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.

 

Back to the Table of Contents

Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 17

time lapse photography of waterfalls during sunset

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The Scientific Case for a Young Cosmos

In this chapter, Dr. Ross lays out 12 well known arguments from biblical creationists that are used and that were used in the past to refute old earthism. He then gives a reply to all twelve in an attempt to preserve old earthism. In the first sixteen chapters (and the introduction), I have shown that he has failed to build a congruent case for old earthism from both scripture and science. Let’s see how he does responding to these dozen claims for a young cosmos

Exhibit A: The continents erode too quickly for Earth to be old

Essentially the case for a young earth is measuring the erosion rate of the continents, and this extrapolation gives a time limiting factor of only 16 million years.

Reply: This challenge focuses on one side of the equation only. It fails to acknowledge that lava flows, delta and continental shelf buildup (from eroded material), coral reef buildup, and uplift from colliding tectonic plates occur at rates roughly equivalent to, and in some cases far exceeding, the erosion rate.

I’m not a geologist…neither is he. But neither of us need to be a geologist to identify the GIGANTIC problem in his rescue device. The short answer is that fossils exist, so his reply is impotent.

The long answer, will take a little explaining and maybe a few pictures. While Dr. Ross is not a biological evolutionist he agrees with their interpretation of fossil layers since he rejects the worldwide flood account of Genesis 6-9. While he says he believes the Bible, he thinks instead that the account in Genesis is a local flood.

Let’s start with the picture below, which is a picture of what Ross is describing, but clearly not what is found. To begin with, I disagree with the ages that have been assigned to each layer for both biblical and scientific reasons, but for the sake of argument, we’ll use Dr. Ross’s understanding of the fossils to refute his rescue device. As wind and water erosion takes off the top level, Dr. Ross has claimed that uplift from tectonic plates replaces the levels that are lost to erosion. As stated earlier, and clearly an extrapolation with which Dr. Ross agrees, the continents could have been COMPLETELY ERODED AWAY were it not for continental uplift. The continental uplift replaces the eroded layers, but the erosion would have removed the fossils completely in at most 16 millions years. But there are fossils. The fossils that are dug from the earth are clear evidence for a worldwide flood about 4500 year ago, just as the Bible tells us.

ErosionDestroysFossils

In “Exhibit B: Lunar dust accumulates too quickly to allow for an old earth” Ross mentions a contention that biblical creationists abandoned more than two decades ago, so there’s no need to go into this one.

Exhibit C: Earth’s magnetic field decays too rapidly to allow for an old Earth

Reply: Earth’s magnetic field does not undergo steady weakening but rather a variable alteration

Dr. Jonathan Sarfati and Dr. Jason Lisle have built cases for the steady exponential decline of the earth’s magnetic field such that the earth must indeed be young instead of Dr. Ross’s claims.

https://creation.com/the-earths-magnetic-field-evidence-that-the-earth-is-young

https://answersingenesis.org/astronomy/the-age-of-the-universe-part-2/

Exhibit D: The Sun burns by gravitational contraction, so it cannot be billions of years old

Reply: This argument overlooks significant data.

This is another obsolete argument for biblical creationists…however, the resolution with which Dr. Ross replies turns out to have its own serious shortcoming. It is so bad in fact, that it’s been given the name: The Faint Young Sun Paradox. Essentially, since the sun provides energy by nuclear fusion, it is getting brighter. So, billions of years ago, the sun would have been so dim that there would not have been enough energy reaching the frozen earth to sustain any kind of life. The older that old earthers think the sun/earth combination is, the worse the problem gets for them

Ch17FaintYoungSunParadox

 

Exhibit E: Galaxy clusters would be more widely dispersed if the universe were old.

Reply: This argument rests, first, on an incorrect assumption. It assumes that all the mass within galaxy clusters is luminous.

First of all, it is rich that Dr. Ross would accuse someone else of incorrect assumptions when we’ve seen over and over how he assumes the creation, which has been corrupted by sin, is on equal authoritative grounds with God’s revealed and eternal Word. We’ve also seen him incorrectly assume that the modern academic paradigm is the same as science. But on to his reply

Dr. Ross’s reply depends upon the non-scientific concept of dark matter/energy. He also resorts to dark ordinary matter (brown dwarfs, planets, asteroids, rocks, dust, and cold gas) as being four and a half times more mass than luminous matter. However, this is the special pleading fallacy since our own solar system, which is the best place for measuring matter and mass shows that the sun has 99.9% of the mass. He’s got to assume all of the other solar systems (which are much harder to get accurate measurements) are not just different from the one we inhabit but so different as to make them completely unrecognizable

Exhibit F: The crystal halos that arise from radioactive polonium decay indicate that the earth is young.

Reply: If the granite crystal halo evidence proves reliable, it simply indicates rapid formation of certain rocks, not the entire planet.

This argument takes the form that since polonium-218 has a half life of 3 minutes and the halos that record their decay still exist in granite, that the granite did not take millions of years to cool. Ross’s reply is utterly deficient, even to the point of a concession:

Even if Gentry’s granite crystal halos do result from polonium-218 decay, Gentry has merely exposed a phenomenon that requires further study, a phenomenon that geologists’ current understanding does not explain.

So deep has old earthism got its hooks in Dr. Ross that he cannot see the clear evidence for biblical creation.

Exhibit G: Rapid sedimentation and peat deposition following the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption demonstrate that geological processes are rapid, not gradual. So earth could be young.

Reply: The problem lies in what rhetoricians call the “either-or” fallacy – the assumption that all geological processes occur either gradually or rapidly. The young-earth versus old-earth debate is pictures in this context as a battle between the principles of uniformitarianism and the principles of catastrophism, with one significant difference…Evidence of rapid geological processes, such as those resulting from the Mount St. Helens eruption, fail to support the notion that every structure in Earth’s crust formed quickly and simultaneously.

Yet, isn’t science supposed to make observations and see if it supports or falsifies a theory? The evidence resulting from the Mt St Helens eruption are directly comparable to what one would expect during the worldwide flood of Noah’s day if scaled up appropriately. So, rather than taking what has been observed to create hundreds of layers, Ross rejects observations and instead inserts an unobserved mechanism to preserve old earthism. His attempt to refute Exhibit G is a disastrous mess as shown in these videos below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjdZ3Gs-PTk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4a6oWZQ2ok

https://youtu.be/W4vK6NaSLBg

 

Exhibit H: Given that a spiral galaxy’s spiral structure winds up and disappears after just three of four rotations of the galaxy, spiral galaxies must be relatively young.

Reply: Young earth creationists would be correct about spiral arms windup if the arms were material structures, But they are not. As first explained in 1964…galaxy arms are density waves.

Astrophysicist Jason Lisle tells us the postulating density waves as a rescue device for old earthers creates more problems than it solves.

Ch17DensityWaves

Exhibit I: Trails of human footprints beside or crossing over dinosaur prints prove that dinosaurs were contemporaneous with humans, not millions of years old.

Reply: The dinosaur prints at the discovery sites have been identified as belonging to tridactyls, three-toed carnivorous dinosaurs.

There are many such evidences that have been put forth as dinosaur and human footprints. And it’s likely that some or most have been refuted. But there are still some fossils that have merit.

See the virtual tour of the creation museum in Glen Rose, TX 

Here is the personal testimony of the evolutionist-turned-creationist who excavated one of the Paluxy tracks

Even if those particular tracks turn out not to be human footprints, the evidence for humans and dinosaurs co-existing is overwhelming

MarcoPoloDinosaur

Not specifically about dinosaurs and humans living together but that dinosaurs lived in the recent past, here is an updated list of fossils that old earthers contend should be old but are shown to be young

Thinking that dinosaurs was a stronghold of old earthism, Dr. Ross included this exhibit in his book, but as you can see, the evidence is clearly on the side of biblical creation since dinosaurs lived recently enough to be seen and documented alive by mankind

Exhibit J: Since a comet’s average life span is only a few thousand years and the supply of new comets is limited, the existence of comets today proces the solar system cannot be more than several thousand years old.

Reply: …estimates of average comet longevity made prior to 1980 leaned heavily on the low side.

Dr. Ross declares with certainty that there are at least three sources for comets because he knows that comets would have disintegrated if they were truly billions of years old

Today, the existence of Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud comets is no longer based solely on theoretical calculations. In addition to finding the two distant comet clouds, astronomers have found a third distant comet repository, “the scattered disc.”

But a quick internet search reveals that Ross’s assertions of evidence are vacuous

 

Exhibit K: The lack of greatly expanded supernova remnants (SNRs) proves that such remnants have been expanding for no more than (probably less than) a few tens of thousands of years.

Reply: The mere existence of SNRs says that our galaxy and other galaxies are old…Observational difficulties, rather than an actual deficiency of SNRs, lie at the core of this cosmic age challenge.

It seems enormously hypocritical that Ross would declare the Oort cloud, which is unobservable, is irrefutable evidence, but SNRs which are thousands of light years across and visible from hundreds of thousands of light years away have “observational difficulties” and are therefore moot

For astronomers who are biblical creationists, the expectation is that if the Milky Way is about 6K-7K  years old, there should be about 125 visible Stage 2 supernova remnants. Conversely, for those who (like Ross and Bill Nye and Richard Dawkins and Neil deGrasse Tyson) believe in billions of years, would expect there to be about 2300 stage 2 SNRs. When actually looking into the Milky Way, we observe about 200 SNRs. So, you can see from the chart below that the evidence strongly supports biblical creation and is discordant with old earth assumptions. The problem gets even worse for those choosing to compromise God’s Word in favor of naturalistic assumptions when considering stage 3 SNRs.

SuperNovaRemnants

 

Exhibit L: Backward-rotating planets and backward-revolving moons in the solar system demonstrate that the solar system cannot be very old.

Reply: The standard model for our solar system’s formation does not predict, as this challenge assumes, that all solar system bodies will rotate and revolve in the same direction as the sun.

The standard nebular model for planetary formation is saturated with galaxy-sized problems:

“The formation of planetesimals is the biggest unsolved problem…The formation of giant planets is another unsolved problem…Another problem of giant planet formation is their migration…different rotation between the inner and outer parts of a ring could not allow condensation of material.”

But these are all of the questions that the nebular theory is supposed to EXPLAIN, so it can’t explain the formation of planets if THAT’s the biggest problem!

Regarding the backward-rotating planets, Astrophysicist Dr. Jason Lisle has this to say

“Secularists (and other old earthers including Dr. Ross) do not have a good explanation for the backward rotation of Venus. In the secular scenario, the solar system is supposed to have formed from the collapse of a rotating nebula. The natural expectation of this would be that all planets would rotate in the same direction at about the same rate, and they would all have very little axial tilt. Venus is the worst offender to this concept, since it rotates exactly the opposite of what the evolutionary models require. But we expect such diversity in the biblical view.”

Dr. Ross does not specifically include this next YEC point as an exhibit for a young cosmos, but he does include this as a sidebar on a full page.

Does Lunar Recession Refute an Old Earth?

Lunar recession refers to the Moon’s movement away from Earth due to the transfer of angular momentum from Earth to Moon as a consequence of the tidal interaction of the Earth-Moon system…the Moon could not have been receding from the Earth for more than 1.4-2.3 billions years.

Ross’s rescue device is:

The conflict is resolved if the Moon’s tidal torque was less forceful in the past than it is now. In 1982, Kirk Hansen showed that the number, sizes, shapes, and geographical placements of the continents and their accompanying continental shelves hugely impact the Moon’s tidal torque on Earth.

 But we can clearly see that this is special pleading. There’s no evidence that the moon’s tidal torque was less forceful in the past. It relies both on a special (unobserved) amount of matter in a special (unobserved) arrangement of matter for a special (unobserved) amount of time.

Dr. Henry from Creation.com had this to say regarding the secular origins of the moon and moon recession

“Over the approximately 6,000 years since the creation of the universe, the lunar recession rate has been essentially constant at the present value. However, assuming a multi-billion year age, lunar recession rates would have been much higher in the distant past than now. The currently accepted parameters indicate that the moon would have required 1.3 Ga to move from its origin at the Roche limit to its present position. This is the moon’s upper-limit age and shows that the conventional chronology is incorrect. If the solar system were actually 4.6 Ga old, the moon would have receded to a distance from earth approximately 20% beyond its present position. There is a widespread belief that the impact theory of lunar origin has neutralized these dilemmas for conventional chronology”

Ross’s special rescue device is insufficient to preserve old earthism. 

To finish the chapter, Dr. Ross writes:

John Morris, a geological engineer and current president of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), once acknowledged in a radio interview that he has never met (or heard of) a scientist who became convinced on the basis of science alone that the universe or Earth is only thousands of years old.

In the footnotes, it is noted that the question that was asked to John Morris was

Have you or any of your colleagues ever met or heard of a scientist who became persuaded that the universe or Earth is only thousands of years old based on scientific evidence without any reference to a particular interpretation of the Bible?

That is not the stance of most biblical creationists, but for sake of argument, let’s grant this and suggest this change to the question:

“Have you ever heard of a scientist who became convinced that a person could be dead for three days and then return to life based only on peer-reviewed evidence rather than reading it in the Bible?”

This is why proper biblical hermeneutics is so important. The question could be formed in such a way as to make those reading Dr. Ross’s work think that this is a case-closed argument. Here are a few examples of scientists who HAVE been convinced of the scientific evidence for biblical creation that led them to Christ and that contradict Ross’s implication:

 

As you can see from the above responses to Dr. Ross’s 13 replies to young earth arguments, he has fallen far short of refuting them, but he did not even attempt to tackle the other 100 arguments presented  by creation.com

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 8

beige analog gauge

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

Guided by Theology

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Ross continues well when he says,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ross inadvertently hampers his own argument when he writes,

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

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

p83

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exactly! So day ≠  billions of years

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

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

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

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

Jesus IS a biblical creationist 

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

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

Timeline

ReasonsTimeline

 

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

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

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

TimelineCompareYEtoOE

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to the Table of Contents

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

brown book page

Photo by Wendy van Zyl on Pexels.com

Anchored in Scripture 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ross ends this section of the book with the quote

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

  • Gardener – Gen 2:15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it, you will surely die.” There doesn’t seem to be a mention of a career there. From the actual text, we see that God clearly told him to work the garden…but the text does not say that Adam worked the garden for weeks, months or years before Eve was created. For Dr. Ross to believe this requires him to inject his presuppositions INTO the text. That’s called eisegesis, and it’s a no-no.
  • Zoologist – Dr. Ross said Adam had a career of studying animals, but I couldn’t even find a verse in Genesis 2 that would remotely describe Adam as a zoologist. But didn’t Dr. Ross title this chapter: Anchored in Scripture? Looks like AGAIN, Dr. Ross brought his own interpretations into the text. Dr. Ross is indeed an Eisegesis Ninja
  • Zoonominalogist – This is a career? A Quick internet search shows that approximately 0% of humanity is employed as a zoonominalist. When we read Gen 2:19-20, it’s clear that God brought the beasts of the field and the birds to Adam for him to name. But someone might ask, “Aren’t there millions of species on Earth? How could Adam name millions of animals in a single day.” It’s a fair question, but the (false) assumption is that Adam named each SPECIES. Adam could have taken care of his God-given task in seconds by saying “Mammal, reptile, amphibian, behemoth, birds, and those accursed Philadelphia Eagles.” Perhaps another tactic Adam could have taken would have been to identify them by their locomotion, “quadruped, bipedal, tree-swingers, flighted birds, flightless birds, and those evil Philadelphia Eagles.” This article from creation.com describes how easily Adam could have named the animals in as little as an hour. Again, we see Dr. Ross forcing his views into scripture to accommodate his old earthism. Kinds ≠ Species
  • Husband – Hardly a career, but truly one of the most rewarding experiences in life is loving one’s wife with God’s love. From the text, again it is clear that Adam was not expected to know everything or be perfectly harmonious with his wife on their 1st day together. I’m not sure where Dr. Ross gets his expectation that Adam had a career’s worth of knowledge in dealing with his wife from the short text of their introduction such that it “could not have been crammed into only a few hours”, but it’s likely a continuation of his eisegesis.

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

Of the seventh day, Ross writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to the Table of Contents

Review – A Matter of Days – Chapter 3

The Clouds Burst 

light sun cloud japan

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In this chapter, Ross attempts to plant the idea that “young-earth creationism” is a modern day cult. On p30 he writes

By 1980, nearly every American evangelical church and the school had been swayed by young-earth creationist teachings…Societies along the lines of the CRS (Creation Research Society) and ICR formed in more than two dozen nations.

Simply by reading God’s word, one sees the that “young-earth creationism” is the logical conclusion. With deeper and more comprehensive Bible study, a Berian finds that the “simple” reading is confirmed. It’s even a fabulous bonus that organizations committed to the authority of scripture in their scientific research (Answers In Genesis, Creation Ministries International, and the Institute for Creation Research [ICR] ) find that the evidence is in perfect alignment with both the simple reading and the comprehensive study of God’s special revelation.

In an inset on p33, Dr. Ross inadvertently destroys his only basis for knowledge when he ridicules presuppositionalism. He writes:

According to some of its advocates, presuppositionalism says all human reasoning and interpretation of scientific evidence must be subordinate to a “biblical” interpretation of reality.

 

It might have sounded hyperbolic to say that presuppositionalism is the only basis for knowledge. Much has been written on this topic, and you can see an example of this apologetic method here, but I will provide a short primer below

 

  1. Since all of humanity suffers from the influence of sin, even our reasoning and senses are subject to the curse of sin. (Genesis 3:17-19, Romans 1:18-23,Romans 8:18-27). So, trying to place one’s epistemological foundation on human reasoning or scientific observations of a corrupted creation is insufficient for true knowledge. By the gift of grace, when a person repents of their rebellion, a person can have an epistemology that is uncorrupted (Pr 1:7, Isa 33:6, Ps 111:10, Col 2:3).
  2. God has revealed Himself in creation, which has since been corrupted by the curse of sin. God has revealed Himself in his special revelation, which is the eternal Word of God. God has revealed Himself in Jesus
  3. God is the foundation of truth, morality, induction, knowledge & logic, which are immutable, abstract, & absolute. All of these things are necessary for empiricism. Empiricism works because these absolutes are unchanging. (Prov 1:7, Isa 33:6, Psalm 111:10, Col 2:2-3)
  4. God is immutable, transcendent and absolute, so He provides a sufficient and necessary justification for truth, morality, induction, knowledge & logic.
  5. Presupposing God is necessary to know anything, and because God has revealed Himself in the uncorrupted person of Jesus and His Word, we can be certain of everything He has revealed in his word. If outside sources (corrupted) have authority over the interpretation of God’s Word (uncorrupted), then the perfect epistemic foundation is no longer the highest authority but subject to those outside sources.

From pages 32-34 the “appearance of age” theory is panned by Dr. Ross. The “appearance of age” theory was a model introduced by a few biblical creationists in the early 1970s.  Dr. Ross quotes Dr. Gary North, who pushed the model:

The Bible’s account of the chronology of creation points to an illusion…The seeming age of the stars is an illusion…Either the constancy of the speed of light is an illusion, or the size of the universe is an illusion, or else the physical events that we hypothesize to explain the visible changes in light or radiation are false inferences.

Today, most creationists reject this model because there are too many time-limiting “clocks” that limit the age of the earth to under 10,000 years…just like the Bible says.

Also in this section, Dr. Ross quotes Dr. Marvin Lubenow who said, “There is no general Bible-science conflict if one recognizes the domain of science to be primarily in the present and involving the investigation of present-day phenomena.”

I agree with Dr. Lubenow on this point. Scientific concepts can assist with finding out about past events, but not at the expense of eye-witness testimony from the Almighty…which Dr. Ross tries to do time and again.

On a side note, I highly recommend Dr. Lubenow’s book, Bones of Contention. It has been one of my favorite books. If you have an interest in fossils and completely refuting the old earther’s story about human evolution, you will appreciate this book too.

On pg35 Ross introduces the idea that young-earth creationism drives people away from God.

Many people who have never looked into the matter for themselves assume that Scripture clearly says God created everything in 144 hours, just 6,000 to 10,000 years ago. Given the scientific implausibility of such a position, many people reject the Bible without seriously considering its message.

  1. Ross pans biblical creation because of its “scientific implausibility”. Can anyone else think of other things (besides creation) recorded in scripture that are scientifically implausible?
    1. Exodus 14:21-22 The waters of the Red Sea parted at God’s command (scientifically implausible)
    2. 2 Kings 6:6 Axhead floats (scientifically implausible)
    3. Matt 1:18 Virgin gives birth (scientifically implausible)
    4. Luke 24 Jesus rose from the dead after 3 days in the grave (scientifically implausible)
    5. There are many other examples of “scientifically implausible” events that God brought about for his glory. So for Dr. Ross to hinge his argument on the “scientifically implausible” account of creation, brings his unbiblical old earthism into serious question.
  2. If one cannot trust God’s account of creation, why should they trust his ability to forgive rebellion? The same Creator, Jesus, provided his own body as the vessel to take on God’s wrath for sin, so that salvation for mankind could be achieved. Trusting the Creator (even if that account of creation seems implausible) is faith. And without faith, it is impossible to please God.
  3. Ross gives an example “One physician I know, though hungry for spiritual truth, ignored the Bible and the Christian faith for years because he couldn’t get past some believer’s insistence that the Bible’s first page taught a recent 144-hour cosmic creation.”
    1. Could this physician get past a virgin getting pregnant?
    2. Could this physician get past complete & instantaneous healing of a quadriplegic man?
    3. Could this physician get past the resurrection of a body after being dead for 3 days?
    4. The problem for this physician and with others who reject the miracles of the Bible (including creation) is not miracles, but the God of miracles. If miracles could be explained naturally, they wouldn’t be miracles that bring glory ONLY to God. God revealed his great power over nature, and by having faith in God’s revelation, we praise Him. 

To close chapter 3 Dr Ross says: 

Now is the time to make every effort-short of compromising either the words of the Bible or the facts of nature-toward a peaceful resolution.

As I spoke about in my review of the Introduction, Ross again erroneously claims that the “facts of nature” have the same authority as God’s eternal Word. All facts are interpreted according to one’s worldview. So, if Ross assumes modern academic paradigms are the highest authority, he will use that framework to interpret scripture. But as I’ve already said, nature has been subjected to corruption (Genesis 3, Romans 8), and so any interpretation one gets from observations of nature are also subject to that corruption. Trying to elevate the corrupted “facts of nature” over God’s eternal Word is an exegetical no-no!

 

Back to the Table of Contents

Presuppositional Apologetics Grounds Acumen

man wearing gray and red armour standing on the streets

Photo by PhotoMIX Ltd. on Pexels.com

#PAGA

You think this hashtag will begin trending? Probably not 

When I first started hearing about presuppositional apologetics several years, ago, I’ll admit, it took me a while to get the concept. It’s not a way of thinking that I was taught growing up.

I was first introduced to the philosophy by Jason Lisle’s book, The Ultimate Proof of Creation. Dr. Lisle builds a strong case for the layman to understand, but I was unsure how or when to ask questions. I watched videos from Sye Ten Bruggencate, James White, Jeff Durbin, and Greg Bahsen. Each time I learned a little more, and after practicing with in my own interactions online, I feel more comfortable with sharing the gospel through presuppositional apologetics.

How does one start? Ten Bruggencate puts it this way: “Read your Bible and believe what it says.”

Recently, I had an interaction with a skeptic on twitter, and I want to play it out here to help those who may be working to better understand how think biblically and speak the gospel with the authority it deserves.

I want to do it in 2 parts to show why I think presuppositional apologetics is such a powerful tool for the gospel. 

  1. Expose the irrational/arbitrary/inconsistent thinking of the skeptic since their epistemology (theory of knowledge) has no logical foundation
  2. Build a positive claim for the truth of God’s revelation in scripture, so that people will face the decision to repent or continue in their rebellion

 

Expose Skeptic Thinking

About a year ago a skeptic with the username, Haywood and I interacted for a few days. Haywood is friendly and has not resorted to mockery or ad hominem attacks in our interaction, so I have continued to discuss with him.

This past week, he accused me of cognitive dissonance and failing to back up my claims. So, let’s walk through the process of showing how Haywood’s claims (step 1 from above) are impotent since his theory of knowledge (epistemology) is insufficiently justified.

SkepticEpistemology

Haywood explains that his epistemology or worldview needs only reality, his senses and his reason. This is where as an apologist, we can check to see if the skeptic’s worldview has either internal or external consistency. So, we ask questions about his claim to see if his worldview makes sense.

  1. How do you know what is real?
    1. “What my senses and reasoning tell me is real.”
      1. How do you KNOW that your senses and reasoning are valid?
      2. It is inconsistent to assume both that humans progressed from non-reasoning stardust to reasoning human beings via natural processes AND that reasoning is then trustworthy.
    2. “I don’t know. I could be trapped in the matrix.”
      1. This is a retreat into absurdity. Haywood chose this retreat instead of answering the question. This is the point, when the apologist can say: You can put your trust in Jesus or retreat into absurdity (solipsism)
  2. Why do you think your senses are reliable?
    1. “That’s all I have to work with”
      1. Fallacy of assuming the consequent
    2. “What my senses tell me is in agreement with what other people’s senses tell them”
      1. Fallacy of ad populum
      2. One would still need their own sense and reasoning to determine that other people’s senses and reasoning are in agreement. So, that argument is also the fallacy of vicious circularity
    3. “I don’t know”
      1. Fallacy of ad ignorantium
      2. Then, it is not knowledge since knowledge is justified true beliefs
  3. Without God, you’re left to conclude reasoning came about by natural causes. What reason do you have to trust your reasoning if it came from a non-reasoning source?
    1. “I don’t know”
      1. Are there people who reason incorrectly? How could you know if you were one of them?
      2. Fallacy of ad ignorantium
    2. “Because it works”
      1. Fallacy of assuming the consequent

I want to spend some time on his last comment: “the Bible is still wrong.”

Here, Haywood assumes at least four things:

  1. There is an objective standard by which something can be shown to be wrong
    1. How does the purposeless, blind, pitiless, indifferent cosmos produce standards whereby something could be determined to be right/wrong?
    2. Is-ought fallacy
  2. That standard has greater authority than the Bible
    1. Why do you think such a standard has higher authority than the Bible, which God revealed as true? As an example of this, Author A could say that based on historical documents the Hebrews were enslaved in Egypt. Author B claims that based on historical documents, the Hebrews were not enslaved in Egypt. Which author or historical documents have the highest authority by which something can be said to be true. In the worldview of any skeptic, all knowledge is provisional and leads to an infinite regression of necessary provisions. In the case of claims against the Bible, there are no standards that have higher authority than revelation from the One who knows everything and is eternally faithful.
  3. There are unchanging, abstract, absolutes like laws of logic, morality, and induction by which to determine truth
    1. How does a chaotic cosmos made only of matter produce unchanging, abstract absolutes?
  4. The Bible is not revelation from God
    1. To know this for certain, one would need to have all knowledge

 

Later, I asked Haywood what he knew for certain, and this was his reply:

Certainty

So by claiming that he cannot be certain of anything, it follows that he does not KNOW anything. His worldview lacks the pre-conditions of intelligibility. Anything that could conditionally be known is just tentative. For Haywood (or other skeptic), some future discovery could be made that would refute any current provisional evidence. So, any claim that the skeptic makes can be refuted with “but since you are only tentatively knowledgeable about this and don’t know anything for certain, you could be wrong.”

The Christian is not burdened with this cumbersome epistemology. As we will discuss in the next section, God (who has all knowledge) has revealed some things, so the Christian can have certain knowledge of those things. 

That section exposed the impotence of skeptics to refute Christianity because of their deficient worldview. In this next section, I want to show how we can build a positive case FOR The truth of Christianity

 

Build a Positive Case

Haywood made a recent claim that presuppositional apologetics doesn’t present a positive case for Christianity.

PositiveCase
Is this true? Let’s see.

The Christian theory of knowledge (epistemology) is built on God’s revelation. God has revealed Himself in creation, in the Bible and in Jesus. 

  • Creation: Romans 1:18-20 says “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” Part of the revelation of God is that there is sufficient evidence in creation for everyone to know that God exists.
  • Bible: All throughout scripture, we see the claim that the Bible is the Word of God. These claims include prophecies that were foretold hundreds or even thousands of years prior to their fulfillment
    • Genesis 12:3 “all nations on earth will be blessed through you.”
      •  2000 years later Jesus fulfilled this prophecy as someone from Abraham’s line that brought salvation to all nationalities
    • Psalm 22:16,18 “Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they pierce my hands and my feet…They divide my garments among them and case lots for my clothing.”
      • 1000 years later Jesus’ hands and feet were pierced on the cross while soldiers cast lots for his clothing
    • Isaiah 44:28 “who says of Cyrus ‘He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jersalem “Let it be rebuilt,” and of the temple, “Let its foundations be laid.”’
      • 150-220 years later Cyrus (prophesied BY NAME) released Hebrews from Babylonian captivity and declared that Jerusalem and their temple be rebuilt
  • Jesus: Jesus is the ultimate revelation as God. Jesus is the Creator, so creation confirms his divinity. Jesus claimed to be God several times and his claims were confirmed when He rose from the dead (as prophesied in Psalm 16:10). Lastly, these self-authenticating revelations are confirmed in Jesus by Colossians 2:3 “All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ Jesus.”

The things God has revealed in the Bible can know for certain because they were revealed by the One (Jesus) who knows everything and is eternally faithful. 

  • Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge”
  • Proverbs 2:6 “For the LORD gives wisdom and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding”
  • Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom”
  • Psalm 111:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom”
  • Isaiah 33:6 “The LORD will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge. The fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure.”
  • Colossians 2:2-3 “Christ in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”

A common objection to the Bible being a justified source for knowledge is that it contains contradictions. Sadly, nearly all skeptics do not know what a contradiction actually is and have only read in online memes that the Bible is full of contradictions. But there are no contradictions in the Bible, because it is from God. 

https://veritasdomain.wordpress.com/2019/07/30/frequent-mistakes-skeptics-make-with-alleged-bible-contradictions/

https://veritasdomain.wordpress.com/2016/12/02/collection-of-posts-responding-to-bible-contradictions/

https://veritasdomain.wordpress.com/2019/07/05/100-alleged-bible-contradictions-answered/

So, when the skeptic accuses God or a Christian about injustice or foolishness or contradictions in the Bible:

  1. Test the claim of the skeptic, to see if his theory of knowledge can account for justice, logic, truth, reason, or induction. Undoubtedly, any attempt to explain will be inconsistent, arbitrary and/or irrational
  2. Give them the gospel of Jesus, because it is true as shown above

Here’s how I would answer some of the recent accusations from Haywood

ProvisionalTheory

Haywood had claimed that he had refuted by epistemology, so I had asked him, “what provisional theory makes you think you have refuted by epistemology?”

So, putting PAGA into effect:

  1. Test the claim
    1. Skeptics cannot justify knowledge, so I questioned his provisional theory and why he thinks it can refute what I am saying
    2. He has previously mentioned a hypothetical situation (how can you prove you’re not in the matrix?) which he thinks refutes Christianity…or at least presuppositional apologetic. I’ve responded to him, that this hypothetical is a retreat into absurdity, because if he is in the matrix and nothing is real, then his question does not even make sense. It’s ridiculous, so the choice of the skeptic is repentance or absurdity
    3. He also makes the claim that “it was incorrect.” Any “it” he might be talking about would have to be compared against absolute truth, which his worldview cannot justify. So, any claim he might say that was incorrect, cannot be justified.
  2. Give them the gospel
    1. So, a good response to this claim (after exposing it’s impotence) would be “Your thinking and your future can be redeemed by repentance for your rebellion against the Creator. Jesus paid the penalty for the crimes of those who repent.”

ZeroPhilosophers
Test the claim:

    1. “We are debating…” – How do you know what is real? You’ve already admitted that you could be in the matrix or that some future knowledge could change what you think you know now. So, you can’t claim to know anything
    2. “Validity of your version of Christian presuppositionalism, which is held by approximately 0% of professional philosophers.” Again, testing his claim of knowledge to show, that he cannot justify it as knowledge. It is also the fallacy of ad populum: the fallacy that says something is true because most/all people believe it. 
  1. Give the gospel
    1. Truth is not determined by percentage. Truth is determined by revelation from God. 

WrongAboutEverything
Test the claim:

    1. “I can…randomly spit out a hypothetical that shows your epistemology is invalid.” Remember, all “knowledge” from the skeptic, is provisional, so his claim cannot be justified. He makes a particularly grievous claim there, that is clearly false, since because of his epistemology, he could never know or justify such a claim.
    2. Since Haywood cannot justify his own epistemology, he cannot show that any other epistemology (specifically Christianity) is either right/wrong
  1. Since my epistemology is true, we do not have to retreat to absurd hypotheticals or “random spit outs”. Jesus came to redeem reasoning along with creation

 

Many times, the skeptic wants to know from the Christian “Give me proof” or “What proof validates Christianity”

This desire from the skeptic assumes that there is some authority (usually scientism) that has higher authority than revelation from the Almighty. But there is no higher authority than God and his eternal word. Have scientists ever been monumentally incorrect? How could the skeptic be certain that their faith in the current academic paradigm isn’t going to be mocked as ridiculous in the future? Since they cannot be sure of this, why do they insist on bludgeoning Christians with their provisional beliefs?

As Christians, we know there is no higher authority than God, so that desire of the skeptic to try to validate God’s revelation with a higher authority is irrational. But as expected, all evidence does indeed is in accord with what God has revealed in the Bible and in Jesus.

We can trust God with what He has revealed about history, so He is trustworthy with our future.

 

P.S. Please be polite to online skeptics (and skeptics face-to-face). Give the gospel rather than trying to win “debates”.

Why Old Earthism Divides

The debate on the age of the earth has been ongoing for epochs…or at least for 150 years since Charles Lyell worked to “free the science from Moses.” I’ve addressed this particular issue many time before, and while not an issue of salvation, it has great importance for Christians in the area of biblical interpretation. So, while people can still be redeemed and not understand the intricacies of biblical hermeneutics, it is still important for maturing Christians to learn to correctly understand the revelation of God as intended.

hermeneutics

So, if the age of the earth is not an issue of salvation, why does it seem to bring such division? The division comes from how to interpret the Bible. If the Bible is the Word of God, then it should be the epistemic authority. Typically, it is those that are identified as youth earth creationists or biblical creationists that take this view. The Bible is authoritative, and outside sources are subject to what God has revealed. If the Bible is just a collection of loosely-affiliated religious writings then there can be other authorities (culture, scholarly paradigms, other historical documents) that can OVERRULE biblical texts. This is typically how old earth believers tend to view the Bible. They typically say, “We believe the Bible to to true” but then they immediately say, “Genesis needs to be interpreted differently than written because science proves it to be wrong.” See what happens there? They hold interpretations of evidence in authority over scripture, so that the Bible gets re-interpreted when the materialist assumptions of the foundation of the current scholarly paradigm. Below is an example.

Recently, I came across a blog that attempted to build a case that God’s Word can somehow accommodate billions of years and even evolution.

Sadly, this blog post starts out with an equivocation fallacy, and it’s a very common one, so the author, Candice Brown (CB hereafter) is probably just quoting from someone else who uses this particular mantra.

I remained convinced that science and religion were not compatible

The equivocations are that
1) science = old earth or evolution
2) religion = young earth

Bart_Conflate_Science_Evolution

However, science is the systematic study of nature through observation & experiment. So, science is a method, not an entity. Science measures evidence. Evidence is analyzed by people with presuppositions. The combination of presuppositions and science can be used to make conclusions. Someone who has the presupposition that the universe is old will use the tool of science to conclude that the universe is old. How would someone get the assumption that the universe/earth is old? For the last century, all universities have taught that the universe is old because of the work of Lyell, whose stated purpose was to “free the science from Moses”. This quote is a mutiny from the clear teachings of the Bible, which Lyell hated. So, all of today’s professors have been taught that the universe is old. Should someone raise doubts about this, they are figuratively and well as (sometimes) literally expelled from employment and teaching/learning at university.

The forensic scientists at Creation Ministries International, The Institute for Creation Research, and Answers in Genesis understand from God’s revelation in the Bible that God intended for the audience to see his handiwork in history, and the scientific studies seen today confirm this in every respect.

CB continues in her blog post with the idea that the Earth appears to be very old. She’s not wrong. It does look to be thousands of years old. That is a REALLY long time, and the maximum time that can be historically verified. Were the earth to be millions of years old (or older), the mountains would, at the very least, be rounded smooth by wind/water erosion. And if the earth were more than 10 million years old, the continents would have been ground into the sea by wind/water erosion based on current erosion rates.

A common response to the erosion problem by old earthers is “Well, you forget about the concept of continental uplift. As continents collide, the continents are being continually recycled up.” There are reasons that show why this does not help the old earther:

  1. This concept has already been factored into the erosion rates
  2. The fossils are still there. Since the rate of continental erosion limits their age to (at most) 10s of millions of years, then the fossils would have long ago been eroded along with the rest of the sedimentary layers if the recycling of uplift has renewed the continents. Since there are still fossils, the continents are young. Old earthism is falsified.

CB also quotes Reasons To Believe (an old earth organization) saying that humans emerged somewhere around 150 thousand years ago. This number is counter to the biblical genealogies in Genesis 5, against the population growth statistics, and against the latest research in genetics, which show an increase in entropy. The latest work in genetics confirms exactly what the Bible revealed in the biblical genealogies that have been repeated in 1 Chronicles 1 and Luke 3. The human genome accumulates hundreds of mutations in each generation that natural selection cannot remove since natural selection works on the phenotype level and not the genetic level. Since humans have not gone extinct, old earthism is falsified.

CB continues with:

In order to dispute this evidence, Christians must make several leaps, such as believing dinosaurs and humans co-existed

The evidence is strongly in favor of humans co-existing with dinosaurs, but most people are unaware of the evidence. The links below are not comprehensive, but provide strong justification for the facts that dinosaurs and humans co-existed in the past.

  1. Dinosaur cave paintings
  2. Brass Dinosaur on Bishop Bell’s tomb
  3. Stegosaurus in Cambodia
  4. While not necessarily man with dinosaur, soft-tissue being found in dinosaur bones falsifies the mantra that the dinosaurs went extinct 65 millions years ago. At most, the bones are only a few thousand years old. The link of this text shows over 100 “ancient” bones that contain soft tissue. Old earthism is falsified again
  5. Historical accounts

MarcoPoloDinosaur

CB goes on to dispute the clear teaching of the days in Genesis to be of the 24-hour variety.

Much like the English word love has five meanings in ancient Greek, the Hebrew word yom יום (translated day in Genesis) has four meanings, one of which indicates not a twenty-four hour period, but an age of time

Biblical creationists are well aware of this meaning of the Hebrew word yom, and there are several reasons why the context of Genesis 1 demands they be literal days, and not figurative ones.

  1. The author intended his audience to see the Genesis days as literal days
  2. The days have boundaries (ordinals and morning/evening)
  3. Other scriptures confirm literal days
  4. God spoke to Abraham using analogies for incredibly large numbers, so it’s not that Hebrews were simple people and could not understand numbers greater than 10 as old earthers would contend. Gen 22:17 “I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore.” To describe a more consistent way that God would have communicated the many epochs of days, were old earthism to be true, would be for Him to have used language where He already shows His intention to communicate large numbers. But He did not. God instead chose to perform his creative works in 6 days as He said.
  5. There are contexts (plurality, modifying words, suffixes) in Hebrew for yom to mean more than a day, but none of these contexts are present in Genesis 1.
  6. There are 2 Hebrew words (zeman – H2165 and eth H6256) for epochs or long indefinite period of time, BUT THESE WORDS ARE NOT USED IN GENESIS 1

The biggest obstacle that old earthers must overcome to inject their biases into the biblical text is to somehow justify the curses of sin (death, suffering, and thorns) as being present in creation PRIOR to the rebellion of mankind. When they insist on this, it becomes an issue about the gospel. Invariably, when I ask old earthers to justify their position on this, I get either “well, it’s only spiritual death” or “I just interpret the Bible differently than you.”

  1. God declared his creation “very good.” Since creation is very good, there could not have been disease, bloodshed, and harm. Isaiah 11 and 65 confirm this. Harm, disease, and bloodshed prior to sin is unbiblical and therefore old earthism is falsified
  2. In Genesis 3:17-19 God said to Adam “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten from the tree…to dust you will return.” The curse of sin resulted in both spiritual and physical death. Both Romans 5 and 1 Cor 15 are strong confirmation. So the debate is: Did death bring mankind into the world (old earthism) or did man bring death into the world (YEC). The Bible clearly answers that man’s sin brought death into the world. Death before sin is unbiblical and therefore old earthism is falsified
  3. One of the curses is thorns. Jesus took the crown of thorns upon Himself at the cross to complete taking the curses of sin as our punishment. But if thorns existed prior to mankind as old earthism demands, then what was the curse of sin? There are fossil thorns buried in layers that old earthers “date” as having been made prior to mankind. This view is unbiblical and therefore old earthism is falsified

Biblical interpretation is not an arbitrary function. When people interpret the Bible to mean whatever is popular in culture (homosexuality, old ages, contrary historical documents), then the body of Christ is divided and suffers.

Christians should be united. And the unity should center around God’s revelation in scripture and its fulfillment in Jesus. Jesus confirmed the testimony of Moses (Luke 16) and confirmed the historical nature of Genesis (Mark 10:6). So, God’s people should not be divided about the age of the earth. They should be united around a healthy understanding of the Bible, so that Jesus can be glorified.

We can trust God with our future because we can trust his revelation about the past.

Why Disagree With Jesus?

Rose

This article from AIG was enjoyable to read. When a Christian apologist was surprisingly confronted with an accusation of teaching false information, this was the response:

“In the context of the first marriage between Adam and Eve, do you think Jesus was wrong in Mark 10:6 when He said that God made them male and female at the beginning of creation? Or do you believe that the creation has been around for 13 billion years and marriage first came about at the end of creation a few thousand years ago with Adam and Eve?”

The apologist, Bodie Hodge, then wrote an article documenting the encounter and laying out a case for why this question is unanswerable for those who want to believe both Old Earthism and the words of Jesus. One belief or the other will be compromised…and as we will see below, many Christians choose to hold more tightly to their Old Earthism.

Mr. Hodge lays out a solid case in his article showing the typical responses he’s gotten from those holding old earth positions and why they fail:

  1. “Biblical creationists have the same problem since Adam/Eve were not created at the beginning since they were created on day 6 and not day 1.”
    1. This is a poor response from old-earthers because then they bring the words Jesus said in to question. Jesus includes the creation week as “the beginning of creation” because (since He is the Creator) man and woman were made on day 6. The old-earther assumes incorrectly that only the 1st picosecond (or 1 minute or 1st day…) of God’s creative works to be “the beginning”. This response claims Jesus was wrong. Don’t be like those who respond this way, because Jesus cannot be wrong.
  2. “Jesus was talking about the beginning of marriage. This passage deals only with marriage not the age of the earth.”
    1. This is another poor response from the old-earther, but is sadly more typical of the way many people want to read scripture. Or should I say read INTO scripture. Jesus said “At the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.” Like the Jehovah’s Witnesses do with John 1:1 to avoid the clear teaching that Jesus is indeed God, old-earthers like to add the words “of marriage” to protect their old age beliefs and rather than see the actual words of Jesus, they actually put words in his mouth. They would rather reinterpret God’s revealed Word to protect their old age beliefs than let scripture speak.
  3. “The beginning of creation is just the figurative 6 days (13 billion years)”
    1. What the old-earthers are doing here is redefining the word “beginning” to mean whatever they want. In this case, they want it to mean 13 billion years (Also, what is a year prior to sun/earth revolutions?). Jesus spoke the words recorded in Mark 10:6 about 4000 years after Adam was created. To make their reinterpretation of “the beginning of creation” work, using a scale of 1 inch to represent the 4000 years Jesus was talking about, the beginning of 13 billion years is almost 52 MILES away. That’s a strange (at best) way to refer to marriage happening after 13 billion years. Will the End time be an equal amount away from when Jesus spoke these words? Should Christians expect another 13 billion years before Christ makes his glorious return? Only if you’re a consistent old-earther.

Old Earthism just cannot get around the pivotal words of Jesus without accusing Jesus of wrong, changing scripture, or redefining words.

This is just ONE example from scripture that refutes old earthism. There are many others than just the ones linked below:

After posting the link to Mr. Hodge’s article on Twitter, an old-earther decided to write a rebuttal article here.

The author of that article, who goes by Christian Defenders (CD), makes no attempt to answer the actual piece that Mr. Hodge originally wrote. CD simply argues that the Hebrew word for day (yom) can have multiple meanings. Clearly, CD has never investigated any teachings of biblical creationists, because we all know this to be true. The rule of hermaneutics is that when biblical interpretation is needed, we use scripture to interpret. The days of Genesis 1 were intended by the author to communicate a literal 24 hour day. I cover this information in greater detail here. Exodus 20:1 is strong evidence that the beginning of creation is speaking of literal days, because it actually refers to the Genesis 1 account when God tells the Jews to work for 6 days and rest on the 7th day, just like God did during creation week.

In his closing, CD laments that Hodge uses the phrase “undermine the gospel”. It would be wise for CD to read to context to see why Hodge uses this phrase. Because if one attributes theological errors to Jesus, then the gospel IS undermined. Not mentioned by Hodge, but shown above, old-earthism demands that death, suffering, and thorns be present prior to the curse of sin. But Genesis 3 clearly teaches that these enemies are a result of the rebellion of mankind. God spoke that his creation was not just good seven times, but VERY good. It was only after this, that man sinned and God cursed creation with death, suffering, and thorns. Believing old-earthism CAN be a gospel issue.

It’s not that old-earthers have a vendetta and are out to take down Christianity from the inside, but when they allow outside influences, interpretations, and culture to participate in biblical interpretation, then heresies abound! It’s the same type of thinking that allows gay ministers (because – culture) and women pastors praying for Planned Parenthood (because – social justice)…

As someone who believes the Bible clearly teaches what the world refers to as young earth creationism, I do not care so much about the age of the earth directly as much as I am passionate about correct exegesis of scripture. God revealed Himself in creation, in the Bible, and in Jesus. All of these revelations are self authenticating and in agreement. As shown, Jesus speaks of a young earth. As shown here, creation speaks of a young earth. Finally, with exegesis and the conclusion of our understanding of God’s revelation, the Bible teaches of a young earth.

Because we can trust God about his revelation of history, we can trust Him with our future.