Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 15

starry sky

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Challenges to an Old Cosmos

This is indeed the most difficult chapter for me to review. Since I am not a practicing astrophysicist or astronomer, my review will be as a layman, and I freely admit that I do not fully comprehend many of the issues mentioned.

Having said that, Dr. Ross does take a large chunk of the chapter refuting ideas that biblical creationists no longer believe or are rhetorical (Challenges 1-4 and 11)

In challenge 7, Dr. Ross gives reasons why he disagrees with Jason Lisle’s Anisotropic Synchrony Convention (ASC). In their most recent debate, when Dr. Ross brought up his disagreements, Dr. Lisle showed why Dr. Ross’s assumptions and reasons were based on the question begging fallacy and flawed assumptions. Because Dr. Lisle has shown to be consistent in his biblical hermeneutics, I find his answer more compelling.

Below is a new answer for the starlight reaching earth in a biblical timeframe for which Hugh Ross has yet to provide an answer.

Creation Time Coordinates

There is more information about this new model in the links below

https://www.steveschramm.com/072-part-1-distant-starlight-and-creation-time-coordinates/

https://www.steveschramm.com/073-part-2-distant-starlight-and-creation-time-coordinates/

On pg96 when trying to address “Challenge 9: Old-earth creationists have their own light-travel-time problem” he says:

However, it is not possible for the universe, given its current spatial dimensions, to possess such uniformity and homogeneity in only 13.79 billion years unless the universe experienced a very rapid, very brief hyperinflation event shortly after it was created. Without the inflation event the universe would need to be orders of magnitude older than billions of years to exhibit the uniformity and homogeneity that it does.

It seems to me that even though Dr. Ross says “the laws of nature have never changed”, he tries to hide the changing of the laws of nature within the one trillionth of a one trillionth of a one trillionth of a second after the beginning where there is some supernatural alternative physics called hyperinflation. He says that term, hyperinflation, which sounds very sciency, but it appears to simply be a place to hide his altered physics to accommodate old earthism.

In Challenge 10: Radiometric decay was faster in the past, Dr. Ross says he will address it in a future chapter, so I will address his addressing in a future chapter.

Dr. Ross ends this chapter with some comments from non-Christians:

A spokesman for the U.S. Geological Survey (a key witness in the 1981 Arkansas creation-evolution trial) equated the creationists’ claims for a young Earth with “the flat Earth hypothesis and the hypothesis that the sun goes around the Earth.”

This is both ad hominem and a strawman fallacy.

Allen Hammond and Lynn Margulis made this comment about the young-universe view: “Adoption of creationist [this is, young-universe creationist] ‘theory’ requires, at a minimum, the abandonment of essentially all of modern astronomy, much of modern physics, and most of the earth sciences.”

This is both a sweeping generalization fallacy and strawman. The wording could be more truthful if instead of the word “science”, we replaced it with “modern academic paradigm.” Both old earthers and biblical creationists use the concepts of science. It’s a matter of presuppositions. Old earthers assume naturalistic origins and extrapolate backwards. Biblical creationists assume catastrophism (global flood as the Bible teaches), which explains what we see in the past.

If taught that a young universe is the Bible’s clear message, many seekers and nonbelievers will conclude, under the barrage of compelling scientific evidence for the universe’s antiquity, that the Bible must be accepted on a purely subjective, nonfactual basis.

Anytime you see Dr. Ross say “scientific”, you can replace it with “modern academic paradigm”. But the way Ross has stated it, we see again that he elevates the modern academic paradigm over the Bible. This is terrible hermeneutics.

He finishes with a strawman argument

As for sincere young-earth Christians, the tenets of young-earth creationism dictate that they must shut out science and its facts altogether to preserve their faith.

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 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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Old Earth Interpretations

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

ANE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Air-mazing!

trees and grass field under cloudy sky during daytime

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The idea for this post came from reading A Meaningful World by Benjamin Wiker and Jonathan Witt, so I want to give them some credit for a wonderful book and for pointing out how amazing even the simple things of creation truly are.

Consider air. Following is a list of many amazing things about air that reveal the praiseworthiness of the Creator!

  • Earth’s atmosphere protects humanity from harmful radiation.
  • It’s transparent for vision.
  • It’s the right composition for controlled combustion. Too much oxygen and combustion is irrepressible. Too little oxygen and no fire is possible.
  • It’s the perfect ratio of elements for both respiration and photosynthesis. Also consider that God designed an amazing process to keep the ratio in balance. The respiration process has a by-product of CO2, which is needed for photosynthesis to take place. Conversely, the by-product of photosynthesis is O2, which is vital for creatures that respirate.
  • It’s not too dense to move freely.
  • It’s dense enough to provide lift for flight. Flight/lift is useful for birds, bats, insects, flying fish, flying squirrels, and humans. Trees and plants were designed to make use of lift to spread their seed and spores.
  • It’s also dense enough to provide thermal protection against extreme heat and cold.
  • It can be absorbed by water, so that marine organisms can use oxygen.
  • It can hold water vapor and transport it all over the world to be a key part of the water cycle.
  • It can carry scents. Scents can be sweet to create feelings of delight and strong memories. Scents can also be sour as a protective measure against corruption and disease.
  • It is an incredible medium for passing sound waves. Because sounds pass noticeably slower through air than light travels, someone with two working ears can determine the direction of the source of a sound. If sound traveled faster through air, this would be more difficult.
  • Because it is an insulator, air currents are created between areas of heated and cooled air, which can freshen and renew
  • An an insulator, it also prevents runaway lightning from electrocuting everything.
  • Air can be compressed for use as
    • Pneumatic mechanisms
    • Underwater breathing apparatus
    • Propulsion
    • Accelerating projectiles
    • Air brakes
    • Cleaning/SandBlasting
    • Flotation devices
    • Carbonated drinks

To recognize any one of these things would make air remarkable, but that all of these advantages exist within a single entity that we refer to as air speaks of a truly Grand Designer! All of creation speaks to his glory, and God is worthy of all praise.

Can you think of other design features of air? Add them to the comments.

Goodness Gracious!

God is good. We can see this from several texts in the Psalms and in the gospel of Mark.

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Psalm 119:68 You are good and do good

Psalm 135:3 Praise the LORD, for He is good

Mark 10:17-18 A man ran up and asked him, ‘Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.’

While this list is not comprehensive, we get a picture that one of the characteristics of God and the way that he acts is his Goodness. The English word from these passages that has been translated to be “good” is the Hebrew transliteration: towb.

This same word is used in Genesis 1 as God describes his new creation. After the first, third, the fourth, and the fifth days, God describes his creation as ‘towb’ or good. Genesis 1:29-31 says, “Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground-everything that has the breath of life in it- I give every green plant for food. And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning the sixth day.” In fact, since God called his creation “good” twice on days 3 and 6, there is a total of seven “good” descriptors of his creation. As seven is seen throughout scripture as the perfect number, God is bringing extra emphasis on the goodness of his creation. Creation wasn’t just “good” in a trivial sense, it was made to reflect God’s goodness and glory (Psalm 19:1).

We know that later on in chapter 3 of Genesis, it describes Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God’s one command. Sin caused pain, thorns, and death to pervert God’s “very good” creation. Romans 8 confirms this when it says, “creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole of creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”

Sin perverted God’s “very good” creation. And God revealed that the curse of sin included death, pain, thorns, and creation being in bondage to decay.

When archaeologists dig down into the layers of earth, what do they find? Fossils of billions of dead things. Fossils of dinosaurs and other animals that had terrible diseases like cancer are found. Some fossils show teeth marks of predators in layers that evolutionists date as having been buried millions and millions of years before mankind walked the earth. Even fossilized thorns have been found in layers that evolutionists date as being 400 million years old.

sharp_thorns

But there are Christian teachers out there, who are trying to harmonize clear teaching of scripture with billions of years of bloodshed, suffering, and death. Is this what the Psalmist would relay as a character quality of the Almighty? But that’s exactly what Hugh Ross,  the Rossians, and John Walton would have us believe. To make this work, they have to re-define the Hebrew word “towb” to mean potential or ordered.

It is no small thing to attribute billions of years of cancer, bloodshed, pain, and death with the perfect character of the Almighty. Yet, when Walton and Ross redefine the same word “towb”, which is used to describe God’s character, as inclusive of death, one has to question their understanding of scripture.

Lastly, Isaiah 11:6-9 describes a time when God will restore his perfect creation. God revealed to Isaiah that there will come a time when predatory behavior, harm, and destruction will be a thing of the past. But Ross and Walton would say that predatory behavior, harmfulness, and destruction was a part of creation prior to Adam’s sin. Their interpretation of scripture has serious problems that affect the gospel. If death and destruction and harm were part of God’s very good creation, then why did Jesus have to die a horrific physical death on the cross? Romans 8:21 “Creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay.”

Revelation 21:4 “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

We can trust the Good God Almighty about what he has revealed about the past, and we can trust him about the good He plans for the future. Praise Him!!!

The 8 C’s of History

So, I’ll be teaching a new class at our church starting tomorrow called the 8 C’s of History. For some of you, the title will look vaguely familiar as I took the general idea from Answers in Genesis and expanded on it. They developed a curriculum called the 7 C’s of History. I’ve not read their curriculum, but it spurred the idea for my class. “The 7 and 8 C’s of History” confirm how the significant themes of the Bible are historically accurate. Their seven C’s are:

  • Creation
  • Corruption
  • Catastrophe
  • Confusion
  • Christ
  • Crucifixion
  • Consummation

For the purpose of my class, I added “Covenant” between Confusion and Christ…I mean, for Heaven’s sake! That’s almost 2200 years of time that God was working with his chosen people in the form of the Covenant. So, Answers In Genesis SHOULD have included “Covenant” as one of their C’s, but maybe they were on a budget.

It should be noted that I’m not getting any money from this endeavor, and I am giving credit for the general idea to AIG ministries. Ultimately, it is God who receives the glory and it is because of Him that we live and breath and have our being. All of the pictures in the slideshow are linked images and suitably credited. So, no lawsuits please!

I’ve created Google Slide presentations that I will post here for people to keep up. Feel free to share the links or use the material to spread the Good News of God’s redemptive plan as revealed in his word!

  1. Creation
  2. Corruption
  3. Catastrophe
  4. Confusion
  5. Covenant
  6. Christ
  7. Crucifixion
  8. Consummation

 

Here is a timeline that I constructed as supplemental material for the class. Enjoy!

Myths About Creationists

I read an article this week about myths regarding Old Earth Creationists. It had some good points, although it still boggles my mind how they can see the clear teaching of scripture and think there’s room for billions of years.

But it motivated me to write a short post on how people believe certain myths about biblical creationists. Only unborn children are treated worse in our culture than those who believe in the validity of the Bible…but a large portion of the mockery is because of misconceptions and strawmen arguments. So, following are the most prominent myths about biblical creationism:

myth-v-truth

  1. Myth 1 – Biblical creationists hate science. Those who would say this are not listening. Biblical creationists love science and learn about the world just like Darwinian scientists. The difference is that the evolutionists would start with the idea that there is no God, and they proceed to interpret evidence with this presupposition. A creationist will interpret evidence with the presupposition that there is a God that has revealed himself throughout history. As we read God’s special revelation in scripture, we see verification of this in the created world around us.
  2. Myth 2 – Biblical creationists are ignorant of or deliberately ignore scientific evidence. This is related to the first myth, but it attributes a little more deviousness or cognitive dissonance onto creationists. It again goes back to one’s starting point. If one starts with the idea that there is no Creator God, then one will assume that everything must be explainable by naturalistic means. But someone who believes there is a God will interpret the same evidence that an evolutionist uses to confirm his worldview, to show that God is indeed active in the physical world. An example of this would be homologous structures in animals. Reptiles (some of them), birds, and mammals have legs, so they must all have come from a common ancestor…right? The evolutionist would answer yes, but a creationist would say that the same evidence leads them to believe that it was a common Designer. Further evidence shows that it would not follow logically to attribute common features to evolution since the same structures (legs in this case) are governed by different sets of genetic code. Were evolution to be true, the same set of genes would control the same feature as shown from the picture below. GeneticHomologyDebunked
  3. Myth 3 – Dinosaurs, fossils, and the geologic column disprove the Bible. This myth is the complete reversal of the truth. If one had never dug into the soil, but had read the Bible through, one would predict that because of a worldwide flood about 4500 years ago, there should be billions of dead things buried in water sorted layers. That is exactly what is found. In fact, those who believe in billions of years are the ones ignoring the evidence (poly-strata fossils, marine fossils on mountaintops, no erosion/bioturbation between layers) left by the flood. As for dinosaurs, there are examples of artwork, sightings, and historical accounts that are evidence showing that mankind has had interactions with dinosaurs in the past…the recent past, because further scientific research shows C14 in dinosaur fossils and short-life DNA and soft tissue in un-fossilized dinosaur bones.
  4. Myth 4 – Biblical creationists care only about Genesis. Genesis is indeed foundational to God’s revelation, but scripture is a cohesive view of God’s redemptive plan throughout history. All throughout scripture we see confirmations of the validity of the Genesis account. Exodus speaks about the seven days of creation in the formation of the Jewish week and Sabbath. The Psalms confirm the creation week and God’s judgement through a worldwide flood. Jesus’ very words in the gospels show how He created mankind at the beginning of creation. The gospels also include the chrono-genealogies, and Paul’s message in Romans and Corinthians shows how death is a result of a historical Adam’s sins. Peter’s message shows how only eight people survived the worldwide flood and prophetically how people will one day scoff at the idea that there was a flood that destroyed the world. God’s revelation in scripture is cohesive throughout, and it is in perfect agreement with the general revelation of nature.

 

We can trust God’s word about history and therefore have faith that our future is in his hands.