RTB and Speciation

If you are not familiar with the work done at “In His Image” blog, you should check it out. Good stuff!

In His Image

My fellow blogger ApoloJedi has been doing a thorough debunking of Dr. Hugh Ross’s book A Matter of Days recently.  Having never read the book, I’ve been following his review with great interest.  His most recent review article brought up Ross’s critique of the young-earth view of speciation. While Ross’s view is laughably out of date, it got me thinking about how the Reasons to Believe (RTB) (Ross’s ministry) handles speciation. So I started digging into their website. Here is their view of speciation and why it does not work.

It is important to understand upfront that Dr. Ross and RTB do not accept the Bible as written. Rather they must eisogete the text to insert millions of years into the Scripture. They do this by claiming that the days in Genesis 1 are not literal twenty-four hours days. Instead, these days are supposed to be undefined long periods…

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Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 12

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Faith, Morality, and Long Creation Days

I just want to take a moment at the “halfway-point” in this book review to remind folks that I do not want to condemn the man, Hugh Ross. I believe he is a Christian is ripe for correction because of his false hermeneutical methodology. With that, let’s look at ch 12

Some young-earth creationist leaders have persuaded large segments of the Christian community to believe that a link exists between belief in an old Earth and a slide into immorality.

This is not an unfounded warning. As has been consistently shown in the previous chapters of this book review, old earthism elevates the modern academic paradigm as an authority over biblical interpretation. While the modern academic paradigm in-and-of-itself does not constitute a slide into immorality, elevating ANYTHING as an authority over biblical interpretation is dangerous. It’s the same false methodology when people elevate cultural norms or politics as authorities over the Bible. So, proper biblical interpretation is important. Scripture interprets scripture.

One other serious compromise that I have pointed out about old earthism is the constant necessity to redefine words and context within scripture to accommodate the old earth axiom. The danger here is that one can say they believe the Bible as long as they can define words however they want. With this same type of redefining words, people can say they affirm the Bible but still accept homosexual unions, abortion on demand, and feminism as holy. 

Ross expressed frustration that some Christians portrayed him in a bad light on p128

He (spokesman for Bible Science Association)described me as “dangerous”, adding that I’m “not an orthodox Christian” and claiming that my views on an old earth undermine belief in Christs’s atonement.

There IS danger because when someone claims that the very specific curses of sin (death/suffering/corruption/thorns) are NOT curses for sin, one has to question the orthodox nature of that person’s Christianity. Jesus took the penalties for sin upon Himself at the cross. Dr. Ross declared plainly that the Bible does NOT say death, corruption, harm & thorns were a result of sin.

HughRossTwitterBibleIgnorance

It’s almost as if he’s never read:

  • Genesis 1 – Creation is “Very good”. Predation is prohibited
  • Genesis 3 – Cursed is the ground because of Adam’s rebellion. It will now produce thorns. Painful toil results from sin. You will now be subject to death
  • Isaiah 11 & 65 – reversal of the curse of Genesis 3. From predation to herbivore, from harm/destruction to peace. From toil & misfortune to blessings.
  • Romans 5 – The rebellions of Adam brought death into the world 
  • Romans 8 – Creation is in bondage to corruption because of sin
  • I Corinthians 15 – Death is the final enemy to be defeated

Attempts to link belief in an old earth with immorality rest on the false equating of long creation days with naturalism.

Yet, Dr. Ross’s teachings on origins share about 90% of naturalism’s origins story. It’s not a stretch to say that old earthism is a “gateway drug” to naturalism.

That cloud of condemnation casts a long shadow, even over the reputation of some of Christianity’s and the Bible’s most distinguished defenders – Charles Hodge, Benjamin Warfield, Gleason Archer, Norman Geisler, and Walter Kaiser, for example.

I’ll add another accomplished apologist who has chosen to accept old earthism – Greg Koukl. Koukl is another very smart defender of the faith, but because his old earthism leaves gigantic contradictions in his worldview, when he was asked by a child why there are mosquitoes in the world, rather than being able to say “the curse of man’s rebellion against God’s commands ruined God’s VERY GOOD creation including mosquitoes”, Koukl responded, “To employ workers making mosquito repellent.

GregKoukl

So, this is not to say that old earthers are not Christians, but when tough questions arise regarding death, corruption, suffering, and thorns they are all forced to reject the scriptures that specifically mention why the world is broken and awaiting redemption (Romans 8)

Belief in evolution does not necessarily identify a person as an enemy of the faith. Such belief may come from or lead to rejection of God’s truth, but many adherents to evolution simply have not yet thought through the implications of what they have been taught.

But you, Dr. Ross have thought through the implications of your old earthism, and rather than turning from the ideas of

  1. Death, suffering, corruption, predation, and thorns prior sin
  2. Re-interpreting scripture to accommodate the modern academic paradigm

…you have dug in your heels and doubled down on these unbiblical ideas.

 

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

 

Back to the Table of Contents

Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 11

Young-Earth Darwinism

Is there a link between youth-earth creationists and evolutionists? Are they “sister” views because they abide on opposite ends of radical extremes…like yin/yang? One might get that impression from the opening of Chapter 11

Countless people have been influenced by the beliefs of youth-earth creationists and their evolutionist opponents, persuaded to accept a long creation timescale is tantamount to accepting that amoebas turned into monkeys that turned into humans…The topic of evolution rouses unmitigated, unrelenting animosity between naturalists and supernaturalists. Unfortunately, both sides have assumed that the origin- and history-of-life timescale constitutes the crucial divide. As astronomical advances proved the universe to be some 10 to 15 billion years old, a majority if both scientists and Christians mistakenly assumed that billions of years allowed ample time for a naturalistic account of life.

From the title of the chapter and the opening paragraph, it sounds like Dr. Ross is equating young-earth creationists and Darwinists as being wrong because they are on opposite ends of the origins spectrum. Before we see if this false equivocation continues throughout the chapter, I do want to take issue with his claim that astronomy proved the universe to be 10,000,000,000 to 15,000,000,000 years old. I’ve already addressed the terrible problems with the Big Bang, but it’s worth bringing up again. He makes this claim as if it’s true rather than in dispute. If it’s not in dispute why has he written a whole book about how a day can be either 12 hours or 10,000,000,000 years?

Young-earth creationist leaders’ views on the fall (Adam and Eve’s original sin) and on the Genesis flood drive them-knowingly or not-into the surprising corner of belief in ultra efficient biological evolution. The first chapter of Genesis (supported by other Bible passages) says God ceased to introduce new life-forms after the sixth creation day. Thus, young-earth creationists need an explanation for the huge number of new species of animals (namely, carnivores) they say appeared suddenly, after the fall, and proliferated again in the short span since the flood of Noah’s day. How did these creatures get here, since God didn’t create them?

Ross does not explain why he thinks God did not create the animals that today engage in carnivory behavior, but it’s clear that he does not understand what biblical creationists teach.

The modern academic paradigm teaches that genetic code has accumulated and through natural selection acting on random mutations “created” new and distinct species. Nature started with nothing and built up the genetic code we see today. It is essentially a bottom-up view. That view is contrary to the Bible and the evidence. What is actually seen is that mutations destroy the existing code as time progresses. God built all the variety that each kind could possibly exhibit into the original created pairs. Over time, through geographic isolation, mutation, and natural selection the kinds have split into distinct species. But the change is definitely “down hill”…not uphill as evolutionists would suggest. The differences described above can be seen as graphics below. The evolutionists suggest a single common ancestor built the “tree of life” in the bottom up view. 

TreeOfLife

 

Biblical creationists suggest the “creation orchard” as described in Genesis and shown below.

 

CreationOrchard

 

But Dr. Ross suggests that biblical creationists teach Darwinism, and he is gravely mistaken.

His mistakes continue to pile up with almost every word he writes:

The young-earth creationists’ interpretation of the Genesis flood exacerbates the apparent speciation problem. According to their interpretation, a globally extensive deluge wiped out all land-dwelling, air-breathing life on Earth, except those pairs of animals on board Noah’s ark, and virtually all Earth’s fossils and geological features resulted from this relatively recent cataclysmic event.

This is what the Bible teaches, so yes, biblical creationists believe what the Bible teaches. I’ve addressed Hugh Ross’s false teaching about a local flood several times in previous posts, and you can see why his local flood theory wrong both from scripture and the links below:

 

ch11p117

You can see from the above picture of page 117 that Dr. Ross presents several logical fallacies in place of arguments against biblical creation

  • Bait and switch fallacy- Genesis says that 2 of every kind boarded the ark, but Dr. Ross talks of 100,000,000 species. Species ≠ kind. The originally created kinds (that contained all of the original variability of traits in their DNA) no longer exist, but the biblical kind would best be equivalent to the modern classification of Family. Species however is a slippery term with no clear definition. Many disparate species can interbreed, which would indicate that they are of the same kind even though modern classification has them as distinct species
  • Strawman fallacy – Thinking he is attacking the biblical creation model, Ross says “The problem grows even worse”, when actually he’s attacking a strawman of his own making. He has erected a strawman of biblical creation, and then he has viciously attacked that caricature rather than what the Bible and biblical creationists actually teach. 
  • Equivocation fallacy – As I mentioned before, evolution teaches a “bottom-up” construction of DNA from a single common ancestor to the animals today. But Dr. Ross says that biblical creationists are teaching evolution when he says “Ironically, creation scientists propose an efficiency of natural biological evolution far greater than even the most optimistic Darwinist would dare suggest.” But this is NOT what creation scientists are teaching. At best, one could say that creation scientists are teaching DEVOLUTION as genetic code continues to fall apart. 

It doesn’t get any better on p118

Animals, especially those as large and as advanced as horses, zebras, and cats, simply do not and cannot evolve or diversify under natural conditions at such extremely rapid rates (see box, “Size Matters,” page 119). If naturalistic evolutionary processes actually did proceed at such rapid rates, they would, of course, be observable in real time, in our time. Long-term evolution experiments refute the possibility of such rapid and dramatic changes

In this paragraph, Ross reveals his ignorance of what biblical creationists actually teach. In any long-term evolution experiments, the scientists will be concerned with how rapidly new information can emerge from natural selection acting on random mutations. But biblical creationists understand from scripture that because God created organisms to reproduce according to their kinds, that ALL variety that has been expressed in all the different organisms was present in the original created kind that came from the hand of God. A better example that demonstrates this would be the breeding of dogs. In the last 200-300 years dogs have been bred into hundreds of different varieties based on traits from an original robust wolf. This is an actual experiment that confirms biblical creation. Animals can diversify extremely quickly from an original kind, and we can actually see the variety expressed rapidly.

dog-speciation

I thought Dr. Ross’s inventory of strawmen had been expended, but he apparently has a warehouse of them because on p120, he erects another caricature of biblical creation and then burns it down with aplomb. 

From a young-earth perspective, any concession that Earth or the universe may be more than about 10,000 years old undermines the foundation of their faith-the veracity of a core doctrine and of the Scriptures themselves. No wonder they so strongly oppose anyone, even fellow Christians, who propose an ancient universe and Earth

And all of this because he does not understand the teachings. If he were to spend just a little bit of time reading over the materials of Christian biologists, microbiologists, geneticists and biochemists, his misconceptions could be cured

 

I’m not a geneticist, but from the reading I’ve done, it appears that Dr. Ross is making a claim on p122  about genetics that is unsupported by the data

Mutations rarely occur. Typically only one individual in a million will experience a mutation

If you’re interested in researching Dr. Ross’s claim on genetics further, here are some pertinent links

 

When I read through the Bible, it is clear to me that God created the universe in the relatively (relative to modern academic paradigm) recent past and that because of the extreme wickedness of mankind, God judged the planet with a global flood that wiped out all man and animals. This provides a perfect solution for the record of death/disease/suffering in fossils that are trapped in water-sorted layers all over the globe

But when Hugh Ross reads the Bible:

The first time I read through the Bible, however, I observed in the creation accounts an answer to the enigma of the fossil record.

There seems ONLY to be an “enigma of the fossil record” for those who reject the clear reading and exegesis of scripture. 

Throughout six creation epochs

Since Dr. Ross believes days and epochs to be the same thing, why does he even insert the non-biblical term epoch into his apologetic materials?

Interpreting the Genesis creation days as tens of millions or even hundreds of millions of years in no way lends support to evolutionism.

Except (Because Dr. Ross believes and teaches evolutionism):

  • Cosmic evolutionism
  • Chemical evolutionism
  • Stellar evolutionism
  • Galactic evolutionism
  • Planetary evolutionism
  • UPDATE: Dr. Ross uses sources that assume human evolution from a common ancestor with chimps to get his old earth dates…so Biological evolutionism

…which the modern academic paradigm and Dr. Ross cannot theorize without. So, the billions of years are necessary for their beliefs to have validity even though their existence is not allowed by the Bible. 

 

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

Back to the Table of Contents

Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 10

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Peace Through Paradise

In chapter 10, Dr. Ross presents the argument that stellar evolution is a continuing process and the biblical creationists resist the idea of ongoing star formation

The leaders at ICE assert that the universe is essentially static. They deny astronomers’ (even Christian astronomers’) assertion that “we can still see stellar evolution taking place in the heavens. We can see stars, galaxies, and planets in various stages of this cosmic evolutionary process.” Their response: “No we can’t! The heavens and the earth were finished” (italics original). As proof, they cite Hebrews 4:3: “[God’s] works were finished from the foundation of the world.”

I would add Genesis 2:1 as well: “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.”
Dr. Ross asserts that the universe continues to get more and more organized through the continued evolution of stars and galaxies. And while I would try to hold my view loosely (as with an open hand), I don’t see how this is possible if God completed his creative works at the end of day 6. Perhaps he views star formation similar to procreation in that humans continue to produce children, and maybe he sees stars as “procreating” new stars over time. But there seems to be too many obstacles to overcome in new star formation without God intervening.
On pg 107 Dr. Ross says:

A small sampling if verses cannot adequately support a doctrine of such significance as the future dwelling place for God’s chosen and redeemed people. Again, all relevant texts must be collected and their frames of reference identified. Using these criteria to compare interpretations reveals valuable insight.

With this paragraph, I have to agree. But not in the way Dr. Ross would like to think. If HE would employ this line of thinking more often, then this book review would not be necessary. For example, Dr. Ross believes and teaches that the Bible unequivocally mandates a small local flood in the Mesopotamian valley. He can draw from only 2 verses (which he takes out of context) in all of scripture that he claims teaches this.
Psalm 104:9 “You [God] set a boundary they [waters] cannot cross; never again will they cover the earth.”
2 Peter 2:5 “if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others.”

If you’re wondering how Dr. Ross is able to definitively assert that the Bible is teaching a local flood from these 2 passages, you’re not alone. For Psalm 104, he believes that the poetic and very figurative language inherent in Psalm 104 is teaching a definitive historical timeline of the creation week (which he also thinks is approximately 14,000,000,000 years long rather than an actual week) which redefines the Genesis narrative. Since he sees the limitation put on the water as no longer being able to cross the boundaries of the shoreline, he forms his doctrine on “a small sampling of verses which cannot adequately support a doctrine of such significance.” Psalm 104:9, though sounds so much more like Gen 8/9 when God promises never again to curse the ground or bring a blood to cover the earth. We also know from the passage in Psalm 104 that because it mentions lions as predators and the condemnation of the “wicked”, we know that this passage is speaking of a post-fall world and NOT a pre-fall world as Ross believes.
Regarding how Dr. Ross gets a local flood from 2 Peter 2:5, I still do not know. He claims that the Greek word we translate as “ancient world” is instead referring to a geographic location rather than a time period. I’ve asked him online how he is able to come to this conclusion despite every translation and Greek lexicon translating G744 archaias as ancient, he stubbornly insists on his private definition of the word. It is a limiter of time not location, but Dr. Ross asserts he knows better than all Bible translators that this verse is teaching a local flood rather than a flood that happened in ancient times.
But the point of this little sidetrack highlights Dr. Ross’s hypocritical claim that “A small sampling if verses cannot adequately support a doctrine of such significance.” He’s right. His sampling size for a small flood is too small (and deeply flawed)
Back to Dr. Ross’s specialty: wild claims

Perhaps if astronomy were more widely taught in schools, more people would know that star and planet formation is a simpler process than raindrop and snowflake formation. A person who believes in ongoing raindrop formation need not hesitate to acknowledge ongoing star formation

a man in red shirt covering his face

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He doesn’t go into details about that 1st sentence, but regarding the 2nd sentence Dr. Ross has asserted a false equivocation. Star formation is specifically identified as part of God’s creative work on Day 4…not so with raindrop formation. While raindrops do glorify the Lord, they are definitely NOT on the same level as the formation of magnificent stars and galaxies.
The end of Chapter 10 is a claim that old earth models are more theologically consistent with scripture than biblical creation. Dr. Ross has been describing what he thinks the new heavens and earth will look like. He’s keen on describing the physics of the new creation. He closes with this question:

Do long creation days and an old Earth and universe really accommodate naturalistic (or even theistic) evolution?

I hear his question and I’ll raise him three more questions:

  1. Will the creation of the new heavens and earth take 14,000,000,000 years like you think the current creation took?
  2. Will the new heavens and earth be “Very good” and filled with death/disease/suffering/thorns like you think the current creation is (even prior to the sin of mankind) ?
  3. Since old earthism in the naturalistic flavor teaches that “anything is possible given enough time”, why is God even needed at all in theistic old earthism?

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

Back to the Table of Contents

Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 9

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Good God, Cruel World

If there is a more distinct separation between the views of biblical creationists and old earthers, than death before sin, I don’t know what it would be. Ross agrees in his opening of chapter 8

One emotional lightning rod stands taller than all others in the creation day controversy: “Allowing for the millions of years for the fossil layers means accepting death, bloodshed, disease, and suffering before Adam’s sin.” The idea of death before the fall (of Adam and Eve) sparks heated debates. Young-earth spokespersons say an ancient fossil record “documents death, disease, suffering, cruelty, and brutality. It is a very ugly record.”? How can such “ugliness” be compatible with a powerful, loving Creator? Young-earth scholars say it cannot. Most people believe death is bad.

The Bible would agree with “most people” in this instance. I Corinthians 15:26 “The last enemy to be defeated is death.” Death is not just some benign operation that cleans up the gene pool; death is the enemy!

Let’s talk a little bit about what death means. Dr. Ross would say that anything that today’s academic paradigm declares as “alive” can experience death. So he has a BROAD range of things that can die: humans, animals, fish, insects, plants, fungus, bacteria, cells…When any of the items on that list ceases to function, he would say it dies. From his definition of death, one could make a reasonable case that there was death before the sin of mankind. Plants no longer germinating or growing. Bacteria expiring. Even the death of cells Dr Ross would consider death that would invalidate biblical creationism.

But is that what the Bible is talking about when God’s revelation refers to death? The Bible talks about creatures which possess the breath of life as being alive. Hebrew scholars realize the plants are not referred to as being alive in the original Hebrew

In Genesis 1, God specifically mandates that humans and animals are to eat only plants, seeds, and fruit. Carnivory is not permitted by God in Genesis, so to assume there was predation and carnivory is something that old earthists BRING TO the text. God does not allow human carnivory until 1500 years later…after the flood. But getting back to Dr. Ross’s claim that plants are alive is a misunderstanding of the biblical understanding of plants. A better description of plants would be that they are a self-replicating food source. The Hebrew word for living things (that could feasibly die AFTER sin entered the world) would be nephesh (H5315).

So, clearly plants, cells, and bacteria would not be considered “alive” by the author of Genesis, and while they might have come to a point prior to the fall that they failed to reproduce or persist, they would not have been seen as having “died”.

Dr. Jonathan Sarfati has this to say about death before sin

However, creationists have often pointed out that ‘no death before sin’ applies to what the Bible calls death, which is not always the way modern biologists use it. The
Bible doesn’t talk about plants dying, even though modern biologists do. Rather, the Bible talks about plants withering, for example. What is the difference? Answer: the creatures affected by death were those the Bible calls nephesh chayyâh. When it refers to man, it is often translated ‘living soul’, but, of other creatures, including fish, it is often translated ‘living creature’. However, it is never applied to plants or
invertebrates. Therefore, there is a qualitative difference between the deaths of the (vertebrate) animals called nephesh chayyâh and plant death. This is further  supported by the account of the Flood and Ark. The living creatures (nephesh chayyâh) intentionally rescued on the Ark did not include plants (or invertebrates).

When, at the bottom of pg 89, Ross speaks of the biblical creationist understanding the death came after sin, he seems ignorant of much of scripture:

At the heart of such comments lie profound questions about the advent of evil and God’s response to it. Does the blame for all ills fall rightfully on Adam’s shoulders? …In this case, Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God in the garden of Eden must be responsible for all death and extinction experienced in nature. Such a view of Adam’s sin, however seems to imply that God meted out sudden punishment on plants and animals who did nothing to deserve His wrath, or that He couldn’t or wouldn’t protect the rest of creation from man’s offense. Either possibility called God’s character and power into question.

Ross is in effect saying that the rebellion of humans CANNOT have effects beyond themselves, which is not supported by scripture. Below are many of the places in scripture where mankind’s wickedness is judged directly by God against creation, other people, animals, and plants

  • Gen 3:17-19 “Cursed is the ground because of you (Adam)”
  • Ex 7:21 Fish cursed for Pharaoh’s sin
  • Ex 8:13 Frogs cursed for Pharaoh’s sin
  • Ex 9:6 Livestock cursed for Pharaoh’s sin
  • Ex 9:10 Animals cursed for Pharaoh’s sin
  • Ex 9:25 Animals cursed for Pharaoh’s sin
  • Ex 12:29 Firstborn cursed for Pharaoh’s sin (NOTABLE: Pharaoh’s ancestor killed the Hebrew boys (Ex 1:16). Vengeance is the Lord’s, and his judgment is just.)
  • Jer 7:20 Animals/trees/fruit burned for man’s wickedness
  • Jer 9:10-12 Land cursed from sin. Animals cursed from sin
  • Jer 12:4 Land parched and animals/birds perish due to man’s wickedness
  • Jer 14:4-6 Ground, deer, jackals suffering from drought due to man’s wickedness
  • Jer 21:6 Because of Israel’s sin, God judges men and animals
  • Jer 36:29 Man and animals cut off because of wickedness
  • Isa 24:1-6 Earth punished for man’s wickedness
  • Ezekiel 36:34 Land desolate because of Israel’s wickedness
  • Rom 8:20-21 Creation subjected to frustration and in bondage to corruption because of sin

So, we can clearly see that although Ross thinks it’s unjust for other people, animals, plants, and even the ground to experience repercussions from the sin of mankind, Ross’s claims are contrary to what scripture has revealed

Just two pages previous to this one, Dr. Ross hypocritically lectures about not attributing things to God that are not scriptural. But that doesn’t stop him from attributing false characteristics to God based on his misunderstanding of scripture.

If death of any kind in any context is evil, then a loving God would never design His creatures to die.

On pg91 Ross continues

The death Adam experienced is carefully qualified in the text as being visited on “all men”-with no reference to plants and animals.

Yes, when we read Genesis 3, the curse of sin is far reaching, and Paul’s elaboration on the curse of sin shows it to be even broader.

Romans 8 “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.”

ALL of creation has been subjected to the bondage of corruption by Adam’s sin. It is extra-biblical to think there was death in the creation that God called “very good” since God called death “the last enemy” in I Corinthians 15. Sin was a crushing blow to all of creation

Thankfully, the curse of sin will end: Revelation 22:3 “No longer will there be any curse.”

On page 93 Dr. Ross again engages in eisegesis to protect old earthism. For old earthers there HAD to be carnivory since the emergence of predators. But since this is counter to what the Bible teaches in Genesis 1, Dr. Ross and others have to manipulate the text to make it say something more palatable.

Ch9p93

Some young-earth creation scholars dismiss the teeth, jaws, and claws of carnivores as inadequate evidence that they always killed prey.

Evidence? Dr. Ross, what evidence do you possess that can overturn what God revealed in Genesis 1 when God said that only plants are to be used for food?

Secondly, biblical creation scientists and scholars do NOT dismiss current evidence.

Thirdly, from which animals are the following skulls?

fruit-bat-skull2

The 1st is a fruit bat and the second is a panda. Both vegetarians…but you wouldn’t know that from the bones. Dr. Ross claims he knows the behavior and food preferences of all animals prior to the fall, contrary to scripture just from looking at bones or extrapolating from today.

Ross digs his giant hole even deeper with:

In the wild, carnivores actually help herbivores maintain their health and minimize their suffering…Thanks to carnivores, herbivore health is maximized and death rates minimized

Wait! Earlier, you said animal suffering & death was “very good”. Why would there be a case to be made that animal suffering and death needing to be minimized? Are you backing off the claim that animal suffering and death is “very good”? Why?

It’s a hard pill for us to swallow that the LORD of glory, who describes Himself as good would also declare suffering & death with the same Hebrew word for good, towb H2896

The Bible says carnivores receive their prey from God’s hand Psalm 104:21

Dr. Ross again takes this verse out of context. In the same Psalm, we also see the author say “But may sinners vanish from the earth and the wicked be no more.”

So, we know that the Psalm was both written AFTER the fall and describes the circumstances of carnivory & wickedness after the fall. 

Humans are the beneficiaries of the remains of millions of generations of plants and animals that preceded us.

This statement assumes that Genesis was incorrect when it describes the worldwide flood. The flood created the conditions necessary for biodeposit resources. 

On pg 97 Ross perpetuates a long refuted idea that layers in ice are annual

If Antarctica and Greenland had tropical climates before and during the flood, then the models to which global flood proponents adhere would allow only 4,300 to 5,000 years for all of Antarctic ice is more than 4,770 meters

I’m sure Dr. Ross is familiar with the P-38 Lightning aircraft that had to crash land in Greenland in 1942. Only 50 years later, these aircraft were recovered buried under more than 250 feet of ice and snow. The men who recovered the aircraft say there were hundreds of layers of ice, so we know that ice layers are NOT annually deposited counter to the modern academic paradigm that is the foundation of Dr. Ross’s claims.

People tell me all the time that the “age of the earth question” is a side issue and does not relate to the gospel. For the most part, I agree with them about the age of the earth. There are some areas though where the “age of the earth question” and the gospel intersect. Here are 2 of them

  • What does scripture teach? It is important that we trust what God has revealed in scripture. As I have shown and will continue to show, old earthers are forced to redefine the words and texts in scripture to accommodate their mantra. When, to accommodate modern academic paradigms, they insert billions of years, death, suffering, thorns, and bloodshed into scripture, it sullies the nature of the gospel. Jesus came to save sinners and defeat the curses of sin.
  • On p98 Dr. Ross teaches that Satan (not Adam) should be blamed for sin. But this is discordant with the Gospel revealed in scripture. Jesus became a human in the line of Adam to save sinners. His form as a man allowed Him to be a kindred redeemer. Satan is not eligible for redemption because there is no means for which Satan’s sins could be atoned. Romans 5 and 8 tells us that all of creation was cursed because of the sin of Adam, which Jesus is able to redeem by his sacrifice. 

Ross titled this chapter “Good God, Cruel World”. He tries to dilute the what goodness means:

In Genesis 1, the creation is called “good” and “very good” but not “ultimate perfection.”

God DOES reveal in Genesis 1 that his creation is very good. Twenty-nine times God also reveals that HE is good using the same Hebrew word with which He describes his creation prior to sin. But Dr. Ross believes and teaches that death/corruption/suffering/thorns were in creation prior to the sin of mankind. But it’s likely that Ross would inconsistently/arbitrarily flinch from attributing death/corruption as being part of the character of the Holy One. But this is the natural progression of thought into which he is bound. 

In the next paragraph, the inconsistencies of Dr. Ross continue:

In the Old Testament times, the Israelites shed animal blood as part of their worship. These sacrifices illustrated the horror of sin and the price that must be paid to undo its consequences.”

But according to Dr. Ross, animals have been dying for millions of years. To him, bloodshed is ubiquitous, common, and valueless. So, why would the death of animals somehow now be a “horror” with terrible consequences? He tries to have it both ways that animal death is both endlessly common and a horror. It’s inconsistent.

At the bottom of pg102, I find a very serious implication for the old earth view that Hugh Ross is teaching. Regarding Romans 8, Dr. Ross says

The human effect on the environment is analogous to sending a two-year-old child to clean up a closet. Just as one must wait for the two-year-old to grow up before expecting him to fully comprehend and bring order to the problem, so too God waits for the human race to mature enough to understand and obey God’s “care instructions” for the new creation.”

This is certainly incompatible with the teaching of total depravity. Ross is essentially saying that man can learn to overcome the corruption that plagues this age with greater learning and science. This again, is a terrible problem for the old earth dogma. The only hope for reversing the curse of sin’s corruption is Jesus. 

Chapter 9 ends on a very sad note as Dr. Ross continues his praise of death

A kernel of wheat cannot fulfill its destiny to become a plant bearing many seeds of wheat unless it falls to the ground and dies. Similarly, humans gain eternal life in the new creation through dying. The message of the New Testament epistles is that the pathway to life everlasting is through physical death. Why, then, should any believer in God look upon death as something that is fundamentally bad in all contexts and counter to the will of God? Only through death can evil be conquered. Death for the Christian is in one sense a gift.

It’s mind-numbingly callous to look into the eyes of a child who’s lost his mother or even the family pet and say: “death is a gift!” But this is the progression of thought for Dr. Ross.

The Bible tells a different story. Death is a result of sin. I Corinthians 15:26 “The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”

Death is the enemy, and the Lion of Judah who defeated death Himself will ultimately crush the final enemy to redeem his creation from corruption.

UPDATE: Here’s what scientist and apologist Dr. Jason Lisle had to say about animal death prior to the sin of mankind

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

Back to the Table of Contents

Old Earth Interpretations

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In some interactions online, I’ve been told that because I do not bring in the outside influences of the Ancient Near East (ANE) histories as an authoritative interpretive principle, then I am a heretic. This is typical of liberal theologies that want to elevate outside sources as authorities like modern academic paradigms, cultural norms, and politics over the Bible. The same person declared that it is important to add words to the Bible to make it accommodate old earthism. Here’s what they have to say:

ANE

He wrote those posts in response to my question about the flood of Noah’s day being a worldwide flood instead of his view of a minor local flood in Mesopotamia. I asked the question:

Why do you think it is absurd for me to read what the text says “ALL (H3605) mountains (H2022) under ALL (H3605) heavens (H8064)” in context?

He claims that it is necessary to add the magic words “the sky that Noah could see from the top of the ark and the Mesopotamian valley” in place of Heavens and Earth. So, let’s see if this old earth hermeneutic principle is consistent if we apply it to the rest of the writings of Moses in Genesis. Pay special attention to the last entry in the list to see how taking old earth hermeneutic principles affects the gospel, if they remain consistent throughout. To try to salvage the gospel, they must change their interpretive principles in a way that is inconsistent and arbitrary.

So, that it is clear that I am not showing the following quotes from scripture as my own but from old earthism, I will prefix each entry with OEHP to denote Old Earthism Hermeneutic Principle

OEHP: Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the sky that Noah could see from the top of the ark and the Mesopotamian valley

OEHP: Gen 1:7-8 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. God called the expanse sky that Noah could see from the top of the ark

OEHP: Gen 1:14 Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky that Noah could see from the top of the ark to separate 10,000,000,000 yrs from night, & let them serve as signs to mark seasons & 10,000,000,000 yrs & yrs, & let them serve as lights in the sky that Noah could see from the top of the ark & give light on the Mesopotamian valley

OEHP: Gen 1:20 Let birds fly above the Mesopotamian valley across the expanse of the sky that Noah could see from the top of the ark…and let the birds increase in the Mesopotamian valley

OEHP: Gen 1:28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the Mesopotamian valley...I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole Mesopotamian valley

OEHP: Gen 2:1 Thus the sky that Noah could see from the top of the ark and the Mesopotamian valley were completed in all their vast array

CHP: Gen 7:18 There was a little rain in the Mesopotamian valley & a few high places under sky that Noah could see from the top of the ark in the Mesopotamian valley was covered. Some living things, a few people, some birds, some other living things were wiped out

OEHP: Gen 9:1 Then God blessed Noah & his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful & multiply & fill the Mesopotamian valley

OEHP: Gen 9:11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will a few living things be cut off by a small local flood. Never again will there be a small local flood in the Mesopotamian valley

OEHP: Gen 9:19 These were the three sons of Noah, & from them came the people who were scattered over the Mesopotamian valley

OEHP: Gen 11:8-9 So the LORD scattered them from there over all the Mesopotamian valley…From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole the Mesopotamian valley

OEHP: Gen 18:18 Abraham will surely become a great & powerful nation, and ALL nations in the the Mesopotamian valley will be blessed through him.

Please take a moment to look at the REAL passages in the scripture. These posts are intended to drive Christians back to the Bible to see what it says in context. Study. Don’t take my word for it. Look throughout the scripture to make sure that what people teach is in accordance with God’s Word and not with modern academic paradigms, cultural norms, or politics as authorities. As Christians, we must interpret God’s Word with consistency within the context of the author’s intent: in consideration of the gospel of Jesus. The gospel of Jesus is effective for ALL the nations of the earth…not just the Mesopotamian valley.

We can trust what God has revealed about the past, therefore we can trust Him with our future. Praise the Creator!!!

Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 8

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Guided by Theology

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Ross continues well when he says,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ross inadvertently hampers his own argument when he writes,

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

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

p83

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exactly! So day ≠  billions of years

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

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

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

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

Jesus IS a biblical creationist 

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

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

Timeline

ReasonsTimeline

 

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

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

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

TimelineCompareYEtoOE

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to the Table of Contents

Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 7 (part 2)

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Anchored in Scripture 

Either Dr. Ross was verbose in chapter 7, or he wrote quite a bit that needs reviewing and correcting…maybe a little bit of both

Having viewed many videos of Dr. Ross and even interacting with him online, he ties his old earthism to a unique understanding of Jeremiah 33 and the consequences of immutable physical laws. He discusses this on pg 70 after he discusses the perceived problems of the order of creation. Dr. Ross says that it would have ruined all of God’s creation had (as Genesis 1 reveals) the Creator made Earth first and then on day 4 created the sun/moon & planets. He brushes aside the fact that the Creator of the universe would actually have had no problem with Dr. Ross’s proposed physics conundrum

As a way around these enormous complications, some young-earth creationist leaders suggest that God could have radically altered physics.” While no Christian would doubt that He could have, both biblical texts and astronomical observations support the conclusion that He did not. For example, Jeremiah 33:25 explicitly refers to “the fixed laws of heaven and earth,”

Dr. Ross seems to be saying that “the fixed laws of heaven and earth” actually bind God not to do things that would be considered outside the bounds of physics, chemistry, or biology. 

Let’s look at what Jeremiah 33 is actually talking about.

The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: “Have you not observed that these people are saying, ‘The LORD has rejected the two clans that he chose’? Thus they have despised my people so that they are no longer a nation in their sight. Thus says the LORD: If I have not established my covenant with day and night and the fixed order of heaven and earth, then I will reject the offspring of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his offspring to rule over the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For I will restore their fortunes and will have mercy on them.”

So, in the context of God declaring his faithfulness to his chosen people, He references a covenant with the day and night. Might we be able to find in scripture the origin of this covenant?

About 1,500 (actual; not old earther) years after the creation of the moon (when Dr. Ross says there were all sorts of physics problems), God makes his covenant with day and night:

Genesis 8:22 “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”

So, even if Dr. Ross’s wild interpretation of Jeremiah 33:25 is correct (which I will show next that it is not) then the covenant God made with the night and day was not even enacted until a millennium and a half AFTER there might have been perceived problems of physics that would have bound God from doing anything because of the “fixed order/patterns of heaven and earth.” 

But Dr. Ross is not correct that God cannot suspend the laws of physics, chemistry, and biology for his glory. We see examples all throughout scripture that God can and does uphold all things for his glory rather than being bound by laws of physics, chemistry, or biology:

  • Gen 19:24, 26 (physics)
  • Gen 21:2 (biology)
  • Gen 30:41 (biology)
  • Ex 3:2 (physics)
  • Ex 7-12 (physics, chemistry, biology)
  • Ex 14:21-28 (physics)
  • Num 17:8 (biology)
  • Num 21:8-9 (biology)
  • Num 22:28 (biology, ethology)
  • Josh 6:20 (physics)
  • Josh 10:12-14 (physics, astrophysics)
    • Interestingly, the point of the passage in Joshua 10 when God stopped the movement of the sun for about one full day is that ONLY the Almighty could perform such a miracle. The Rossians have this to say about the specific instance in Joshua 10
    • “God could have brought about such effects through a supernatural meteorological event that blanketed the region with heavy darkness or refracted or reflected extra light into the desired location”
  • Judges 6:36-40 (physics)
  • I Kings 17:1-6 (physics, biology)
  • 2 Kings 4:5 (physics, chemistry)
  • 2 Kings 4:35 (biology)
  • 2 Kings 6:6 (physics)
  • Isaiah 38:7-8 (physics, astrophysics)
    • As in the Joshua 10 passage, ONLY God could perform such a miracle. Why would the Rossians continue to insist that there is a naturalistic explanation for something that ONLY God could have done? It is because they start with the wrong presuppositions…that somehow, God is bound by natural laws. Here’s what the Rossians say about Isaiah 38
    • “It is hard to imagine, however, God manipulating meteorological conditions so that sundials over the entire region between Jerusalem and Babylon would have their shadows shifted by 40 minutes without bringing about far more disturbing meteorological consequences. Alternatively, God could have temporarily shone some kind of transcendent light, like His Shekinah glory, into the cities of Jerusalem and Babylon or even upon the entire region between Jerusalem and Babylon.”
    • Not once do they even consider what the actual text says… “So the sunlight went back the ten steps it had gone down.”
  • Jonah 2:10 (biology)
  • Matt 8:3 (biology)
  • Matt 9:25 (biology)
  • Mark 4:39 (physics)
  • Luke 5:20-26 (biology) My favorite Bible story. Jesus is God who can forgive sin. But to validate in their eyes, his ultimate authority He also healed the man’s most obvious physical needs. And everyone praised God!
  • Luke 24:6 (biology)
  • John 11:44 (biology)

Doubtless, Dr. Ross would backpedal when confronted with this argument since he probably does believe in miracles recorded in scripture. Why then would he arbitrarily choose the examples in Genesis 1 & 7 during creation & the worldwide flood to hold God accountable for Ross’s interpretation that the fixed laws of heaven and earth cannot be broken? It seems rather fallacious to me.

Ross ends this section of the book with the quote

This exegetical approach not only arises from a modern understanding of the structure of and formation of stars and planets, but also dates back to at least the 1680s.

First, Ross is NOT using an “exegetical approach”. The previous 2 paragraphs are full of quotes like 

  • “2 parts in 10,000,000,000,000,000…”
  • “past 12 billion years”
  • “Thus research confirms”
  • “God transformed Earth’s atmosphere from translucent to transparent”

Exegesis is using scripture to interpret scripture, and none of those quotes are in scripture. Dr. Ross is bringing his outside sources as authorities to interpret scripture, which is called eisegesis

Secondly, Dr. Ross is saying that for the full extent of human history until the 1680s…or more likely until he wrote A Matter of Days (2nd edition) that the people of God understood God’s revelation of origins incorrectly. (sarcasm font) Thanks Dr. Ross for revealing God’s meaning to THIS generation. Too bad all other generations missed out. (close sarcasm font). We’ve already covered in Chapter 4 of the review that Dr. Ross is incorrect when he claims that the church has ALWAYS thought the creation took billions of years. Instead the church has historically held that the Bible is true in what it proclaimed throughout – God created the universe in 6 literal days. 

In the next 2 sections, Dr. Ross critiques the views of biblical creationists’ understanding of the 6th and 7th days. With great personal incredulity, he declares that Adam could not possibly have done the things described in Genesis 2 on a single day:

Considered together, many weeks, months, or even years worth of activities took place in this later portion of the sixth day:

  • Adam engaged in four different careers, or apprenticeships, on the sixth creation day (gardening, studying animals, naming animals, and learning how to relate to Eve).

  • Adam and Eve learned how to manage Earth’s resources for the benefit of all life. To be meaningful and beneficial, such important education and training could not have been crammed into only a few hours.

 

Careers? Four career? Let’s analyze what the text of Genesis 2 actually tells us about Adam’s four “careers”

  • Gardener – Gen 2:15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it, you will surely die.” There doesn’t seem to be a mention of a career there. From the actual text, we see that God did yet even clearly tell him to work the garden…just the Adam was put in the garden to take care of it. 
  • Zoologist – Dr. Ross said Adam had a career of studying animals, but I couldn’t even find a verse in Genesis 2 that would remotely describe Adam as a zoologist. But didn’t Dr. Ross title this chapter: Anchored in Scripture? Looks like AGAIN, Dr. Ross brought his own interpretations into the text. Dr. Ross is indeed an Eisegesis Ninja
  • Zoonominalogist – This is a career? A Quick internet search shows that approximately 0% of humanity is employed as a zoonominalist. When we read Gen 2:19-20, it’s clear that God brought the beasts of the field and the birds to Adam for him to name. But someone might ask, “Aren’t there millions of species on Earth? How could Adam name millions of animals in a single day.” It’s a fair question, but the (false) assumption is that Adam named each SPECIES. Adam could have taken care of his God-given task in seconds by saying “Mammal, reptile, amphibian, behemoth, birds, and those accursed Philadelphia Eagles.” Perhaps another tactic Adam could have taken would have been to identify them by their locomotion, “quadruped, bipedal, tree-swingers, flighted birds, flightless birds, and those evil Philadelphia Eagles.” This article from creation.com describes how easily Adam could have named the animals in as little as an hour.
  • Husband – Hardly a career, but truly one of the most rewarding experiences in life is loving one’s wife with God’s love. From the text, again it is clear that Adam was not expected to know everything or be perfectly harmonious with his wife on their 1st day together. I’m not sure where Dr. Ross gets his expectation that Adam had a career’s worth of knowledge in dealing with his wife from the short text of their introduction such that it “could not have been crammed into only a few hours.”

Ross’s case against the clear reading of scripture is based on his personal incredulity, misunderstanding of the text, and his commitment to old earthism.

Of the seventh day, Ross writes:

While each of the first six creation days is marked by a beginning (“morning”) and an ending (“evening”), no such boundaries are assigned to the seventh day, neither in Genesis 1 and 2 not anywhere else in the Bible. Given the parallel structure in the narration of the creation days, such a distinct omission from the description of the seventh day strongly suggests that this day has (or had) not yet ended.

Ross appears to be saying that since the Bible never explicitly defined the end of day 7, that day 7 persists from then to now and beyond. So, he makes the connection, that since he can interpret “day” 7 to be very long, then he can interpret the other “days” to be epochs. 

Let’s analyze that first claim about day 7 not having an ending. Is it reasonable to say “Since the Bible did not explicitly state something, then it did NOT happen” ? The Bible never explicitly said that Eve ever slept. Are we to conclude that Eve never slept? Of course not, but this is the progression of thought that Ross is employing here. Secondly, we know that the United States declared its independence from England on July 4th, 1776, and the United States is still a country. Does this mean that it’s been July 4th ever since that time? Again, Ross’s logic is flawed. We can verify this by looking in scripture in Exodus 20:9,11 “Six days you shall labor and do all your work. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but He rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” 

If as Ross contends, the LORD made the heavens and earth in six epochs and then rested (and continues to rest) for the 7th epoch, were God’s people expected to work continuously for millions and billions of years until God gives them 7th epoch rest? 

We can notice from the passage that God’s pattern is clear: Just as He worked 6 days, his people are to work for 6 days. And just as He rested on the 7th day, his people are to rest on the seventh day. The expectation is that the weekly cycle resets after the 7th day, but Ross’s theory fails to consistently  address this continual reset.

An inset on pg 74 tries to explain the fossil record from an old earthist perspective. Ross proposes that new species “came into existence” in previous millennia, but he doesn’t say how. If we exegete Ross’s writings, we know he favors naturalistic evolution for the emergence of space, stars, galaxies, planets, moons, asteroids, comets, chemicals, water…One has to wonder that although he states his distaste of Darwinism, why he breaks from his naturalistic evolutionary dogma of the cosmos when it comes to biology (?)

Also, instead of using the biblically defined biological categories of kinds, Ross joins Darwinists in his description of the emergence and extinction of life by species, which are not the same as kinds. We’ll show how Ross’s interpretation of the fossil record is full of epicycles and just-so-stories rather than the biblical explanation of the global flood in future chapter reviews. Suffice it to say now that the worldwide flood of Noah’s day accurately accounts for the layers, fossils, and age of the earth in much greater accord than Ross’s incongruent theory.

Ross closes out Chapter 7 with a section titled Biblical Clocks. His idea is that one should be able to grasp the billions of years of history from the texts below:

Bible writers often compared God’s eternal existence to the longevity of the mountains or the “foundations of the earth.

  • Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting, you are God. (Psalm 90:2)

  • When there were no oceans, I [wisdom] was given birth, when there were no springs abounding with water; before the mountains were settled in place, before the hills, I was given birth, before he made the earth or its fields or any of the dust of the world. (Proverbs 8:24-26) 

  • Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever….All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again….It was here already, long ago. (Ecclesiastes 1:4,7,10)

  • Hear, O mountains, the Lord’s accusation; listen, you everlasting foundations of the earth. (Micah 6:2)

All these passages depict the immeasurable antiquity of God’s presence and plans. The brief span of a 3,000-year terrestrial history

But 3,000 years IS A LONG TIME! Only from Ross’s old earthist perspective is 3,000 years just a blink. But for the writers of scripture, 3,000 years is 150 generations. From David’s and Solomon’s and Jeremiah’s perspectives, the earth and it’s mountains were ancient. From our perspective today, the 1,000 year old castles of Europe are almost unfathomably ancient. Several times, Ross used translations of Hebrew words like everlasting, which modern translations (ESV) show as “enduring”. 

What’s even more interesting to me, is if when Adam and Noah and Moses were given their accounts of creation, why God did NOT choose to refer to the Earth or mountains as ancient from their perspective. Since for Ross, 3,000 years is just a blink, why did God not communicate to Adam that the Earth was ancient? It’s because, as God confirms in Mark 10:6, Adam was formed at the BEGINNING of creation…not the end.

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

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What Makes Me Question Evolution?

Because God’s revelation in the Bible is incongruent with modern the academic paradigm of evolution, Christians should reject it. But since it is also a scientific dead-end, even naturalists should reject it.

“Mutations break things, they do not produce new information.”

“As I matured in Christ, I also began to understand the theological implications of deep time. I began to understand that if the earth was millions of years old, then God could not be good and Christ could not be the last Adam, nor could He save us from our sins. The theological implications of the evolutionary deep time were such that I could not accept it. Further, there was good scientific evidence that the rock layers that supposedly needed deep time to form, were formed much more rapidly, as a result of the flood. The Grand Canyon and the geological aftermath of Mount St. Helens stood out to me.”

Happy Question Evolution Day!

In His Image

Editors Note: Today, February 12 is the birthday of Charles Darwin. Thus it is very appropriate that the Question Evolution Day falls on February 12th.  

It’s that time of year again. It’s the time of year the evolutionists go into celebration mode as they honor the birth of their prophet Charles Darwin.  International Darwin Day is February twelfth.  It is therefore very fitting that the same day be used to question evolution which the priests and temples of Darwinism do their best not to permit. However, thanks to the freedom that the internet provides, dissent can still reach past the ivory towers of academia to the common people.  And it is the common people, the ones the ivory tower looks down their noses at, who most strongly reject evolution.

As an outsider to the ivory tower, but someone who has read extensively in the scientific literature, I kind of have…

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Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 7 (part 1)

anchor on boat on body of water

Photo by Alexander Mils on Pexels.com

Anchored in Scripture

I love the title of this chapter. As Christians, we should find solid footing for justifying morality, purpose, and doctrine. Now, let’s see what Dr. Ross has to tell us about being anchored in scripture

The opening paragraph reads:

Genesis 1 records a dramatic story: “within six days” God miraculously Transformed a “formless and void” Earth into a well-furnished home for humanity. He then created two human beings, male and female, to live there. How strange that in the awesome scope of this account the meaning of one word, “day,” should become the focus of ferocity. Is the length of a creation day 24 hours? Or can the word “day” refer to millions of years?

Speaking of “how strange”…how strange is it for someone to read the text of Genesis 1 and be struck with the reflection, ‘I wonder if the word day means millions of years.’ Like we talked about in the introductionregarding the word puddle. If you were to read the poem Wild Peaches by Elinor Wylie which includes the lines

“The autumn frosts will lie upon the grass
Like bloom on grapes of purple-brown and gold.
The misted early mornings will be cold;
The little puddles will be roofed with glass.”

Would one reflect on the word puddle to say, ‘I wonder if the word puddle means a tiny collection of rainwater or billions of cubic miles of water.’ That’s what Dr. Ross is asking us to believe the biblical text suggests as possible. 

Yet these two examples are in the same range of absurdity. For Dr. Ross to (out of nowhere) ask “can the word day refer to millions of years?” means he is NOT anchored in scripture, but has brought his own modern paradigm into his biblical interpretation. Being anchored in scripture means that God’s special revelation is one’s very foundation for knowledge.

Dr. Ross may give lip service to being anchored in scripture, but we can clearly see, his methodology is to bring his own agenda into the interpretation of scripture…making his agenda the anchor.

On pg 65, Dr Ross makes an attempt to discredit the use of the Hebrew word ‘yom’ from meaning ‘a standard day, or single rotation of the earth on its axis’ in Genesis 1.

The Hebrew word yom, translated “day”, is used in biblical Hebrew (as in modern English) to indicate any of four time periods: (a) some portion of the daylight (hours); (b) sunrise to sunset; (c) sunset to sunset; or (d) a segment of time without any reference to solar days (from weeks to a year to several years to an age or epoch).

One can go through scripture and find examples for sections a, b, c and the 1st parts of d. With scripture as our anchor and so that Dr. Ross could have some justification for applying that usage to Genesis 1, where in scripture is there an example where the Hebrew word, yom is used to mean 10 billion years? Included in the box below is a comprehensive listing of the passages in scripture where yom means billions of years

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Then he must have brought that understanding with him into the biblical text since it is nowhere in the Bible.

Maybe Dr. Ross will do better when he tries to explain away the specific context words that define yom to mean a standard day: evening and morning

Some people see the words translated as “evening” and “morning” as evidence that yom refers to a 24-hour period.

This is true. Biblical creationists do see this as a powerful contextual reason to not introduce wild interpretations into the text. He continues

In examining other biblical texts’ occurrences of yom, some people who promote young-earth perspective attempt to make a statistical argument. For example, authors Mark Van Bebber and Paul Taylor wrote, “This phrase [evening and morning] is used 38 times in the Old Testament, not counting Genesis 1. Each time, without exception, the phrase refers to a normal 24-hour-type day.”

That’s not a statistical argument. That’s using the text to interpret the text. If evening and morning are boundaries to a day that is repeated 6 times in Genesis 1, and confirmed 38 other times in scripture without exception, why would you base your entire argument on an unnecessarily imposed outlier?

Another reason that biblical creationists reject old earthism is the sequential nature of the days since the Hebrew words for “the second day, the third day, the four day…” appear in the text. This clearly indicates that the days were ordinals as opposed to cardinals (day 2, day 3, day 4…)

But Dr. Ross fights against this clarity with the following obfuscation

The claim that yom, when attached to an ordinal (second, third, fourth and so on), always refers to a 24-hour period must also be questioned Van Bebber and Taylor have said that 358 out of the 359 times yóm is used in the Bible, outside of Genesis 1 and with an ordinal modifier, it represents a 24-hour day. However, in examining each passage, the reader discovers that only 249 of these usages are the singular form of yom, and all 249 are in the context of human activity or human history. But Genesis 1 speaks of divine activity or natural history apart from, and unrelated to, human activity. Furthermore, no rule of Hebrew usage or grammar requires that when yôm appears with an ordinal it can only mean a 24-hour period.

Again, this is not as helpful to Ross’s case as he would like. Rather than building up his case for why yom can mean billions of years to accommodate his old earthism, he simply asserts that his “50 ton camel” can get through the “eye of the needle” that he claims is left open by Hebrew syntax.

In the following paragraph, Dr. Ross evaluates the writings of theologian Andrew Steinmann, who has shown that the ordinal numbers and evening/morning descriptors of the word ‘yom’ shows them to be standard days, 

Steinmann’s assertions may be interesting, but do they constitute an air tight case? A word-by-word translation of Genesis 1:5b from the Hebrew reads as follows: “And was evening, and was morning day one.” Nothing in this sentence explicitly establishes yom’s duration.

Nothing? NOTHING?!?!?

That WHOLE sentence explicitly establishes yom’s duration. Conversely, how would Dr. Ross suggest God be MORE clear that He created using standard days?

Yet, using Dr. Ross’s own wording I would say “Nothing in this sentence explicitly establishes yom being able to mean 10 billion years.” Nothing in the scripture even comes CLOSE to validating the beliefs of Dr. Ross that ‘yom’ can mean anything close to 10 billion or 5 billion or 1 billion or half a billion years. 

The last sentence of pg 67 reads

In either case, the wording of this verse [Gen 2:4] challenges the assertion that the word “day” (yom) in the creation account can only refer to a 24-hour period.

And yet, the context of yom in Gen 2:4 is different than the context of yom in Gen 1. Biblical creationists agree with Dr. Ross in this sentence. But the meaning of yom in Gen 2:4 is not in dispute. We are discussing the meaning/context of yom in Gen 1. And as we have discussed, the context of yom in Gen 1 (as well as the exegesis of yom in Exodus 20:11, Exodus 31:17) demands that the boundaries of yom be standard 24-hour days. 

Regarding the creation of the sun, moon, and stars on day 4, Ross is incredulous of biblical creationists when he writes on page 69

The problem with such a proposal is that even in a time period as brief as 24 hours, plants (and, indeed, all life) require more than just the equivalent of the Sun’s heat and light. They need everything God established during the first three creation days-a stable planet no longer hostile to life (or “formless and void”). For a stable, hospitable Earth, many specific solar characteristics, especially the Sun’s gravity, must be operational.25 In the absence of the Sun, Earth’s orbital path, rotation, atmosphere, oceans, continents, and water cycle would suffer catastrophic consequences.

Is creation too large a task for God? Are Ross’s insignificant complaints about the timing and order worth considering in light of Colossians 1:16-17?

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

“In Him all things hold together” Yes, Ross’s complaints of timing and order are insignificant in light of scripture. Especially considering that according to Ross’s beliefs, ecosystems and symbiosis between plants and animals is impossible:

Dr. Ross was verbose in this chapter, and there’s more to analyze, so we’ll pick up the remainder of the chapter 7 review in the next blog post

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