable, it simply indicates rapid formation of certain rocks, not the entire planet.

This argument takes the form that since polonium-218 has a half life of 3 minutes and the halos that record their decay still exist in granite, that the granite did not take millions of years to cool. Ross’s reply is utterly deficient, even to the point of a concession:

Even if Gentry’s granite crystal halos do result from polonium-218 decay, Gentry has merely exposed a phenomenon that requires further study, a phenomenon that geologists’ current understanding does not explain.

So deep has old earthism got its hooks in Dr. Ross that he cannot see the clear evidence for biblical creation.

Exhibit G: Rapid sedimentation and peat deposition following the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption demonstrate that geological processes are rapid, not gradual. So earth could be young.

Reply: The problem lies in what rhetoricians call the “either-or” fallacy – the assumption that all geological processes occur either gradually or rapidly. The young-earth versus old-earth debate is pictures in this context as a battle between the principles of uniformitarianism and the principles of catastrophism, with one significant difference…Evidence of rapid geological processes, such as those resulting from the Mount St. Helens eruption, fail to support the notion that every structure in Earth’s crust formed quickly and simultaneously.

Yet, isn’t science supposed to make observations and see if it supports or falsifies a theory? The evidence resulting from the Mt St Helens eruption are directly comparable to what one would expect during the worldwide flood of Noah’s day if scaled up appropriately. So, rather than taking what has been observed to create hundreds of layers, Ross rejects observations and instead inserts an unobserved mechanism to preserve old earthism. His attempt to refute Exhibit G is a disastrous mess as shown in these videos below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjdZ3Gs-PTk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4a6oWZQ2ok

https://youtu.be/W4vK6NaSLBg

 

Exhibit H: Given that a spiral galaxy’s spiral structure winds up and disappears after just three of four rotations of the galaxy, spiral galaxies must be relatively young.

Reply: Young earth creationists would be correct about spiral arms windup if the arms were material structures, But they are not. As first explained in 1964…galaxy arms are density waves.

Astrophysicist Jason Lisle tells us the postulating density waves as a rescue device for old earthers creates more problems than it solves.

Ch17DensityWaves

Exhibit I: Trails of human footprints beside or crossing over dinosaur prints prove that dinosaurs were contemporaneous with humans, not millions of years old.

Reply: The dinosaur prints at the discovery sites have been identified as belonging to tridactyls, three-toed carnivorous dinosaurs.

There are many such evidences that have been put forth as dinosaur and human footprints. And it’s likely that some or most have been refuted. But there are still some fossils that have merit.

See the virtual tour of the creation museum in Glen Rose, TX 

Here is the personal testimony of the evolutionist-turned-creationist who excavated one of the Paluxy tracks

Even if those particular tracks turn out not to be human footprints, the evidence for humans and dinosaurs co-existing is overwhelming

MarcoPoloDinosaur

Not specifically about dinosaurs and humans living together but that dinosaurs lived in the recent past, here is an updated list of fossils that old earthers contend should be old but are shown to be young

Thinking that dinosaurs was a stronghold of old earthism, Dr. Ross included this exhibit in his book, but as you can see, the evidence is clearly on the side of biblical creation since dinosaurs lived recently enough to be seen and documented alive by mankind

Exhibit J: Since a comet’s average life span is only a few thousand years and the supply of new comets is limited, the existence of comets today proces the solar system cannot be more than several thousand years old.

Reply: …estimates of average comet longevity made prior to 1980 leaned heavily on the low side.

Dr. Ross declares with certainty that there are at least three sources for comets because he knows that comets would have disintegrated if they were truly billions of years old

Today, the existence of Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud comets is no longer based solely on theoretical calculations. In addition to finding the two distant comet clouds, astronomers have found a third distant comet repository, “the scattered disc.”

But a quick internet search reveals that Ross’s assertions of evidence are vacuous

 

Exhibit K: The lack of greatly expanded supernova remnants (SNRs) proves that such remnants have been expanding for no more than (probably less than) a few tens of thousands of years.

Reply: The mere existence of SNRs says that our galaxy and other galaxies are old…Observational difficulties, rather than an actual deficiency of SNRs, lie at the core of this cosmic age challenge.

It seems enormously hypocritical that Ross would declare the Oort cloud, which is unobservable, is irrefutable evidence, but SNRs which are thousands of light years across and visible from hundreds of thousands of light years away have “observational difficulties” and are therefore moot

For astronomers who are biblical creationists, the expectation is that if the Milky Way is about 6K-7K  years old, there should be about 125 visible Stage 2 supernova remnants. Conversely, for those who (like Ross and Bill Nye and Richard Dawkins and Neil deGrasse Tyson) believe in billions of years, would expect there to be about 2300 stage 2 SNRs. When actually looking into the Milky Way, we observe about 200 SNRs. So, you can see from the chart below that the evidence strongly supports biblical creation and is discordant with old earth assumptions. The problem gets even worse for those choosing to compromise God’s Word in favor of naturalistic assumptions when considering stage 3 SNRs.

SuperNovaRemnants

 

Exhibit L: Backward-rotating planets and backward-revolving moons in the solar system demonstrate that the solar system cannot be very old.

Reply: The standard model for our solar system’s formation does not predict, as this challenge assumes, that all solar system bodies will rotate and revolve in the same direction as the sun.

The standard nebular model for planetary formation is saturated with galaxy-sized problems:

“The formation of planetesimals is the biggest unsolved problem…The formation of giant planets is another unsolved problem…Another problem of giant planet formation is their migration…different rotation between the inner and outer parts of a ring could not allow condensation of material.”

But these are all of the questions that the nebular theory is supposed to EXPLAIN, so it can’t explain the formation of planets if THAT’s the biggest problem!

Regarding the backward-rotating planets, Astrophysicist Dr. Jason Lisle has this to say

“Secularists (and other old earthers including Dr. Ross) do not have a good explanation for the backward rotation of Venus. In the secular scenario, the solar system is supposed to have formed from the collapse of a rotating nebula. The natural expectation of this would be that all planets would rotate in the same direction at about the same rate, and they would all have very little axial tilt. Venus is the worst offender to this concept, since it rotates exactly the opposite of what the evolutionary models require. But we expect such diversity in the biblical view.”

Dr. Ross does not specifically include this next YEC point as an exhibit for a young cosmos, but he does include this as a sidebar on a full page.

Does Lunar Recession Refute an Old Earth?

Lunar recession refers to the Moon’s movement away from Earth due to the transfer of angular momentum from Earth to Moon as a consequence of the tidal interaction of the Earth-Moon system…the Moon could not have been receding from the Earth for more than 1.4-2.3 billions years.

Ross’s rescue device is:

The conflict is resolved if the Moon’s tidal torque was less forceful in the past than it is now. In 1982, Kirk Hansen showed that the number, sizes, shapes, and geographical placements of the continents and their accompanying continental shelves hugely impact the Moon’s tidal torque on Earth.

 But we can clearly see that this is special pleading. There’s no evidence that the moon’s tidal torque was less forceful in the past. It relies both on a special (unobserved) amount of matter in a special (unobserved) arrangement of matter for a special (unobserved) amount of time.

Dr. Henry from Creation.com had this to say regarding the secular origins of the moon and moon recession

“Over the approximately 6,000 years since the creation of the universe, the lunar recession rate has been essentially constant at the present value. However, assuming a multi-billion year age, lunar recession rates would have been much higher in the distant past than now. The currently accepted parameters indicate that the moon would have required 1.3 Ga to move from its origin at the Roche limit to its present position. This is the moon’s upper-limit age and shows that the conventional chronology is incorrect. If the solar system were actually 4.6 Ga old, the moon would have receded to a distance from earth approximately 20% beyond its present position. There is a widespread belief that the impact theory of lunar origin has neutralized these dilemmas for conventional chronology”

Ross’s special rescue device is insufficient to preserve old earthism. 

To finish the chapter, Dr. Ross writes:

John Morris, a geological engineer and current president of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), once acknowledged in a radio interview that he has never met (or heard of) a scientist who became convinced on the basis of science alone that the universe or Earth is only thousands of years old.

In the footnotes, it is noted that the question that was asked to John Morris was

Have you or any of your colleagues ever met or heard of a scientist who became persuaded that the universe or Earth is only thousands of years old based on scientific evidence without any reference to a particular interpretation of the Bible?

That is not the stance of most biblical creationists, but for sake of argument, let’s grant this and suggest this change to the question:

“Have you ever heard of a scientist who became convinced that a person could be dead for three days and then return to life based only on peer-reviewed evidence rather than reading it in the Bible?”

This is why proper biblical hermeneutics is so important. The question could be formed in such a way as to make those reading Dr. Ross’s work think that this is a case-closed argument. Here are a few examples of scientists who HAVE been convinced of the scientific evidence for biblical creation that led them to Christ and that contradict Ross’s implication:

 

As you can see from the above responses to Dr. Ross’s 13 replies to young earth arguments, he has fallen far short of refuting them, but he did not even attempt to tackle the other 100 arguments presented  by creation.com

As biblical creationists, we can praise God for the consistent nature of his revelation. 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.

Back to the Table of Contents

Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 15

starry sky

Photo by Philippe Donn on Pexels.com

Challenges to an Old Cosmos

This is indeed the most difficult chapter for me to review. Since I am not a practicing astrophysicist or astronomer, my review will be as a layman, and I freely admit that I do not fully comprehend many of the issues mentioned.

Having said that, Dr. Ross does take a large chunk of the chapter refuting ideas that biblical creationists no longer believe or are rhetorical (Challenges 1-4 and 11)

In challenge 7, Dr. Ross gives reasons why he disagrees with Jason Lisle’s Anisotropic Synchrony Convention (ASC). In their most recent debate, when Dr. Ross brought up his disagreements, Dr. Lisle showed why Dr. Ross’s assumptions and reasons were based on the question begging fallacy and flawed assumptions. Because Dr. Lisle has shown to be consistent in his biblical hermeneutics, I find his answer more compelling.

Below is a new answer for the starlight reaching earth in a biblical timeframe for which Hugh Ross has yet to provide an answer.

Creation Time Coordinates

There is more information about this new model in the links below

https://www.steveschramm.com/072-part-1-distant-starlight-and-creation-time-coordinates/

https://www.steveschramm.com/073-part-2-distant-starlight-and-creation-time-coordinates/

On pg96 when trying to address “Challenge 9: Old-earth creationists have their own light-travel-time problem” he says:

However, it is not possible for the universe, given its current spatial dimensions, to possess such uniformity and homogeneity in only 13.79 billion years unless the universe experienced a very rapid, very brief hyperinflation event shortly after it was created. Without the inflation event the universe would need to be orders of magnitude older than billions of years to exhibit the uniformity and homogeneity that it does.

It seems to me that even though Dr. Ross says “the laws of nature have never changed”, he tries to hide the changing of the laws of nature within the one trillionth of a one trillionth of a one trillionth of a second after the beginning where there is some supernatural alternative physics called hyperinflation. He says that term, hyperinflation, which sounds very sciency, but it appears to simply be a place to hide his altered physics to accommodate old earthism.

In Challenge 10: Radiometric decay was faster in the past, Dr. Ross says he will address it in a future chapter, so I will address his addressing in a future chapter.

Dr. Ross ends this chapter with some comments from non-Christians:

A spokesman for the U.S. Geological Survey (a key witness in the 1981 Arkansas creation-evolution trial) equated the creationists’ claims for a young Earth with “the flat Earth hypothesis and the hypothesis that the sun goes around the Earth.”

This is both ad hominem and a strawman fallacy.

Allen Hammond and Lynn Margulis made this comment about the young-universe view: “Adoption of creationist [this is, young-universe creationist] ‘theory’ requires, at a minimum, the abandonment of essentially all of modern astronomy, much of modern physics, and most of the earth sciences.”

This is both a sweeping generalization fallacy and strawman. The wording could be more truthful if instead of the word “science”, we replaced it with “modern academic paradigm.” Both old earthers and biblical creationists use the concepts of science. It’s a matter of presuppositions. Old earthers assume naturalistic origins and extrapolate backwards. Biblical creationists assume catastrophism (global flood as the Bible teaches), which explains what we see in the past.

If taught that a young universe is the Bible’s clear message, many seekers and nonbelievers will conclude, under the barrage of compelling scientific evidence for the universe’s antiquity, that the Bible must be accepted on a purely subjective, nonfactual basis.

Anytime you see Dr. Ross say “scientific”, you can replace it with “modern academic paradigm”. But the way Ross has stated it, we see again that he elevates the modern academic paradigm over the Bible. This is terrible hermeneutics.

He finishes with a strawman argument

As for sincere young-earth Christians, the tenets of young-earth creationism dictate that they must shut out science and its facts altogether to preserve their faith.

As biblical creationists, we can praise God for the consistent nature of his revelation. 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.

Back to the Table of Contents

Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 8

beige analog gauge

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

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.

Back to the Table of Contents

Book Review: A Matter of Days 2nd Edition by Hugh Ross

AMOD_Cover

Writing a book is indeed a huge and trying undertaking. Reviewing a book is, by comparison, far easier and is rather painless. So, I will begin my review of A Matter of Days by Dr. Hugh Ross by recognizing the tremendous effort and time that he and his staff put into publishing a high quality book.

For those interested in the topic of biblical creation, theology, origins, science, and biblical interpretation, you will probably appreciate the book. It is 389 pages long including the appendices, notes, index, and biography. It contains 23 chapters.

The overall theme of the book is Dr. Ross building a case for old earthism in contrast to young earth creationism (henceforth to be referred to as biblical creation).

My plan for this review is to take each chapter as a separate blog post and keep track of the entire review in a “table of contents” format for easy navigating. I have purposefully not read any other reviews of this book, so that the contents of this review are entirely of my own reasoning. However, I will link to many outside sources to validate points and allow readers to further investigate points throughout the review. The exception to “other reviews” is part of the analysis of chapter 17. The reason for this is that I am not a practicing professional astrophysicist, and most of that chapter deals with astrophysics. Many of the points Dr. Ross makes in this chapter will need outside resources for proper reviewing.

My hope is that this review drives Christians back to God’s Word to study and grow…so that the believer knows God better and can thus worship Him in spirit and in truth with a fuller understanding of His greatness!

Introduction – Dawn of a New Day

Flash Point – 1

The Gathering Storm – 2

The Clouds Burst – 3

Wisdom of the Ages – 4

The Creedal Climate – 5

Toward Better Interpretations – 6

Anchored in Scripture – 7 Part 1

Anchored in Scripture – 7 Part 2

Guided By Theology – 8

Good God, Cruel World – 9

Peace Through Paradise – 10

Young-Earth Darwinism? – 11

Faith, Morality, and Long Creation Days – 12

Big Bang: The Bible Said It First – 13

Scientific Signs of Old Age – 14

Challenges to an Old Cosmos – 15

The Reliability of Radiometric Dating – 16

The Scientific Case for a Young Cosmos – 17

Physical Reality Breaks Through the Fog – 18

Narrow Time Windows – 19

The Significance of Man – 20

A Clear “Day” Interpretation – 21

Councils Attempt to Bring Calm – 22

Tranquility through Testing – 23

Why Old Earthism Divides

The debate on the age of the earth has been ongoing for epochs…or at least for 150 years since Charles Lyell worked to “free the science from Moses.” I’ve addressed this particular issue many time before, and while not an issue of salvation, it has great importance for Christians in the area of biblical interpretation. So, while people can still be redeemed and not understand the intricacies of biblical hermeneutics, it is still important for maturing Christians to learn to correctly understand the revelation of God as intended.

hermeneutics

So, if the age of the earth is not an issue of salvation, why does it seem to bring such division? The division comes from how to interpret the Bible. If the Bible is the Word of God, then it should be the epistemic authority. Typically, it is those that are identified as youth earth creationists or biblical creationists that take this view. The Bible is authoritative, and outside sources are subject to what God has revealed. If the Bible is just a collection of loosely-affiliated religious writings then there can be other authorities (culture, scholarly paradigms, other historical documents) that can OVERRULE biblical texts. This is typically how old earth believers tend to view the Bible. They typically say, “We believe the Bible to be true” but then they immediately say, “Genesis needs to be interpreted differently than written because science proves it to be wrong.” See what happens there? They hold interpretations of evidence in authority over scripture, so that the Bible gets re-interpreted when the materialist assumptions of the foundation of the current scholarly paradigm. Below is an example.

Recently, I came across a blog that attempted to build a case that God’s Word can somehow accommodate billions of years and even evolution.

Sadly, this blog post starts out with an equivocation fallacy, and it’s a very common one, so the author, Candice Brown (CB hereafter) is probably just quoting from someone else who uses this particular mantra.

I remained convinced that science and religion were not compatible

The equivocations are that
1) science = old earth or evolution
2) religion = young earth

Bart_Conflate_Science_Evolution

However, science is the systematic study of nature through observation & experiment. So, science is a method, not an entity. Science measures evidence. Evidence is analyzed by people with presuppositions. The combination of presuppositions and science can be used to make conclusions. Someone who has the presupposition that the universe is old will use the tool of science to conclude that the universe is old. How would someone get the assumption that the universe/earth is old? For the last century, all universities have taught that the universe is old because of the work of Lyell, whose stated purpose was to “free the science from Moses”. This quote is a mutiny from the clear teachings of the Bible, which Lyell hated. So, all of today’s professors have been taught that the universe is old. Should someone raise doubts about this, they are figuratively and well as (sometimes) literally expelled from employment and teaching/learning at university.

The forensic scientists at Creation Ministries International, The Institute for Creation Research, and Answers in Genesis understand from God’s revelation in the Bible that God intended for the audience to see his handiwork in history, and the scientific studies seen today confirm this in every respect.

CB continues in her blog post with the idea that the Earth appears to be very old. She’s not wrong. It does look to be thousands of years old. That is a REALLY long time, and the maximum time that can be historically verified. Were the earth to be millions of years old (or older), the mountains would, at the very least, be rounded smooth by wind/water erosion. And if the earth were more than 10 million years old, the continents would have been ground into the sea by wind/water erosion based on current erosion rates.

A common response to the erosion problem by old earthers is “Well, you forget about the concept of continental uplift. As continents collide, the continents are being continually recycled up.” There are reasons that show why this does not help the old earther:

  1. This concept has already been factored into the erosion rates
  2. The fossils are still there. Since the rate of continental erosion limits their age to (at most) 10s of millions of years, then the fossils would have long ago been eroded along with the rest of the sedimentary layers if the recycling of uplift has renewed the continents. Since there are still fossils, the continents are young. Old earthism is falsified.

CB also quotes Reasons To Believe (an old earth organization) saying that humans emerged somewhere around 150,000 years ago. This number is counter to the biblical genealogies in Genesis 5, against the population growth statistics, and against the latest research in genetics, which show an increase in entropy. The latest work in genetics confirms exactly what the Bible revealed in the biblical genealogies that have been repeated in 1 Chronicles 1 and Luke 3. The human genome accumulates hundreds of mutations in each generation that natural selection cannot remove since natural selection works on the phenotype level and not the genetic level. Since humans have not gone extinct, old earthism is falsified.

CB continues with:

In order to dispute this evidence, Christians must make several leaps, such as believing dinosaurs and humans co-existed

The evidence is strongly in favor of humans co-existing with dinosaurs, but most people are unaware of the evidence. The links below are not comprehensive, but provide strong justification for the facts that dinosaurs and humans co-existed in the past.

  1. Dinosaur cave paintings
  2. Brass Dinosaur on Bishop Bell’s tomb
  3. Stegosaurus in Cambodia
  4. While not necessarily man with dinosaur, soft-tissue being found in dinosaur bones falsifies the mantra that the dinosaurs went extinct 65 millions years ago. At most, the bones are only a few thousand years old. The link of this text shows over 100 “ancient” bones that contain soft tissue. Old earthism is falsified again
  5. Historical accounts

MarcoPoloDinosaur

CB goes on to dispute the clear teaching of the days in Genesis to be of the 24-hour variety.

Much like the English word love has five meanings in ancient Greek, the Hebrew word yom יום (translated day in Genesis) has four meanings, one of which indicates not a twenty-four hour period, but an age of time

Biblical creationists are well aware of this meaning of the Hebrew word yom, and there are several reasons why the context of Genesis 1 demands they be literal days, and not figurative ones.

  1. The author intended his audience to see the Genesis days as literal days
  2. The days have boundaries (ordinals and morning/evening)
  3. Other scriptures confirm literal days
  4. God spoke to Abraham using analogies for incredibly large numbers, so it’s not that Hebrews were simple people and could not understand numbers greater than 10 as old earthers would contend. Gen 22:17 “I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore.” To describe a more consistent way that God would have communicated the many epochs of days, were old earthism to be true, would be for Him to have used language where He already shows His intention to communicate large numbers. But He did not. God instead chose to perform his creative works in 6 days as He said.
  5. There are contexts (plurality, modifying words, suffixes) in Hebrew for yom to mean more than a day, but none of these contexts are present in Genesis 1.
  6. There are 2 Hebrew words (zeman – H2165 and eth H6256) for epochs or long indefinite period of time, BUT THESE WORDS ARE NOT USED IN GENESIS 1

The biggest obstacle that old earthers must overcome to inject their biases into the biblical text is to somehow justify the curses of sin (death, suffering, and thorns) as being present in creation PRIOR to the rebellion of mankind. When they insist on this, it becomes an issue about the gospel. Invariably, when I ask old earthers to justify their position on this, I get either “well, it’s only spiritual death” or “I just interpret the Bible differently than you.”

  1. God declared his creation “very good.” Since creation is very good, there could not have been disease, bloodshed, and harm. Isaiah 11 and 65 confirm this. Harm, disease, and bloodshed prior to sin is unbiblical and therefore old earthism is falsified
  2. In Genesis 3:17-19 God said to Adam “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten from the tree…to dust you will return.” The curse of sin resulted in both spiritual and physical death. Both Romans 5 and 1 Cor 15 are strong confirmation. So the debate is: Did death bring mankind into the world (old earthism) or did man bring death into the world (YEC). The Bible clearly answers that man’s sin brought death into the world. Death before sin is unbiblical and therefore old earthism is falsified
  3. One of the curses is thorns. Jesus took the crown of thorns upon Himself at the cross to complete taking the curses of sin as our punishment. But if thorns existed prior to mankind as old earthism demands, then what was the curse of sin? There are fossil thorns buried in layers that old earthers “date” as having been made prior to mankind. This view is unbiblical and therefore old earthism is falsified

Biblical interpretation is not an arbitrary function. When people interpret the Bible to mean whatever is popular in culture (homosexuality, old ages, contrary historical documents), then the body of Christ is divided and suffers.

Christians should be united. And the unity should center around God’s revelation in scripture and its fulfillment in Jesus. Jesus confirmed the testimony of Moses (Luke 16) and confirmed the historical nature of Genesis (Mark 10:6). So, God’s people should not be divided about the age of the earth. They should be united around a healthy understanding of the Bible, so that Jesus can be glorified.

We can trust God with our future because we can trust his revelation about the past.

Study Your Bible

19-short-attention-span

Calvin and Hobbes – Bill Watterson

In a technologically modern world, we have become so accustomed to having things instantaneously. The latest fad is to purchase external Siri, Alexa, Google boxes that answer your voice questions and perform simple online tasks. Today’s window of focus is 140 characters or seven second Vines.

We can be easily tempted to let someone else read, study, pray over, and digest God’s Word – so that they can summarize the message for us. But as a citizen in the eternal Kingdom, don’t let that temptation manifest itself in your life as your primary intake of the Word. Study your Bible. Besides the benefit of enjoying a nourishing time with the Creator and pondering the Words of life, there’s a danger in only letting someone else tell you their thoughts about God’s Word.

In my most previous two posts, I pointed out the exegetical flaws of some men, who have metastasized their peculiar interpretation of scripture. So that they can accommodate their belief in billions of years, they are forced to claim that the flood of Noah’s day was a local flood. It has been shown over and over again how this teaching is false, but in my personal Bible study this week, I came across yet another scripture that refutes their teachings.

Isaiah 54:9 says, “To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So, now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again.”

Hugh Ross assumes that Psalm 104:9 is talking ONLY about the creation week, so that the waters of creation could not cover the earth again in Noah’s day. But Isaiah clearly teaches that the waters DID completely cover the earth during Noah’s day, so Ross’s assumption that Psalm 104 is solely about creation week is false.

Another reason why we know that Psalm 104 is not solely about creation week but also includes post-fall timeframe is because of verse 21: “The lions roar for their prey and seek their food from God.”

Genesis 1:30 tells us that carnivorous activity was not part of God’s original creation. “And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground – everything that has the breath of life in it- I give every green plant for food.”

If lions are stalking prey in the poetry of Psalm 104, then it must be, at the very earliest, after sin’s curse affected the universe, but is even more likely talking about the post flood world in which the author of the Psalm lived.

Studying God’s word for yourself is a blessing in so many ways, not the least of which is being able to identify false teachings.

Since we can trust God about what He has revealed about the past, we can trust Him with our future!

 

Give Thanks, Prevent Foolishness

Happy Thanksgiving! On a day when we are more aware of all of our many blessings, I thought I’d post yet another reason why it is so important to be thankful to the Creator.

Romans 1 tell us:

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools.

Don’t give thanks to God as the undeniable Creator and you risk foolishness.

Paul continues in Philippians 4

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

[Note: Emphasis is my addition]

Being thankful to the all-loving God is spiritually medicinal. With thankful hearts, we are healthy in our thoughts and can give sacrificially as Jesus gave (and continues to give).

The 8 C’s of History

So, I’ll be teaching a new class at our church starting tomorrow called the 8 C’s of History. For some of you, the title will look vaguely familiar as I took the general idea from Answers in Genesis and expanded on it. They developed a curriculum called the 7 C’s of History. I’ve not read their curriculum, but it spurred the idea for my class. “The 7 and 8 C’s of History” confirm how the significant themes of the Bible are historically accurate. Their seven C’s are:

  • Creation
  • Corruption
  • Catastrophe
  • Confusion
  • Christ
  • Crucifixion
  • Consummation

For the purpose of my class, I added “Covenant” between Confusion and Christ…I mean, for Heaven’s sake! That’s almost 2200 years of time that God was working with his chosen people in the form of the Covenant. So, Answers In Genesis SHOULD have included “Covenant” as one of their C’s, but maybe they were on a budget.

It should be noted that I’m not getting any money from this endeavor, and I am giving credit for the general idea to AIG ministries. Ultimately, it is God who receives the glory and it is because of Him that we live and breath and have our being. All of the pictures in the slideshow are linked images and suitably credited. So, no lawsuits please!

I’ve created Google Slide presentations that I will post here for people to keep up. Feel free to share the links or use the material to spread the Good News of God’s redemptive plan as revealed in his word!

  1. Creation
  2. Corruption
  3. Catastrophe
  4. Confusion
  5. Covenant
  6. Christ
  7. Crucifixion
  8. Consummation

 

Here is a timeline that I constructed as supplemental material for the class. Enjoy!