Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 23

Tranquility through Testing

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

Interpretations of Evidence!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 22

Councils Attempt to Bring Calm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 21

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A Clear “Day” Interpretation

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

In his personal testimony, we see evidence of this

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

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

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

The timing of Eve’s creation

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

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

The lack of an evening and morning for the seventh day

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

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

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

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

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

Finally, here was an explanation for the fossil record enigma

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

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

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

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

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

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

On p244 Ross asks the question 

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

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

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

At the bottom of p244 Dr. Ross says

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

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

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

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

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

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

ch21p249

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

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

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Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 20

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The Significance of Man

It was encouraging to read through the beginning of chapter 20 where Dr. Ross identifies the specific points of agreement for biblical creationists and his brand of old earthism, which he calls “day-age creationism.”

  • Both views emphasize the divinely ordained significance of the human race.

  • Both assert that humanity is the only spiritual species on Earth.

  • Both proclaim humanity’s eternal destiny.

  • Both deny the naturalistic view of humans as the random result of blind processes.

  • Both declare that all humans arise from a single couple (Adam and Eve) whom God specially created just thousands of years ago.

Sadly, the agreements with biblical creationists is sparse from here on out as Dr. Ross continues the pattern of bringing outside ideas into his biblical interpretation. The rest of chapter 20 is a summary of a book (Who was Adam?) that Dr. Ross wrote with his cohort, Fazale Rana. So, this review will now expand to review THAT book as well. Let’s see what these two have to say about the federal head of humanity
Dr. Ross points out the special creation that is mankind and I heartily agree. Humans are unique in the universe because we have been created in the image of God, and for us Jesus came to pay the penalty of sin.

Expressions of worship are the key markers of humanity’s spiritual quality. The universality of worship is evidenced in the ubiquity of altars, temples, and other religious relics.

I agree! Everyone worships something -> Either the Creator or something lesser/unworthy/perverted
In the section titled “A Biblical Calendar” Dr. Ross says

Although biblical genealogies provide little or no help in establishing creation dates for the cosmos and Earth, they do provide a rough date for the advent of humanity…Even in the Genesis 5 and 11 genealogies, where the years between the birth dates of the father and the son are given, the chronology is not as tight as it might appear at first glance. Luke 3, for example, inserts at least one generation, namely Cainan, between Shelah and Arphaxad.

I have already dealt with Dr. Ross’s assumptions of “missing generations” when I reviewed chapter 2, but if he insists on continuing to misread scripture, I insist on correcting him. Dr. Ross while giving lip-service to the birth dates of the sons, seems not to understand the significance since he tries to convince the reader that Hebrew words for father and son could denote grandfather/grandson relationship rather than exclusively father/son. But since the age of the progenitor and the number of years between generations are given in the text of Genesis, then the specific relationship is not required to determine the timeline. Dr. Ross’s entire line of thinking is SOUNDLY refuted in this expert video by Dr. Kurt Wise. If you’re interested only in the topic of the trustworthiness of the chronogenealogies, start the video about 22 minutes.
What matters here is why he would try to argue with Jesus, when in Mark 10:6 it is recorded that Jesus said “But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female.” Dr. Ross says above that the genealogies in Genesis 5 & 11 “provide little or no help in establishing dates for the cosmos and Earth”, but Jesus clearly says that Adam was created at the beginning of creation. If by “beginning of creation” Dr. Ross means “the end of creation” then there is agreement, but if “the beginning of creation” is to have meaning at all, then Dr. Ross’s beliefs about age are discordant with those of Jesus.
The inset on pg237 includes some built-in naturalistic assumptions in place of Biblical interpretation.

Using the relatively accurate dates available for both Abram (Abraham) and Peleg to calibrate the genealogies may help guide some of the guesswork. Biblical and other historical records establish that Abraham lives about 4,000 years ago. Genesis 10:25 says that in Peleg’s time “the earth was divided.” Radiocarbon dating places the breaking of the Bering land bridge (an event that ended human migration from Eurasia to North and South America until the advent of ships) at 11,000 years ago. If life spans recorded in Genesis 5 and 11 are approximately proportional to the actual passage of time, then the dates for Abraham and Peleg would place the flood of Noah’s day roughly 30,000 to 50,000 years ago and the creation of Adam and Eve a few tens of thousands of years earlier.

Let’s look at the several levels of speculation with which Dr. Ross experiments with to see how they hold up:

  • Speculation 1 – “the earth was divided” means the land masses (Pangea) moved apart. If we look at Genesis 10, the context is describing the formation of the nations based on distinct families and languages. And what is discussed in Genesis 11? The tower of Babel where the single language of mankind is divided from a single language and the people are dispersed across the globe. So, rather than Dr. Ross’s speculation that it is the division of land masses, it fits the context better that the division is of the nations by language from a single people into distinct people groups.
  • Speculation 2 – “If the life spans recorded in Genesis…are approximately proportional to the actual passage of time” There is speculation here from Dr. Ross that the life spans recorded in Genesis are not really years or are in some way hyperbolic. This calls into question the very revelation of God. Why would he only speculate about the “actual” passage of time here and not in the other places of scripture?
  • Speculation 3 – “until the advent of ships” By his own admission, Noah built an enormous ship 20,000 – 40,000 speculated years prior to the speculated ending of the land bridge, but Ross doesn’t think mankind could make a boat during that ENTIRE time?!?!? There’s a serious contradiction in his speculation
  • Speculation 4 – “Carbon dating” I’ve had plenty to say about carbon dating in my review of Chapter 16. That was one of my favorite chapters to review as it exposed many of the cascading assumptions built into Dr. Ross’s rejection of the Bible’s account of a global flood in Genesis 6-9

In the section titled “Historical Calendar” Dr. Ross talks about cultural Big Bang events.
Anthropologists have found evidence for several cultural “big bang” events, each reflecting the difference spirit expression makes…Humanity’s arrival also launched the first clothing and jewelry industries. Dates for these cultural big bangs all cluster around 40,000 to 45,000 years ago.
It’s telling that on the previous page, he speculates that the flood of Noah’s day was 40,000 speculated years ago and now the cultural big bangs are aligned perfectly with the end of the worldwide flood & the dispersion of people after Babel…the dates are simply inflated to accommodate the imagined dates of the secularists.
From a biblical perspective, it makes much more sense that when Noah’s family exited the ark as the only humans on the planet recently flooded and a few hundred years later were dispersed throughout the planet that they took their learned cultures with them. The worldwide flood explains perfectly the dispersion of culture from a single point across the globe. This is especially obvious from the presence of ziggurat pyramids all over the world
To finish off the chapter, Dr. Ross jumps into genetics into an attempt to push the dates of Adam and Eve far enough back in time to accommodate his day-age old earthism.

By measuring DNA differences across several generations in different families, geneticists can measure the rates at which mtDNA and Y-DNA mutations occur. Such measures yield dates of 42,000 to 60,000 years ago for the most recent common male ancestor.

Of note, although Dr. Ross has claimed not to believe in the evolution of animals or humans, when we check his footnote (p359) for the source material on his claim above we see that he relies on naturalistic evolution of humans from a common ancestor with chimpanzees to get his numbers:

  • Population Growth of Human Y Chromosomes: A Study of Y Chromosome Microsatellites,” Molecular Biology and Evolution 16 (December 1999)
  • Inferring Human Population Sizes, Divergence Times and Rates of Gene Flow. In that article, the embedded assumption is prominent: “the assumed human-chimpanzee divergence of six million years to obtain the per year estimate of the neutral nucleotide substitution.”

But rather than relying on those false assumptions and then re-interpreting the Bible to match them as we have seen Ross do, we should start with the Bible as revealed history and conduct science based on the irrefutable revelation of God as Dr. Marvin Lubenow does on pg 227 of his work, Bones of Contention

MitochondrialEve_Lubenow
As we can clearly see, observations line up perfectly with what God revealed in his word, and this is the correct expectation for us as biblical creationists because God both created everything and revealed his interaction with history 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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