Bible Contradiction? Did Jesus Claim That No One Has Ever Gone to Heaven?

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It’s a fairly common online assertion that the Bible is “fuLL oF cOnTraDicTioNs!” by those who are unfamiliar with the common mistakes that skeptics make when they make such claims. In a recent online discussion, a God-denier claimed that that Bible was full of contradictions. The principle assertion of contradiction was that Elijah ascended into Heaven (2 Kings 2:11) but Jesus claimed in John 3:13 that no one but the Son has ever ascended into Heaven

https://twitter.com/AmputeeAtheist/status/1538180851002970113?s=20&t=lNX1CRdWwIG0GNEupkEzRQ

Before I begin the rebuttal, let the reader understand that God-deniers have no grounds for declaring anything to be contradictory. Unless one starts with the God, who has revealed Himself in creation, in the Bible, and in the incarnation, there is no possible justification for logic, knowledge, morality, or truth. So, when a God-denier (like AmputeeAtheist) claims that the Bible contains contradictions, he has no logical or knowledgeable grounding from which to determine anything to be contradictory. From the perspective of the God-denier, there is only chaotic matter. As the imminent naturalist Carl Sagan religiously stated: “The cosmos is all there is, or was or ever will be.” There is no room in the worldview of the naturalist for unchanging abstract absolutes like laws of logic or induction. Lastly, before I refute this critic, AmputeeAtheist has NOT demonstrated conclusively that this is even a contradiction. He has taken only a paper-thin glance at the words (likely from an atheist meme online) and declared lazily that it ‘jUsT hAs tO bE a cOntraDictiOn”. For it to actually be a contradiction, no possible explanation can exist (which I will show below), and AmputeeAtheist has failed to demonstrate that there is no possible resolution. The unjustified assertion that “there is a contradiction” is echo chamber material suitable only for the “atheist choir”.

Let’s see what Jesus said in John 3:13

And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven

Is Jesus saying that no one has ever gone to Heaven? Would Jesus have been familiar with the 2 Kings passage that describes how Elijah was whisked off to Heaven in a chariot? Of course! So, why would Jesus make the claim that none have ascended into heaven?

To answer this, we must 1st look at the scriptures (the Old Testament) to see what Jesus was actually saying. Since the New testament is essentially the inspired commentary & fulfillment of what was revealed in the old testament, we should exegete (study the scripture) to see what Jesus might have meant when He said “ascend”.

Throughout the old testament, there is a theme that those, who met with God or interacted with God, did so on the mountaintops. This is important because man was incapable of getting to the “heavens” where God was. The understanding is that God must, in his grace, come down to meet mankind because man is unable to get to Him

  • Gen 8:18-22 When the ark landed on the mountains of Ararat, Noah built an altar to the LORD. Noah could worship the Lord, but despite the fact that Noah was at the highest point, he could not ascend to heaven
  • Gen 11 Shortly after the flood, the people intended to build a tower to the Heavens so that instead of proclaiming the Name of God as image bearers, they wanted to make a name for themselves as gods. The people at the tower of Babel failed to ascend to the presence of God.
  • Gen 22 God told Abraham to ascend Mount Moriah to sacrifice Isaac there. At the top of that mountain, God intervened and provided a substitute atonement for Abraham and his son. Abraham ascended as high as he could, but God had to descend from Heaven to meet with Abraham
  • There are 149 places in the ESV of the use of the phrase “high places”. Even the pagan worshippers, who setup their idols put them on the mountains or high places as a failed attempt to ascend to the Heavens or ascend to their false deity
  • Exodus 3 – Moses was tending his sheep on Mount Horeb and this is where God descended to meet with Moses. Moses could not ascend to Heaven. God had to come down to meet with Moses
  • Exodus 19 – Moses ascends Mount Sinai to meet with God, but since Moses cannot ascend into Heaven into the presence of God, God says in verse 9 “I am going to come to you” at the highest point you can possibly reach, which is far short of ascending to Heaven.
  • Exodus 34 – This theme is repeated but stated more clearly.in verse 2 God tells Moses to “come up on Mount Sinai” and in verse 5 it says “the LORD came down”. No one (including Moses) can ascend to Heaven in their own power.

Secondly and more importantly, let’s look to see in what context Jesus was speaking these words to Nicodemus. In the interaction Jesus has just scolded Nicodemus that as Israel’s presumed teacher, Nicodemus (while knowledgeable of the scriptures) does not understand them

Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.

John 3:10-13

Jesus is taking from Proverbs 30, which is a lament by the author in his realization that rejecting the understanding/knowledge/wisdom of God is stupid. Jesus is equating the author of Proverbs 30 with Israel’s teachers of the law in general and Nicodemus specifically.

Surely I am too stupid to be a man. I have not the understanding of a man. I have not learned wisdom, nor have I knowledge of the Holy One. Who has ascended to heaven and come down? Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son’s name? Surely you know!

Proverbs 30:2-4

The author continues saying that there is no who who can ascend into heaven to learn from God and return to teach the people about God. But in John 3, Jesus claims to ACTUALLY be the One, who has done this. Jesus has been in the presence of the Father, and He has both descended and ascended to the Father to bring both knowledge and forgiveness to mankind. Unlike what the skeptic has learned from atheist memes, Jesus is not claiming that no one has ever gone to Heaven. Jesus is displaying his rightful divinity and exposing, that despite their rote memorization of the law/prophets, the supposed teachers of Israel are unlearned (stupid) about God.

Nicodemus would also have recognized from Jesus’s words the passage in Deuteronomy 30 where Moses writes

“For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?‘ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.

Deuteronomy 30:11-14

For those, whom the LORD has called and empowered, the commands of God are expectations. To follow those commands, one need not perform the impossible tasks of “ascend to heaven” or swim “beyond the sea” to obey. And yet, when Israel (and ultimately all of mankind) do fail to keep God’s commands, Jesus is faithful to perform the impossible Himself: bring the knowledge of God from Heaven down to mankind and atone for man’s disobedience.

Jesus does not stray from his consistent train of thought in John 6 verses 38, 42-44 and 62-63

For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me…So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day…Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

John 6

Jesus did not claim that no one has ever died and gone to Heaven. Considering Jesus knowledge of the scriptures, the context of his teaching, and the audience, it is clear that Jesus was identifying Himself as God, who has been in the presence of the Father, but has descended to mankind to bring knowledge and redemption.

We also see from Jesus’s disciples that they understood Jesus to be talking about Himself as descending from Heaven. John the Baptist says in John 3:31

He (Jesus) who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks an earthly way. He (Jesus) who comes from heaven is above all. He bears witness to what He has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true.

John 3:31-33

And Paul in Rom 10 and I Cor 15

But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘who will ascend into heaven?'” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘who will descend into the abyss?'” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).

The first man (Adam) was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man (Jesus) is from heaven.

And while Paul did not specifically use the words ascend or descend in Philippians 2, it is clear that Jesus came from the presence of the Father in Heaven to descend to earth

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross

Philippians 2:5-8

There are no contradictions in the Bible. Although the God-denier was lazy and ignorant of the scriptures in making the claim that Jesus contradicted the scriptures with his words in John 3, with an understanding of the context, we see that it is silly to make such a claim. If you’re interested in more articles like this, check out the ever-growing list of refuted claims-of-contradiction by the author of Domain for Truth!

Because God, who knows everything and is eternally faithful, can be trusted in his revelation about the past, we can trust His revelation about our future

Magic

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A beetle sees a cat jump so high and far in a single bound that the beetle can no longer see it. The beetle exclaims:

Magic! That’s impossible. It’s got to be magic

But all along, the cat was performing something completely within its domain of power even if the beetle could not understand it since ability like that is beyond its imagination

A cat sees a turtle purposely submerge itself in a pond and reappear hundreds of paw prances away. It exclaims:

Magic! That’s impossible. It’s got to be magic

But all along, the turtle was performing something completely within its domain of power even if the cat could not understand it since ability like that is beyond its imagination

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A turtle see a bird extend feathered appendages from its torso, levitate into THIN AIR, and propel itself away at dangerous speeds. It exclaims:

Magic! That’s impossible. It’s got to be magic

But all along, the bird was performing something completely within its domain of power even if the turtle could not understand it since ability like that is beyond its imagination

A bird sees a human enter a stationary impenetrable 4-wheeled box and after that box leaves and returns, the human emerges unharmed with three dozen eggs. It exclaims:

Magic! That’s impossible. It’s got to be magic

But all along, the human was performing something completely within its domain of power even if the bird could not understand it since ability like that is beyond its imagination

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A human God-denier sees God’s eternal power and divine nature in the things that have been made. It exclaims:

Magic! That’s impossible. It’s got to be magic

But all along, God was performing something completely within His domain of power even if the God-denier suppressed the knowledge of God in unrighteousness and mocked Christians for believing in magic

The mockery of Christians for “believing in magic” is an immature and lazy argument, because the Almighty has no restrictions within his domain – which is everything. For the God-denier to shriek “you believe in magic” is the same as the beetle attributing magical powers to cats. Don’t argue like beetles

And all along the beetle, cat, turtle, and bird praised God for his common grace

The Altruism Exchange – Part 4

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The Tall Friendly Atheist Dad (TFAD) didn’t care much for my questioning of the ‘one true religion of Darwinism’. Last year, I wrote a post asking the question “Can Evolution Explain Altruism?” and after exposing the claims of those, who answered affirmatively, as impotent – TFAD put quite a bit of time and effort into a 4 part rebuttal. I answered his first 2 submissions in Part 1 and Part 2 of my replies, and for the most part TFAD wasted his “shots” on nit picking and majoring on the minors. In his third objection, TFAD did address the substance of my arguments, but my rebuttal of his objections showed that my original contention is escaped his objections without damage. Let’s see if his final objection can make him a champion for Darwin by slaying anyone, who would dare question the narrative or if his best quality is his friendliness.

Right from the start TFAD attacks the argument messenger

TFAD: “…you’re trying to counter scientific ignorance writ-large in the form of Fundamental Evangelicalism combined with Presuppositional Apologetics…After much consternation, I’ve decided to release the 4th and final part, but with most of the links removed. Not that Creationists care much for them”

So, TFAD postures his stance in his final response with the assertion that his opponent is “scientifically ignorant” and never checks sources. TFAD quickly forgets that checking sources is what started this discussion. Way back in the original post TFAD posted the link that would birth this discussion shown in the picture below (TFAD comments in red)

He’s not off to a good start, since while some creationists or presuppositionalists that he’s encountered in the past might have ignored a link or been ignorant of the teachings of evolution, The ApoloJedi guild is not so easily dismissed. TFAD now moves to object to the use of presuppositional apologetics and defines it as special pleading

TFAD: “they need this out BECAUSE the evidence from philosophy, morality and especially the natural sciences all defeat the case for God’s existence and his superior qualities when considered strictly on their merits”

This is tone deaf bluster as each of these categories is the “home field” of the Christian. In matters of philosophy, only Christianity can justify logic, reasoning, and knowledge. In fact, I recently asked the question of the naturalist “Can Evolution Explain Reason?” and similarly showed naturalism to be devoid of explanatory power. His bluster gets insanely absurd when he claims that evidence for morality defeats the case for God’s existence. The most famous of God-deniers, Richard Dawkins, proclaims of atheism

RD: “The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”

Any morality that a God-denier might propose is subjective, self-defeating, and irrational as shown

His final claim that the evidence from the natural sciences is one that we can debate only because Christianity is true as was shown earlier in the link regarding logic, reasoning, and knowledge. Should an atheist want to discuss evidence, they would need to demonstrate that their worldview can consistently and sufficiently provide a foundation for the very things on which evidence relies (logic, induction, truth, and morality), and because of their epistemic assumptions, none can possibly be forthcoming.

TFAD: “ApoloJedi has only used a social definition of altruism, ‘good done for no thought of reward’, not an academic one. If ApoloJedi is trying to convince like-minded believers of his position, mission accomplished, but has he done enough to convince rational skeptics like me? No.”

OK. Can we observe behaviors in creatures today that one would define as the social definition of altruism? YES! Those observations are seen without question. I asked the question whether evolution can explain those behaviors, and it cannot. TFAD wanting to protect his strongly held faith commitment to the religion of survival of the fittest would rather redefine altruism to mean something that involves a reward, so that the dogma of ‘natural selection acting on random mutations in the struggle to produce the most fit offspring’ might have a minute chance of partial explanation. But it’s just like when the staunch evolutionists vainly and incorrectly claimed to have defeated Behe’s mousetrap analogy by saying “But HERE’S a different mousetrap that doesn’t look like your analogy”, TFAD says “But HERE’S a different kind of rewarding altruism (not true altruism) that isn’t defeated by your scandalous questions.”

In a response to my quote that reads “it is my intent to always revere Christ Jesus as the authority in all matters”, TFAD has this to say with incredulity

TFAD: “In all matters, especially scientific? But why? Why would anyone hold as a scientific authority a person who – despite being the one who created the universe (Colossians 1:16) – didn’t know or care to teach about bacteria or atoms or DNA? What was Jesus’ knowledge about electricity or vaccines or neurochemistry?”

Yes. All matters. Hold on for some scriptural support of my original claim and then some comments

  • 2 Cor 10:5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ
  • Matt 28:18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me
  • Eph 1:20-21 when God raised Jesus from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come

From Abraham Kuyper “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!” So, Yes TFAD, Jesus is authoritative over scientific matters, electricity, vaccines and neurochemistry. And while Jesus has an eternal dominion over these fields of science, the things you currently believe about science will be mocked as archaic by natural philosophers a few hundred years into the future. Your own epistemology of provisionalism gives you no certainty that your temporal faith commitments are anything other than your opinion.

In critiquing this line in my post: “and not put the God-denier in the judge’s seat as if he/she can correctly judge evidence in accordance with a perfect perception of reality. Only God has a perfect perception of all of reality” TFAD had this to say:

TFAD: “This is a common line from Pre-Suppositionalists that I believe actually betrays why they’re reluctant to apply the same standard to God as what they happily do every day to everybody and everything else. It’s funny – Pre-Suppositionalists, and even most Protestant Evangelicals, will happily sit in judgement over other people’s behaviour, over the morality other religions, the existence of their associated deities, and over the morality and judgement of certain presidential candidates and their families – yet when it comes to their deity, suddenly being in the judge’s seat is wrong. You can’t have it both ways. Either judge nothing on its merits, or judge everything on its merits”

Unknowingly TFAD has stepped beyond the perceived safety of the modern academic paradigm, and has jumped into the presupp-infested waters of metaphysics. STANDARDS. Oh yes, God has his standard of righteousness on which everyone will be judged. Those, who are in a right relationship with Jesus by grace through faith will not be punished for their wickedness, but those who are dead in their trespasses will face righteous judgment from the Eternal Judge. Regarding his lament that God sits in the judgment seat but denies that seat to the God-denier as special pleading – it’s only special pleading if God is not the eternal Judge. In the same way that it’s not special pleading for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to sit in his judges chair and pass judgments (along with the other SCOTUS judges) and deny Neil Young a place at the judge’s seat. Because Neil Young is a has-been musician not a judge. It’s idolatry for the creation (mankind) to think of itself as the Creator or in any way worthy to be sitting in the holy judgment seat. If you want to “judge everything on its merits”, what is your merit (standard)? When the standard is God’s Holy Word, the God-denier will quickly withdraw his desire to be judged on that merit

TFAD: “Now, let’s ask the question: from the Bible’s perspective, how accurate does God perceive reality? Badly is the answer. For example, Genesis 1:6 describes a firmament, a crystalline dome that divides the sky from outer space and has windows to let the rain in (Genesis 7:11) and covers the earth. And let’s be clear: the Hebrew word for firmament, “raqiya”, means a solid dome, not simply the atmosphere”

While I could remind TFAD that his own epistemology is provisional, and he himself does not and cannot truly perceive reality with perfect accuracy, we’ll analyze his misunderstanding of the biblical text that he notes. He claims that God believes that the firmament or expanse from Genesis 1 is a crystalline solid dome. Not unsurprisingly TFAD did not quote Genesis 1:20 that says the birds fly in the expanse, so it could not be solid.

TFAD: “Genesis also describes the moon as a “lesser light” in contrast to the sun being the “greater light”. The problem? The moon has no capacity to generate light”

Looks like TFAD has revived his classic picking-at-nits argument. God clearly defined his purpose for the moon and as a reflector, it functions quite well. But if the moon were a fusion reactor like Solar, the earth would be completely sterile from a star so close. What else might happen is a tiny star were so close to Earth? When the fusion materials were depleted, it would go supernova, and that would end poorly for the biological creatures God had designed for his glory. TFAD although wanting to be the Judge and the Creator didn’t think that one through very well.

TFAD: “But let’s continue to evaluate God’s perception of the reality he supposedly created. Isaiah 11:12 refers to the four quarters of the earth, which is a reflection of a classic belief that the earth was a circular disk, not a globe. Job 38:19 asks “What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside?”. Light doesn’t live anywhere – light is an electromagnetic wave in certain bands of wavelengths, and darkness is not a thing, it’s merely the absence of light.”

This is a common tactic from God-deniers – force wooden literalism onto poetic passages. We’ll chalk this up as continued nit-picking as these lazy objections have been addressed even before Al Gore invented the internet

TFAD: “And the Bible is without any description of our local solar system. God, not once, mentions any other planets”

That’s like saying, “My toothbrush, although it can float, cannot launch F-18 Hornets into the sky therefore the inventor of toothbrushes is an idiot!” God’s purpose in the Bible is to teach us how to be in a right relationship with Him. He left many things for people to discover for His glory, so it is absurd to declare that God does not have a correct perception of reality because He didn’t catalogue all knowledge.

To my valid claim that “God, who is the source of all knowledge, has revealed some of his knowledge so that we can know those things with certainty” TFAD responded:

TFAD: “Only if we are willing to cede our intellect (as well as our humanity) to a book written by men who wondered where the sun went at night.”

It’s likely that many of you have heard this little jab that the authors of the Bible (kings, doctors, philosophers, warriors, judges, lawyers) were dimwits. Secondly, as has been pointed out many times, “intellect” is only possible because Christianity is true. Were humans simply the accidental aggregation of stardust, intellect would not be possible, knowable, or trustworthy

TFAD: “Does God command altrusim (sp) ? Only when he’s not commanding genocide (1 Samuel 15), endorsing slavery (Exodus 21), literally de-valuing women (Leviticus 27), having his people kidnap little girls after their parents and brothers have been murdered (Numbers 31), and much, much more.”

God-deniers seem not to comprehend the difference between judgment and genocide as they irrationally judge God without warrant. To the God-denier, what’s wrong with disintegrating aggregations of particles in an amoral cosmos? They have no consistent/justified moral foundation on which to stand. Slavery? Again, to the God-denier, why is slavery wrong? On what basis do you declare ANYTHING that God commands as immoral? The best they can say is that they don’t personally like it at this time since they have no absolute standard by which to judge others. Would it be too much to duplicate the meme of the boyfriend looker from above to highlight the inherent problems of those, who outwardly deny God, recognize the need for moral absolutes? Why not – as it’s my new favorite meme

Now we get into the part of TFAD’s objection where he exposes his ignorance of the concept of an “internal critique”. An internal critique is taking on the perspective of your interlocutor and showing how (within his own viewpoint) his perspective leads to a contraction, an absurdity, and/or inconsistency. An external critique, which is far less persuasive in terms of argumentation, is showing an interlocutor why they are wrong according to one’s own view.

TFAD: “ApoloJedi isn’t saying the theory of evolution is unscientific because he has conferred with those with professional qualifications and done a comparative study of numerous genomes to come up with a competing data set that has withstood scientific scrutiny to the point that it attracts academic attention. No. He is saying evolution is false because it is discordant with his theology”

He said this in response to my brief explanation that evolution is incorrect according to the truth that God revealed in both the Bible and in nature from the Christian perspective (external critique). But I immediately continued with the summation of the blog post which showed from the internal critique (analyzing the teachings/writings of evolutionists in their failed attempt to explain altruism via evolution) that the theory of evolution is impotent in accounting for anything altruism. This was a very brief recognition that evolution is not just wrong from my own perspective, but also from theirs

TFAD: “The article didn’t enter the worldview of the God-denier, for the simple reason that ApoloJedi’s article was a theological hatchet job, and evolution is a science issue – not a theological one. Christians such as Dr. Francis Collins, Dr. Theodosius Dobzhansky and Pope Francis see no threat to their faith when looking at the theory of evolution, so why does ApoloJedi?”

If I had not been doing an internal critique, I would have filled my blog post with links to ICR.org, Creation.com, and AnswersInGenesis.org (because they are awesome websites). But that would have been an external critique of evolutionism. But I didn’t. I asked evolutionists to account for their claims, and they could not. Regarding Francis and Francis: I do not share the same faith (also named the same and share some elements) as Francis Collins and Pope Francis, so the critique was warranted

At the end of his blog, TFAD falls right back into the very same thinking that my original post exposed as impotent. I showed that the only way that “altruism” can possibly be explained by evolution is by redefining altruism to mean something that it does not mean

TFAD: “cooperative tendencies…natural selection and social selection have worked and do work against individuals who do not help and share with others…reciprocal altruism, ‘strong reciprocity’…Kin‐based altruism benefits biological relatives”

As though he had not read the original post that showed these terms clearly as redefining the word – altruism, TFAD tries to throw “strong reciprocity” at the evolutionary paradox again thinking maybe no one would notice this time.

Hopefully, this discussion will help those, who feel like they must bow obediently to whatever those in white lab coats tell you to believe without any critical thinking. Because, with some skeptical analysis, we can see that bias drives a lot of research and just because evolution is popular doesn’t mean it’s true.

Empathy is Arbitrary, Inconsistent, & Irrational for Atheists

You’ve likely heard it before, a self-identified secular humanist*, skeptic, and/or atheist tells you that their personal morality is based on whether an action is empathetic or provides maximum well-being. I’ve had these discussions before, but during a recent online conversation when I pressed back on an atheist making his case – I pointed out that it was arbitrary for the atheist to define “goodness as empathetic”. That atheist responded to me:

The definitions we attach to words are arbitrary…Why can’t “cat” mean “an energy drink.” It could…but it doesn’t. This doesn’t mean calling my house pet a cat is inconsistent or irrationaly

To answer this, some basic groundwork needs to be done in explanation…

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To be clear, atheism has no grounding for intelligibility at all, let alone the philosophical ability to make judgments or distinctions. To see why, you can view the reasons here.

But for purposes of this discussion, I will grant the God-denier the ability to make intelligent distinctions.

The definition they supplied for “good” was “helping others“. I’ve heard other God-deniers say that good is “empathy” or “whatever promotes well-being”. I consider all of those synonymous, so I’ll address them as one below.

There are at least 3 levels of arbitrariness from the atheist perspective in defining goodness as “helping others”.

Firstly, goodness could have been defined as any other ideal. Just saying that “helping others is good” is arbitrary. “Goodness” could just as easily have been defined as:

  • Whatever promotes fitness
  • Whatever preserves history
  • Whatever benefits frogs
  • Whatever helps Democrats
  • Whatever smells pleasant
  • Whatever Oprah says

Secondly, who are the others they are talking about? To whom should empathy be given? Should “helpfulness” be termed good if it is applied to a specific person, or a specific group of people, or to a particular cause (environmentalism, veganism, BLM…)? What if being helpful to 1 person is detrimental to another person? What if the 1 person to which helpfulness is offered is the 45th president? Might someone consider helping the originator of MAGA as bad instead of good? What if being helpful to one group is destructive of another group? What if being helpful to a particular cause/person/group leads to the extinction of a species? Why would goodness not be helping and promoting the well-being of the most fit creatures on earth: bacteria? Arbitrariness abounds for the skeptic, but there’s more…

The final reason that the atheist definition of goodness is arbitrary is that there are multiple metrics for measuring well-being. Which metric should be used to define good as well-being? Should we measure the well-being based on economic, hedonistic, pragmatic, physiological, psychological, spiritual or evolutionary metrics? “Helping others” in one of these categories will necessarily deprive help in at least one of the other categories. Besides that, who gets to decide what is TRULY helpful within each metric? For example, if I were going to help someone economically, I might give them all the money they would ever need and someone might call that good. But the recipient might spend the money on destructive things or waste the money by donating to the (insert evil political entity here) party, which might lead someone else to call my beneficence bad. Arbitrariness!

In contrast, defining a cat as a “4 legged pet” is not arbitrary in the same way. Sure, the initial word “cat” being applied to a 4 legged pet might have been chosen in place of any other word that was not in use to describe something else, but “cat” is not an abstract standard. Atheists cannot rationally conjure up an “ought” from an “is”.

Arbitrariness in defining “good” is not the only problem for the atheist. Defining good as empathetic, helping others, or promoting well-being is also inconsistent with their other assumptions and irrational based on their theory of knowledge.

Key assumptions for the skeptic is that unguided/impartial/purposeless forces (natural selection acting on random mutations) brought about the tree of life. Those creatures that produce the most offspring are said to be the most fit. Those creatures that are unfit are culled from the gene pool. Difficulties, harms and other selection pressures provide stimulus for creatures to produce/perpetuate novel traits. So it would necessarily be inconsistent to deem helpfulness/empathy as good, when protecting a creature from difficulty/SelectionPressure limits their ability to evolve.

Defining good as being empathetic, being helpful or promoting well-being for the atheist is also irrational on at least 2 levels. It is irrational firstly because the atheists teach that humans are the serendipitous product of stardust from a universe that is amoral, purposeless, undesigned, blind, pitiless, and indifferent – and if this is the case, why does it matter if one accidental aggregation of stardust interacts with another accidental aggregation of stardust? It is irrational to declare that one action by one collection of particles towards another collection of particles as good/evil. Secondly, it is irrational for anyone who does NOT have all knowledge of all time to declare some temporal action as good since a temporary negative could lead to tremendous positive or a short-term positive could lead to devastating negatives.

Summary

For the atheist/skeptic/SecularHumanist to define good as empathy, well-being, beneficial, or helping others is:

Arbitrary

  • When they chose a specific ideal, any other ideal could have just as easily been chosen to represent goodness
  • In the midst of competing needs/wants, to whom should help/empathy be given?
  • Based on which metric should help/empathy/well-being be measured (economic, moral, spiritual, physiological, hedonistic, pragmatic….)?

Inconsistent – because if the natural forces of evolution produced all of life, then choosing well-being as the primary good would be contradictory. If the skeptic assumes that the same forces which promote advancement through reproductive fitness also requires that well-being be considered as of primary importance then they are blind to the contradictory assumptions. To be consistent with their assumptions of natural selection acting on random mutations to produce the most fit offspring, the skeptic would need to define goodness as whatever produced the highest fitness in creatures. Since stress/harm produces selective pressure that drives novel traits and culls the unfit, then well-being is literally the opposite of the process that brought them into existence.

Irrational

  • If humans are just stardust, there’s no rationale for judging one action as good/bad
  • If justification for knowledge (let alone all knowledge) is not possible for the atheist, then picking 1 action as good/bad is unintelligible.

In stark contrast, Christians can make a coherent case that helping others and promoting well-being is coherent and consistent within our worldview

Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to “love the LORD your God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength” when He references Deut 6:5. He followed up the greatest commandment with the second most important commandment when He says “The second commandment is like the first: love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus even went so far as to say “love your enemies.” With the first and greatest commandment in mind, we should love and promote well-being to people around us.

To be clear, the atheist/skeptic/humanist CAN be empathetic because they are made in the image of God. They do have the pre-programmed desire (Romans 2:15) to promote well-being to others, but as shown above, it is arbitrary, inconsistent and irrational for them when you consider their other worldview assumptions.

*It has been pointed out to me that secular humanists are not arbitrary in their choosing of limited harm (maximum well being, etc…) for their standard of goodness. This is a fair criticism as it is part of their worldview. However, because secular humanism is a godless religion without any transcendent measure AND is built upon a foundation of naturalism, there is an arbitrary and inconsistent nature to their belief that limiting hard is good. Were naturalism, the foundation of secular humanism, true, goodness nor evil could be known. Everything would just be.

Is TAG the same as Presup?

Photo by Wendy van Zyl on Pexels.com

In a friendly conversation this past week, J Brian Huffling asked me if I could articulate the Transcendental Argument for God (TAG). The conversation was on Twitter, so with the character limit, I decided to create a blog post for the benefit of verbosity

I do not know Dr. Huffling personally. We follow each other on Twitter, and I have appreciated his tweets/articles. I have no reason to doubt his regeneration in Christ. This is a friendly conversation on apologetic method only. I hope that when we get to interact on this post and future conversations, that we will both be able to discuss on a friendly level with greater knowledge of the other’s viewpoint – all for the glory of God. This discussion is a brotherly interaction with the disagreement being solely about apologetic method. I consider Dr. Huffling a brother in Christ and a faithful disciple (from what I have seen/read). So, there is no animosity or condemnation on my part towards him.

The discussion is primarily about whether presuppositional apologetics or classical apologetics is a better description of how Christians should defend the faith. It became interesting when there was disagreement over what is the ultimate source of knowledge. Huffling said there is knowledge of nature before there is knowledge of God. Let’s define the term knowledge.
What is knowledge? Justified true beliefs.
How can one justify their beliefs? The Christian can justify his beliefs by standing on the foundation of God’s revelation:

  • Prov 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge”
  • Proverbs 2:6 “For the LORD gives wisdom and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding”
  • Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom”
  • Psalm 111:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom”
  • Isaiah 33:6 “The LORD will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge. The fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure.”
  • Colossians 2:2-3 “Christ in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”
  • Romans 1:19 “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them”


The presuppositional apologist will stand firm on this principle: God’s revelation and the ability to justify this revelation through God’s Word

The skeptic has no such path to justification. For them all knowledge is provisional and the tools for justification are not compatible within a worldview that does not start with God.

Classical apologists (like Dr. Huffling) view reasoning as the standard for determining truth. Reasoning IS a valid tool for the Christian and it is not wrong to consider regenerated reasoning as glorifying to God, however, because of the curse of sin, the unbeliever cannot trust his reasoning and reasoning itself does not hold the power of ultimate justification. So, I would view the classical argumentation as deficient in properly communicating the defense of the faith.


Back to the conversation with Dr. Huffling. There was a misunderstanding on presuppositional apologetics and the transcendental argument for God (TAG). Dr. Huffling asked me to articulate TAG. I think what happened in the exchange was that he conflated presuppositional apologetics with TAG. Now TAG is a particular type/category of presuppositional apologetics, but the two are not synonymous. As described above, I would say that presuppositional apologetics has more to do with the analysis of both the Christian and non-Christian worldviews. The epistemology of the Christian is revelation from God. We can know things because God has revealed them. His revelation has three main manifestations (Hebrews 1:2-3)

  • Creation
  • The Bible
  • Jesus

The accusation from Dr. Huffling and others is that presuppositional apologetics is circular since it relies upon the Bible to prove the Bible. This is a mischaracterization of the claims of presuppositional apologists. The Bible is revelation from the One, who knows everything and is eternally faithful AND since it is only part of God’s revelation, it can be verified by the other parts of his revelation

  • Jesus is the Creator (John 1:3)
  • Creation is the manifestation of God’s power and divine nature (Rom1). The Heavens declare the glory of God (Ps 19:1). If people do not praise God, the rocks (creation) will cry out in praise (Luke 19:40)
  • The Bible records the details of God’s creative works (Gen 1)
  • Jesus fulfilled the prophecies recorded by the prophets in scripture (I Cor 15)
  • The whole purpose of scripture is to detail, who Jesus is and codify the covenant of God (Luke 24:27)
  • So creation, the Bible, and the incarnation are self-authenticating interdependent revelations from God, which gives the Christian a justified epistemology for certain knowledge. What God has revealed cannot be refuted or validated by any higher standard. As Hebrews 6:13 tells us “When God made His promise to Abraham, since He had no one greater to swear by, He swore by Himself”, so we know that there is no higher standard. Should we follow the logic of Dr. Huffling that circularity in logic is always fallacious, then God would be fallacious by swearing upon Himself. But we know that God has never been fallacious. Since He is the highest authority and his eternal Word carries the weight of his authority, the Bible can be used to virtuously authenticate itself as part of God’s revelation.

Dr. Jason Lisle says it more eloquently :

“In fact, all of God’s reasoning is necessarily circular. God is all-knowing. So, whenever God draws a conclusion from premises, the conclusion is something that God already knows. Truth is that which corresponds to the mind of God. And the justification for that truth is… that it corresponds to the mind of God. This is not arbitrary, but logically necessary since God’s mind determines all truth. Those people who argue that all forms of circular reasoning are fallacious are in the unenviable position of implying that God’s reasoning is fallacious.”

Rather than presupposing that the Bible is ultimately true but instead arguing that one’s senses/reasoning are the valid source for determining truth, this person must then attempt to validate their senses/reasoning by employing their senses/reasoning – which is viciously circular.

The skeptic (and even Dr. Huffling) might reply “But we need to use our senses/reasoning to read the Bible.” While this is true, using our senses/reasoning is not the same as justifying them.

Again from Dr. Lisle:

“Yet, this answer has a degree of circularity. Namely, we must use our senses in order to read in the Bible that our senses were designed by God. Does this mean that the reliability of sensory experience is more foundational than the Scriptures? Not at all. This is another example of a difference in the order of chronological discovery and logical primacy. That is, we believe in the reliability of our senses before we discover the logical justification for that belief (the biblical worldview). This is always the case with our most foundational presuppositions. They must be assumed before they are proved. Yet, after assuming that our senses are reliable, we discover that we have a good independent reason to believe this: the Bible. The circle is not vicious because our belief in reliable senses is not arbitrary; it is rationally necessary for us to discover that it has independent, self-consistent justification. Namely, we need reliable senses to discover what the Bible says about our senses. But when we read the Scriptures, we find that our belief was justified.”

Regarding the use of either presuppositional or classical apologetics in conversations with unbelievers, I would suggest that Christians should not trust the unregenerated reasoning of unbelievers to conclude rationally to trust God. Romans 1:21 tells us “…their (godless/wicked) thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” So, when the unbeliever attempts to use their reasoning/understanding of evidence to determine truth, their presuppositions are deficient. There are several problems with the approach that people can accurately view evidence by applying their reasoning to determine something as accurate:

  • Everyone interprets evidence according to their worldview. For instance, if we were to evaluate the evidence of a dinosaur bone, a Christian would say “This is great evidence that supports the historical global flood.” The non-Christian would say “This is great evidence that supports the idea of millions of years of natural selection acting on random mutations to produce all life from bacteria to Bach.” Same evidence – different conclusions
  • If the classical/evidential apologist presents evidence to the non-believer, he is putting the non-believer in the judge’s chair…God’s rightful place. God’s existence is never up for judgment as God has revealed Himself. As Romans 1 tells us, “what may be known about God is plain to them because God has made it plain to them.”
  • Because creation bears the scars of the curse of sin (Romans 8, Genesis 3), it is an insufficient source of knowledge to bring one into a saving faith in the Triune God. Only with guidance by the special revelation of scripture can a person be knowledgeable of the necessity of repentance and humility before God for grace by faith

Colossians 2:8 goes even further in telling Christians to begin with the presupposition of Christ’s revelation: “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” And before the Christian can defend the faith, we must (as Peter tells us) “set apart Christ as Lord in your heart”.

If our primary presupposition is NOT God and his revelation, then we (as Christians) are missing the proper biblical apologetic method.

Now, as some may be remembering, I still have not articulated the transcendental argument for God. It’s not that I have forgotten, but it was more important for me to clear up the misunderstanding above that Presup = TAG. The more important part of Presup for me is the identification and analysis of presuppositions for knowledge. As shown, the Christian bears witness to the necessary and exclusive preconditions for intelligibility because of God’s revelation. I believe that others, more knowledgeable/eloquent than I have done better at articulating the nuances of the transcendental argument, but I’ll give it a shot:

TAG – Because there are transcendentals (unchanging, abstract, absolutes) like logic, math, induction, morality. and information there must be a reasoning & upholding Source for these absolutes. God is unchanging, transcendental and absolute therefore He is (at minimum) consistent with the existence of unchanging, abstract, absolutes. Further, God has revealed that He is the source of logic (law of identity & law of non-contradiction) in Ex 3:14 “I AM who I AM”, Isa 45:19 “I YHWH, speak the truth. I declare what is right”, 2 Tim 2:13 “he remains faithful— for he cannot deny (contradict) Himself”. And when the skeptic asks “How do you know the Bible is revelation from God?” the presuppositional apologist can reply “By the impossibility of the contrary.”

The impossibility of the contrary can best be described as if what God has said is not true, then nothing can be known and only absurdities result from all events. Since we can know things, God’s revelation is corroborated. From Dr. Greg Bahnsen’s work – Always Ready, he describes the “impossibility of the contrary” thusly:

Always Ready – Greg Bahnsen
Always Ready – Greg Bahnsen p123

For a better (than my own) explanation of the transcendental argument for God, please see

If I misrepresented Dr. Huffling in any way, it was not my intention, and I would ask him (or someone knowledgeable of his views) to provide correction in Christian love, and I will humbly edit this post.

Stay In Your Lane!

In a recent online discussion, I was asked the question “What difference is there between a Christian brain and an atheist brain?

Some background would probably be in order to fully understand the source of the questions. The claim was made by someone, who has rejected God, that the universe is a vast, cold, sparse place. I pushed back a little with a paraphrase of a quote from Richard Dawkins: if the universe is amoral, purposeless, blind, pitiless and indifferent – what is the source of morality, purpose, sight, pity and love?

The discussion continued to include a quote from CS Lewis which exposed the absurdity of naturalism

Another claim was made that humans are the source of morality, purpose, sight, pity and love. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t get my group of interlocutors to understand that humanity’s ability to discern truth was the focus of Lewis’s quote – IF NATURALISM IS TRUE as all of them were claiming. So, if naturalism were true, and humans were the source, they could not trust their discernment of this knowledge, and they persisted with the conjecture that since there is morality, purpose, sight, pity and love today that nature must have done it (via humans) although no evidence or demonstrations were forthcoming…just wild assertions. Leaving alone the fact that they still just assumed the universe formerly had no morality, purpose, sight, pity and love but with the accidental emergence of humans, suddenly morality, purpose, sight, pity and love unexpectedly sprang into existence.

And then the question from the beginning of the article: “What difference is there between a Christian brain and an atheist brain?”

While incredibly friendly and incredibly tall, the Tall Friendly Atheist Dad does not understand the process of worldview analysis. Eli Ayala from Revealed Apologetics does a great job explaining the process in this debate although Eli’s interlocutor never does get it either. To properly critique another person’s worldview, you must assume their worldview to point out the internal contradictions. In this case there are two internal contradictions for those who reject God:

  • The universe is amoral, purposeless, blind, pitiless, & indifferent BUT part of the universe inexplicably exhibits morality, purpose, sight, pity and love
  • If the human brain is simply a product of chemical forces acting on accidentally accumulated particles, there’s no reason to trust thoughts, BUT thoughts are trusted

So, when the Tall Friendly Atheist Dad asks his question, we must ask that question from the Christian presupposition to see if there are contradictions, and then we must ask the question from the naturalist presupposition to see if naturalist presuppositions can rationally support the question. The following table is with Christian presuppositions:

Christian Brain(Professing) Atheist Brain
Knowledge of God is innate (Romans 1). Because God has revealed some of His knowledge, the Christian has a pathway to certaintyKnowledge of God is innate (Romans 1). While the atheist can know things (even though they reject the Source), they cannot justify knowledge
Brains created by God for his glory (Gen 1:27, Ps 100:1). Brains would be expected to generally function as intended. Brains created by God for his glory (Gen 1:27, Ps 100:1). Those who suppress the knowledge of God seek their own glory & are subject to futile thinking
Brains, while designed for knowledge of God & discovering the universe, have been affected by the fall & are in a suboptimal state until the restoration (Isa 11)Brains that suppress God’s truth are subject to futile and darkened thinking. If damaged, one could recognize it as broken since no objective standard exists by which to compare
Brains that begin with the fear of the Lord have a foundation for wisdom and knowledgeBrains that reject God have no sufficient justification for knowledge

You can see from the above table, that there is no internal contradiction for those who presuppose God. Rational thought is viable, and those who reject God will have no pathway to justified true beliefs. The following table takes into account the assumptions of the professing atheist and/or naturalist in attempting to answer the question from above:

Christian BrainNaturalist Brain
Over time particles coalesced & came alive. As selection pressures increased & complexity of neurons increased, brains formed. Brains developed the ability to reason, love, & comprehend Over time particles coalesced & came alive. As selection pressures increased & complexity of neurons increased, brains formed. Brains developed the ability to reason, love, & comprehend
Chemical reactions in the brain determined the belief that there is a God Chemical reactions in the brain determined the belief that there is no God
At BEST, only provisional knowledge possible since some future discovery could overturn current foundation of knowledge At BEST, only provisional knowledge possible since some future discovery could overturn current foundation of knowledge

The argument that Lewis made has been misconstrued as “Atheists can’t do things like know things, drive a car, do math, or love people because they believe their brain is just a collection of particles. But this is ridiculous because we atheists do all of that.” It’s not that Christians are smart and atheists are dumb. Lewis wasn’t saying that.

This is NOT the substance of the argument. The argument rather is that since we can know things, drive cars, do math, and love people – that it is incongruent to believe brains are just a collection of particles. Rather than questioning their assumptions about the unobserved past or the inability to recreate/observe consciousness emerging from particles, they instead just wildly assert that rationality MUST have simply appeared because we observe rationality today.

The key to remember in these discussions is: which worldview (collection of presuppositions) provides sufficient justification for knowledge, love, information, reasoning…everything? As shown above, the presuppositions that deny God are woefully deficient in justification. The only worldview that can sufficiently (and exclusively) do this is Christianity since the Creator, who knows everything and is eternally faithful, revealed Himself through what He made, through the Bible, and through his incarnation.

Can Evolution Explain Altruism?

It’s my hobby to interact with people and talk about my Savior, Jesus. He’s the Creator (Col 1:16) and the promised Messiah (Gen 3:15.) Despite my multitude of sins and those of all repentant sinners (John 3:16), He demonstrated his great love (Rom 4:8) by taking on the full wrath of the Father to atone for wickedness (Rom 3:25)

Inevitably in some of those conversations, skeptics bring up evolution as a reason not to repent. The conversation sometimes includes this phrase:

There’s no need for your sky daddy. Evolution explains everything without him

I’m with Greg Bahnsen when he says that evolution can’t explain ANYTHING. But one of the questions I’ve asked God-deniers about evolution’s explanatory power is “How is altruism consistent with evolutionism? How does evolution explain altruistic behavior?”

NOTE: As a blog that uses the presuppositional method to honor God’s revelation and expose the irrational nature of all philosophies that attempt to derive knowledge, logic, morality or anything else without God, you may wonder why I’m asking this evidential question. What follows will be the application of Proverbs 26:5. I will enter into the worldview of the God-denier to show that his OWN explanations are full of unjustified assertions and catastrophic contradictions

This is apparently a question that triggers God-deniers, because when I post that question on social media, there are all kinds of caustic and derogatory remarks about my lack of intelligence, my lack of education, and their desire that I be quiet. Once in a while a skeptic will try to answer. Here’s a recent answer I got to the question “Why do evolutionists think altruism is beneficial (in this case public education)”

Alturism (sp) can improve the survival rate of the herd making it easier for individuals to thrive. Education improves the herd so ensuring a well educated public can improve individual life

What is Altruism?

Wikipedia defines altruism as “Altruism is the principle and moral practice of concern for happiness of other human beings or animals, resulting in a quality of life both material and spiritual.”

Merriam-Webster tells us that altruism is “behavior by an animal that is not beneficial to or may be harmful to itself but that benefits others of its species”

I will reference these definitions later in the post, so prepare to be pointed back here for a reminder of these foundational definitions. We all recognize altruism in humans when people are selfless. Altruism is on display when a person gives money to the homeless and when a person helps at the scene of an accident and when a person helps build houses on a mission trip. In those interactions, there is no benefit and may even be sacrificial on the part of the giver. Sometimes, altruism is seen in ant and bee colonies.

What is evolution?

In 1859 Charles Darwin released one of the most influential books of all time, The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection for the Preservation of the Favored Races. In it, he lays out a case for a mechanism known as natural selection, which he says

Natural Selection is the principle by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved

Darwin reveals his biological theory that attempts to explain the origin of the great diversity of life. This theory requires that uncountable sequential individual heritable changes be preserved by natural selection for evolution to have veracity. He said

If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.

For evolution to have explanatory power, there must be uncountable sequential individual heritable changes that are preserved solely by natural selection. Now Darwin had no idea about DNA or the unimaginable complexity of genetic code that is stored on DNA, but scientists after Darwin discovered the code of DNA which serves as the source of inheritance, the mutation of which supposedly provides for novel traits.

Let’s analyze what is currently being taught as evolution before we go forward. From OpenStax college textbook Biology 2e p. 24

The source of this diversity (tremendous diversity of life on earth) is evolution, the process of gradual change during which new species arise from older species. A Phylogenetic tree can summarize the evolution of various life forms on Earth. It is a diagram showing the evolutionary relationships among biological species based on similarities and differences in genetic or physical traits or both.

Same book, p492

Evolution by natural selection describes a mechanism for how species change over time…Natural Selection, or “survival of the fittest” is the more prolific reproduction of individuals with favorable traits that survive environmental change because of those traits. This leads to evolutionary change…More offspring are produced than are able to survive, so resources for survival and reproduction are limited. The capacity for reproduction in all organisms outstrips the availability of resources to support their numbers. Thus, there is competition for those resources in each generation.

From RationalWiki

All species on Earth originated by the mechanism of evolution, through descent from common ancestors.

To summarize their claims on what evolution is:

  1. Evolution is unguided
  2. Evolution can be verified by showing the gradual process of uncountable sequential individual heritable changes
  3. The mechanisms of evolution are natural selection acting on random mutations
  4. Genetics determines traits, behaviors, and reproduction
  5. Organisms that are the most fit (greatest fitness) in their environment persist to pass their genes to subsequent generations
  6. Fitness is “individual reproductive success and is equal to the average contribution to the gene pool of the next generation that is made by individuals of the specified genotype or phenotype”
  7. Evolution’s sole driver is to reproduce genetic material in the competition for limited resources.

What is Evolutionism?

Evolutionism is the belief that evolution is the only explanation for all of biology. Those who practice evolutionism are ruthless in protecting this belief. Practitioners expel, malign, and/or punish anyone who dissents from the common evolutionism narrative.

According to those practicing evolutionism, the theory of evolution cannot, must not, and will not be criticized. Efforts to offer anything other than complete obeisance to the theory are met with swift and unmerciful retribution in an effort to silence critical thinking. In practice, it strongly resembles religious fervor in protection of the dogma. This is generally what happens when someone makes a social media comment that even hints there might be problems with evolution’s ability to explain all of biology

What do Scientists Say About Altruism?

So, scientists have recognized that it is counter-intuitive to assume that altruism fits within the evolutionary explanations, and I’m sure you can see that from the definitions of evolution from above, there is a large plausibility barrier to overcome. In the recent social media encounter that I mentioned above, one of the God-deniers said:

The scientific research would beg to differ. The evolutionary origins of human altruism explained: https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0,5&qsp=3&q=evolutionary+origins+human+altruism&qst=ir…

And if you’re not reading science to change your mind, then what are you doing?

Essentially, he told me that science DOES have answers, and I’m ignorant of those answers because I’ve never read them. But I’m an intrepid ApoloJedi and will analyze the writings of scientists who promote evolutionism to see if they can demonstrate altruism to be sufficiently explained by the mechanisms of evolution. I will analyze three sources from the modern academic paradigm (which some will conflate with “science”):

  1. Human Altruism – Proximate Patterns and Evolutionary Origins by Fehr/Fischbacher 2005
  2. Selfish Gene – Richard Dawkins
  3. OpenStax Biology 2e 2018 Rice University

Fehr/Fischbacher

The first link in the search result from the post above yields a paper written by Ernst Fehr and Urs Fischbacher for degruyter.com. The paper was written in 2005 and has been cited 82 times.

From page 6

Current gene-based evolutionary theories cannot explain important patterns of human altruism pointing towards the need for theories of cultural evolution and gene-culture coevolution

They clearly recognize the counter-intuitive nature of the claim that evolution can sufficiently account for altruism. The implication is that a NEW theory/mechanism is needed. They call their new mechanism “strong reciprocity”. They define Strong Reciprocity as

Strong reciprocity is a combination of altruistic rewarding—a readiness to reward others in response to fair outcomes or behaviour—and altruistic punishment—a willingness to sanction others for norm violations

Reward? If there is a reward, it’s not altruism. Right from the beginning, they change the definition of altruism from something that is unselfish to appeal to the inherent selfishness. “Fair outcomes”???? Now they have to explain how evolution produced justice so that fair outcomes can be measured. Rather than explaining away the questions, they are multiplying their explanatory deficits. They spend the next 20 pages showing data and charts about how there are social rewards for reciprocity and punishment for selfishness for humans. It’s hardly groundbreaking to show data that when people are nice to others, the others are generally nice back or when someone is ungrateful for altruism, that’s the last time they get free generosity. And it’s definitely not in accord with Merrian-Webster’s definition of altruism from above. The point is that they are not demonstrating that evolution explains altruism. They are NOT demonstrating a gradual process with innumerable slight successive modifications in heritable traits are pushing some mysterious proto-altruistic behavior into fully-developed altruism. Some have done the altruistic test on monkeys showing strong reciprocity, but (as I have been reliably reminded over and over by evolutionists) humans did not evolve from monkeys. At best, these experiments can ONLY assert another rescue device (convergent evolution) proposed by evolutionists to protect their theory from refutation. These experiments do NOT demonstrate the evolution of human altruism.

On page 30, in their section titled “Evolutionary Origins” they introduce the term “Reciprocal altruism” (RA) as a mechanism for producing altruism in evolutionism. But they never get around to explaining how RA gets included into the genetic code. If it is not included in the genetic code, which is the mechanism for heredity, is RA explainable by evolution? RA is described throughout the next 5 pages as being a learned behavior, so unless they are proposing classic Lamarckism, RA can be ignored. In addition to it not being passed on through heredity, it is another way they are redefining altruism. Altruism is selfless, but RA requires reciprocity (if you do something nice, the expectation is that the gifted person reciprocates with something nice), so it is NOT altruism!!!!! Again on Page 30

This does not mean that there may have been considerable obstacles in leaving a relationship; yet, unless the available outside options and individuals’ decisions to stay in or to leave a relationship are modelled explicitly, it is impossible to study their impact on the evolution of altruistic behaviour.

Impossible indeed!

Thus, repeated interactions plus the existence of strategies which condition cooperative behaviour on past outcomes (i.e., reciprocal altruism) are unlikely to be an evolutionary explanation for human cooperation in larger groups

Unlikely and Impossible

In the concluding paragraph of their paper, which they title “Open Problems” they say:

There is experimental evidence indicating that repeated interactions, reputation-formation, and strong reciprocity are powerful determinants of human behaviour

I agree with this, but as has been shown, this is NOT evolution. These are post hoc attempts to describe observations to protect a theory from refutation

Although recent evidence (Henrich et al. 2001) suggests that market integration and the potential gains from cooperation are important factors, our knowledge is still extremely limited

much more evidence on how these affect altruistic rewarding and punishment is necessary

At the ultimate level, the evolution and role of altruistic rewarding for cooperation in larger groups remain in the dark

At the level of proximate theories of human motivation, we still lack parsimonious and tractable formal models of reciprocal fairness, which make precise, testable, predictions

to enhance the study of the evolution of altruism, there is a great need for sharp, empirically testable predictions that are rigorously derived from the evolutionary models

Their conclusion admits they cannot even test the evolutionary mechanism in the present, so how can they extrapolate their theories dozens, hundreds, thousands, or millions of years into the past?!?!?? As they said, “the evolution of altruistic rewarding remains in the dark”

Richard Dawkins

In 1976 Biologist Richard Dawkins attempted to explain altruism in his book, The Selfish Gene. Here are some quotes from his book:

My purpose is to examine the biology of selfishness and altruism.

We are survival machines – robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes

Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish. Let us understand what our own selfish genes are up to, because we may then at least have the chance to upset their designs, something that no other species has ever aspired to do.

Any altruistic system is inherently unstable, because it is open to abuse by selfish individuals, ready to exploit it.

We can even discuss ways of deliberately cultivating and nurturing pure, disinterested altruism—something that has no place in nature, something that has never existed before in the whole history of the world. We are built as gene machines and cultured as meme machines, but we have the power to turn against our creators. We, alone on earth, can rebel against the tyranny of the selfish replicators.

Be warned that if you wish, as I do, to build a society in which individuals cooperate generously and unselfishly towards a common good, you can expect little help from biological nature.

If there is a human moral to be drawn, it is that we must teach our children altruism, for we cannot expect it to be part of their biological nature.

In the world of the extended phenotype, ask not how an animal’s behaviour benefits its genes; ask instead whose genes it is benefiting.

The genes are not destroyed by crossing-over, they merely change partners and march on. Of course they march on. That is their business. They are the replicators and we are their survival machines. When we have served our purpose we are cast aside. But genes are denizens of geological time: genes are forever.

There exists no objective basis on which to elevate one species above another.

As you can see, Dawkins is unable to sufficiently demonstrate that evolutionary mechanisms can sufficiently account for altruism. Dawkins is deficient at the same points of Fehr/Fischbacher – he is forced to redefine altruism as beneficial to the giver OR prescribe that altruism be TAUGHT since genes are naturally selfish (Learned). At the pinnacle of the book when Dawkins should reveal how evolution explains altruism, he instead tells us that society is the inheritance mechanism for altruistic behavior rather than evolution (“we must teach our children altruism, for we cannot expect it to be part of their biological nature”). This scientist, who some might say knows more about evolution and biology than any man alive and whose book was meant to explain how biology produced altruism, ultimately claims that the heritable mechanism for altruism is NOT evolution but society!!!!

Is there room for critical rebuttal of Dawkin’s claims? Stephen J. Gould had this to say about the ability of Dawkin’s theory to account for altruism:

the fatal flaw (in Dawkins’ selfish gene theory) was that “no matter how much power Dawkins wishes to assign to genes, there is one thing that he cannot give them – direct visibility to natural selection.

With no direct visibility to natural selection, how can genes direct phenotypes to preserve themselves via altruism? Dawkins never explained; he just assumed and crafted another post hoc theory in an failed attempt to stave off refutation. Dawkin’s attempt to explain altruism via evolution is shown to be a failure as well

OpenStax Rice University

On page 1444, the authors of Rice University’s Biology 2e textbook address altruism…or rather, they fail to address it in the subchapter titled “Altruistic Behavior”

There has been much discussion over why altruistic behaviors exist. Do these behaviors lead to overall evolutionary advantages for their species? Do they help the altruistic individual pass on its own genes? In the 1976 book, The Selfish Gene, scientist Richard Dawkins attempted to explain many seemingly altruistic behaviors…Selfish gene theory has been controversial over the years and is still discussed among scientists in related fields…The lowering of individual fitness to enhance the reproductive fitness of a relative and this one’s inclusive fitness evolves through kin selection. However, these behaviors may not be truly defined as altruism in these cases because the actor is actually increasing his own fitness either directly or indirectly.

Unrelated individuals may also act altruistically to each other, and this seems to defy the selfish gene explanation. An example of this observed in many monkey species where a monkey will present its back to an unrelated monkey to have that individual pick the parasites from its fur. After a certain amount of time, the roles are reversed and the first monkey now grooms the second monkey. Thus, there is reciprocity in the behavior…This behavior (Reciprocity Altruism) is not necessarily altruism.

Evolutionary game theory, a modification of classical game theory in mathematics, has shown that many of these so-called “altruistic behaviors” are not altruistic at all. The definition of pure altruism, based on human behavior, is an action that benefits another without any direct benefit to one’s self. Most of the behaviors described above do not seem to satisfy this definition.

You can see from their explanations that there is no mechanism for generating altruistic behavior, and as this section gets deeper into the deficit of actual explanations, even the concept of altruism is wiped away as if it never really exists (from above – “Most of the behaviors described above do not seem to satisfy this definition (altruism)”.) We see altruistic behavior in humans. We’ve all done it ourselves. We know it exists, but it’s mechanism, purpose, and history are all BLIND to science. In their first paragraph they invoke a sciency-sounding phrase, kin selection, as if merely naming an observation actually explains it. Kin selection like convergent evolution like strong reciprocity are terms that hide the explanation under the guise of science. People hear “kin selection” and assume, “well, it’s got a fancy name, so someone must have demonstrated that evolution is the only explanation for it.”

Although I have been unreliably told that evolution can account for altruistic behavior, the writings of science publications are devoid of sufficient explanations for it. Notice the concluding sentences of this section:

What is clear, though, is that heritable behaviors that improve the chances of passing on one’s genes or a portion of one’s genes are favored by natural selection and will be retained in future generations as long as those behaviors convey a fitness advantage.

Essentially, they are saying “despite a lack of evidence of altruism at all or a mechanism for developing proto-altruism to fully functional altruism, it’s true. Just believe that evolution has the power to do it! We KNOW it because natural selection ALWAYS conveys a fitness advantage…even if we can’t demonstrate it. Trust us, we’re scientists!”

Well, trust has to be earned and after reviewing the best that evolutionism has to offer for explaining the natural forces of survival-of-the-fittest producing behaviors that lower fitness, their writings are woefully deficient of demonstrations.

Can Evolution Account For Altruism?

No. Those who believe in evolution recognize that altruism exists, and in an effort to create post hoc theories for its existence, they must either redefine altruism, revive classic Lamarckism, disregard their own definitions of what evolution means or some chimera Frankenstein fantasy combination of all three distractions.

Many of you know that this is a blog dedicated to the truth of God’s eternal revelation. As a recovering evidentialist and aspiring presuppositionalist, it is my intent to always revere Christ Jesus as the authority in all matters and not put the God-denier in the judge’s seat as if he/she can correctly judge evidence in accordance with a perfect perception of reality. Only God has a perfect perception of all of reality, but God, who is the source of all knowledge, has revealed some of his knowledge so that we can know those things with certainty (Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge). So, without humble submission to the Eternal Monarch, justified true beliefs are not possible for the God-denier. This article could have been very short: Does a mechanism which purportedly replaces God (evolution) sufficiently account for behaviors that God commands (altruism)? No – evolution cannot account for altruism. So, evolutionists are wrong about altruism being consistent with evolution not only because of the Christian worldview…

  1. God’s Revelation in creation and scripture are true
  2. Evolutionism is discordant with God’s Revelation

…but evolutionists are ALSO wrong about altruism because of the inherent contradictions contained within their own worldview

  1. Altruism is selfless
  2. Evolutionary biologists propose that genes are selfish
  3. Genes are unchanged by learned behaviors
  4. Altruism is a learned behavior
  5. Natural selection is survival of the fittest
  6. Altruism is artificial intrusion that prevents the least fit from succumbing to natural selection

This article entered into the worldview of the God-denier and using their own assumptions, their own research, and their own conclusions to show that they cannot account for altruistic behaviors as a result of evolutionary processes. To be clear, they cannot account for ANYTHING without humble submission to the LORD of glory, who is worthy of all praise

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.

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Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 22

Councils Attempt to Bring Calm

Throughout Christian history, there have been ideas and theories which the church has to address as unorthodox. Dr. Ross addresses a few of them in the first few pages of chapter 22.

Circumcision. The first century church had to deal with the sign of the old covenant with regards to the gentile Christians. Should gentile Christians be forced to observe the sign of the old covenant? To help answer this question, the Council at Jerusalem convened to make sure there was a resolution that honored the Lord. Later Paul addresses this in his epistles to the churches. The conclusion – “Therefore, the promise comes by faith so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring – not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham.”

Dr. Ross feels that the issue of the age of the earth is synonymous with the issue of circumcision:

The first-century church dealt with a problem roughly analogous to the dispute over the length of the Genesis creation days

While we can agree that Christians do have disagreement over the issue of the length of the creation days, this disagreement is not an issue of salvation. It is an issue of biblical interpretation and as has already been shown Dr. Ross has elevated the modern academic paradigm (which he calls the book of nature) as authoritative over the revealed and eternal word of God. Dr. Ross has exhibited the characteristics of a Christian, so I have no reason to doubt his regeneration. But his teaching regarding death, suffering, thorns, corruption, destruction being part of God’s “very good” creation because of his adherence to the Modern Academic Paradigm is harmful to biblical interpretation in this and future generations. 

Dr. Ross next gives a short recap of the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy (ICBI) of 1982 as they discussed the creation-day controversy. They listened to presentations from a biblical creationist and an old earther. When it was complete, the ICBI presented a statement that included the following affirmations

  • We affirm that any preunderstandings which the interpreter brings to Scripture should be in harmony with scriptural teaching and subject to correction by it.
  • We deny that Scripture should be required to fit alien preunderstandings, inconsistent with itself, such as naturalism, evolutionism, scientism, secular humanism, and relativism.
  • We affirm that since God is the author of all truth, all truths, biblical and extra biblical, are consistent and coherent, and that the Bible speaks truth when it touches on matters pertaining to nature, history, or anything else. We further affirm that in some cases extra biblical data have value for clarifying what Scripture teaches, and for prompting correction of faulty interpretations.
  • We deny that extra biblical views ever disprove the teaching of Scripture or hold priority over it.
  • We affirm the harmony of special with general revelation and therefore biblical teaching with the facts of nature.
  • We deny that any genuine scientific facts are inconsistent with the true meaning of any passage of Scripture. We affirm that Genesis 1-11 is factual, as is the rest of the book. We deny that the teachings of Genesis 1-11 are mythical and that scientific hypotheses about earth history or the origin of human it may be invoked to overthrow what Scripture teaches about creation.

The statement from the ICBI has some merit and is generally acceptable. But as shown in the italics above, there are at least 2 phrases that could be misconstrued to accommodate any number of outside authorities over scripture.

The first “We further affirm that in some cases extra biblical data have value for clarifying what Scripture teaches, and for prompting correction of faulty interpretations.

What cases? Who gets to determine which cases are acceptable? Which interpretations of the extra biblical data?

You can see how there is a massive gap left for those who would like to bring their interpretation into biblical orthodoxy, and since old earthism has until the most recent of times not been included in orthodox thinking, Dr. Ross would very much like for his naturalistic interpretations to be included in orthodox teachings of Christianity. For today’s generation that has been saturated with the naturalistic assumption of billions of years, they might think the church has thought this since the beginning, but it is a very recent addition to modern thinking. Until Hugh Ross wrote his books, virtually all of the church most certainly did not think the universe was billions of years old. As confirmation, the Hebrew year from the date of creation is 5780. So, those who wrote the original text of scripture are in agreement with the biblical creation model that the world is about 6000 old.

The second, “the facts of nature” is a phrase that I have covered throughout this review that is based on a false assumption. It leaves open the question – What is a fact outside of interpretation? Whose interpretation of the “fact” is considered the right one?

Dr. Ross finishes this chapter with the claim that his debate in 2009 with biblical astronomer, Danny Faulker was a win for old earthism. He claimed that 13 astronomers (who are all confirmed old earthers) agreed that the earth is old. It would be the same as if an Armenian and a Calvinist had a debate on which view of soteriology is correct. If the judging panel was 13 Calvinists, they would all determine that the winner was the Calvinist. If the same debate were to have been done in front of 13 biblical creation astronomers, Hugh Ross’s views would have been demonstrated to be impotent in just the same way.

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.

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Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 21

Day_UsedOnBlog20200731

A Clear “Day” Interpretation

Dr. Ross sent me his book almost a year ago and I finished reading it and annotating it within a few months. So, as I have gone back and read through the chapter again for the book review, I am not really finding anything new. From beginning to end, I have found that Dr. Ross although he claims that the Bible is his highest authority, he sees the modern academic paradigm as the highest interpretive authority and conforms his reading of the Bible to accommodate it. 

In his personal testimony, we see evidence of this

I did not converse with a Christian about spiritual matters until I was 27. Studies in science consumed all my time and eventually convinced me, at age 15 that a transcendent God must exist. At the time, I doubted that a God who created a hundred billion trillion stars would care much about frail humans on an insignificant planet…In my first reading of Genesis 1, I saw indications that the creation days were long periods of time

If you teach people that the universe is billions of years old, by the time they are almost 30 years old (as Ross admits that he was) and have been indoctrinated by this mantra, they will try to fit everything they see into that worldview…including the Bible. 

These are the parts of the text that Dr. Ross felt there was plasticity which would allow him to redefine the scriptures to accommodate the modern academic paradigm

The timing of Eve’s creation

He does not explain specifically here why he thinks this allows for creation days to be very long periods, but we can infer from a paragraph on the previous page why he thinks this is plausible. “Eve was created on the same day as Adam (the sixth) but not until after Adam took care of several large tasks.

This sounds like the easily refuted argument that he used from chapter 7, when he claimed that Adam had four careers so the text could not possibly have been talking about a single day. His personal incredulity and injection of outside influence completely discounts Ross’s wild claim

The lack of an evening and morning for the seventh day

Clearly, Dr. Ross sees the importance of the evening/morning pattern when God revealed his creative works for 85% of the creation week. What’s not clear is why Dr. Ross takes the single example of missing morning/evening pattern and creates a rule for it. Dr. Ross’s shallow reading of the text ignores the deeper context and exegesis of Exodus 20 when the days are clearly defined with unmistakable 24 hour boundaries.

The Genesis 2:4 usage of the word “day” in reference to the entire creation week

So, at best, Ross can only say that the Hebrew word for day (yom) can have the colloquial understanding of a week of time…not the billions and billions and billions of years necessary to accommodate the modern academic paradigm. Biblical creationists agree that there is flexibility in the Hebrew word ‘yom’, but exegetically, it must fit the context, and in the context of Genesis 1, we can easily conclude from the text that it is signifying days as we know them today (24 hours).

I was especially intrigued by God’s creation hiatus following the six prolific creation periods.

We should all be intrigued by God’s creation hiatus, but it would be wildly bizarre to assume there were suddenly billions of years injected into the text from that thought

Finally, here was an explanation for the fossil record enigma

There are three things to keep in mind when interpreting scripture: context, context and context. When we view the scripture in context there was unquestionably a global flood that adequately (and more correctly) explains the fossil record…so the enigma is for the old earthist, who must redefine a world-consuming flood to mean a minor middle eastern rain storm and then create epicycles to explain both the text and modern observations

Dr. Ross continues at the bottom of pg242 and top of pg243 with the strange explanation for what it means to love the LORD with all of your mind

Loving God with “all your mind” means looking beyond the most simplistic interpretation of a given text, especially if that interpretation leads to complications and convolutions of other texts…Yet, ironically, a 24-hour creation day interpretation of Genesis 1 (and 2) complicates and convolutes at least aspects of God’s creation story – the sequence of events, the meaning of Adam’s work and words, and the speed of biological development.

Speaking of irony-> Just above Dr. Ross admitted that after almost 30 years of indoctrination in the modern academic paradigm, on his 1st reading of Genesis, his simplistic interpretation was that God created over billions of years…just as he’d been taught his whole life. So, clearly he’s only against OTHER people’s simplistic interpretation of Genesis 1. 

Regarding his claim that the biblical creationist’s interpretation of Genesis 1 complicates and convolutes the aspects of the creation story, Dr. Ross AGAIN upholds the modern academic paradigm and demands that the Bible’s reading be conformed to those assumptions. 

And as was shown in Chapter 4 and chapter 5 reviews when Dr. Ross attempted to claim that ALL of church history believed in old earthism, he was WRONG. Old earthism is a modern concoction that attempts to dissolve the modern academic paradigm into biblical interpretation, but as we see, they are like oil and water with no ability to mix.

On p244 Ross asks the question 

How Did Adam Do So Much?…Similarly, for Adam to have named all of Eden’s animals within a few hours would seem to shrink not just the size but also the bounty of Eden…species

While I already covered Ross’s misunderstanding of scripture in my review of chapter 7, it doesn’t hurt to quickly address his repeated conflation of species and kinds. Kinds ≠ Species. The biblical kind is defined in Genesis 1 simply denoted a creature’s ability to reproduce at the time of creation. Since there have been many mutations, many creatures that were formerly able to reproduce lost the ability to reproduce. This does not mean they were not originally created as the same kind. But what this means is that Kind is more synonymous with the modern scientific distinction of family

This means that Adam did not have to name millions of species as is claimed by Ross. Adam could have take care of his divinely-appointed job of naming the animals much more quickly by naming animals in groups

At the bottom of p244 Dr. Ross says

Young-earth creationists see as the futility of attempting to integrate Genesis with the scientific paradigm arises from a subtle error in applying a basic interpretive principle “Begin by establishing [not assuming] the point of view.” The result is a scientifically implausible order of creation events”

A few of things with this quote. Dr. Ross projects his own shortcomings in interpretation onto biblical creationists. Firstly, He conflates science with the modern academic paradigm as he has done throughout his book. Young earth creationists have no interest in trying to integrate Genesis with the modern academic paradigm. The observations of today are completely in accord with what we read in scripture. It is the old earthers like Ross, who have undertaken the mission of trying to integrate the modern academic paradigm with scripture. Secondly, the error is on the side of old earthers, who inject their assumptions from the modern academic paradigm into their biblical interpretation. Biblical creationists rather start with the basic interpretive principle that what God revealed in his word is true, so what we observe today is in accord with what He revealed in the Bible. Regarding his quote about the implausible order of creation events, you can see that Ross rejects the order of creation events that God revealed in scripture in order to accommodate naturalist assumptions.

On pg247-248 Ross unsuccessfully attempts to push the inconsistencies of his biblical interpretations with the observations onto biblical creationists. 

A few purported conflicts between the Bible [old earth interpretations] and the fossil record have arisen…

The conflicts arise only for the old earther since the catastrophic worldwide flood is the only sufficient explanation for the observations. For the old earther, it is assumed that fossils were buried in the order that the soil-of-the-time was exposed as the top soil and that there were epochs when certain creatures did not exist. Dr Ross believes this imperative, but there are out-of-place (for the old earther) fossils that are discordant with those assumptions

Genesis 1 gives the order of God’s creative works, but in both Dr. Ross’s posted timeline, which he posted years ago and on p249 we can see that Dr. Ross tries very hard to inject the modern academic paradigm into scripture

ch21p249

There are several problems with his chart, but I want to point out a particularly grievous problem in rows 9 and 10. Ross tells us that God’s last creative work was Adam and Eve, but just prior in row 9, Ross tells us that the Australian aboriginals emerged prior to Adam and Eve. This is both a terrible assumption and racist. Now, I do not believe Ross is a racist, but his views of the modern academic paradigm as an authority over scripture has resulted in a view that has racist implications.

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.

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