Follow-up Interview

I was invited to be a guest on the Beyond the Basics podcast to discuss my book review of Hugh Ross’s A Matter of Days. If you haven’t yet read the review, I encourage you to do so.

As you will see the most important issue of the internal debate among Christians about the “age of the earth” is Authority. Old earthers choose to elevate the modern academic paradigm over scripture, so they are willing to redefine the words, phrases, and ideas revealed in scripture to accommodate what modern academics think about observations. However biblical creationists elevate God’s revelation in scripture as the ultimate authority, and we interpret observations based on what God revealed in his word.

One of the things I wanted to do in the interview but forgot is to mention the importance of framing the debate. Too often the debate of the age of the earth is portrayed as science vs. religion. This is NOT the case. It is interpretations of observations vs. God’s revealed Word. So, as Christians when talking about this topic, be sure that the words we use are clear to the topic. It is the Modern Academic Paradigm vs. God’s Revelation

Enjoy the interview linked below. Hint: Watch the video on 1.5X speed and then my pauses do not sound so bad 🙂

Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 23

Tranquility through Testing

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

Interpretations of Evidence!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to the Table of Contents

Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 22

Councils Attempt to Bring Calm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to the Table of Contents

Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 21

Day_UsedOnBlog20200731

A Clear “Day” Interpretation

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

In his personal testimony, we see evidence of this

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

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

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

The timing of Eve’s creation

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

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

The lack of an evening and morning for the seventh day

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

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

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

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

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

Finally, here was an explanation for the fossil record enigma

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

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

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

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

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

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

On p244 Ross asks the question 

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

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

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

At the bottom of p244 Dr. Ross says

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

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

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

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

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

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

ch21p249

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

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

Back to the Table of Contents

What is Presuppositional Apologetics?

OakwoodSunsetThis week I saw in my Twitter feed this claim from an atheist

Presuppositional Apologetics is conversational violence

Some of the subsequent discussion helped me to see that most people, like this skeptic, do not understand the what the term means. Many people think it means one of the following

  • I’m right, you’re wrong, that’s the end of it
  • I have blind faith in the deity of my family/culture/choice so I’m right
  • I don’t have any evidence, so I just assume God

This leads many skeptics to wrongly think they have defeated a presuppositional argument with the following fallacies

  • “You have faith in your sky-daddy, but I have evidence”
  • “Your blind faith is simply a result of you being born into a Christian family in America. If you were born in India, you’d be a Hindu”
  • “You have no evidence, so you have to resort to word games”
  • “Presup (presuppositional apologetics) is conversational violence”
  • “I assume FSM/Sasqatch/Allah is the true god, so that has as much validity as your biblegod.”
  • “That’s just word salad. It doesn’t mean anything.”

Definitions – The Place to Start

Those are misconceptions that I’d like to try to clear up in this blog post. Let’s start as basic as we can. What is a presupposition? The Google dictionary says it is

a thing tacitly assumed beforehand at the beginning of a line of argument or course of action.

Presuppostion

A synonym for presuppositions is worldview. A worldview is the way a person sees reality and how they justify it. One’s worldview typically provides answers to these fundamental questions.

  • Where did I come from? What is the origin of the universe/earth/life?
  • Where are we headed? What does the future hold?
  • What is my purpose?
  • How should I behave? What is moral? Is justice/forgiveness possible?
  • How do I know things (epistemology)? What is truth?

We’ll answer these below in analyzing worldview.

What is apologetics?

reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine

So, the merging of the two lends one to say that presuppositional apologetics is

In defense of the truth of Christianity, before the argument begins, the Christian assumes Yahweh to be the Source of reasoning, logic, & knowledge as was revealed and justified by his Word, in creation, and in Jesus

Presuppositional apologetics is distinct from other main types of apologetics like

While these methods of apologetics have value to Christians to edify and build up the church, they are not as effective as tools for persuading the skeptic for the 4 reasons shown below. To be clear, there is overwhelming evidence and philosophical corroboration for the truth of God’s revelation, but since God is the Source of truth, no evidence or philosophical authority can refute or be the substantiation for God. God and his revelation are the ultimate authority.

Someone, like me, who thinks presuppositional apologetics gets to the heart of the issue quickly, will not present classical or evidential arguments to a skeptic because

  1. Everyone interprets evidence according to their worldview. So, it is a futile effort to throw evidence back and forth because in an argument since everyone has access to the same evidence. All evidence proves God
  2. We have all been infected by the curse of sin. Even a person’s reasoning is corrupt
  3. God is the ultimate authority. There is no higher authority by which to confirm/refute what He has chosen to reveal.
  4. The skeptic is not the judge of what’s true or false. God is the judge, and presenting evidence to the skeptic makes him/her the judge of whether they think the evidence is sufficient to convince them. This puts the sinner in the judge’s box and God in the place of the defendant.

Everyone has presuppositions. The Christian presuppositions are shown above. The skeptic presupposes that “the cosmos is all there is, ever was or ever will be.” The skeptic is bound by particles

Worldview Test – Presuppositional Scrutiny

So, rather than comparing one’s interpretations of evidences (as an evidential apologist would do), it is more incisive to compare presuppositions/worldviews. A worldview should be both internally consistent and externally consistent. When I say internally consistent, I mean that it should not contain contradictions in trying to provide rational answers to the worldview questions. For example, if someone claims that the flying spaghetti monster is the creator of all things, but then realizes that Sicilians invented spaghetti in about the 12th century, there is an internal contradiction. They cannot both be true because the FSM is made of matter and is supposed to be the source of matter. Internal contradiction. Being externally consistent would mean that the worldview has to account for all of the reality.

Secondly, when looking to test presuppositions, one should look for arbitrariness. Is a claim within a worldview arbitrary? For example, secular humanists claim that morals should be defined by empathy (To be clear, empathy is a good thing and should be considered. Christians can justify empathy by referring to Matt 22:39 2nd greatest commandment.) But considering their worldview, which says that humans are simply accidental aggregations of stardust in a blind pitiless indifferent cosmos, why did they arbitrarily choose empathy as a standard for morality? It is arbitrary, because they could have chosen setting morality to the strongest or smartest or prettiest or cleanest or tallest or fastest…Arbitrary.

When doing presuppositional analysis, test each claim for consistency and arbitrariness.

Testing the Presuppositions of Naturalism

  • Where did I come from? – The cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be. The belief is that at the big bang all matter sprang forth and over billions of years dust coalesced to produce stars, galaxies, planets, life, and humans. It is inconsistent to claim that particles can produce consciousness, justice, logic, math, beauty…
  • Where are we headed? – Ultimately, there is just death and collapse of the cosmos through entropy
  • What is my purpose? – Richard Dawkins says “There is at bottom no design, no purpose, no good no evil just blind pitiless indifference.” There is no purpose in the cosmos. There are internal contradictions here because people act with purpose. People strive to achieve purpose, but since the cosmos cannot provide purpose, it is a quixotic quest to conjure up purpose.
  • How should I behave? What is moral? – Everyone recognizes morality, but in a cosmos made only of particles, it is arbitrary and inconsistent to claim that some behaviors are good and others bad. At end, the naturalist can claim only to prefer one set of behaviors to another since there are no binding morals.
  • How can I know what is true? – For the naturalist, all “knowledge” is provisional. At any moment the current learned paradigm can be replaced by new findings, so there is no path to certainty. A person’s senses and reasoning can only be validated by a person’s senses and reasoning, which is viciously circular. There is also no valid reason to trust one’s senses and reasoning to provide truth since according to naturalism, senses and reasoning were produced by accidental natural forces for survival. It is an internal contradiction then to expect survival tools to provide truth.

Building a Positive Case for Christian Presuppositions

  • Where did I come from? – Genesis 1 explains the origins of the universe and humanity
  • Where are we headed? – Because of sin and because of what God revealed about the punishment of sin, those who do not repent of their sin and humbly submit to the authority of Jesus will face condemnation
  • What is truth? – Truth is what conforms to the mind of God
  • How should I behave? – According to God’s morals. Because humans have been created in God’s image, we should reflect his character. When we fail to accurately represent God, there is punishment. But God, who is rich in mercy, has made a way to find forgiveness and abundant life through turning away from sin and trusting Jesus, who died and defeated death on our behalf.
  • How can we know the truth? Because God (who know everything and is eternally faithful) has revealed some things so that we can know them for certain, knowledge is possible. He has revealed Himself in creation, in the Bible, and in Jesus. These revelations are interdependent and self-authenticating.
    • Jesus is the Creator of all things as attested in the Bible
    • The Bible claims to be the Word of Almighty God. The prophetic claims in the Bible have come true. The Bible claims that “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” and “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” are in Christ” and “God is the foundation of wisdom and knowledge”. One does not have to believe the Bible to know things, but because people can know things, we know God’s revelation is true. The Bible is the justification for knowledge.
    • God is revealed in creation. Romans 1:18-20
  • How can I know what is true? – Christians do not know everything, but we know One, who does know everything. Because the One, who knows everything and is eternally faithful, has revealed some things in his word, we can be certain that those things are true.

The skeptic may not LIKE the Christian presuppositions, but since they provide both internal and external cohesiveness (and Christianity claims exclusivity), it is the only justified source for knowledge, reason, and logic.

Addressing the Claim of Biblical Contradictions

The skeptic many times says, “But the Bible is full of contradictions!” Let’s see if this is true.

As we have already pointed out, the skeptic has no grounds to complain about contradictions because naturalism cannot coherently justify laws of logic the misuse of which produces contradictions. What is a contradiction? Dictionary.com defines it as “assertion of the contrary or opposite, a statement or proposition that contradicts or denies another or itself and is logically incongruous, direct opposition between things compared; inconsistency.

Most skeptics think that the following is a logical contradiction in the Bible

Who was Jesus’ paternal grandfather?” But as shown in the link, it is not a contradiction for several reasons.

The skeptic should familiarize oneself with the nature of contradictions, and before accusing the Bible of being filled with them, be familiar with the reasons why there are no contradictions in the Bible.

The skeptic can look here for a primer on mistakes they make when claiming contradictions in the Bible

The skeptic can look here for a list of resolutions for common claims of biblical contradictions

The skeptic could purchase the book, Keeping Faith in an Age of Reason by Dr. Jason Lisle, who addresses the 400 most common claims of biblical contradictions.

Is Presup Conversational Violence?

In the conversation that I mentioned at the beginning of this post, the claim was made that presuppositional apologetics is conversational violence. I responded to him with the questions “Why is conversational violence wrong from the atheist perspective? Doesn’t violence help drive conversational evolution, so that only the fittest arguments persist to the next generation?”

Conversational violence would be expected from the naturalist point of view to be a pressure for selection to weed out bad arguments

He responded

You may be onto something here…An evidential apologist is like the soldier, they ostensibly address legitimate topics like providing evidence for their SN claims. A presup has figured out they can’t play on this field so they instead try to frustrate and weaponize fear (shut mouths like Sye, cause confusion with obscure philosophical conundrums…)

It’s not a terrible analogy, but the conclusion is wrong. Let’s continue the analogy. If truth is the ground being fought over and the bullets are arguments, the presup is doing the opposite of creating conversational violence. Presuppositional analysis is a way to disarm the naturalist because all of his “bullets” require the great Designer. The Christian presuppositional apologist is showing the skeptic that by using his “bullets” to form rational arguments, he is confirming that there are unchanging, abstract, absolute standards like laws of logic, truth, morality and induction which only the unchanging transcendent, absolute Eternal Monarch can justify. Naturalism completely fails to provide sufficient justification for the assumptions needed to create arguments.

Presup disarms the skeptic and causes them to be skeptical of their own claims. A Presuppositional apologist should be ready to share the gospel of repentance and submission to the King when the skeptic’s worldview collapses. Preach the word. Read your Bible and believe your Bible so that the Word pours forth in every conversation. Let the Holy Spirit use the preaching of the Word to convict of sin and of the need for forgiveness through Jesus.

Romans 10:17 “Consequently faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ.”

For additional resources and greater depth, see

Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 19

SunsetEnochStomp

Narrow Time Windows

If you haven’t had a chance to see the first 18 chapters of this book review, let me encourage you to go back to the table of contents and browse your way through

This is a shorter chapter from Dr. Ross, and in it he makes the claim that naturalistic assumptions are necessary for the age of the universe, the age of galaxies, and the age of planets to support life. 

A universe and a galaxy must reach a particular age before they can support life. Only when a star and a moon are of a particular age is life possible near them. And only when a planet is of a particular age is life possible on it. For intelligent life, the time limitations are dramatically more constrained.

While Dr. Ross has said that he does not hold to biological evolution as taught by the likes of Richard Dawkins, his statements above endorse the naturalistic ideas of 

  • cosmic evolution 
  • chemical evolution
  • galactic evolution 
  • stellar evolution 
  • planetary evolution
  • lunar evolution 
  • terrestrial evolution 
  • environmental evolution 

As we read scripture, we see that none of these naturalistic ideas are compatible with God’s revelation. These evolutionary theories are simply naturalistic mechanisms proposed IN PLACE OF what God did with his supreme power. It’s not that God could not or has not used natural processes to produce results (He has!). The problem is that Dr. Ross has re-interpreted what God actually said He did in the creative process of Genesis 1 to mean something else.

Age Window of the Universe

For biochemical processes to operate, the universe can be neither too hot nor too cold. As the universe expands from the creation event, it cools, like any other system obeying the thermodynamic laws (the greater volume or surface area, the less heat energy there is to go around.)…These conditions must be just right for liquid water to form and remain in significant quantities in just-right locations. As a result, there are only a few billion years in history if the universe’s expansion when a suitable habitat for primitive life is even possible.

The built-in assumptions that the universe has to be a particular age keeps him from being able to view the Bible from the author’s intended message. We see him make these claims about the age of the universe, but he has no other universes or other billions of years of history with which to compare. How can he possibly calibrate his assumptions since there are no other universes when he’s bound by less than 100 years of experience?

I’m particularly critical of the statement above regarding Ross’s assumption of the formation of liquid water. In scripture we read that once God created water out of nothing, the rest of the universe was formed out of that water. But Dr. Ross assumes that water is just another one of the things that nature formed during its chemical/cosmic evolution. In the past, I’ve asked Dr. Ross about why he feels that the flood of Genesis 6-9 is a minor local flood, and he always (irrationally) points me to 2 Peter 2. Sadly, he joins the skeptics when his assumptions keep him recognizing the creative works and the worldwide judgment of those works in 2 Peter 3 “But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.”

So, you can see that Dr. Ross’s claims that water formed naturalistically and that the flood was just a minor local event in the middle east are NOT permitted by scripture as a whole – but particularly by 2 Peter 3:5-6

In addition to the scriptural problems with water, Dr. Ross must somehow overcome the observational problems with his assumptions about water in relation to the moon. The moon could not have formed by any of the naturalistic proposals put forth AND contain H₂O. Yet, the moon contains frozen H₂O

On p230, Dr. Ross makes claims about the chemical evolution

The fusion of most life-essential heavy elements must await the gravitational collapse of gas clouds into giant stars…In fact, two generations of such stars must burn up in order to build a density of heavier elements sufficient to make life chemistry possible.

At best, these are guesses and at worst wild claims since no one has ever observed the process of a star from birth to death let alone TWO generations of stars from birth to death or the effects on elements of these generations. 

Because of the exothermic nature of the heavy elements in chemical formation, there is not a suitable resolution for the evolution of elements with a higher atomic weight than Iron (Fe) at 26.

Notice the superlatives and uncalibrated assumptions in the quote below:

Only in galaxies can the density of heavy elements become great enough to support life chemistry. But even in galaxies the appropriate density of life-essential elements is achieved only at one particular time. When the galaxy is too young, not enough heavy elements have been made in its stars for life chemistry to be possible. When the galaxy is too old, star and planet formation have ceased, and no stars and planets young enough for life chemistry will exist. Life is possible only in galaxies older than about 10 billion years and younger than about 20 billion years.

It’s like saying Adam was too young to speak and name all the animals on the day he was created because only humans older than 2 years old can speak in complete thoughts, and only humans older than ten would be creative enough and with a vocabulary large enough to name all the animals. Ross fills his book with unjustified assumptions at the expense of revelation from God. He continues this pattern into the next paragraph

For life on a planet to be possible, the planet must be warmed by a star that burns at a near-constant brightness and color. For intelligent life to be possible, the star’s flaring activity and X-ray radiation must be minimal…In the first 50 million years after a star as massive as the Sun begins to shine, it burns far too erratically to maintain temperatures suitable for life on an orbiting planet. For the next 500 million years, the X-ray emission is too intense. After that, the flaring activity continues to subside until it reaches a minimum, when the star is 4.6 billion years old.

As if he witnessed and documented this process from beginning to end. But the scriptures tell a different story. On the fourth day God made the sun, moon, planets, and stars. So, Ross’s book is not only in conflict with the Bible, but he has ignored the scientific impossibilities of his yarn about the naturalistic formation of the Sun. The sun would not have been bright enough to provide sufficient heat on the earth a billion years ago when life is thought (by the naturalists) to have emerged. It’s a paradox for old earthists that has no coherent resolution.

Ross’s closing thoughts for the chapter on p233 reveal again his commitment to the modern academic paradigm as his interpretive authority instead of scripture being in the highest place.

A timescale for the universe and Earth of only a few thousand years also contradicts nature, which shows how and why astronomical bodies must be at least a half billion years old to be ready for life.

Ross never concerns himself with conflicts with scripture since he feels free to re-interpret the Bible’s actual text based on the fashionable paradigm that is currently accepted and promoted by the secularists.

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 18

IMG_4899Physical Reality Breaks through the Fog

Ross jumps headfirst into both the sweeping generalization fallacy and the strawman fallacy to open ch 18

Many young-creationist leaders declare that their view is reality and that virtually all of what has been discovered in the hard sciences is not what scientists think it is. This apparent antiscience position obscures physical reality in a dense fog

You will notice how Ross equivocates (again) the modern academic paradigm (MAP) with “hard science” and how the MAP is authoritative for him and his ilk.

Virtually all of what has been discovered” ?!?!?!? Ross literally said that biblical creationists have ignored virtually all of what has been discovered. Ross has virtually ignored all of what God has revealed in his word about the global flood, what Jesus said in Mark 10:6, and what Moses etched in stone from the voice of the Almighty in Exodus 20 that the days of Genesis 1 are literal days. 

Galaxies, stars, fossils, dinosaurs, Neanderthals, and many other subjects of scientific inquiry remain cloaked in mystery, supposedly lacking satisfactory explanation. This refusal to acknowledge established data causes many people to dismiss belief in creationism as either complete idiocy or downright deception.

If he had been referring to old earthism, I would agree with him. Old earthism cannot sufficiently explain 

According to geology professor Ian Plimer…Michael Ruse…Murray Gell-Mann

According to Ian Plimer’s wikipedia page: “He has been a critic of creationism…In his book Telling Lies for God: Reason vs Creationism (1994), Plimer attacked creationists in Australia.

According to Michael Ruse’s wikipedia page: “Ruse takes the position that it is possible to reconcile the Christian faith with evolutionary theory. Ruse is an atheist.”

According to Murray Gell-Mann’s wikipedia page: “As a humanist and an agnostic, Gell-Mann was a Humanist Laureate in the International Academy of Humanism.”

Why would Dr. Ross cite these three God-haters in order to support his old earthism? Ross doesn’t say, but it does not help build a positive case for his old earthism. It is simply more of the same types of shallow attacks against which Ross has spoken. But Ross cares only that these kinds of attacks not be directed at him, not so much when the attacks are directed against his enemies: biblical creationists.

Still on the opening page of ch18, Ross continues:

The age-old power struggle between creationists and scientists began long before Galileo, but in some ways resembles the current conflict..In the early 1600s, Roman Catholic authorities refused Galileo’s invitation to look through his telescope…But the Roman Catholic prelates were afraid that laypeople might follow Galileo’s example and begin to publicly challenge biblical interpretations once taught only by priests, bishops, and cardinals. Laypeople were strongly discouraged from even reading the Bible.

Ross is correct that the struggle between biblical creationists and the modern academic paradigm continues to this day, but again, he has confused the protagonists and the antagonists. Those who hold the academic/political/cultural power are the old earthers like the Romanists of old. And those, who trust God’s Word and are willing to stand solidly thereon are the biblical creationists alongside Galileo. See, Galileo was not persecuted by the Romanists for his views on astronomy; Galileo was harassed by the (then) modern academic/religious paradigm for speaking out against the political/religious power of the day: the Pope. And in much the same way, “how DARE the biblical creationists for speaking out against the academic/cultural powers of today by questioning old age assumptions!!!” 

Of note, the Romanists of today are old earthers. They teach both old earthism and biological evolution, and while Dr. Ross does not openly support biological evolution; he has subjected himself to the modern academic paradigm and demands the same of biblical interpretation.

The idea of a long history of plant and animal decay and death is difficult for some to face. Integrating such a seemingly harsh reality with that of a loving, omniscient, omnipotent God can present a significant emotional and spiritual challenge.

Dr. Ross’s old earth assumptions of millions of years of animal suffering and death has been resoundingly dealt with in ch9 of this book review. So, Christians are not struggling with the integration of animal suffering/death and a loving God – Christians are struggling with the integration of old earthism into the Bible. 

Christian orthodoxy must, however, remain alert to this denial of physical  history and its implications

It’s rich that Dr. Ross would accuse others of denying history when his entire business model is built upon the OUTRIGHT denial of the global flood that is recorded in Genesis 7-9. Dr. Ross is even warned against denying the global flood in 2 Peter 3 when alongside his skeptic allies he is notified: “First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come…But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.

Ross whines that old earthers are “persecuted” by biblical creationists but by the comments from earlier in the chapter, he is fine with attacking those who hold God’s Word as the highest authority. By his reasoning (anyone, who claims to be a Christian should be allowed to speak/teach the Bible) we should allow Jehovah’s Witnesses, Romanists, and non-Trinitarians to teach the Bible just because they claim to be Christians?

ch18p223

Doctrine does not divide; Bad doctrine divides

On pg 224 Dr. Ross makes several errors about biblical creationists

According to young-earth creationists leaders…coal, oil, gas, and topsoil are not the remains of thousands of previous generations of life. Nor do coral bands and ice layers demark real years past. Nor does erosion of craters and mountains on Earth, other planets, and moons result from real ongoing natural processes. All these things must be illusions, according to a young-universe creationist perspective.

NOOOOOOOOO!!!!! These things are not illusory. All of those (except the other planets/moons) are the result of the worldwide flood as God described in Genesis 6-9. Dr. Ross shows yet again that rather than making a case against what biblical creationists actually believe and teach, he is content to build up strawman arguments of his enemies and then burn them down with acrimony all while crying that he is the victim of young earth persecution.

He then ratchets up the rhetoric and instead of insisting that young earth creationists have rebelled against just the latest scientific assumptions, he says

The fear that incites such a strong denial of physical reality and cosmic history implications must be addressed.

Now biblical creationists deny physical reality?!?!? 

On pg225 he continues:

If we take the Bible seriously and literally, not basis for such fear (fear that old earthism is true) exists.

What? Literally? He says to take the Bible literally, although he advocates billion year long days, death/disease/thorns prior to sin, a minor flood in the Mesapotamian river valley, and interpretations of the corrupted creation has authority over the eternal word of God. This is why I have trust issues with old earthers. “LITERALLY” he says.

Inigo-Montoya-Meme

Again on pg225 we find that Dr. Ross elevates the interpretations of observations above God’s Word

To question and challenge scientists’ interpretations of new findings may seem intimidating, but it can be done respectfully, on the basis of facts.

No! On the basis of God’s Word. God’s revelation through his eternal Word is the justification for knowledge (Prov 1:7, Hosea 4:6, Isaiah 33:6, Col 2:3). The facts will always support what God has revealed in his Word, but we must remember that your ultimate authority matters!

Perhaps the most tragic aspect of denying nature’s scientifically established characteristics…

Do you see again how he puts the modern academic paradigm as the authority which Ross elevates over scripture? He continues to conflate the interpretations of the modern academic paradigm with actual science.

Four examples of observations and interpretations on which the community of research astronomers and physicists agree are given as follows. Each carries enormous theological significance, which the majority of scientists also acknowledge.”

Let me acknowledge the enormous theological significance of Ross’s interpretations too. And before I share Ross’s 4 examples, let me say that even though we’ve already covered the main theological significance of Ross’s assumptions, I can’t say it enough:

Ross assumes that death/suffering/corruption/thorns are all part of God’s “very good” creation even though they most are specifically mentioned as the RESULT/CURSE of the sin of mankind. Let’s add cancer, disease, pathogenic actions of bacteria/viruses, and predation since we find all of these in the fossil record, which Ross denies is a result of the global flood as recorded in Genesis 6-9. The tragedy for old earthers like Dr. Ross is that they are willing to accept the curses of sin death/suffering/thorns as part of God’s very good character even though they are shown throughout scripture to be the opposite of good.

  1. Science says: The universe is billions of years old
  2. Science says: The universe can be traced back to a single, ultimate, simultaneous origin of matter, energy, space, and time.
  3. Science says: The universe, our galaxy, and the solar system exhibit more than 500 different characteristics requiring exquisite fine-tuning  for life’s possible existence
  4. Science says: Life in complex forms with an optimized ecology originated on Earth suddenly, UNDER HOSTILE CONDITIONS without the benefit of a prebiotic soup or a prebiotic mineral substrate. <bold, capitalization added by book reviewer>

Regarding all four of his examples, science does not say anything. This is a the reification fallacy. He’s given personal or concrete qualities to a concept or process, which is fallacious.

Item 1 cannot be true because of the arguments we have already discussed in scripture and current observations. Item 2 is a hyperbolic overstatement that disregards Genesis 1:1, since God made the Earth at the beginning. I do not have a critique of item 3, but I want you to pay particular attention to the BOLDED and CAPITALIZED phrase in item 4. This phrase is incongruous with and hopelessly opposed to Genesis 1:31 “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.”

It’s hard to state more clearly that Ross’s ideas and assumptions, while he claims them to in agreement with scripture, are opposed to what God has revealed in his Word.

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 the modern academic paradigm 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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