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of loosely-affiliated religious writings then there can be other authorities (culture, scholarly paradigms, other historical documents) that can OVERRULE biblical texts.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 to 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 thousand 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 66 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.

Advertisements

Thermodynamics vs. Evolution

The basic concept of the second law of thermodynamics is that things tend towards disorder. The laws of thermodynamics deal specifically with the movement of heat/energy, and the second law makes it clear that usable energy is transforming to unusable energy in a process that is described as entropy. Entropy is a universal process, and the grand theory of evolution claims to run in exactly the opposite direction…from simple order to more complex order.

The standard response from evolutionists for saying that evolution does not violate the second law of thermodynamics goes something like this:

Considering the earth as a system, any change that is accompanied by an entropy decrease (and hence going back from higher probability to lower probability) is possible as long as sufficient energy is available. The ultimate source of most of that energy, is of course, the sun.

In other words, they will say that the earth is not a closed system, so the energy from the sun is sufficient to overcome entropy in the sub-system that is earth. The problem with this explanation is that the energy from the sun is destructive not constructive.

Energy from the sun tends to be destructive

Energy from the sun tends to be destructive

Simply adding energy to something does not reverse entropy, nor does it increase its complexity. All of the following scenarios add energy to something, but it is not constructive or a reversal of entropy:

Adding energy…not constructive

Adding energy to this tank did not reverse entropy

 

… there are no known violations of the second law of thermodynamics. Ordinarily the second law is stated for isolated systems, but the second law applies equally well to open systems. …  There is somehow associated with the field of far-from-equilibrium thermodynamics the notion that the second law of thermodynamics fails for such systems. It is important to make sure that this error does not perpetuate itself. – Dr. John Ross

But adding energy can be constructive or reverse entropy if there is a mechanism for converting the energy. For converting the energy from the sun into something useful, there is only one known mechanism that can do this without itself being destroyed: Chlorophyll. Chlorophyll (and carbon dioxide) allows plants to convert sunlight into energy for the plant.

The energy released in an internal combustion engine is not usable until you add the transmission, axle, and wheels to the car.

Scientists have even shown that entropy can be reversed as noted in this link. Evolutionists are burning the midnight oil to find ways to overcome the second law of thermodynamics.

Scientists from Berkley were able to reverse the process of entropy,

By introducing a feedback mechanism, they were able to break the natural symmetry of building blocks in solution, and build their “desired structure,” colloidal gold nanorods. The method involved a laser

So, to overcome entropy, you need a laser?

It’s not difficult to lower entropy — not difficult, that is, for an intelligent agent. An intelligent cause can direct its energy to push a ball uphill, when its natural thermodynamic tendency would be to roll downhill. None of this is a violation of thermodynamics; it’s just “outsmarting” it through purposive action. Even though the team spoke of evolution, they recognize that design was the key to getting “the desired” result.

Of course naturalistic means are unable to overcome entropy. It requires an intelligent agent. Thanks God!

 

UPDATE: This article from the scientists at Creation.com further explains the problems (for evolutionists) with claiming that the sun overcomes the second law of thermodynamics with relation to the earth’s ability to produce and evolve life.

It’s like trying to run a car by pouring petrol on it and setting it alight. No, a car will run only if the energy in petrol is harnessed via the pistons, crankshaft, etc. A bull in a china shop is also raw energy. But if the bull were harnessed to a generator, and the electricity directed a pottery-producing machine, then its energy could be used to make things.

To make proteins, a cell uses the information coded in the DNA and a very complex decoding machine. In the lab, chemists must use sophisticated machinery to make the building blocks combine in the right way. Raw energy would result in wrong combinations and even destruction of the building blocks.

I suggest that thermodynamic arguments are excellent when done properly, and the ‘open systems’ canard is anticipated. Otherwise I suggest concentrating on information content. The information in even the simplest organism would take about a thousand pages to write out. Human beings have 500 times as much information as this. It is a flight of fantasy to think that undirected processes could generate this huge amount of information, just as it would be to think that a cat walking on a keyboard could write a book.

 

Back to the Creation Manifesto Outline

Quotes About Evolution

  • “Why do we even squabble over creation vs. evolution? Does it really matter what we believe about where we came from? Absolutely. Our views on morality, justice, purpose, self-worth, humanity, obligation, and destination are all closely tied to our views on human origins.”  -www.allaboutphilosophy.com
  • “More cases of loss of religious faith are to be traced to the theory of evolution. . .than to anything else.” –Martin Lings
  • “Belief in modern evolution makes atheists of people. One can have a religious view that is compatible with evolution only if the religious view is indistinguishable from atheism.” – William Provine
  • “Although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” – Richard Dawkins

Monkey_NoSeeNoHearNoSee

Back to the Creation Manifesto Outline

Evolutionary Mechanisms

In the late 1800s and early 1900s with the advent of better microscopes and trait inheritance experimentation, the science of genetics was born. While some see the monumental amount of information within the DNA code as magnificently programmed, there have been some who claim that copying mistakes in DNA allow evolution. Genetics are said to provide the raw material (through random mutations or copying mistakes in the genetic code) for the additional information required to transform bacteria into biologists over billions of years. With the addition of random mutations to natural selection and deep time, evolution now had a naturalistic alternative to the creation story of the Bible.

 Back to the Creation Manifesto Outline

Did Darwin Embrace Christianity?

The enlightenment time for evolution, though existing beforehand, was manifest into the biological literature in 1859 with the release of Charles Darwin’s book, “The Origin of Species by Natural Selection or The Preservation of the Favoured Races in the Struggle For Survival.” Darwin had many influences in his life that factored into his writing of The Origin of Species. Charles Lyell’s book, which described the millions of years of geology set a framework for his biological processes to “do their magic.” Darwin’s grandfather, who was a humanist and was very influential to young Charles, had worked diligently to write works that espoused evolution without a proper mechanism. Darwin also observed the suffering and death that was prevalent throughout his studies, and he had trouble attributing this to a “good” God. Sadly, this tragedy struck home when Darwin’s daughter died of a stomach ailment, and he could not cope with the problem of evil and a good God. With all of these influences, he voraciously strove to publish a scientific replacement for God.  Darwin lamented, “I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my father, brother and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine.” Despite the strong influence of Christian thought in his culture, Darwin wrote, “I am sorry to have to inform you that I do not believe in the Bible as a divine revelation, & therefore not in Jesus Christ as the Son of God.”

Fully understanding the moral implications of his theory of evolution, on page 94 of his autobiography, Charles Darwin wrote: “A man who has no assured and ever present belief of a personal God or of a future existence with retribution and reward, can have for his rule of life, as far as I can see, only to follow those impulses and instincts which are the strongest or which seem to him the best ones.” Darwin understood that without having the God of the Bible, that there is no objective foundation for morality. Moral relativism is inevitable with evolution.

Lynn Margulis writes, “Darwin was brilliant to make natural selection a sort of godlike term, an expression that could replace God, who did it-created forms of life.” Darwin’s published works, which describe in detail the process of evolution, have led Martin Lings to write “More cases of loss of religious faith are to be traced to the theory of evolution…than to anything else.” So Darwin had what he thought was his mechanism to replace God as creator: natural selection.

 

 

 Back to the Creation Manifesto Outline

Invented Time

Scottish geologist, James Hutton, who worked hard to unhinge scientific thought from biblical thinking, proposed the idea of the earth forming over millions of years. Hutton has been called the father of modern geology, and his ideas have been cultivated in the writings of Charles Lyell and Thomas Huxley. On page 4 of Hutton’s biography, The Man Who Found Time, Jack Repcheck says, “The age of the earth is the wedge that ‘shattered the biblically rooted picture of Earth and separated science from theology.’” Without deep time, Hutton’s proposal to ignore the Bible in favor of uniformitarianism would have been worthless.

DeepTime

Charles Lyell, whose principle publication was Principles of Geology and augmented Hutton’s introduction of millions of years, shared with a friend that his works would “free the science from Moses.” Quite obviously these geologists of the 1800s worked hard to bury the Bible so their science of geology could blossom without its influence. They very much desired not to be bound by the authority of scripture, and their proposals were intended to elevate uniformitarian theory above the teachings of scripture. As Hutton and Lyell’s ideas of deep time became more prominent, the less veracity the Bible seemed to contain. It was the writings of Charles Lyell that had a profound impact on one Charles Darwin.

 Back to the Creation Manifesto Outline

What is Evolution?

We need to define some terms before we get going too far into the discussion. In this and future posts on this topic, I would like to define my use of the term evolution to refer to the grand theory of evolution, which states that a simple, single-celled, original and common ancestor (and all subsequent descendants) experienced random genetic mutations, and thus, through the process of natural selection, changed into all living creatures, including mankind. This process is said to have taken almost four billion years (referred to as “deep time” hereafter.) Today, this story is taught as the Neo-Darwinian synthesis. Atheists tell us today that this process (mutation, selection, and deep time) requires no intervention from a supernatural entity. If we go back to our original question, “could God have used evolution as his creative mechanism?” we must now ask “Why should Christians explain creation with both the evolutionary mechanism and deep time, which requires no God, to explain something that God did?” Where did the ideas of billions of years and naturalistic evolution come from? In other words, do the original ideas of deep time and Neo-Darwinian mechanisms come from committed disciples of Christ or someone else?

The grand theory of evolution is central to the atheist origins story since it is said to be a completely natural process requiring no intervention from an intelligent designer. In the words of Richard Dawkins, “Although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.” Evolution is the primary pillar of the atheist’s origin story as it is an attempt at explaining living organisms without the Creator. Why should Christians attempt to bring harmony between the primary pillar of atheism and the narrative that carries throughout scripture? It is not only unnecessary (scientifically), it is untenable according to the whole of scripture.

TreeOfLife

 Back to the Creation Manifesto Outline