Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 16

MeasuringTime

The Reliability of Radiometric Dating

Radiometric dating is the death-knell for biblical creationism…Yes? Time and time again, the ages that are expected to be found by dating a fossil using radiometric extrapolations are confirmed with amazing precision…correct? Never have there been exceptions to finding the expected ages when using radiometric dating…right?

Let’s hear what Dr. Ross would have to say. On page 181, he gives a general explanation of how radiometric dating works:

Radiometric clocks operate on the principle of half-life decay. Radioactive isotopes disintegrate through time; that is, they decay into lighter elements.

Calling the assumption-filled extrapolation of radiometric dating a clock is as bit presumptuous since the “clock” routinely gives incorrect dates on known historical ages.

One of the premier examples is when rocks from the Mt. St. Helens eruption, which occurred in 1980, were radiometrically dated 10 years after the eruption, the results “dated” the samples to be between 350,000 and 2,800,000 years old.

So if radiometric dating produces inaccurate results for samples of known ages, how can radiometric dating be expected to produce accurate results for samples of unknown ages? It cannot

In the section he titles “Conditions for Reliability” Dr. Ross says

One limiting condition concerns the rock sample’s age. The closer that age is to the radiometric half-life of the isotope being measured, the better.

Surely, Dr. Ross recognizes the assumption that he’s built into his condition. How does one know the age, since that’s what the radiometric dating mechanism is supposed to provide? His assumption is that the geologic layer in which the rock sample is found provides the boundary age. He has assumed that the sedimentary layers of rock in which the samples are found has been laid down over millions and billions years rather than the global flood described in Genesis 7-8. So, the “age” has already been determined by the layer in which it is found, so radiometric dating should align with those assumptions. When the radiometric dating process does not produce a date that corresponds to that geologic layer, the result is determined to have been contaminated or the result must be interpreted differently. Never do old earthers question the method of radiometric dating

Ross mentions two other conditions for reliability on pg183:

Sample size…sample purity. The more a sample is contaminated by materials of different ages, the less reliable the radiometric date.

Regarding sample purity: again, how does he know there is contamination of materials with different ages if that’s what he’s trying to prove? It’s as if a built-in excuse has been merged with the conditions, so that when a sample is shown to be outside the geologic layers or yield an “incorrect” date, the old earther can say “It was contaminated by materials with different ages.”

In his introduction to the mechanism of radiometric dating, Dr. Ross does not reveal the three inherent assumptions within the process:

  1. The original ratio of parent:daughter ratio is assumed to be 1:0
  2. The decay rate has always been the same
  3. No contamination has ever happened throughout the existence of the sample

In the next section, Dr. Ross attempts to wash away these assumptions by adding ANOTHER assumption. He assumes the age of the sample before starting the radiometric process. See his quote:

“Supposed “evidence” against the reliability of radiometric dating focuses on the method’s “flaws” or inaccuracies when applied outside its limitations. For yields absurd dates. Why? With a half-life of 4.51 billion years, uranium-238 example, uranium-238 radiometric dating, when applied to young samples, dating cannot be effective for measuring the age of any sample younger than a few hundred million years old.

How does he know the sample is younger than a few million years old?

You can’t wash away one assumption with another assumption and expect your data to be MORE accurate…especially when the rescue-device assumption is what you’re trying to figure out.

In an uncanny admission, Dr. Ross states:

However, numerous large samples of uncontaminated charcoal from an ancient city dated to 1412 BC ± 1 year would yield a secure conclusion that the city burned sometime between 1414 and 1410 BC.

  1. How does he know the sample was uncontaminated? If we could tell which samples were and weren’t contaminated, we would only test the uncontaminated ones. His assumption is clouding his method
  2. Isn’t coal supposed to be millions of years old according to old earthers? How could MOY old coal test at 1400 years?

In the section titled “Have Decay Rates Changed?” Dr Ross has this to say:

The Bible describes the universe’s laws of physics as unchanging from the beginning until God replaces the universe with the new creation described in Revelation 21-22. In Jeremiah 33:25 God declares that the laws governing the heavens and Earth are “fixed”.

In part b of my review of chapter 7, I already refuted Dr. Ross’s wild claim about the Bible teaching the concept of invariant physical laws as a falsification of biblical creationism. The Bible assuredly does not teach that radiometric decay rates have never changed.

However, if (as Dr. Ross has claimed) God has declared the fixed laws of radiometric decay as unchangeable and upheld by God’s power, it would be impossible for humans to alter the inalterable…yes?

Physicists have observed accelerated radiometric decay in those rare instances… where decay occurs as electrons stray into the nucleus. In one experiment physicists forced an accelerated decay rate by encasing some radiometric atoms inside buckeyballs

So, are decay rates inalterable because God has made a covenant with the decay rates…or is your position incorrect?

Besides the experiments that Ross mentions above, the RATE team from ICR produced strong results showing that specific conditions (like those found at the beginning of creation and during the worldwide flood) would have affected the decay rates, thusly showing that the earth is as old as the Bible says…about 6000 years.

Dr. Ross later mentions that the known problem for old earthism of the abundance of Helium trapped in diamonds and zircons isn’t a problem. There is however enough helium trapped in zircons to show that there has been massive amounts of decay, but since helium escapes quickly and is still trapped, then not enough time has elapsed for the helium to escape. The clear conclusion is that the decay rate was altered and the earth is not old as Dr. Ross contends.

In the section titled “Nature’s Calendars” Dr. Ross talks about tree rings and ice core evidence that supports old earthism. Unfortunately, Dr. Ross has made the unfounded assumption that both tree rings and ice layers are annual and have ONLY been annual since the beginning of time.

“Each year another ring or layer is added.”

He does make mention that he is aware of the revived fossil fighter plane which though buried beneath over 250 feet of ice could only have been 50 years old, so the concept of “annual layers” is a fiction. He counters that the ice cores that “confirm” old ages was dug out “hundreds of miles from the nearest sea coasts.” But this does not help him. Since the flood described in Genesis 7-8 once covered the whole earth, those areas that he is talking about were recently sea coasts as the water receded from the land. He is making the assumption that the conditions that created all of the ice cores were consistent for the hundreds of thousands of years, but he has no way to verify his claim.

Dr. Ross makes no mention of the many incorrect and contradictory results that radiometric dating has produced, so below is a collection of many of them:

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 14

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Scientific Signs of Old Age

Age

Dictionary.com defines age as “the length of time during which a being or thing has existed; length of life or existence to the time spoken of or referred to”

As we ponder this idea of age, we should also be aware that age is itself a historical concept not a scientific one. For example, if we walk into a room and see a candle burning and want to know how long it has been burning, we can employ some scientific measurements on the candle itself to make some inferences, but a conclusive answer for how long the candle has been burning would require historical evidence. Let’s investigate this candle allegory a little further.

We could use science to measure the current length of the candle, the volume of melted wax, and the current burn rate. From those measurements a guess could be made as to how long the candle has been burning. But what other factors could influence the duration of the candle’s burn time?

  • It might have been blown out and restarted several times
  • The melted wax might have been cleaned up and discarded more than once
  • It’s possible that when lighting another candle from this current one, extra melted wax could have been spilled into the discarded pile thus changing the volume of melted wax for the calculation of the burn duration of this candle
  • The burn rate could have been different in the past based on several variables
  • How long was the candle to begin with?
  • Was the candle ever cut in segments for others to have small candles for another room?
  • There are probably others which I have not thought of. Feel free to add your additional variables in the comments.

So, the length of time something has existed is clearly not ultimately a scientific one, but is resolutely a historical one. And as we read Dr. Ross’s chapter on the Scientific Signs of Old Age, we must keep in mind that the Bible is a historical account of God’s interaction with his creation and his people as (for his great glory) He works to bring redemption from the curse of sin.

Another good line of reasoning with which our candle allegory can assist is “time-limiting factors” or the maximum burn time of the candle

  • The height of the ceiling (or other overhead boundary) would limit the burn time
  • The diameter of the candle would limit the height of wax that the structural integrity of the candle could support
  • The consistency/density of the wax would be relevant to the point above
  • There are probably others which I have not thought of. Feel free to add your additional time limiting factors in the comments.

We’ll get back to the time limiting factors later

Here’s how Dr. Ross introduces his argument for the scientific signs of old age

The scientific indicators for the “old age” of creation are even more abundant and definitive than those for humans. Hundreds of reliable markers demonstrate that creation (except for the human species) is old.

Old age is an assumption based on inferences, but when we read about God’s historical revelations throughout the scriptures, and particularly Genesis, we must elevate what God has revealed as the foundation in order for scientific measurements to provide accuracy for the age of something. Historical interventions of the Creator cannot be measured with a yardstick or a barometer. We are reliant upon his revelations to know the true age. As an example since old age assumptions require extrapolations, extrapolations of erosion measurements will be blind to God’s judgment of wickedness through a worldwide flood. We’re reliant on historical accounts of the flood to produce a true knowledge of age. Having God’s revealed knowledge of the worldwide flood makes perfect sense of the observations we see today

The four most easily understood methods for age-dating the universe involve the expansion of the universe, cosmic background radiation temperatures, stellar burning processes, and the cosmic abundances of radioactive elements.

 

Expansion of the Universe

By carefully measuring how much the galaxies’ spectral lines shift toward the longer wavelength, or the red end of the spectrum, astronomers can deter mine how rapidly the space-time fabric of the universe stretches, or expands, from the creation event. They see that the farther away a given galaxy is, the faster it moves away from us. These observations tell us the universe is expanding outward from a beginning in space and time.

To be fair, I am not an astrophysicist, so my critique of this section will be as a layman. But here are a few questions I would have of Dr. Ross regarding expansion

SuperNovaRemnants

 

Cosmic Background Radiation Temperatures

Astronomers can calculate how long the universe has been expanding by measuring the degree to which radiation from the creation event (called the cosmic microwave background radiation, or CMB) has cooled down…The fact that the CMB is now so cold implies that the universe must have been cooling down for billions of years.

Stellar Burning

Because stars are such simple systems, if astronomers know the mass of a star, they can determine its age with high precision based on measurements of the star’s color and brightness.

Remember the candle allegory as you read Ross’s words “they can determine its age”. He is using extrapolation and a number of assumptions to make this strong claim. Besides extrapolation, how could Ross calibrate this? No one has ever observed 1000 years or 100,000 years or 1,000,000 years let alone 1,000,000,000s of years.

Some young-earth creationist leaders argue that God must have created all stars in a mature state. This concept manifests two problems. First, it insinuates that God created stars already partly burnt with all the ashes and decay characteristics of stars hundreds of millions of years old. God would this be deceiving us into thinking the universe is old when in fact it is young

Since God created Adam mature with the signs of age like height, ability to talk, ability to digest solid food, and the ability to reason (among others), was God deceptive?

Since Jesus turned water into wine instantaneously, with no aging, was Jesus being deceptive?

In the same way, Ross assumes incorrectly that God could not create stars at various stages of development so that his glory would be greater

Abundances of Radioactive Isotopes

Radioactive dating has many assumptions, which cannot truly provide definitive ages. Dr. Ross says that because supernova produce a fixed amount of radioactive isotopes that scientists can extrapolate the ratios and determine the age of the universe. There seems to be even MORE assumptions in this claim: like how does he know the fixed amount radioactive isotopes produced in each supernova? Since there are so many missing supernova remnants (based on old earth assumptions) how can he then measure the fixed amount of existing radioactive isotopes.

It’s possible (even likely) that I do not fully understand his arguments here, but there seems to be an awful lot of unjustified speculation for him to claim that the abundance of radioactive isotopes is one of the strongest evidences for old earthism.

 

Throughout this chapter, Dr. Ross makes the claim that the universe is precisely 13.79 ± 0.06 billion years old. In 2019 new measurements reduced the age of the universe almost 1,250,000,000 years. So, the error bars were crushed by several orders of magnitude. Don’t miss the extreme inaccuracy of Ross’s claims: Suddenly, over a billion years went missing from the age of the universe and this is almost TWENTY-ONE times the size of his error bars!!!

Dr. Ross finishes the chapter thusly

In 1991 the best available measurements produced a date of 16 ± 3 billion years.

Since the best measurements available in 2019 have the universe at 12.5 billion years, we can make an extrapolation of the time when science will catch up to the Bible.

[Sarcasm font/] Approximately every 38 years, the modern academic paradigm (MAP) declares the universe to have lost about 3.5 billion years, so we can safely say that within 150 years the MAP will confirm what God has said all along in his word: In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth. [/sarcasm font]

Now, I want to go back to the time limiting factors that I mentioned at the beginning with the candle analogy. Are there limiters to how old the earth and universe can be?

And many others

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 13

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Big Bang: The Bible Said it First

The title is fairly self explanatory. Dr. Ross tries to make the case that the Bible teaches the concept of what is proverbially known as the Big Bang. Let’s look at chapter 13 to see what Dr. Ross believes to be the Big Bang (BB) and how the Bible does or does not teach this theory

These are quotes from Dr. Ross throughout chapter 13 in which he defines part or all of the theory:

In truth, the cosmic “bang” is an immensely powerful yet carefully planned and controlled burst of creation-a sudden release of power from which the universe unfurled in an exquisitely controlled expansion. In an instant, time, space, matter, and energy, along with the physical laws governing them all, came into existence from a source beyond the cosmos

Except for Ross’s redaction of “and the Earth” from Genesis 1:1, I have to agree with his quote from above. In the beginning, God did create time, space, matter and energy…but for some reason, Dr. Ross ignores the last part of the verse “and the Earth” in an effort to teach his old earthism.

The thermodynamics of cosmic expansion, if fine-tuned adequately, predict that these ashes (heavy elements from hydrogen burning) together with the remaining hydrogen, will eventually coalesce (in a way comparable to raindrop formation) to develop galaxies, stars, planets, and moons from gas and dust clouds.

In his 1st quote we saw how Dr. Ross ignored the Earth as being created at the beginning. In his continued explanation of the BB, he now ignores the order of creation in Genesis 1. While the Bible says that stars, planets, galaxies, and moons are created on Day 4, Dr. Ross ignores the order of creation implies that the Earth isn’t created for about 10,000,000,000 years after the beginning. He proposes cosmic evolution, which he reduces to “raindrop formation” as a simplified way of describing how stars coalesce from dust, ignite into stars, supernovae to create heavier chemicals, and coalesce again into planets and stars until eventually, the earth coalesces from previous supernova. The Bible teaches none of this, and modern physics can only assume each of those previous steps since only the destruction of stars by supernovae have ever been observed.

On page 137 we see the 1st attempt at a claim that the Bible teaches the BB theory:

Scripture’s prophets and apostles described four fundamental features of the big bang: a transcendent cosmic beginning in the finite past, cosmic expansion from that beginning, unchanging laws of physics, and an all-pervasive law of decay. Isaiah 42:5 makes reference to the first two features.

Nothing in this quote would refute the biblical creationist’s understanding of the universe or scripture as the expansion of space is part of most biblical creationist’s models. While most have a moderate understanding of expansion rather than Dr. Ross’s naturalistic understanding, expansion is expected. So, Dr. Ross’s claims that the Bible teaches the Big Bang in the same way that Stephen Hawkings teaches the Big Bang isn’t correct.

The Bible also speaks about other big bang features. Jeremiah 33:25 and Romans 8:20-22 indicate that “The fixed laws of heaven and earth,” which includes thermodynamics, gravity, and electromagnetism, have universally operated throughout cosmic history. Big bang theory agrees.

Knowing how Dr. Ross frames his arguments, he includes this quote in a way to refute the biblical creationist idea that perhaps the speed of light has been different in the past or that the accepted speed of light convention refutes both the anisotropic synchrony convention (ASC) and creation time coordinates model (CTC). My understanding of the ASC and CTC models do not include a differing of physical laws just of a frame of reference. Either way, I have asked Dr. Ross to elaborate on the timing of God’s declaration that physical laws have never changed. Dr. Ross has claimed that it was from the beginning, but scripture disagrees with him. Genesis 8:22 is the first time that God declares his covenant with creation not to change the physical laws. This is over 1500 years after creation, so it is conceivable that God could have changed the physical laws had He desired prior to this point. I do not think He did, but Dr. Ross cannot claim Jeremiah 33:25 was an established covenant prior to the aftermath of the flood when God formally declares his covenant in Genesis 8:22. Remember, exegesis and the authority of scripture (not old earthism) are preeminent.

Christian outrage over the big bang certainly seems misplaced.

As noted before, the Christian outrage over the BB is the cosmic evolution, chemical evolution, stellar evolution, galactic evolution, and planetary evolution all taking place out of order with Scripture’s description in Genesis 1.

Since I am not an astrophysicist, my understanding of the BB itself is supplemented by knowledgeable astrophysicists. If you are interested in further study regarding the enormous and insurmountable problems with the BB, here are some links for your benefit:

UPDATE: Here are some really good articles about the Big Bang from Jason Lisle

  1. The big bang was invented to explain the origin of the universe and its features without God
  2. The big bang is a secular story of the origin of the universe
  3. Are there good reasons to believe it (BB) despite its lack of scientific verification?

 

As biblical creationists, we can praise God for the consistent nature of his revelation. We do not have to accept naturalist mechanisms like the big bang to explain God’s creative works. Neither do we 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 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.

 

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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

…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.

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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.

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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, does anyone know what animals the following animal skulls are from?

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 full 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